My favourite artist in Cornwall is St Just-based Jessica Cooper, whose simple lines and pared-down still lifes are confidently, deceptively simple. I have been coveting a piece for about five years, and wish I had struck then, as Jessica’s star has since ascended, deservedly, into the Cornish A-list. Meanwhile, my budget has stayed decidedly D-list.
Anyway, looking costs nothing, and fortunately the beautiful gallery at Kestle Barton is currently showing an exhibition of her work. It is as far off anyone’s beaten track as is possible, down a narrow lane with grass growing down the middle near Helford on the Lizard – always a good sign. It’s a super-sensitively restored barn with peaceful gardens (picnics welcomed), accommodation, and a small self-service cafe serving a mean lemon cupcake – so good my sister even snapped up 55 for her wedding. So, even though it’s a hike, it’s something of a destination in itself.
Don’t leave without going to the toilet – therein lay my favourite painting of all, the chairs pictured above.
While we’re on the subject, Jessica Cooper is also now giving courses – entitled ‘Still Life Essence of Form’ – at the Newlyn School of Art. I’d love to attend to find out why my simple lines on paper look like a two year old’s and hers are a thing of beauty.
Until 2 June 2013, Kestle Barton, Manaccan, Helston, Cornwall TR12 6HU. kestlebarton.co.uk Tel. 01326 231 811. Free admission.