late August – wet grass

two new walks for this post – the Saturday before last I walked from St Monan’s to Pittenweem along the coastal path,

and then inland via the Balcaskie estate and Abercrombie.

in fact I’ve done this walk before, in early spring, but the other way round, and then I avoided Pittenweem harbour because my knee didn’t like steep slopes and lots of steps. the knee is so much better now it isn’t a problem, but this way round there’s no steep downhills. the two harbours are still working, used by local fishermen.

between them there’s no beach to speak of, more a rocky foreshore exposing the geology.

out there is a rather pointy large boat. I assumed it was military, but in fact it was a luxury vessel, on which Tom Cruise may, or may not have been, according to local rumour.


more drawing than phone snaps

around Inch farm

the entrance to Balcaskie

which has an ornamental gate and twin doocots (that’s dovecots for sassenachs)

tree avenues

a handsome gothicky house

and park full of trees that just ask to be drawn

then there’s the little disused church with its yews

I’ll be going back with more paper scrap sketchbooks

suddenly saw jaws in the gate latch …

the combines were advancing as the day dried up and the sun was out.

everything looking ready.

I started this one early last week, it’s my last big piece of canvas off the roll, so 180 cm wide and about 170 tall. under that wash of pale pink and green are two or three more layers, but I wanted something much more fluid. Craiglug is the hill with rocky cliffs exposed above Dairsie.

the track below it is lined with wild flowers, and rosebay is big and bold through August, its magenta pink enlivening the soft greens of tall grasses and cut hayfields …

like this painting

another day we walked along the Eden, which is infested with another pink flower, himalayan balsam, impatiens glandulifera, less welcome, being an invasive alien. I picked a big bunch and inserted it in the folds of a huge wool and silk shawl, making a huge bundle, to boil in my neighbour’s eucalyptus gunnii prunings

it left pale green prints, which may not be light fast, deeply 3D impressions, and some vague peach-coloured marks from the flowers. the seed pods explode and shed hundreds of seeds everywhere. it tolerates low light levels and also shades out other vegetation, gradually impoverishing habitats by killing off other plants.

rosebay willow herb is more elegant and fringes the dunes at Tentsmuir, and the stone walls around Cupar with its feathery pink fronds.

once a week we walk at Tentsmuir … it’s always the same but always different. the light last week was silvery

as the sun is lower in the sky now at 8.30 am

grass of parnassus flowering now beside the pools, also known as the ‘bog star’, it isn’t actually a grass at all, belonging to an entirely different botanical class related to the saxifrages. it used to grow in the Norfolk broads, it likes damp places, and why it grows in a couple of places in Cairngreen wood, flowering much earlier, I have no idea.

the sea was so calm and blue and the sun warming, one felt like swimming

but two of these large lion’s mane jellyfish stranded on the beach would not encourage me to get in there. they deliver a very nasty sting with multiple hooks. two dead on the beach surely means a lot more in the water.

back to the studio and I am working on a series of studies about Glen Feshie

heather purples obviously … butterfly oranges

little dark green triangles for the young pines

then a slightly larger collaged (bits of an old map of Norfolk) canvas which started with a green and pink pour

with lots of medium to keep the colours translucent

and then when I painted over it I allowed quite a lot to show through

or scratched back to it

so it glows.

then some text – Glen Feshie, and Sròn na h-Iolaire painted, scratched out partially, written with crayon which scratches through the wet paint ..


a loose piece of primed canvas was the drip sheet, and all these lovely marks and runs

are developing into something else, but I want to extend this canvas. I have the sewing machine out, making myself and others pj type trousers, and I’m thinking a zigzag stitch … it’s very Frank Bowling and to be honest I AM very influenced by his work just now. but I’m hoping that will take me somewhere new and interesting.

I’ve always used drips and runs, and stuck things on the canvas (parts of a linen shirt as well as paper)

the studio is feeling quite crowded

the garden actually has some things in flower – red midget, a kind of prairie coneflower.

these are spectacular, not in my garden, but on the second of the two new walks, in Foodieash. We parked on the green and took a path through trees to Cairnie fruit farm

they have a maze, a tea room, endless things for kids to play on, there was a dog show, pick your own strawberries suspended at just the right height to pick, but we were just passing through

to follow a long track, 1.7 miles to Moonzie

the grass was very wet, and then quite tall, so we got wet feet and trouser bottoms. summer walking is worse for my poor boots, it’s like wading through water.

views of all these big rolling hills topped by woods which are so typical of this part of Fife

it was quite a steamy day, sun and cloud and high humidity after rain

crops not dry enough to combine

some already harvested

this ruined tower house was built by the Lindsays in the 1500’s. it had five storeys and was L-shaped. not much of it is left. all the stone edgings of windows and corners have been taken. you can see more about it here 

we walked up the hill to Moonzie Kirk and wondered if we’d be able to see Norman’s Law, an Ochill we’ll like to have a go at just north-ish or north-westish. maybe that bit of brown hill.

so that will be a post for another day.








  1. I always enjoy your blogs Jane. Even if I’ve seen the photos on FB, the narrative you weave on your blog refreshes and revives them differently. Thank you Bx

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