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Prunus avium: In Praise of Shadows

I would not have imagined arriving at this piece of work, had it not been for Marcella. She had commissioned 'one of your lovely drawings' for the bedroom wall of the beautiful house, a real labour of love, that her architect husband had designed and was building, high on the bank above Loch Harport on Skye. The angled windows of the house look down the loch and to attract as much light into the room as possible, Marcella wondered if the drawing could be partially comprised of gold leaf or paint. A series of converations ensued between us, two people who did not know one another very well, yet through which we discovered some areas of common ground including a love of trees and a deep interest in the effects of light and shadow in different kinds of spaces. Yunchiro Tanizaki's 1933 book, In Praise of Shadows, held a resonance between us two, 'on the same wavelength'.

The shortlived blooms of the quiet Prunus avium, which is native to Scotland, appear as early as February from it's dark bark, lighting up the winter wood. This particular tree grows at the edge of the River Conon at Uig Woods on Skye, its branches overhanging the water rushing over the stones on the way into Uig Bay. The tree's image in this drawing sings out and then recedes again as the light reflected from Loch Harport shimmers across the gold background.

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Prunus avium: In Praise of Shadows (Marcella's drawing)
(1520 x 900mm) + sketches and details. Gesso and acrylic on board, 2018

Installation shot: Still from Scotland's Home of the Year  BBC 2019

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