15 December 2022
The Scottish Creations tour in May 2022 was accompanied by a pop-up exhibition of paintings, textiles, ceramics, prints, poetry, photography and more.
All the works were curated from an open call to amateur, leisure-time and semi-professional artists across Scotland. We asked them to share how their local area inspired them creatively, especially over the past couple of years when we have all spent more time than usual closer to home.
The stories behind each creation stem from local tales and historic artefacts, as well as more personal experiences.
Scottish Ensemble worked with Creative Lives to bring this exhibition to fruition. Creative Lives works throughout the UK and Ireland to celebrate, promote, and champion creative participation and the many benefits it can bring to people and communities.
Click on individual artworks below to read the story behind their creation.
With thanks to Kelly Donaldson of Creative Lives
Andy Auld - Ardeer to America (Video)
“My film is a short documentary on the life of Andy Auld, a local footballer from the town of Stevenston. As I reveal in the film, Andy grew up here in the early 1900s, playing football then he moved to America in the 1920s and played there too. Eventually he was selected to represent the US National Team at the 1930 FIFA World Cup in Uruguay (which was also the first ever World Cup!).
I wanted to make the film to shed some light on his story as it’s one of great significance to my local area, and one that hardly anyone has heard of. As I found in my research, it shows just how important a role Scotland played in the first ever World Cup even though, as a nation, we didn’t officially compete in it.”
“Childhood memories gave me hope during lockdown, in particular the memory of visiting my gran, seeing her hens and collecting eggs. I realised we as a family needed to create our own stories, to give us hope during difficult times. My husband, daughter and I cleared part of our garden and created a coop.
From the first day our daughter was introduced to her hen, ‘Milly’, they had a great bond. The hens have revived my connection with my gran and I hope the story behind ‘Milly’ gives my daughter hope and good memories in the future.”
The Selkie (Upcycled Art)
“I enjoy working with different materials and most of my art works are created on upcycled canvas found on the street. I believe that art should be thought provoking and tell a story. My piece, ‘The Selkie’ has many stories to tell as every single piece of this mixed media was found on the street, upcycled or recycled.
I used a piece of unfinished knitting that a friend gave me, a bubble envelope that was so pretty I pulled it out from somebody’s recycling bin, my daughter’s old hair extension and my broken loafer, the leather of which was so soft I wanted to give it a second life.
My daily walks to Wardie bay in Edinburgh, where you can spot a seal from time to time, inspired me to create the piece.”
Walking Stick (Photography)
“I took this photo in my back garden in Broughty Ferry. I chose this location as the limitations lockdown brought only allowed me to venture into my garden. In this photo, the staircase represents a challenging journey, and each literal step is another hurdle I need to overcome on the long path back to normality.”
“This piece is about the repetitiveness of every day during lockdown and the simplicity of life. My time before the pandemic was measured by external actions, and one day the activities that governed my life disappeared. The repetitiveness of each day felt like being in a labyrinth where time blurs and two realities merge.
I used shapes and forms from Scottish prehistory artefacts to represent these feelings: the labyrinthic design and Scottish rock balls.”
Divine Inspiration (Photography)
“Glasgow is home to wide array of graffiti artists and they have decorated the city centre in large and small works of art. These works are normally highly stylised and very colourful, each artist has their own unique style and as you walk around you start to recognise the more prolific painters and maybe even start to decipher their typography.
However, there is one artist who is trying to bring back an older style of graffiti – they are going back to basics and leaving slogans around the alleyways and back lanes where very few people will see them.
I came across this piece on one of my wanders with my camera. The wording is at first very traditional, but there is a modern-day twist added. It struck a chord with me and I had to capture it before the Council squad came along and removed it.”
Am Bugha Mòr (Original Composition)
“The Bugha Mòr is on the banks of the Skeabost river in Skye. Historically, shinty matches were played here, particularly around the Old New Year, January 12th, when a crowd would gather at the river to celebrate.
