5 Minutes with Charles Monkhouse

Charles Monkhouse is the artist bringing 'Seven Nocturnal Rainbows for the English Lakes' to Coniston Water, Ullswater and Grasmere for Lakes Ignite 2016 'Seven Nocturnal Rainbows for the English Lakes' is an art experience by Charles Monkhouse for Lakes Ignite 2016 (photo Dave Thorburn) 'Seven Nocturnal Rainbows for the English Lakes' is an art experience by Charles Monkhouse for Lakes Ignite 2016 (photo Dave White) One of the Seven Nocturnal Rainbows for the English Lakes by Charles Monkhouse, on Coniston Water for Lakes Ignite (photo Carl Whitham) Nocturnal Rainbow on Coniston for Lakes Ignite 2016 (photo Carl Whitham) One of the Seven Nocturnal Rainbows for the English Lakes by Charles Monkhouse, on Ullswater for Lakes Ignite (photo Carl Whitham)

Introducing 5 minutes with… Charles Monkhouse..

Who is… an artist working in rural and public spaces, with their communities, to produce temporary installations and permanent sculptures sited in the landscape. I have experience working in many locations including the Lake District. I aim to make work that is locally distinctive and nationally significant which appeals to a broad range of people.

Tell us more… ‘Seven Nocturnal Rainbows’ is a Lakes Ignite 2016 art experience, featuring a week of light installations across the Lakes inspired by poets and artists of the Lake District. The electronic rainbows will visit three of the English Lakes: Coniston Water, Ullswater and Grasmere between 30 April and 6 May. JMW Turner’s painting of a rainbow over Buttermere was the inspiration.

Why is this special to you… Ever since encountering Turner’s painting ‘Buttermere Lake, with Part of Cromackwater, Cumberland, a Shower‘ (1798), I’ve been intrigued by the challenge of re-creating the rainbows on one of the English Lakes. A recent project in Derbyshire, Derwent Pulse, allowed me to develop the technology and Lakes Ignite 2016 has now provided the venues!

Joseph Mallord William Turner, Buttermere Lake, with Part of Cromackwater, Cumberland, a Shower, exhibited 1798 © Tate, London 2016
Joseph Mallord William Turner, Buttermere Lake, with Part of Cromackwater, Cumberland, a Shower, exhibited 1798 © Tate, London 2016

What can audiences expect… The rainbows will appear as the light fades each evening and will become stronger as night takes over from day. Each rainbow consist of up to 250 floating LED units, each with its own GPS sensor, reacting to their location to create a spectrum as they travel across the lake. The exact motion of the lights will depend on the wind. Each passage will last approximately one to one and a half hours.

You can read more about the Lakes Ignite ‘Seven Nocturnal Rainbows’ art experience here

'Seven Nocturnal Rainbows for the English Lakes' is coming to Coniston Water, Ullswater and Grasmere for Lakes Ignite between 30 April - 6 May 2016
‘Seven Nocturnal Rainbows for the English Lakes’ is coming to Coniston Water, Ullswater and Grasmere for Lakes Ignite between 30 April – 6 May 2016

If you could name only 3 unmissable cultural hot spots or events in the Lakes – what would they be… I would certainly recommend any of Thomas West’s viewing stations, which still influence the way we look at the Lake District today. The Lakes District Summer Music Festival, from 30 July – 12 August 2016 – is an unmissable music festival with classical, jazz and opera that takes place in lots of interesting, historic halls and churches around Cumbria. To really get an authentic taste of the Lakes a trip on the Steam Yacht Gondola, through Swallows and Amazons territory, on Coniston Water is always a treat. And my young daughter would like to add a day at Wray Castle.

And after a cultural adventure in the Lakes, where would be your ideal place to eat or stay… As a vegetarian I love eating at Zeffirellis in Ambleside. And would if I weren’t a vegetarian! And I spent a great couple of days a few years ago in their nearby Yewfield Vegetarian Guest House.

And we just have to ask.. if you could choose one view in the Lakes where would that be… It would have to be the view of ‘Buttermere Lake, with Part of Cromackwater’ from where JMW Turner sketched his rainbow, on the eastern side of Crummock Water, near Rannerdale Knotts.

// SEVEN NOCTURNAL RAINBOWS LOCATIONS

Locations: A map for Seven Nocturnal Rainbows is available to download at the bottom of the page
Time to be there: 20:45 to 21:00 – the best viewing time will be dependent on sunset and weather
What to bring: sensible footwear and clothing and a torch
Where to eat: discover great places to eat and drink on GoLakes

CONISTON: Saturday 30 April, Sunday 1 May & Monday 2 May 

// Viewpoint: Brantwood, Meadows Field
// Parking: Brantwood and Machell’s Coppice
// Refreshments: Coniston

ULLSWATER: Tuesday 3 May & Wednesday 4 May

// Viewpoint: Glencoyne Bay footpath/road
// Parking: Glencoyne Bay
// Refreshments: Glenridding

GRASMERE: Thursday 5 May & Friday 6 May

// Viewpoint: Near Daffodil Hotel & A591footpath
// Parking: Daffodil Hotel and Dove Cottage
// Refreshments: Dove Cottage Tea Rooms & Bistro

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Lakes Ignite 2016 – celebrating art and culture in the Lake District that sparks your imagination from 30 April – 22 May, is supported by United Utilities.

To enjoy these Lakes Culture events and much more, book your break in the Lake District here