During August I finally made some work from the Bass Rock Gannets – bigger monotypes than I have done before and the results are very exciting!
A couple of these have been submitted to the annual SWLA exhibition in London and the others will be shown over the winter at the Red Barn Gallery in Cumbria.
I had a very happy afternoon on the banks of Linlithgow Loch drawing black headed gulls and coots with a brief interlude for some fantastic great crested grebes and their stripey manic teenager young.
And of course the Edinburgh Festival was in full swing – I didn’t manage much this year but I was lucky enough to see the fantastic poet Alice Oswald reciting her new poem Memorial in full at Edinburgh International Book Festival – an epic work which is a contemporary interpretation of Homer’s Iliad. The language Oswald uses is beautiful and if you get the chance to hear her reciting Memorial live you will not regret this incredible, moving experience.
And another Book Festival triumph – Robert MacFarlane in discussion with Stewart Kelly about his new book The Old Ways. A great observer of the natural world and its wider context within the history of humanity, MacFarlane’s latest book is about the pathways humans have walked or sailed across the planet over millenia – its next on my reading list!
Finally I went to see Horse and Bamboo’s play based on the life of the Scottish outsider artist Angus McPhee. It was a stunning production which mixed humour with pathos and was a visual feast with puppets, masks, projections and a beautifully understated set – if its showing anywhere near you go and see it!
And so time for a holiday – Paul and I went to Islay for a week of relaxing and soaking up some much needed sun. Wildlife aplenty with a flock of starlings nesting in the ivy hanging off the building behind our cottage – swallows and martins wheeling around everywhere – flocks of jackdaws and rooks wheeling about in the evenings – a pair of buzzards mewing – the occasional hooded crow seen pacing around in a field – curlews flying over – oystercatchers at the water’s edge – pipits squeaking along the verges – wagtails bobbing in the fields – hares crouched sunning themselves their huge eyes staring me down – seals wailing from distant rocks…and of course my first sighting of choughs – marvellous!
Amongst other things planned during September I shall be busy designing some signs for the self catering cottages my sister runs in Northumberland – here are some sketchbook ideas – my budding artist niece Poppy coloured in the one top right, I better be careful – there’s some competition in the family!