Now into the second week, I am finding subjects to work from and places to be.
Today I spent nearly all day on the beach. The residency is based on the north of the island and so it seemed sensible to work from here which makes carrying my paints and wet work easier. If I had chosen to base myself at St Columba’s Bay, at the very south of the island, it would have produced a logistical nightmare! The most exhausting part of the whole thing is bringing six, or this afternoon, ten, wet paintings back to the byre in a rain storm or howling gale! I have given up trying not to smudge anything, get sand in my paint or avoid a drip. It has all become part of the process.
At night I trudge up to my hut with the sound of the surf in my ears. Today I have listened and watched it all day and eventually it seems to enter your body and so the rolling sea and the breaking waves become an intuitive rhythm to inform the work. I am not here to paint a representation of Iona and the other islands we can see. There seems to be enough painting of that from Peploe onwards. Iona has been a tourist destination since the Age of Enlightenment, so I am told and so not only are the islanders used to people like me but there must have been so many that it may be hard to find a new view. I’m not really here to do that. I want to give in to the place and allow the submission to find the subject and the means. Time will tell how it goes. I don’t suppose this will be an earth shattering new vision but I hope it will have poetry and integrity. You will be able to decide as the story unfolds.