Canonteign Falls Artist in Residence Diary – Helen Skidmore

8 August 2021

Art and the story of Canonteign have always been intertwined.  Local landscape artist John White Abbott painted several scenes of Canonteign in the early 1800s and today art is very much part of the current Canonteign experience.

This year sees our 4th artist in residence Helen Skidmore become part of that experience as she explores the estate through drawing in preparation for the Canonteign Artist exhibition.

Canonteign Artist Exhibition 11th — 26th September 2021

Hear in her own words what Helen has been up to in her first week of residency.

Canonteign Falls Artist Blog 

Week 1.

Monday morning, I’m packing my drawing equipment for the Canonteign Falls Artist Residency. Charcoal, putty rubbers, pencils, sharpeners, a bottle of water, a notebook and a drawing folder with sheets of A2 ready to fully immerse myself into the landscape at Canonteign.

After completing my BA(Hons) in painting drawing and printmaking and a MA in printmaking, both at Plymouth College of Art, I am thrilled to be the winning artist go Canonteign Falls residency.

The 90 steps up to the lady Exmouth falls are made of large lumps of stone, solid and the variety of shapes do well to distract as I climb vertically 250 feet through the wooded valley, beside the impressively cascading falls. The mist from the waterfall hangs in the air, cooling my face as the footpath leads into a subtropical fern garden.  After descending I discover the ‘green ship’ herb garden, main water lily lake, an old orchard with beehives to the far side, wildflower meadows, lower lakes and a huge old oak tree, known as poets corner. I head to the edge of the estate where the view in front of me stretches out magnificently and I make my first drawing.  

Seven days on, my process is clear and confident, exploring through drawing, the immediacy of charcoal and pencil. My aim is to produce print work, woodcut, linocut, drypoint and mono-print. 

Over the coming weeks, I will discuss my process as an artist and I have only 5 weeks before the exhibition, alongside 5 other artists.