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Summer and Autumn 2022: Art & Life update

Summer and Autumn 2022: Art & Life update

A slightly clearer view again

As you probably know, I’ve been registered as blind since 1999 and only have just a small amount of sight left in my right eye, the left one being totally blind. For a good number of years, despite this, I was able to get a lot done. Then, around 2007 I was told that I had a cataract forming in my right eye. It didn’t really have much effect for a number of years but by 2014 I was starting to notice it and it was affecting my ability to do both the work and hill walking. Things deteriorated very quickly after the end of 2019 and I was really struggling. Thankfully, last year my consultant agreed to do the cataract operation and this took place back at the start of April this year. So then, five months on and I am pleased to say that everything went well and although I am of course still registered as blind, I now have a little more light and colour back and perhaps most importantly, I have a sense of depth again. It has taken me a little while to get used to this improved view, but we’ve spent the summer getting back into the hills once more and this is already feeding into my work. Exciting times ahead!

Beinn Dorain from the summit of Beinn Odhar, August
Beinn Dorain from the summit of Beinn Odhar, August 2022

“Painting with Sound … the Story continues”

Back in March 2018 I had an exhibition of work at the Barony Centre in West Kilbride. The exhibition was called “Painting with Sound” and it included the first audio painting that I worked on with sound engineers Graham Byron and Drew Kirkland. The work was experimental but there was a great response to it and we’ve been continuing to develop it ever since. I’m pleased to say that we’ve been invited back to the Barony Centre to show the new work. I have spent a lot of time this summer getting everything ready for the show, called “Painting with Sound ….the Story continues”. The exhibition opens on 29th September and runs until 22nd October. The show will include 12 audio paintings, each with their own short soundscape and there will also be around 15 other new paintings on display. We have created a special exhibition soundtrack that runs for an hour and includes excerpts from each of the 12 individual soundscapes. This will be played three times each day at 11am, 1pm & 3pm). Further details on the poster below:

“Painting with Sound … the Story continues”

Back in the hills

Our first opportunity to get back out walking again after my cataract operation, was in early May when Nita and I spent two weeks staying in a caravan in Upper Badcall in Sutherland. We had actually stayed at the same place the previous year and the owner of the van had asked whether I would be prepared to do a painting based on his favourite local view, one looking out over Badcall Bay toward Quinag and the distant Assynt peaks. It wasn’t quite the thing I normally do but I agreed to have a go and finally came up with this painting for him. It tries to convey something of the huge view out over the island strewn bay and I’m pleased to say that he liked it. When all is balanced out, I guess we had a free holiday this year!

'Overlooking Badcall Bay, Sutherland'
‘Overlooking Badcall Bay, Sutherland’

Anyway, we managed a good number of walks over our two weeks long stay and finished off with our first proper hill walk for a few years, climbing up to around 600m on Meall Horn near Loch Stack. It is rugged country up there and it certainly tested out my new improved bit of vision. Since then we’ve done several other good hill walks and I am starting to feel more confident again ……just need to keep on getting out.

Foinaven from Meall Horn, May
Foinaven from Meall Horn, May 2022

Looking ahead

Finally, Graham, Drew and I have recently agreed to create a new body of audio visual work for an exhibition at the Scottish Maritime Museum in the winter of 2023 / 2024. We visited the exhibition space there and it is a great venue …..but it will need quite a lot of new work. The exhibition will contain pieces about the west coast of Scotland, in particular the far north west and south west of Scotland. We have some great recordings from our January 2018 trip to Stoer and Clachtoll as well as some very nice recordings I made at Sandwood Bay back in May last year. I have started some of the paintings but still have to make recordings to work from for the more local paintings. It is all quite exciting …..but a lot of work. Watch and listen to this space!

New painting

I just can’t stop doing paintings about Canisp, one of my favourite hills and locations. This is my latest piece, simply called ‘Around Canisp, evening light, evening mists’. Oil on canvas, 80 x 80 cm, £2500.

‘Around Canisp, evening light, evening mists’

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