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In the Field

Updated: Apr 6, 2021

My artwork is very much inspired by the natural world, and I consider myself fortunate to live in one of the most beautiful regions on the planet (in my not-so-humble opinion)! Here in the north-east of Scotland, I have easy access to beaches, rivers, forests and hills.

One of my favourite things is to head out with my sketchbook and camera and immerse myself in these places of beauty. My trusted field easel lives in the back of my car and I have various sketchbooks and sets of art-material that are easily thrown into my backpack.

I have a few spots I often return to, that are off the beaten track and never fail to inspire me. It takes me a few minutes to set up and find a composition, but after that I lose myself in the process of capturing the scene. Very often, I start to feel completely still, my hectic mind quieted down into a meditation-like state. Then, the language of the place starts to move through me.

As I work, I do not think. My hands translate the shapes and tones of the scene onto the paper, almost without my conscious interference. I become aware of the hidden conversations around me - a woodpecker drumming in the treetops, a buzzard's mewing call while circling overhead, the whisper of the wind and the rustling of small creatures in the undergrowth. Sometimes I make a small note within my sketch of an observation that caught my interest: "Blue Tit calling". "Fox prints". Notes like this invariably get lost underneath layers of colour.

When I leave my spot, I feel richer, brighter, clearer than when I arrived. I breathe a silent "thank you" to the place that gave me inspiration, and I continue on my way.

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