It’s an entirely different light and feel to the Eigg, or West Coast landscape – more easily described through painting than words, unless you’re a writer! The first painting, Stormy Sky, Lindisfarne looks east towards a small island, which you can walk to at low tide, where St Cuthbert is said to have meditated.
I sat on the shore watching the sky change from silver to black then blue, flocks of birds rising in clouds then speeding along the wave tops. The changes in light were fascinating – from moodily ominous to gentle, within seconds.
The second painting, Waves from Castle Point, Lindisfarne looks directly south across the sea from near Lindisfarne Castle. The light was beginning to fade slightly, with the low October sun lighting up steely blue waves, which became more choppy as stronger winds began to pick up. This was not much more than half an hour before dark, but there was still enough sunlight to cast rays through the waves, revealing glints of emerald-green
I’d first visited the island in June last year, when the light was entirely different- far softer and less changeable – visiting in October was ideal for painting. I wondered how those early saints, Aidan, Hilda and Cuthbert, might have felt, looking across to a mainland perpetually in upheaval – battles, new religions, new people fighting for territory – everything must have seemed in flux. Northumbria rarely saw peace from the 7th and right up until the 19th century.
Everything was changing too for the old country religions still practiced by ordinary people, and the fact that we know very little about them tells a story in itself, although Aidan, Hilda and Cuthbert practiced Celtic-influenced Christianity – adapted to old religions and ways of thinking, more in tune with the landscape and its cycles.