Mairi Mhòr nan Òran, who was a renowned Gaidhlig poetess, grew up here and remembers in a letter to a friend that there would be a ‘buideal air each ceann dhen raon, agus pailteas bhonnach agus caise’ . . . a keg at each end of the field, and plenty of bannocks and cheese.
Mairi Mhòr was a strong supporter of shinty and 2021 marked 200 years since her birth. The last game Skye Camanachd played on the Bugha Mòr was in the late 1970’s.”
I Wish I Was (Poetry and Photography)
“My older sister goes wild swimming up and down the coast of Fife. I used to go with her and, after attempting and failing to get in the water myself, I would sit and watch in awe (and thankfulness it wasn’t me).
To be able to throw themselves into the sea, even during our baltic winters, is something I find so inspiring and I wanted to express my admiration in a creative form.
Using photographs taken by myself, my sister and her friend, I have added some words of poetry/verse that explore the strength and empowerment of wild swimmers, as well as my own applause and admiration from a younger sister to her older sister.”
Furl & Unfurl (Leather, Thread, Paper, Ink)
“These two books feature prints taken from a fern in my garden in Edinburgh. The pages of one turn outwards while the other curls back in on itself.
This represents my lockdown experience, which saw me both unfurling out into the world – connecting with new people and sharing my passion for bookbinding via online workshops, and furling inwards – reconnecting with my own creativity and using the plants in my garden for inspiration.”
Plaid (Handwoven Wool)
“My father’s family are from the West Coast of Scotland and my mother’s family are from Yorkshire. Using wool spun locally in these two areas I have woven this unconventional tartan on a rigid heddle loom. I not only wanted to reflect on my family history, but also my own personal journey having recently moved from the North of England to Glasgow.
I was inspired by the natural landscapes of these two areas, and hope that one might see the lochs, moors, sea and sky in the fabric, perhaps even the white rose of Yorkshire or the Saltire.”
Shifting Sands (Acrylic and Collage on Paper)
“I was inspired by the sea, big sky and constantly changing sands at Culbin Sands near Nairn. The sand bars can be illuminated by the light and create an image of land near by, which makes me want to swim out and sit in the sun.
Also, the island which is accessible in low tide often has a shaft of light making it appear within reach but can also catch people out as the sea and tide can change so quickly. I often walk the dog along the beach and each time I visit depending on the weather, the atmosphere and scenery can be very different.
I have painted the beach at Nairn many times and I am always interested in the views to the Black Isle as they can look a dark far away place or just a stone throws away depending on the light. It’s my happy place to be.”
Drummer Boys (Print)
“This print represents stories from the past. Family tales told over and over until you know them as part of your own heritage.
The paintings were sourced from collages of film stills selected from old family videos. One was based on a series of stills from family holidays dating from the 1960s to 90s. I am reminded of that warm nostalgic feeling as a child listening intently. My mum and her sisters with my nana and papa, growing up ten minutes down the road from my dad and his siblings with my gran and grandpa. All these characters, all these lives lived, intermingled in a thread of story and a thread of memory.”
The Meetings (Oil on Canvas)
“The Meetings is a place just outside Selkirk in the Scottish Borders where the Ettrick and Yarrow rivers meet. It’s a local meeting place to swim, sometimes at night. When I first moved here I discovered that my great grandfather had been a gamekeeper in Selkirk.
My mother and uncles had also been frequent visitors to this area and swam at The Meetings. Two generations on, my daughters swam there as teenagers. As someone who has lived all over the world, it makes me feel local to a place I now call home.”
“This photograph is of a memorial in my home town of Carluke, dedicated to the soldiers who lost their lives fighting in World War One and World War Two.
I took this photograph as I am proud of the history of my little home town and I feel like some light should be shone on the topic to give it more recognition and to spread awareness.”
The Penny Wedding (Poetry)
“I saw William Greatbach’s etching The Penny Wedding (based on Sir David Wilkie’s oil painting) at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art in Edinburgh. It was shortly after I read about a celebrity couple who married in a beautiful location, surrounded by 1,000 guests who ate the best food and drank the finest champagne. The couple divorced six months later.
