Inspiring Pictures for Writers: Norman Cornish – the miner’s artist
A quick five minute exercise: describe this scene, put in sounds – the children aren’t crossing in silence – and colour. Add tiny details: a button hanging by a thread, the pattern on a woman’s headscarf perhaps.
Remember the advice attributed to Anton Chekov: don’t tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass.
An underground miner for 33 years, Norman Cornish was born in County Durham just after the end of the WWI and started work at the age of 15. He began to exhibit nationally in the 1940s and was still a working miner when he was commissioned to paint a 30-foot mural for County Hall in Durham City.
“This special world of mine is constantly changing and many of the people who inhabited it are no longer with us. Many of the places that once helped to make up that world have also passed into time. The local collieries have gone too, together with the pit road. Many of the old streets, chapels and pubs are no longer more. Many of the ordinary but fascinating people who frequented these places are gone. However, in my memory and I hope in my drawings, they live on ” Norman Cornish 1919 – 2014