This is the first in the series of three paintings for the upcoming Eigg Island exhibition/event. Titled West ~ Singing Sands it hopefully captures the romance of islands – traveling across the waves to places unknown, changing weather and gradual revealing of a new landscape.
It’s deliberately almost kitsch, or I’d prefer to say child-like. I was thinking of many things during the painting of this, among them a sort of 1950s take on ‘the exotic’; travel posters, brass ashtrays with vividly glazed pictures of seascapes and so on. Nowadays people fly to various exotic locations several times a year, but the Hebridean islands still hold this adventure story-like appeal for me.
In my last post I talked about my struggle with this painting, and the happiness I felt when, having painted layer upon layer of glazed colour, I decided to whitewash the entire thing then scrape back the paint to see what revealed itself. Here’s what emerged..
I was immediately reminded of ‘Prince Caspian’ from The Chronicles of Narnia by CS Lewis, when the children are whisked away from the beginning of a school term to an island (read post Here) – the idea of magic emerging from amongst the humdrum and every day details.
I was tempted to leave it at this, but it needed to be more resolved and deliberate, so the tricky thing was deciding how much to paint and what to leave untouched.
Lastly, I was happy that I’d come full circle in this process, since from the beginning I’d been inspired by the weathered maps I’d discovered (below) on a wooden post on Eigg, which ‘spoke’ to me about the mystery and magic of islands.
(My next painting in the series is North which I’ve already started; quite different in feel – more dramatic and dark)