Thursday, August 13, 2015

Shetland residency update

in progress: St. Ninian's, Shetland
This body of work is new and I will be delving into it throughout the year-probably much longer. The series is evolving out of a recent (April 2015) residency in the Shetland Islands, of which I thank the Ontario Arts Council and those of you supporting me by purchasing paintings via the 'Wild in Shetland' crowd-funder. Those paintings were all made looking out onto the sea, listening to the laughing gulls and lapping waves and breathing in the heady sea air-some were supervised by a seal.

in progress: Sumburgh Head, Shetland

Thursday, April 30, 2015

April 30

I still have more to say and share as we had some new adventures since my last post but too tired to write...  in the meantime:

FB post: April 30
fare well-everything taken down from my wall, some going to Canada, some staying in Shetland-I'm going back to Canada but a part of me will always be here.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

April continued

    1. busy busy so some quick FB updates below

      went for what was to be a short walk-. a few hours later trudging through heather, mud and sheep you know what to find my way home- I ended up climbing over a few fences -my boots and jean hems aren't too happy (but I am)

      read more

Friday, April 24, 2015

April 26 & 27

A busy weekend!

  Tomorrow I will be opening my studio doors to the Scalloway community-just in case they were wondering what I've been up to when they see me on the shore making funny circles and picking up litter. 

Open studio from 1-5PM, Saturday April 26

April 27

I am honoured to be invited to present the following session!

A Wild About Art event -

‘In the Studio’
with Canadian Artist Jan Yates
Sunday, April 26
2-4 pm
‘The Booth’
Scalloway, Shetland

Ever wonder what artists do on a residency? It is an opportunity to explore new ideas in new surroundings stimulated by new experiences. Jan Yates is primarily a plein air painter who is inspired by Shetland’s dramatic land and sea as well as its unique culture and history. She will discuss her residency at ‘the Booth’ and how it has impacted her practice. As well, the artist will address the similarities, differences and challenges in approaching a painting in response to this new environment. She will also show some of her sketches and ideas for a future body of work relating to her time spent in Shetland.

A painting demonstration will also take place. Participants are invited
to bring their own materials for a hands-on session in creating works
‘en plein air’!

The cost is £7.50 payable at the door. Refreshments will be available. If you would like to borrow an easel or art materials, please advise Anne Barron (details below). Please advise if you are attending as numbers will be limited ....

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

April 21

Happy Earth Day-please do something for it (us!)

 Here is another plein air study, 6x6in, available.

 Anyone that has pre-purchased paintings from the crowdfunder, this can be yours-just let me know if you fancy it! copyright Jan Yates 2015

April 19: the Sunday Tea

It is a summer tradition for the people of Shetland to serve up delicious home-baked Sunday afternoon teas in the community halls scattered around the islands.


After listening to a BBC program about the tradition of Shetland Sunday Teas, I was hoping to attend one in person so when Anne and Mike offered an outing to Whalsay for a Sunday tea, I could barely contain myself. The Teas at that particular location are renowned (delicious sweets, home made baked goods, traditional Shetland fare, sandwiches, bottomless cups of tea..) and was highlighted in a BBC documentary. ‘Hosted by generous volunteers and expert bakers they bring together communities, with people travelling from near and far to sample the spread.’

A drive on a scenic sunlit day brought us to the car ferry (actually Mike did-thank you Mike!) and a half hour on the ferry brought us into Whalsay – named the ‘bonnie isle’ by visiting 19th-century Scots fishermen. Lying east of the Shetland mainland, the island was sculpted by ice during the last glaciation and has the appearance of a whale from the sea, hence its Old Norse name, Whale Island (Hvalsey or Hvals-øy), the humpback being the Ward o’ Clett (390ft). The island population is about 1,000 and the close-knit community has a distinctive and unique dialect sound. 

Upon arrival I was not disappointed as I scanned the table laden with a colourful smorgasbord of gastronomic delights. There was also a raffle of lovely items (Anne donated some of her beautiful portraits) and the room soon filled with people of all ages
We sat next to a lovely couple and they discussed the pros and cons of ‘island living’. Looking around the room it was obvious that the Whalsay community was very close knit and that they look after each other-a rare find in my neck of the woods. The woman beside me said that everyone leaves their house keys IN the door when they are going to be OUT so people know they are NOT at home…..something absolutely unheard of on my home turf!!

Now as I sit here after a day in the studio, spent from painting and eating  oatcakes, I reflect on so many moments. Moments of breathing in sea air, listening to laughing gulls and lapping waves over a wonderful radio station playing all Shetland music. Moments in the back seat of Anne and Mikes’ car gasping in awe at the land and sea out the car window. I want to spin every single moment and weave them into my being. I am afraid I will lose them once back home. I feel like Shetland is my home-Dorothy was wrong-there is a place like home.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Time circles

Mirknen haps a rummelled broch 
on Houlland’s knowe, rowes hit 
in a twilt o lavendar: saft smored 
as a Danish Hjøllund a year ago. 
Da line o da prow is sib 
an da soonds on da tongue, but 
dis laand canna scoarn da forest, 
fat byres an grit rigs o coarn. 
Here hit’s a tooder o hedder 
an da mintiest flooers. Fae da broch 
da Wastside raiks aa aroond: 
Eid Voe spörs ta da nort, 
bi wast, a headicraa ta Burrafirt, 
ta Foula an Waas. Soothbye, 
a vire o voes at Sandsoond 
an Skeld - Skjáldr o da sagas. 
A year is come richt roond. 
I da simmir dim, sungaets, 
we mark da rim o da broch 
– time circles: walk da mairches 
o a twalmont gien. 

Christine De Luca
 from Wast wi da Valkyries (Lerwick: Shetland Library, 1997)

Saturday, April 18, 2015

April 17, 15, 14, 13

Once again I am behind on posting. It is so very hard (impossible) to articulate my feelings about being here. I am nourished. The way of life in Shetland has led me to question the status of my own life ways in Canada. With the last leg of this residency I am trying to subdue  a sense of foreboding. Being here has excavated a truth in myself that I thought was buried deep.

This residency is very different from the time in Ireland. Then, I was an objective outsider and in an altogether different state of mind. That residency was deeply profound and still affects my work, it is just a different experience than this one. In Shetland, I am IN the sea, IN the hills, IN the skies. There is no dividing line, no objectivity-just a divine surrender to a place in time.

April 15

A heady day in Shetland-sea birds ( some puffins that you CAN'T see in these photos),, cliffs white beaches, wonderful company and laughter -and the weather was bonnie too. Anne and Mike hope you know how much it means! At St Ninian’s Isle
and Sumburgh Head Lighthouse, Visitor Centre and Nature Reserve

April 14

I told myself that I must hunker down today and work-and was only going to the store (5 min)and back.....but the sun was out... Scalloway-

April 13

had such a wonderfully exhilarating walk (climb) today-