Weekend workshop.

I spent a wonderful day at Ninewells Community Garden in Dundee leading a workshop with a group making garden books. It was a pleasure to work with everyone who really showed their creative talents and shared their own garden stories . A lovely day. Thank you for asking me back. And for the redcurrants, gooseberries and peas !



Thundery showers and manure.



Ink sketch from this mornings visit to the farm.


The morning slips quietly out of the door, unnoticed, unremarked. The sky dovetails the sea, muffled wool blanket song of wood pigeons. As I walk the toggle on my rucksack, tick, tick, ticking against a sketchbook with each step. I reach the big heap of manure, twice my height. I lay the paper in the dusty earth and draw. Dark clouds gather, all of a sudden tip, tip, tap, tapping, the ink runs, undoing, blooming flowers across the page. I pull up my hood and look a cow in the eye.

Field III



Oil on panel –  25 x 20 cm.

Heat haze shimmers across the wheat fields already by mid morning. Insects buzz in the shade of an ash tree. The burn has slowed to a trickle, exposing rocks and fallen branches. Where have the fish gone ? Easy pickings for the herons that stalk these clefts in the land. Barley nods in the occasional breeze that rises every now and then billowing the shirt from my sticky back.

I chat to Ian while he works with the sheep in the pens. He tells me when a lamb stops being a lamb, when it becomes a hog, and later a gimmer. I hear about cheviots and texels, rearing, lambing, selling, transport, and the challenges involved. He tells me how farming is changing, how once not so long ago farming was a local industry, it is now international. He says wheat prices are speculated on financial markets globally and how technology is making people more and more redundant on large farms. He moves easily and confidently with his sheep. I am left wondering how farming will change for his son’s generation, how much further can we reduce human contact with animals and the land. I walk down the track, a small plane noisily fills the air, flying low over the Law. Cow parsley giddies as the postie’s van drives past stirring up dust in its wake.