I thought no matter how much pomp and ceremony you deliver, all that really matters is love and friendship. Money does not buy this. That’s what inspired the poem – plus the fact those in the painting are having a rare old time!”
Dumfries & District Flower Club
Tam o' Shanter (Floral Artwork)
“Dumfries and District Flower Club is celebrating its diamond anniversary year throughout 2022. As part of these celebrations we’re holding a flower festival with designs interpreting narratives, local folk stories and Scottish heroes, including Robert Burns, who spent his final years in Dumfries.
Here is his Tam o’ Shanter in all its glory, inspired by Burns’ poem with a drunk Tam riding home on his horse Meg/Maggie. Witches and warlocks give chase but cannot cross the river. Tam rides over the Brig o’Doon and the creatures get so close that they pull Meg’s tail off.
This 4-foot canvas was made from over 3,500 petals, leaves, twigs and other plant materials. Five women from Dumfries & District Flower Club were involved in its construction with dried plant material ‘painting’ the picture, including over 4,000 hydrangea petals! Tree bark was used for the road, honesty seed heads and bougainvillia petals plus dried grasses for the tail, and dried echinops for the bobble on the Tam o’Shanter hat.”
Realisation Triptych (Audiovisual Composition)
“Above the village where I live in Renfrewshire sits the ruins of a tower built in the 1700s. I have lived here all my life, and the tower has been a constant landmark throughout, from believing it to be the home of the Tooth Fairy as a small child to being fascinated with this landmark of history right on my doorstep.
I wanted to transport the audience to the tower and examine it from a multitude of perspectives and emotions, similar to my own experience with the structure throughout my life.
The first part is meant to invoke a sense of mystery, the second is ominous and deals with fear of the mundane, and finally a sense of awe. This is the ‘Realisation’ referred to in the title. Whether or not the audience responds in this manner determines the success of the piece, although alternate interpretations of art are a valid and necessary part of the discourse surrounding it.”
Tower of Johnston (Modelling Chocolate and Paste)
“During lockdown, the place that inspired me the most was the Tower of Johnston in Aberdeenshire. Despite having lived in Laurencekirk for nine years, this was my first visit to the Tower and it became a favourite walk of mine as it’s so peaceful with views of land and sea.
Built by James Farquhar MP in 1812 to commemorate the Duke of Wellington’s victory in the Peninsular War, the Tower is beautiful in all weathers and I feel lucky to have it on my doorstep.”
Moorish (Oil on Canvas)
“This painting is of Rannoch Moor in the Highlands. I was inspired by its total wilderness and the fact it’s untouched by human hands, even to this day. It really is something special.”
Donkey & Cat (Needle Felting)
“I was inspired to create these after visiting a donkey sanctuary in the village of Dunscore, near Dumfries. They rescue mistreated donkeys and cats and give them a good home. The animals intermingle with each other, and the cat sitting on the donkey’s back is exactly as I saw it at the sanctuary.
The wool came from a local farmer – I got it freshly sheared then washed and dyed it. I made the wireframe, modelled the form then needle felted the wool on using various colours and patterns. The feet were made of clay, hardened and painted.”
Clach An Airm (Thread Art)
“Clach an Airm (The Stone of Swords) is where local clansmen met to sharpen their swords before marching to meet other clansmen and head to the Battle of Culloden. For decades I have walked past it, and each time I feel the coldness of the stone and verbalise ‘thank you’, because of the enormity of what our forebears gave for their heritage and the future of Scotland.
I decided to capture the stone in thread as a reminder that wherever I go in life, the stone will still be there, standing proud.”
Fiona Soe Paing
Sand, Silt, Flint (Original Composition and Video)
“This song is based on the story of the Sands of Forvie, near Newburgh, which as legend has it, was created by a nine day storm which engulfed the village of Forvie. The story goes that the storm was conjured up by three sisters, in revenge against the community, after a relative sent them out to sea in a leaky boat in an attempt to claim their inheritance.
