Above, more works in progress for the Iona series.
The third one directly above (blue sea with turquoise highlights in sunset) will express something of a more personal experience on Iona when I’m finished with it. I think the other two are more about the incredible colours, which make their impression on everyone when they first visit the island.
I’ve mentioned the Scottish Colourists in my last post – I think every artist has to be aware of their creative impression of the island. That doesn’t change the fact that as an artist you feel the impetus to respond to those colours, but I suppose I want to show different impressions if I can. More paintings to follow in the next few days…
This proving to be the strangest summer – first on Iona in a tent, with slugs, spiders, wind and rain, now in the manicured and comfortably-off lawns of Barnton in north-west Edinburgh. (Having rented out my flat in Edinburgh for the July/August I’d planned to stay in a cottage up north but a few changes came up, so I’m staying in the former home of my niece’s partner’s grandad (where my niece and partner also stayed recently) while they travel around Europe – everyone’s a bit out of their usual place at the moment!)…
This area is where many comfortably-off folks tend to retire – ultra peaceful and, to me anyway, quite strange. The area is bristling with vast golf courses all the way down to Crammond Village, hedged off everywhere. ‘Do not trespass’ signs abound, but the expanses of green and lack of noise brings in local wildlife – yesterday evening a roe deer walked past the french window and today three squirrels decided to explore the living room, it’s ‘Bambi’-meets-suburbia.
Maybe my recent tent experience had something to do with it, but the only way I could sleep last night was on a carry-mat on the living room floor next to the open french window!
It’s interesting to be out of my comfort zone – no distractions for the moment which makes me focus on painting, but more than that it challenges me to deal with odd circumstances (yes, I know – pretty first world challenges!) but it means perhaps I’m more alert, less subjective – taken out of my usual mind-set, or something like that.
On my way back from Iona the train was delayed near Dalmally – a west Highland Idyll of mountains which was particularly idyllic on that day as the weather was so unusually hot and the skies were cloudless so you could see the mountains all the way to the summits in their green summeriness. The station platform had doors leading off to rooms titled ‘Writer’s Retreat’ or ‘Wool-worker’s Studio’ – people there had made their own unique environment and changed all expectations of a railway platform. I chatted to someone who worked on luxury yachts then, for complete contrast, headed into the wildest Highland mountains for a few months each year to live off the land from fishing and snares, without even a tent!
All these differing habitats – there’s something there that inspires me very much. I look forward to Iona in winter this year (as mentioned in my previous post there’s a space for artists there in winter).
Enough havering, more paintings tomorrow …