Here, after various musings are my thoughts after our last conversation.
Perhaps we need another to see where we go with this?
After a successful month on the Isle of Iona at the end of 2014 and then having had an interesting exhibition of the work made, I am now preparing to go away again but this time to the Ilse of Tiree.
For the last few years my work has focused on the western seaboard where the land meets the sea and in particular, the west coast of Scotland and the Hebrides.
With the title Close to the Edge I have embarked on a series of residencies and intensive painting journeys to explore and examine the area of Britain and Europe in which I live but of which I still know so little.
This is a process of submersion and submission. Submersion in the subject and submission into the landscape and all it can tell me with my limited understanding of reading history, geography and geology of this magnificent and varied part of the world.
Like with an onion, as you peel one layer away, another is revealed and new discoveries are made along with an acute awareness of how much more there is to know.
It is the exploration and subsequent discovery that is the subject of the residencies as much as the expression of subject matter and the investigation into the revelation of new things and places.
So far, in no systematic way, my exploration has taken me to various places on the West Coast from the Summer Isles in the north to Treshnish on the Isle of Mull and Lochmaddy on North Uist. Taking opportunity as it has arisen I have followed my nose and tried to open my mind and my heart to what I have seen and experienced.
Gradually some themes have emerged which inform the next decision.
Last year, 2014, I had an opportunity to go to Iona for a month, live in a caravan in all the weather could throw at me during November and December, to make new work.
I arrived in sunshine and could happily work outside with no real challenge from the elements. With several layers of clothing and my drawing bag I was able to head out and look for subjects.
Quickly I realised that the logistics of working outside with no car to retreat into or take me far, I was bound to a small area within which it was realistic to remain.
The north end of Iona is blessed with several stunning beaches and one in particular was a short walk away.
During the first few days I wandered about allowing the place and its atmosphere to soak in.
Each time I was drawn to the beach.
I live by the sea, with a beach within five hundred yards of our front door.
But it isn’t the same sort of sea.
Our sea, or Loch Linnhe to be precise, is more of a loch or inland waterway.
Surrounded by hills, the largest hills in Britain, our home territory has quiet a different feel.
The beach at Lagandorain is altogether different.
And so I began to make a series of pieces, created in sequences and allowing the rhythm, colour and taste of the surf that arrives on the first landmass for three thousand miles to inform the work. To record the experience I began this blog and so most of you will have read about it here. It was transformative and on my return I was offered an exhibition and as part of the installation, I started a collaboration with Watercolour Music entitled Ardgour Artists.
It is this association that has led to my next residency and it is with them that I hope to forge a new collaboration.
Following our various meetings and discussions, I am writing to extend an official invitation from Watercolour Music, to use our property on the Isle of Tiree as the locus for the latest of your self-directed residencies. Having read of your residency on Iona, and having seen your resulting work, I am confident that Tiree will offer you the inspiration and seclusion you require to build on this island experience.
Watercolour Music regards this as a first step in exploring the potential for a network of mutual support (WT Ardgour Artists), and to that end, we look forward very much to seeing and hearing more about your time in Tiree.
Is mise le meas
Mary Ann Kennedy
Watercolour Music Limited