I remember being taken to the Forvie Sands by my mother when I was a little girl. I vividly recall her telling me the story of the village lost beneath the sea, and how on certain nights of the year the church bell could still be heard below the waves. The story sent shivers up my spine, and really stuck in my memory.”
Old Habits Die Hard (Oil on Canvas)
“During lockdown in 2020, I was walking on paths in Cawdor near Nairn that I had never previously traversed. I discovered all kinds of beautiful places, quiet burns and secret glades, along with abandoned homes where one could only imagine a way of life, often quite challenging.
And then one day during daily exercise I came upon this crow. Birds were singing, the natural world humming, it being unaware that we were in lockdown. I felt enormous sadness at the sight of the crow’s head hanging limply, his feet tied with gaudy plastic string. I had come across a world where time had stood still and many tasks were driven by adage.
I discovered this was the habit of farmers, who believe that the lifeless body serves as a warning to other crows. Some human behaviour is based on history, culture and repetition, we betray our humanity when we treat non-human life with carelessness. We are all of us a collection of physical matter, whether covered with feathers scales or skin, and we each have a part to play in this world.
The world is constantly changing, and interdisciplinary discussion is crucial to encourage new ways to think about what it is to be human, and how we interact with other species. Looking ahead, artists who record from within the world can cause re-thinking and sometimes act as a vehicle for change.”
Swimming with the Sunset (Photography and Poetry)
“Mesmerised by the beauty of the golden rays sparkling on the water when swimming at Milarrochy Bay, the words flowed through me after an October swim, like lyrics with a melody of soothing waves. The poem was written in deep appreciation and reverence for the sun, infinite source.
When I was younger I would spend days at the bay with my family and was known for building (pretend) fires. My re-wilding adventures shape my immersive retreats as a yoga teacher and ecstatic dance DJ.”
The Selkie (Lino Print)
“I live in Glasgow now but am originally from the Shetland Islands. A creature from Shetland folklore, selkies (or seals), could take the form of a human by casting off their seal skins, which were left hidden on beaches until they returned to the sea. Shetland is a place that holds a lot of memories for me and there is an incredible sense of community there that I have never felt anywhere else.
As I’ve gotten older, the islands have had more of a pull on me to return; almost like that of the selkie heading back to sea.”
Calgary Beach (Tapestry Weaving)
“I’m lucky to live on beautiful Mull and am influenced by its landscapes and colours, especially the beaches. Mull was so peaceful during lockdown and the wildlife was much more prominent than usual. But as I was shielding, I missed our daily trips out to walk the dogs, especially to Calgary Beach.
I decided to use some of my hand spun yarn to recreate the landscape I was so missing. This piece is looking back towards Calgary Beach from the sea. It’s very textured, to represent the hills, trees and waves, with the burning red sun felted on.”
Glasgow Necropolis (Digital Illustration)
“I moved to Glasgow in September 2020 and spent my first few weeks seeking out all the wonders the city has to offer. One of these gems is the Necropolis. I found it a place of tranquillity, watching the sunset behind St. Mungo’s Cathedral. It was one particularly colourful sunset that inspired me to create this digital illustration.
I was also inspired by the flat style of vintage railway posters. That glamour and fondness was something I wanted to extend to the Necropolis, a place which could easily be dismissed as morbid.”
Woodland Musings (Hand-Formed Metal, Wood and Bark)
“I’ve lived in the Ochil Hills near a small hamlet called Path of Condie for over 30 years. I have views over to the Lomond Hills in Fife and feel very lucky to be able to walk these hills daily. I attempted to creatively represent the amazing designs that nature offers up. I’ve always been drawn to lichens, there are so many varieties up here and a great indicator of clean air.
I tried to give a sense of them in my little pieces, made from hand patterned and painted metal combined with wood picked up on my walks. In some cases, they have become almost mini landscapes.”
Dundee Riverside (Photography)
“This photo was taken at Chandlers Lane in the old dockyard area while I was researching Dundee’s industrial past. This street used to be workshops and shipyard offices, with a blacksmith’s forge where the chimney is.
