The old traditions of crofting life have been disappearing for many years, but echoes and vestiges of the past exist in abundance. The remains of blackhouses and indeed the whitehouses of more recent times provide inspiration along with the ancient land use patterns and field systems. Stornoway is still a busy harbour with all the associated paraphernalia of pots, nets and tackle but this too is suffering from the decline of the fishing industry.
It was this awareness of change that has provided the focus for a new body of work. Inspired by Kurt Jackson’s ‘plein-air’ painting I have begun to work entirely on location using collage of found and painted papers, ink and paint. The narrative quality of each piece is reinforced by the inclusion of notes, recording time, place and incidental detail that captures my imagination. Sometimes, due to the working method elements become distorted and perspective alters, but I feel this just adds to the spontaneity and honesty of each piece.
I love working like this and each piece evokes a host of memories, especially as September was such a glorious month. The work is continuing and I hope to seek out cameos of past lives in a bid to provide an artistic record