Dawn Richards

I chose Penrith Beacon for my walk and cultural feature because of the history and because it is in walking distance to my home, enabling me to keep it carbon-low and also simply because this area of Penrith was a lifeline during the Covid lockdown, offering peace and nature, a cool shady dog walk, an opportunity to meet and greet strangers and just escape!

Penrith Beacon was built in 1719, high above the growing market town, and because of its extensive views, as far and wide as the Scottish mountains and the Solway Firth and the Lake District fells, it was used as a defence against any impending danger by lighting fires.

“My artistic interpretation here is the connection between past, present and future … and that in many different ways, throughout time, we all at some point look up for a beacon, in these challenging times it’s a beacon of hope.”

Answering the three Artful Questions


Without even stepping outside my front door, 
I can let my mind wander, let my imagination explore;
Creativity is to run away and feel free, 
Escaping the daily grind, escaping reality.

Without even leaving my home,
I can still my mind and still my soul;
Escaping to places unknown,
Creativity is freedom to roam.


On reflection I guess in some ways COVID-19 didn’t affect my lifestyle too much on a day to day level, as all my family live far away and I already worked from home.  Also,  through the difficulties it did bring, it also brought a time for reflection, a time to slow down, take a step back and put things into perspective.  Having just moved to Penrith in January before Covid struck, it actually presented me with an opportunity to really explore my neighbourhood and the local area when out walking my dog, and getting to know my neighbours, knowing that escaping to the lakes and the hills at every opportunity like we can now, wasn’t an option.


I believe that the message of what effect we’re having on our environment is finally creating more awareness, but lots more still needs to be done.  Art is one way of communicating such an important message and it provides many different forms, highlighting just how important our natural environment is and why we must love and respect it, protect it and nurture it, also through education and experience, both individually and collectively.

A beautiful stag in the trees – proof that sometimes it does pay to leave your warm comfy bed early on a Sunday morning and head out in the rain.

More of Dawn’s work can be found at: www.canvasartbydawn.com

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