It’s nice to see that the 1830s buildings have survived, used for housing now, bumping up against the modern waterfront flats and the Tay Road Bridge. It’s a really inspiring mix that represents the city as a whole, using its heritage creatively to forge its future.”
The Grey Lady (Photography)
“This graveyard shoot was inspired by a folktale surrounding the Kirk o’ Shotts’ ‘Spooky Church’.
This tale involves a spirit deemed ‘The Grey Lady’, she is known to haunt the graveyard and the surrounding area of the church. Little is known about the appearance of the Lady which allowed me to visualise what I thought she would look like.”
Ailsa Craig (Felt Hanging)
“Living by the beach in Prestwick, seeing the Ailsa Craig every day when walking my two dogs, I am always in awe of the changing look of Ailsa. No two days are the same and some days it cannot be seen at all.
On the base of the felt I have added objects I like to collect on the beach in the shadow of Ailsa. Shells of course, interesting small drift wood and copious amounts of sea glass.”
Panini Football Sticker circa 1984 - Robert Burns (Acrylic Painting)
“When I first moved to Dumfries from Yorkshire in 1984, the dialect, landscape and school curriculum were all so different. One afternoon I asked my mum about the fuss over a local man, a celebrity maybe. ‘Who is this Robert Burns?’ I asked. ‘Is he a famous footballer from Dumfries?’ There was much laughter from the grown-ups and the tale was shared widely.
Scotland has been my home for nearly 40 years and I now fondly think of that innocent question about the nation’s bard as we enjoy the haggis, neeps and tatties on Burns Night.”
Sunrise over Loch Leven (Poetry)
“I recently moved to the Isle of Mull but prior to that I lived in Kinross-shire. A hefty copywriting job with a tight deadline kept me up well into the wee sma’ hours one June night a couple of years ago. As I rose from my desk, I caught sight – out of my office window – of the sun starting to rise behind Benarty Hill (known locally as “The Sleeping Giant” because its shape resembles that of a giant lying down beside Loch Leven, the renowned winter home of thousands of wild geese).
The colours of the sky were so intense and surreal that I stood mesmerised for several minutes, thinking about how many such sunrises the mythical giant might have witnessed over the centuries. Then, instead of heading for bed, I promptly sat back down at the computer and penned this poem . . .”
Wyvin Wyes (Weaving)
“This piece was influenced by my childhood home in Aberdeenshire and was created in celebration of the areas regional dialect of Doric and the community-based crafting practices that occupy the North-East of Scotland today.
It’s a hand-woven hanging lampshade made out of individually crafted items, each originating from a crafter based in the North-East. An audio of Doric tales and songs can be heard emanating from within. Wyvin Wyes is a celebration of community and the people who make Aberdeenshire the place it is today.”
You can listen to the audio element of Wyvin Wyes here
Cambusnethan Priory (Photography)
“I chose to shoot Cambusnethan Priory in Wishaw due to its rich history. It’s a spot that local people like to photograph and I wanted my own image of the building. But I didn’t want to just take the usual image of the front – I wanted something more interesting, something that would draw the viewer in.
So, after a quick walk around the building and through the small, wooded area at the back, I noticed how the trees and foliage were positioned and realised they would frame my shot nicely.”
Flora Drummond’s Journey (Oil Paint on Beach Wood)
“Flora Drummond’s childhood was spent in Pirnmill, a small village on the west coast of Arran that I now call home. Flora became one of the few working-class leaders of the Women’s Social and Political Union, a group founded by Emmeline Pankhurst to campaign for female suffrage.
Her remarkable story inspired me to paint the view from Pirnmill across the Kilbrannan Sound to Carradale. I used oil paints on beach wood washed up on the shore at Pirnmill and incorporated the suffragette colours of green, white and violet.”
Stag (Pastel Painting)
“I live in Tain in the Highlands and I was inspired to paint this after seeing a photo of the stag taken by Sandra Whyte, who also lives locally. She took the photo in the Highlands and shared it to a local photography group on Facebook.”
