St Monans kirk.

St Monans kirk dates from 1369 and is said to be the closest church to the sea in Scotland. It is one of the finest examples of a Middle Ages church still remaining in the country.

The wood

A small, dense, difficult wood .The ground here is wet, home to midges, hoverflies and bees whose drone underpins the birdsong which rises and falls and trills and squawks in the canopy above. Most of the trees are relatively young , mainly birch and sycamore but there is evidence of a much older wood with grand coppiced birch and hazel , their size and shape indicative of such a practice. I draw an old willow at the edge of the wood. The main trunk has snapped and broken, its centre hollow, yet the tree flourishes none the less. I had thought it worth the investigation to see if it was a place where I could make some large paintings but due to the density of planting there is little space to lay down big paper. Still, I might think it over, as it is a wood where no- one seems to come. Its privacy and difficult terrain are perhaps advantageous. I follow deer tracks through the trees, there is no human footpath here.

Italian wood.

Ink on paper – 86 x 82 cm

A drawing made every day on the daily walk through the wood.

Coo-quake

A cold north west wind offers little in warmth, a droukit rain cowps the fields, and a feel of winter shivers in bones. Snow tomorrow, perhaps. It is the month of the coo-quake after all. Yet, the birds sing their songs of spring, the violets still blossom and the lengthening days bring their promise of better things.

A walk at Rannoch.

Out on the Moor again. Majestic. Showers in the west threaten but here on the edge of the loch a bowl of blue sky above. Everything is bleached, winter worn yet the bilberry is greening it’s way through. The lone rowan tree on my left still keeping vigil over this lonely landscape. I search and find another birds egg speckled pebble and putting it my pocket walk back to the forest . Sun, sweet violets, dog lichen, the soft acoustics of moss. By the side of a water filled drainage ditch I lie down and pick up a handful of squirming, tickling tadpoles delighting as they run through my fingers. For a moment I am eight again and all is well with the world.

On the drive back housemartins skim low over the river and then a red squirrel trots down the road in front of the car. Darting behing the nearest tree it peers out, its bright eyes and tufty ears a complete joy. Spring.