A sense of place.

Those of you who have read more of this blog will know that I like to tie my work to the place in which I am working. I do this in several ways. Firstly, I am only happy outside with the subject in sight, not working removed, in a studio, at least not at first. Secondly, I like to use processes which mirror the subject of my interest, by soaking and scrubbing, scoring and blending, a simplified version of the process that formed the land that is the subject of my practice. Somehow this is a way of bearing witness. After Iona and feathers from the dead swan, the first thing I do is to see what I can find nearby that is part of the presence of place. At Sweenys Bothy there is bracken outside the windows, dead at this time of year and the most fantastic burnt sienna from October until May. The stems made adequate pens and seemed a way of tying my drawing into the day. Yesterday I went to explore the Sgurr. The ground around the base of the cliffs is covered in well grazed and wind blasted heather and so became the obvious brush with which to work. I plucked several strands and bound them together with tape. Oddly enough, when you pick up a man made tool after working with these rudimentary implements foraged from the site, the ordinary versions seem rather crude and irrelevant. They are more versatile however and so one skill is to know when to use something more refined to give greater ‘bite’ to the mark making.

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