The Jewel and the ship

During my residency in Cromarty, I spent a lot of time drawing, without worrying too much about a focussed line of enquiry or subject. Essentially, I just enjoyed the ebb and flow of looking and recording. One evening, we walked across the peninusula to a place on southern side of the Black Isle, called McFarquarson’s Bed. I spent a couple of hours lost in drawing the directional complexities of the impressive formations there and two things happened. Firstly, the drawing grew to incorporate a jewel of a rockpool, evaporating above the tidal zone and which I realised would be a good motif and secondly, a cruise liner appeared on the horizon. I have no idea what possible synergy these two things might have, but they seemed right somehow. Drawing at this location held me long enough to allow time for either an event to happen or something to occur in the mind. This small painting – a study perhaps?- was made from the drawings.

Cruise liners visit the Cromarty Firth almost daily during the summer; delivering passengers to Invergordon for the whisky distillery tours. I can’t help thinking that there is something ridiculous about a huge block of flats moving almost silently up the firth and out again. This thought was hardly discouraged by the bizarre experience of hearing the sound of a bingo caller announcing numbers from one of the upper decks as a ship headed back out to sea one evening. Each to their own!