summer’s been and gone

but no doubt it will warm up again. the rain has been a huge help to all my seedlings. watering them is not the same. they don’t mind cool June temperatures it seems. I don’t either, it’s much better for my long walks.

our weekly beach walks at Tentsmuir are still an inspiration

the alder pools are full of birds, and the marsh orchids in bloom. this painting on paper Kinshaldy Alder Pools/Willow Warbler.

the tide always seems to be out.

somebody, person or persons unknown, keeps making these ephemeral sculptures with the trees and branches that get washed up.

they make me think of refugees landing on beaches, drowning on beaches. this painting on paper, Ariadne’s Beach Shelter, is one of a series of Ariadne paintings, ongoing, sparked by the idea.

the drama of this beach makes any object into a sculpture.

a face loomed up in another small painting on paper


Ariadne in the Wood

some of the fields have wildflower edges. others have been sprayed, I can’t see what good it does.

around this small quarry up on Garlie Bank a forest of foxgloves.

highblown summer

along Ceres Moor path

the recently cut grass fields – for silage – are such a pale green.

the barley is beginning to turn almost the same colour. another farm, the one on the edge of Cairngreen Wood, is growing proper hayfields, softly pink with grass in flower.

from Cairngreen looking North. when there’s snow on them you can see the Cairngorms, but they blend into the distance in the summer.

the daily scribble in my hand-made pocket sketch books keeps me fluent

I finished this diptych at last. It received a runny libation of greens to begin with and then I could get no further, but last week took myself in hand with the greens … Ariadne’s Naxos/Cairngreen Wood.

a fan of ferns and the dog’s head

the foxgloves are wonderful. I will sneak some seed later in the year.

I put a finishing touch to this one, top right hand corner

now it is rolled up with the other big unstretched paintings; I bought some plastic pipe to roll them around, which keeps them safe and uncrumpled.

then there are some small paintings turning up in wardrobes and other storage spaces which need finishing. this was just two shades of grey before – Paths in the Wood/Hold the Thread – a reference to Ariadne –

suddenly they can be resolved. the painting on paper on the floor activity is a tremendous help – as with the small gouaches I did in St Andrews when I had no studio, things happen spontaneously and I’ve become more confident. This one is High Tide/Morston Salt Marsh/Reflections. all these paintings can be seen in much more detail on my website

after all the rain, the preferred walks were in the woods where there’s not so much dangling vegetation to soak one’s legs and boots – in fact I’m back in my “barefoot” trainers having developed a painful blister – this is a marvellous old field maple

in the field next to the lower entry into Kemback wood. it must be ancient, I have never seen one as big as this.

elder flowers, beautifully scented

and wild raspberries, the flowers attended by buff-tailed bumblebees

by this deer fence kissing gate. Cairngreen has six of them, only one is not redundant, as the deer fences are no longer necessary to protect the trees.

in the wood the mosses are still brilliant emerald

so another beginning, on the floor with the elongated brush, a box canvas, 120 x 100 cm.

a drawing ripped up

and collaged onto the now splendidly dribbled initial marks

I tackled it with the aim of covering all the white. here I’m using a kitchen tool, one of those big plastic scrapers for dough. quick and quite a different sort of mark.

and fingers

some finger, some small brush for this spatter of marks

and words, from a poem I’ve just written for an ethnopoetics workshop with David Caddy of Tears in the Fence. his workshops are fantastically fruitful and informative. so Rumgally (the name of an old house/castle just below Cairngreen) gallowglass, a type of mercenary warrior from the Western Isles, hand in hand from the witches in Macbeth

as you can tell, quite a Scottish poem. the words in the painting are obscured, as usual.

and then suddenly I feel if I do any more I will lose it. so that’s it. kind of sad as I was expecting a few days of working on it!









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