The writings of Gavin Maxwell, naturalist and conservationist, spurred my travels to Scotland, including a pilgrimage to the Isle of Skye where Maxwell wrote ‘Ring of Bright Water’. The allure of wildness, islands, history (and possible otter sightings) compelled me to explore Scotland further so I applied for a residency in the Shetland Isles and in 2015 was awarded my first -a month on water’s edge in Scalloway. The following year I was awarded another residency, this time living in a lighthouse keepers‘ quarters on top of a cliff. Shetland (Shetlanders don’t like it when you call it ‘the Shetlands’) stands apart from the rest of Scotland and not just on the map. It used to be part of Norway before being offered up as a dowry. The community, dialect and place names reflect this Norwegian connection.
I think we all experience a sense of place outside the places we live and it is in Shetland that I feel this. Here, I am IN the sea, IN the hills, IN the skies. There is no dividing line, no objectivity-just a divine surrender to a place in time. I made most of these paintings of and with the wild sea- hunkered on high rocks. The wind took some from me-some I got back;-)
still no otter sightings
Sumburgh Walk (with 'tammie norrie'), June oil, cold wax 30x60in, 2018 available
Simmer Dim oil / cold wax (beeswax) on canvas, 24x60in, 2016 private collection
5th June 12PM #sumburghhead 6x6in 2016 sold
Migration Path (Fair Isle) oil on panel, 5x7in, 2016. available.
Out-from North Haven (Fair Isle) oil on panel, 6x6in, 2016, available.
19th June, 3pm oil on panel 6x6in, 2016
1st June 4PM #sumburghhead 6x8in 2016 sold
3rd June 10PM #sumburghhead 8x10in 2016
4th June 1PM #sumburghhead 8x10in 2016
9th June 12PM #sumburghhead 8x10in 2016 sold
10th June 12PM #sumburghhead 8x10in 2016
11th June 12PM #sumburghhead 8x10in 2016
Shetland Work - 2015-2016
I’m finally feeling connected between the parallel worlds of Niagara and Shetland, falling into a rhythm of making work in response to the different lands. The searching is constant, thank goodness. Work intersects but will not be as one and I like that. The ‘making’ process has now opened up an overlapping dialogue in the physicality of application - the tools I use for the Shetland seas are being applied to the escarpment trees. There are few trees in Shetland- Niagara has no seas…
I will be going back to Shetland for a June residency, this time in a lighthouse perched way up on a cliff....!
Shetland 22, oil & cold wax on masonite, 12x24in, 700.
Shetland 21 (a day with Anne & Mike), oil/cold wax on canvas, 30x30in, 2015
oil /cold wax on canvas,9x12in, 200
oil /cold wax on canvas, 8x10in, private collection
Mirrie Dancers, oil /cold wax on canvas, 8x10in, 150
Shetland 19, oil /cold wax on canvas, 8x10in, sold
Shetland 20, oil /cold wax on canvas, 8x10in, 200.
This body of work is new and I will be delving into it throughout the year-probably much longer. The series is evolving out of a recent (April 2015) residency in the Shetland Islands, of which I thank the Ontario Arts Council and those of you supporting me by purchasing paintings via the 'Wild in Shetland' crowd-funder. Those paintings were made looking out to the sea, listening to the laughing gulls and lapping waves and breathing in the heady sea air-some were supervised by a seal.
Scalloway walk 4 encaustic on found panel
Shetland 24 (Annes sheep) encaustic on found panel 6x14in 2016
The plein air paintings below were made for those who sponsored me through the 'Wild in Shetland' crowd-funder, of which I am deeply grateful.
'This residency is very different from the time in Ireland. Then, I was an objective outsider and in analtogether different state of mind. That residency was deeply profound and still affects my work,it is just a different experience than this one. In Shetland, I am IN the sea, IN the hills, IN the skies.There is no dividing line, no objectivity-just a divine surrender to a place in time.' Jan Yates, April 2015, Shetand