Moniaive and Glencairn Work 2017

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Over the last 18 months I have been working close to home looking at the land and landscapes in South West Scotland.  My past career as a geologist seems to steer how I look at the land.  _20170512_115058  _20170131_101758

I have been using  sketching and photography combined with using aerial photographs from the National Collection of Air Photographs to create semi-abstracted and birds-eye views of the landscapes. These often feature the stone walls and circular sheep folds (stells), many of which are now gently collapsing back into the land.  I am currently producing paintings and screen prints.

Whoopers over Castlefearn Water The “birds eye” views are inspired by the flight of large flocks of 30-50 Whooper Swans over the valley each year – they winter in South West Scotland then leave for Iceland each Spring and seem to take a route that comes right over us.

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My work is motivated by my life-long connection to the environment.  I get out and walk and cycle here most days rain or shine. The light and the colour is always changing.

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At the back end of the winter the land takes on a battered, washed out yellow hue with incredible grey skies. In spring lime greens burst forth and the skies become more variable.  In the autumn the rusts, reds and browns take hold of the hills.  _20170304_172732Some of the screen prints have moved beyond paper and into textiles finding their way onto light shades.

A snowfall followed by wind highlights all the scores, scratches and marks etched onto the land by the movement of animals and people.

SpringFling 30-9-16 010The hills have these sharp lines delineating them from the sky often with trees on the horizon.  Every valley has a huddled pile of farm buildings, curved roofed barns and sheds.    It’s been amazing to compare the aerial photographs taken just after the Second World War to modern ones. You notice how the sheep folds and walls that took such immense human effort to build are falling into decay and how the fields have increased in size as farming practices change.

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James Paterson painted here almost 100 years ago, his work captured rural life here then, so current artists are capturing a snapshot of the land today and it will all change again in the future.  I will be showing my recent work at Spring Fling from 26th to 29th May 2017. This year I will be in Studio 75 in the Masonic Hall in Moniaive

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