Artist enables holidaymakers to take a piece of Trebarwith home
31/08/10The little resort of Trebarwith Strand, a mile or so down the North Cornwall coast from Tintagel, is known for its outstanding natural beauty, its family-friendly atmosphere, its magnificent surfing opportunities and – for the past few years – for the artistic merits of its homegrown artist, Dean Murphy.
A prolific and versatile painter, equally happy working in oils or watercolours, acrylics or mixed media, his acute observation and well-honed techniques have an instant appeal, appreciated by tens of thousands of visitors annually, who come to his Gullrock Gallery, situated almost by the waterside.Dean grew up in the little valley, before going to school at Tretherras, in Newquay, where he gained an excellent grounding in basic artistic knowledge. His aptitude won him a place at the Falmouth School of Art faculty in Redruth, where he fast gained in experience, experimenting with a wide variety of artistic schools and disciplines.
"It was recommended to me when I was 18 and it was definitely a tremendous experience," he said. "I learned so much and I decided I had the capabilities to make it my full-time career."
These days, Dean lives with his wife and three-year-old son Abraham in the hamlet of Treknow, overlooking Trebarwith Valley and its beach, dividing his time between his studio at St Teath and the gallery, which is conveniently sited at the bottom of the car park owned by his parents, Margot and Pete – his strongest supporters and keenest admirers.
The gallery, which is portable (though not easily moved), is taken down in the autumn for winter storage, and re-emerges in the spring for the annual onslaught of visitors.
Right now is his busiest time of year – and sales are excellent. That is not surprising, for his is the world of Trebarwith Strand itself... crashing waves, majestic coastline, toddlers with shrimping nets (Abraham is often the model), mists and bright sunshine – all so easily identified by holiday visitors.
"I spend quite a lot of time on the beach with Abraham before the season really starts," said Dean, who works up his paintings from sketches, regularly revisiting part- finished pieces until he is satisfied with the result.
But this is no production-line situation; he has to be absolutely happy with his effort before he frames the picture, making all the frames himself, in a family tradition begun by his grandfather.
Now Dean is seeking to spread his wings further and find galleries throughout Cornwall prepared to take and exhibit his work.
Judging by the selection of his output currently on show in Gullrock Gallery, he should not have too much of a problem doing that.