Ghosts Past & Present (Polaroid Art)
“A long lost poem of R. L. Stevenson from the 1870s inspired me to take photos, taken on a mix of a cheap instax and an old camera from the 70s, that symbolise the love to the land, but also the ghosts of present and past and life and death.
While building a wee cabin and living in a caravan, I wandered far and wide to capture fleeting moments of time bygone but not forgotten on the Isle of Skye.”
Otters (Pencil Drawing)
“Here in Dumfries, a family of otters living on the River Nith became local ‘celebrities’ during the lockdown of 2021. People flocked in small, distanced groups to try and see them. I finally got a glimpse, when I had stopped actively looking for them – typical!
One of the young male otters put on quite a show for me, which inspired my drawing. Nature on our doorstep connected our communities, and brought a sense of hope and well-being.”
Loch Ness (Acrylic Painting)
“I am a foreigner who has made Scotland her home. I studied at Aberdeen University and became an English teacher despite being German. I love the language but more so the land, especially the Highlands to where I retired and developed my love for painting.
This piece depicts the iconic Loch Ness in the evening light, seen from the shores at Dores. For me, no matter what time of day or year, in good weather or bad, the Loch never loses its charm.”
The Cauldron (Embroidery)
“The Cauldron was inspired by the Pictish symbol stones at Aberlemno near Forfar, and the story of the one-eyed Celtic Goddess Cailleach. She ushers in winter by washing her great plaid in the whirlpool of Corryvreckan, the cauldron of the plaid.
The white background represents the white plaid; the surrounding ring and symbol depict the Corryvreckan whirlpool; the blues are the seasonal colours of the sea; the pinks are seasonal berry colours; and the greens are the seasonal leaf colours of Scotland.”
Clachnaharry (Acrylic Painting)
“The sweep of the railway line, the vibrant yellow shrubs contrasting with the blue mountains in the background on a bright summer’s day is a view that cheers you up.
It was a favourite spot on my regular walk during the first lockdown, from Inverness through the local nature reserve at Merkinch across the train tracks and on to Clachnaharry Sea Lock. The Lock Keepers house can be seen in the distance.”
Overdrive Dance Company
Status: Changed (Short Film)
“Overdrive is a dance company that promotes dance for boys and young men in Glasgow. In February 2020, we created a new production exploring the place of young people in the world today. Then came the Covid-19 pandemic. What to do with a show no audience has seen?
Filmed on Govan Dry Docks, Status:Changed is a bold and energetic film, reimagining a work originally created for stage into a work for screen.”
Overdrive Dance Company: Ethem Bookham, Nathan Ferguson, Blair Flucker, Ross Hoey, Cameron Johnstone, Luc MacDonald, Adam Quinn.
Towards Loch Doon (Silk Embroidery)
“For many years I regularly drove the road from Dalmellington in Ayrshire to New Galloway. Each time, I saw the view west across Loch Doon to the Galloway Forest and hills – in many different kinds of weather. It inspired me to stitch this picture, which is hand embroidery in silk threads on net.”
Storm at Stenness (Photography)
“During the first lockdown it was particularly difficult in our household as my wife, Lesley, was shielding. As things opened back up, we began to think of life in a completely different way. About 18 months ago, Lesley wrote a quote from a book in her diary, which I didn’t read until after her death. It said: ‘Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass, it’s about leaning to dance in the rain.’
I have applied this philosophy to my photography and don’t wait for good weather before going out. This photograph was taken at Stenness in Shetland on a particularly wild day.”
The Village That Changed the World (Digital Photography)
“I have lived in Lesmahagow, South Lanarkshire for 2 and a half years, and the connections associated with it are wonderfully intriguing. It has multiple claims to fame, including being the birthplace of Soviet spy John Cairncross. It was only during lockdown that my family began to really explore our surroundings.
The old stones of the Priory hark to a bygone era. I created this image using multiple photographs taken on our walks, which were blended and interspersed. Monochrome represents the past, while the rainbow colours cede to the future.”
