Borders Country Day 8

'Catherine in a Canoe, River Tweed'. Acrylic on 5x5" wood panel

‘Catherine in a Canoe, River Tweed’. Acrylic on 5×5″ wood panel

'Neidpath Castle on the River Tweed'. Mixed media on 10x10" wood panel

‘Neidpath Castle on the River Tweed’. Mixed media on 10×10″ wood panel

Today’s paintings – Neidpath Castle on the banks of the River Tweed near Peebles, and my sister canoeing on the River Tweed near Peebles.

I rarely paint people in landscapes unless there’s an inspirational reason but today I decided to paint my sister Catherine canoeing on the River Tweed. Firstly it’s a nice image and I love the reflections on the water, but also because I think it captures her personality.

A friend, Jamie Cossar (who I interviewed in this post The Healing Island, about Lindisfarne) was around last night for dinner and described Catherine as ‘floating calmly and regally, like a swan’. No doubt Catherine will have a giggle at that description, as well as finding it quite flattering!

So in this picture, here she is floating regally, but also paddling quite athletically – under the surface there’s a lot of thinking and activity going on. My sister Catherine’s a therapist, whose skills I and many others have benefited from over the years, so today’s painting hopefully captures something of her personality. You can read more about Catherine’s work on her website Here

Neidpath Castle (which sits on a bend of the River Tweed about a mile from Peebles) was built in the late 14th century (there was an earlier 12th century version). It has a long complicated history and enjoyed visits from various literary ‘giants’ such as Wordsworth and Sir Walter Scott. It’s said to be haunted…(of course!)

“The castle is said to be haunted by the ghost of Jean Douglas, referred to by Sir Walter Scott as “the Maid of Neidpath”, the youngest daughter of William Douglas, Earl of March. Forbidden to marry the son of the laird of Tushielaw, who was considered below her station, she dwined while her lover was sent away. When he returned she was so wasted that he did not recognise her, causing her to die of a broken heart. She is reputed to appear clad in a full-length brown dress with a large white collar. Sir Walter Scott wrote a poem about her”.(Wikipedia)

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