If I’m asked to describe the motivation behind my drawing and painting it usually involves the words “storytelling” and “narrative”. My work has become increasingly figurative and focused on a human element so the challenge for me in spending a week alone drawing and painting at the Inshriach Bothy was trying to find stories to tell with few or no people about.
The landscape around the Bothy seemed like an ideal setting in which to try this – when I was little my family moved from Glasgow to Forres and we often made the car journey up and down the road between the two . The area around Aviemore always stood out for me on these journeys. There was a distinct palette and character to the landscapes we drove through on the edge of the Cairngorms. It seemed like there was a different light that illuminated the purple, velvet, grey colours and something almost distressed about the shapes of the countryside. Trunks of trees that looked blasted and twisted by the wind into weird shapes and broken walls and deserted buildings that looked as if nature was trying to scrape the influence of man from the landscape. This was an environment that stirred my imagination and seemed imbued with narrative.
Living in the woods for a week I sought out trees amongst the thousands that had their own distinct personalities to capture in portraits. The forest and heather and animals exist alongside evidence of the people who have lived and worked in this environment – crumbling walls, abandoned oil drums,tyres, fences, bridges and buildings – all the elements form together to create the story of the land. I found inspiration for tales that will fill the images I create for a long time to come.