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Of Unfixed Boundaries

Of Unfixed_edited_edited_edited_edited_e

I have become a seeker of darkness! I often take flight from the city, in search of somewhere that I can experience the darkness gathering around me more fully in the way it did on Skye when I lived there: this soft enwrapping seems to bring some comfort to my displacement. As this gathering happens, the natural response is to turn one’s face to the sky in a gesture that humans have been repeating for millennia. It must surely have once been a characteristic of being human to have one’s feet on the earth and one’s face turned towards the sky, with a strange mixed sense of belonging and wonder. When drawing in conditions of darkness, the ways in which the activity of trying to capture nightfall through marks made on paper seem to align with the way that darkness itself ‘draws in’, like the building up of layers of tone.

There is a state of loss in darkness; a disorientation with where the edges of one’s body stop and the world external to it begins. Indeed, perhaps the exposure to darkness has the potential to yield an entirely different experience of space and of self.

The ego does not affirm itself in relation to darkness but becomes confused with it.*

This drawing of Willows growing at the edge of a reservoir near Glasgow is made with charcoal, the carbonised remnants of this variety of shrub and for me, the perfect material with which to try to articulate levels of light and dark. Willow very easily propagates itself and is happy with its roots in water, which is why it is so often seen on riverbanks.....and growing on the banks of reservoirs. When the water is high, the shrub can often been seen poking out oddly above the surface of the reservoir. Willow shears easily in the wind but even when struck down, onto its side, it will quickly put out new shoots skyward. 

I stand watching the darkness close around the Willows and I am reminded that, in most world belief systems, a period of darkness often features as the precursor to some degree of enlightenment. As I wait there, at the edge of the water, the darkness around me gains more depth as the sliver of moon makes the surface of the reservoir gleam. 


* Eugene Minkowski quoted in Cataldi, S.L. (1993) Emotion, Depth and Flesh: A Study in Sensitive Space; Reflections on Merleau-Ponty’s Philosophy of Embodiment, p50.

Of Unfixed Boundaries:

3 sections of  (500 x 700mm) each + details. Charcoal on paper in stained oak frames.

Shown as part of Constellation | reul-bhad, a group exhibition at the Hebridean Dark Skies Festival, An Lanntair, Stornoway, Isle of Lewis, 2022



This work relates to Beyond Edges which can be found here

D e v e l o p m e n t   D r a w i n g s

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Willow and water drawing

Undated - November 2021, daytime

A5 Cartridge paper, mixed graphite pencils

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Sunday 10th October, 7.00 - 7.25pm 2021, cloudy; First Quarter Moon

A5 cartridge paper, 4B pencil.

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Willow and water drawing

Friday 22nd October 2021, 1.15 - 1.40 pm

A bright, dry day, a few clouds. First Quarter Moon

A5 Cartridge paper, Charcoal ground, 4B pencil


Undated - sometime between 16th - 18th October, 2021. Full darkness

Clear sky: First Quarter Moon

A5 Cartridge paper, charcoal ground, 4B pencil

Thursday 14th October, 7.00 - 7.30pm, 2021. cloudy; First Quarter Moon:

A5 Cartridge paper, 4B pencil

15th October_edited.jpg

Friday 15th October, 9.00 - 9.25pm, 2021 a few clouds; First Quarter Moon

Brussels sprouts under cover!

A5 Cartridge paper, 4B pencil


Friday 22nd October, 6.30 - 6.50pm, 2021: First Quarter Moon

A5 Cartridge paper, 4B pencil


Wednesday November 17th, 7.15 - 9pm, 2021

Predominately clear sky, a few clouds

Charcoal and white chalk

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