Thursday, July 1, 2010
New Horizons... and Shifting Perspectives- Part One
I arrived back in Canada on Monday... very enriched from my Scotland sojourn... yet exceedingly happy to be ..."Home". When "I" first arrived in Scotland... and was unpacking my luggage in my single room at the Yorkston Bed and Breakfast in St Andrew's... "I" discovered a decorative handcrafted envelope. It contained a beautiful and uplifting card designed and created by my Wife and Soul Mate Deb. It read:
Where we love is Home-
Home that our feet may leave,
But not our hearts.
-Oliver Wendell Holmes
These sentiments did not at all make "Me" feel homesick. They were in fact, uplifting words from Deb that both empowered and propelled "Me" forward comfortably and fearlessly... knowing that "Home" was in my heart... and that "Home" was within reach at any given moment. "I" knew too, that there was a warm Home and "Heart" awaiting my return when this adventure into a new... exciting and very different world was complete.
Despite being greatly fatigued after a seven hour flight... a 0445 arrival at Glasgow Airport... combined with a three hour lay over at the Buchanan Bus Terminal and a three hour bus coach trip to reach St Andrew's, I unpacked quickly and launched out into the university town of St Andrew's in search of adventure... and of course... painting material!
What awaited "Me" was indeed adventure and a virtual dream world for a plein air painter. Everywhere I looked... ancient and magnificently crafted stone architecture... cobbled streets... and students in university blazers... kilts... "coats/capes of many colours"... heading every-which-way it seemed. "I" was engulfed in a sea of new sounds... smells and faces... adrift from my usual surroundings... in a strange world (for "ME")... a world lying in description... somewhere between Fantasyland... and Harry Potter!
Purely "Magical".... in every sense of the word!
"I" toured about... purely exploring... feeling... seeing... smelling... never worried about destination...or GPS location. Much like hunter-gatherer societies... I "walked about"... discovering... uncovering resources that "I" could later count on for all of my needs. Restaurants... post office... art supply store... library (FREE Internet and email service)... water closets (toilets)... gift shops for souvenir purchases... bus stops and schedules to various destinations of interest...and most importantly... potential painting sites like the old fishing harbour.
All of these new influences left my head and my hands swimming in uncertainty... as "I" tried vainly to settle down to work. Just as the sudden eruption of bright rich fall colours seem to disorient my painting process... so did this strange new landscape and architectural plethora of exciting painting opportunities. Even the light and colour were very different because of the difference in geographical position. All of these changes presented the challenge of creating an entirely different "point of view"... or "perspective" for my Self... and "I" had to shift away from my usual process... and adjust to these changes... and with haste!
I found a convenient restaurant... ate and I retired to the quiet of my room and tried to digest what I had seen... to get a good night's rest and to formulate a plan to be followed on the next morning. Before turning in...I decided to get an early start and to head up the coast to Crail... a popular and picturesque fishing village located less than an hour by bus coach from St Andrew's.
The weather was perfect! Nearly cloudless skies... bright sunlight and cool temperatures made the trek enjoyable and productive. I managed to cram in many photo references and still managed to make the two nice painterly sketches... combining pen and ink with quickly applied watercolour washes that accompany this post. "I" was met with much enthusiasm and interest by both locals and tourists alike during the painting periods. It always seems that one meets the very best of people when one is painting on location. "I" personally enjoy the interaction with people "I" meet and feel little distraction by most. I consider I have a role to share my passion for painting with anyone who shows genuine interest. "I" also believe that knowledge is meant to be communicated... used and to be shared - not to be withheld for personal betterment alone. That's the belief that "I" work under - choices, "I" guess!
In closing Part One... "I" encountered my first real need to "shift perspectives"... while on the flight travelling to Scotland. Having left Toronto on a 5:30 pm flight... we had passed over Quebec and Labrador... heading on our flight path over Iceland just as the sun was setting on the horizon. How strange "I" found it... that the sun seemed to halt its descent at the horizon... and for the next couple of hours... it was again rising... with absolutely no period of night in between! What does such a phenomenon do to one's "perspective? Shifted it for sure! Within three short hours that perspective would be shifted yet again... by the new world "I" found my Self parachuted into... and with the very same degree of disorientation.
Stay tuned for Part Two... which will further describe yet more "shifts in perspective"... with the celebration of Allison's Convocation at St Andrew's College-my real reason for the trip to Scotland!