Field III

 

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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.

Summer

 

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Field, north east – oil on panel – 25 x 20 cm.

 

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Field, looking north Рoil on wood  92 x 60 cm.

 

I’m back in the studio after a week away up north in Orkney. I had forgotten how heart stoppingly beautiful midsummer nights are there – ‘simmerdim’, when it never gets fully dark. A gentlest of light dusts the hills and fields, soft breezes sigh, ripple the water on the loch. Time stands still, for the briefest of moments, and memories of this place return.

It is the field boundaries, the edges, that I paint, back home in Fife. The open space is one I am attempting to get to grips with after so long in the complications of a wood. It is a different voice and one that I am starting to articulate. It feels like every painting of a field I make is like a breath.