The Painted Path – a project by AHSW member George Harding

Thanks to Arts Council England funding artist George Harding was able to undertake a research and development trip travelling around the South West Coastal Path, painting 40 paintings outdoors along the way. Inspiration for the trip was ‘The Salt Path’ a book by Raynor Winn.

In early 2021 AHSW member George Harding received Arts Council England funding for a Develop Your Creative Practice Grant, allowing George to go on a journey creating ‘plein air’ paintings, and looking to nature for inspiration and wellbeing. The funding enabled George to undertake a research and development trip travelling around the South West Coastal Path, painting 40 paintings outdoors along the way. Inspiration for the trip was ‘The Salt Path’ a book by Raynor Winn about her and her husband, who become homeless and decide to go on a journey around the South West Coastal Path, to find wellbeing, happiness, and purpose.

As part of this project, George has created an online exhibition to feature some of the works, as well as some short video clips from along his journey. He has made this accessible with audio descriptions of some of the works and an online exhibition booklet.

Find out more here – https://www.georgejharding.co.uk/ 

The Painted Path showcases painted landscapes I made along a journey of the South West Coastal Path. I focused on the joy of looking to nature for inspiration and purpose. Across two trips, I travelled from Ilfracombe to Newquay, and later travelled from Newquay to Falmouth, painting ‘en plein air’ meaning ‘out of doors’ in French, referring to the practice of painting entire finished pictures outside.

My interest for plein air painting started during the pandemic, where I decided to go out on little excursions around Bristol to paint my local area and to get me out of the house. I found it a good way to channel energy in a positive way, bringing joy and purpose to my life. It was also good for my wellbeing at such a difficult time.

During this period, I also read the book, The Salt Path by Raynor Winn. I felt inspired by the story as it focussed on the author and her terminally ill husband. They lose their house and livelihood and have nothing left. Due to these negative events, they have an impulse to walk the coastal path as an activity that will be good for their wellbeing. On the journey they discover a new liberating existence that frees them with a new sense of purpose, letting them look to the future with joy.

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