Hello again! I’m so pleased to be back and exhibiting with The Edition. This time around, the exhibition title is Florals and Foliage.
I’m so excited about this body of work, because I seemed to make it in a few weeks of what felt like constant sunshine- a complete rarity in Orkney! My family came up for nearly two weeks, and I think we were all worried that it wouldn’t feel like summer. The fog had set in for the first part of the week, and then summer finally decided to show its face, and we had a whole week of summer wildflowers and beach days, fuelling me with lots of inspiration. My sketchbook comes with me everywhere, but these last few weeks it’s been hard to do anything else! For those of you who don’t know Orkney, it completely transforms in the sunshine. Solid grey sea and thick haar disappears, and the islands resemble something out of the Mediterranean. But quite often, after a few days of hot sunshine, the fog rolls in, and sets over the hills for anything from a few hours to a few days.
Flora and Fauna as an exhibition title couldn’t suit Orkney any better. This time of year, Orkney is alive with wildflowers. The season seems to run with colours, at the moment the cliffs are alive with sea thift, and the hills covered in heather.
For this exhibition I focused on my favourite places. Marwick Bay is one of my favourite places to visit in the winter, when the tide surges over the rocks. In the summer, the coast harbours a large tidal pool, covered in yellow seaweeds. We spent the whole day here with my family who had come up to visit (Nellie the puppy loved it!). I really loved drawing the farm buildings on the hill too. These low, stone buildings are everywhere on Orkney, and almost flatten themselves against the hills.
Just along from Marwick Head is the Loons, a large nature reserve. I’d always been curious to look inside, as the marsh stretches before it, large and flat, with gentle hills in the background. We stopped at a bird hide, and I think we were all equally amazed at the view. Pockets of grass had been carved out by the marsh, forming little circular tufts. It was such a surreal view, and looked like a gardener had formed these banks of grass, meticulously cutting them into shape. I did a few quick drawings here, but Nellie was keen to get home and kept chewing the broom which was standing in the corner…
We also visited Burray, an Island on the third barrier. I couldn’t believe when I got to Orkney that a string of islands could be connected by a pile of rocks with a road paved over the top. We stopped on the beach for a picnic and Jack and my sister, Florence went for a swim. I couldn’t believe they just hopped in! The sea is odd here as it has carved a deep channel, so there is a black drop off. Slightly terrifying, and definitely a factor for me not joining in!
Another of my favourites, and a first for us after nearly living in Orkney for a year, was the Sands O’Wright over on South Ronaldsay (I have been mistakenly been calling it the White Sands…) The Beach is a crescent, surrounded by craggy cliffs on either side. We had such a lovely day here with a large picnic, swims and short walks. We even got sun burnt- a first!- and relaxed on the beach all day. Nellie, of course, loved it, and raced through the small pools on the beach, still amazed she was allowed off the lead. I did a few sketches here of the rocks, but the sun was so bright I gave up and enjoyed the sun!
Below are my finished watercolours which are available via The Edition Shop. If there’s something similar you had in mind, or you’d like something a little bigger, get in touch and we can sort something out! Thanks again to Sarah for having me, what a joy to exhibit with such amazing artists.