Near Sumburgh towards Horse Island  Clarity East Voe

Here are a few extracts from notes I made whilst on Shetland. The rest of my writing and some of the watercolours/studies will be gathered together into an exhibition and new book – Shetland Notebooks – to be launched in 2019. Details to follow!

Horse Island

Heathery air. Circle of green on a grey-mauve hill flank. Simple. Lovely. Clouds like so many bird kisses resting on the hill tops. Lime green clumps of clover along the way and pale green breath gathered at the yoke, the node of serpentine shoulders.  Sheep mothers pretending to be deer with their shorn coats and brown skins. Climbing over the black rocks to Horse Island my balance improves. I share the air with fulmars and terns, they traverse an airy valley of thermals I cannot see, but sit alongside, in my seat of blasting sun-struck rock.

Approaching St. Ninian's Isle   From St. Ninian's Isle

Tirrick wing

Clouds like wing of tirrick, white dots on rock tirrick bodies folded for a moment until they rise like tree flowers falling. As if borne by some celestial cord the birds open themselves to the air, and trust. Through a bird’s eye a glimpse of worlds beyond stars.

Wave of sea-goddess hair lifting across rocks with a gasp, a sigh. I walk along the empty beach, sand white and soft; I gather feathers which have grown out of your body, tern-tirrick or shag; a flight feather which pointed east as you stood out there on the black rocks, drying your wings. Sea body broken by tirrick lance, blood red spear on tiny face all focus. My body broken by the driving cut of red words and empty hands, my own unworthiness. My work a migrating bird.

Working on St. Ninian's Isle    Whale Skull Sumburgh

Undressing after Shetland

The night I return from Shetland: when I undress, my clothes smell of birds, the chalky perfume of feathers. I am still there.

Skull with Birth Canal    Head wings with listening creature (Shetland). Watercolour

Animal baby KW 2017 small file    both pregant with themselves KW 2017 small file

Child on a promontory KW small file 2017   Balancing baby KW small file 2017