The Language of Trees (Acrylic Painting)
“This painting was inspired by my walks through Finzean school wood in Aberdeenshire with my dad’s dog. It’s called The Language of Trees because I wanted to convey how they expressed and related to the environment and each other – and how we gain from natural areas.”
Many Faces (Ceramics)
“I see faces every day – different shapes and shades, different looks from across the street – squinting at a person they might know but aren’t too sure. Laugh lines and worry lines, furrowed brows carving the wrinkles in their faces.
When I walk around Leith in Edinburgh, usually near the water, I look at people and try to imagine their lives. A face can tell a story and when I make mine it’s a sort of collection of the ones I remember.”
Ayrshire Landscape (Oil on Canvas)
“This is a view of an Ayrshire landscape that I see often as I drive back home to Neilston from visiting my sister and niece’s family in Stewarton where I grew up.
The group of trees in the distance always attracts my attention in the different seasons and light. Geographically, the view is looking north towards Tattie Ha’ from West Moneyacres Farm and is about halfway between Stewarton and Neilston in East Renfrewshire.”
Askernish (Acrylic Painting)
“I started painting in October 2021, just after I turned 50 and I am infatuated! I paint abstracts inspired by the areas round the Highlands and predominantly seascapes.
Askernish is near my family home on South Uist and my parents are buried nearby. Shortly before the pandemic, a boat my brother had been rowing in a transatlantic solo attempt but had to abandon midway, came ashore here months later. Out of all the places in the world and against the odds.”
Roddy's Lucky White Heather (Harris Tweed®)
“This lucky white heather was inspired by a man who was well known in the small local community of Tarbert, Harris where I was born and brought up. He was quite a character! Roddy was known to frequent the local pubs and try to charm the ladies with a sprig of lucky white heather.
He picked it himself from a secret stash, the location of which is only known by a very select few. Some secrets are best kept that way, but memories of Roddy’s lucky white heather escapades will live on!”
Cruck Cottage Robin, Torthorwald (Watercolour Painting)
“We are so fortunate to have in Torthorwald, Dumfries and Galloway, one of Scotland’s few remaining thatched cottages of Cruck design. It is a joy to paint in watercolours, and to have heritage buildings such as this on our doorstep is priceless.
This secret gem, which tells of by-gone days, is cared for by local volunteers who share its story with visitors who leave the beaten track. The cottage would have been typical in the area when Robert Burns lived in these parts, and there were dozens of them in the vicinity at one time. It is believed that J.M. Barrie visited Torthorwald in his youth and hid messages in the remains of the nearby medieval castle walls, just a few minutes walk from this cottage.
Visitors must venture inside to appreciate the very rare cruck timber structures so unique to this architectural design. In this tranquil setting, it is a delight for an artist to be in the presence of an original Scottish thatched cottage, a work of art itself with stories to tell.”
The Well of Lecht (Video)
“My work, generally, articulates around the body, and the sensory. When I visited and filmed in The Well of Lecht, the idea of ‘the Business of Men’ originated in that space.
The touch, images, sounds etc etc of that place filled me with a sense of what may ‘have gone before’ and with what I actually heard and sensed together with what my imagination produced in me, I felt a real physical sense of the machinery, the water, the men, the animals. All of which I hoped would be reflected in my video piece.
Following that, in the studio I began studies of a ‘cache’ of ancient, rusty, farm tools, which coincidentally I came across in an old outhouse in Wick, Caithness. I linked it all up inside my mind to produce drawings and paintings which related to ‘the Business of Men. The tools studied have curved, (and what I perceived to be erotic) shapes which I saw as conflicting often with their use, shape and material. They were also intentioned for the handling by male hands. There are images of this exhibited on my website under ‘the Business of Men’. Of course,now this all begs the question: ‘what about the business of women’?! But I also think, when considered more deeply, it is interesting to see how historically, the physical work of both sexes has historically been distributed and carried out. The Well of Lecht may easily have been an example of this distribution, might be a matter for discussion, and it is a subject that is completely relevant in 2022.”