Landscapes

Invisible places

Landscapes seem to come into view especially when we begin to lose traction with the mundane everydayness of things. Maybe on a train, in reverie, going on holiday or to an interview, breaking up from a love or discovering an internal reservoir of reason, landscapes seem to come into view then. They offer us a tree, a twisting train track, an oblique hillside, an horizon to which to attach significance, we are often grateful to notice landscape that has been there all the time, especially when we are undergoing some radical internal shift of priority or perspective.

 

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Newhaven early morning
Newhaven early morning
Newhaven early morning

From a certain perspective each rooftop is like the totem of the home beneath it, a flag to direct the traveller and wayfarer to a fire and some company. Edinburgh is built upon people living over other people in high rise tenement block and in smaller scale mews, where the chintzy and olde worlde rub shoulders. Early in the morning the light from the little windows reminds us that there is conversation happening and birds waiting for bread, late night morning stragglers meet early first ups and both enjoy coffee together before going their criss-cross ways. Newhaven in a little part of criss-cross Edinburgh overlooking the sea and idling secret hopes of new adventures waiting to come in on the tide.

Mixed media on canvas, 2x2ft


 

Newhaven Harbour
Newhaven Harbour
Newhaven Harbour

I lived across the street from the harbour where huge sailing vessels came into town casting waving ripples over everything on the way. When my son was very little I would walk early in the morning before sunrise and see a palette of colours in the wind and the water and the walls that would not be found at any other time of day. The passion of midnight would find the break of day and trouble it awake.

Mixed media on canvas, 2x2ft


 

Far away
Far away
Far away

One of the great things about living by the sea is that apart from making you feel brave there was often a sense of enormity beyond words. The whole sky I was seeing was just a tiny fragment of the whole sky in the world, the sea barely a cupful compared to the seven seas and each breeze rolling pebble, not even measurable compared to the rock face of the earth. At these times it is possible to feel far away from the ground underfoot and the horizon that has no end.

Mixed media on canvas, 2x2ft


 

Broken morning
Broken morning
Broken morning

When walking, a chill might get your back and you get a living sense of how frail we all are: even our bones are breakable in the wrong wind! The elements shape each other from collision, erosion and constant friction, as do we. We can wonder how to describe colours or remember forms when a wind picks up and everything, no matter how rocklike, is open to being broken. This painting is about such a morning.

Mixed media on canvas, 2x2ft


Ptuj
Ptuj
Ptuj

Some time ago I found myself travelling through the oldest town in Slovenia, Ptuj (quaintly pronounce ‘ pit-u-ee’ ) and was struck by the ancient corridors and courtyards that mark out its territory. Doors as big as the side of a ship open into walkways littered with pots and anvils, strange flowers that grow in the dark and islands of colours brought alive by the sunshine sprinkling the old town. Mosaics and walls painted like wallpaper design brought alive the custodians that stood for tradition mixed with novelty everywhere – no ordinary street amid a humdrum of passageways and closed yards. At any point you could expect Ali Baba to tumble upon you and find thieves hiding in great cauldron jars along the river way.

Mixed media on MDF, 5ft x 3ft


 

Cape Cod
Cape Cod
Cape Cod

Cape Cod is a stretch of American coast land populated by the wealthy and wannabes. It has all the blues of Summer and all the bustle of holiday. The sea looks out to forever, to islands only for the rich, the tide is ever-present and its presence commanding. You are never out of earshot of marine majesty and the crush of pebbles by expensive bronzed feet.

Mixed media on MDF, 5ft x 3ft


 

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