So: black and white, charcoal and granite, which – rather erroneously – I’ve referred to as ‘colour choices’ (there are others: red and green but more about those later).
There’s a chapter in McKerrow’s geology guide called “Arran In Time And Space”. He begins “When we stand in Arran on sediments originally deposited by turbidity currents in an ocean basin, it is natural to enquire about the nature of…” he goes on… what I’d like to think he’s thinking is how we define space and place, particularly the Arran-ness of Arran: a place framed and contained by a distinct liquid border.
Within the NTS estate there are few defined spaces, the most prominent is the walled garden, there’s also the cemetery: railings keeping lush grasses and three simple gravestones within, tall trees without add height and shade creating almost a box-like space.
Many artists begin with a clean sheet of paper or canvas. I look for a space, a place. On high Northumbrian moorland the hazy outline of the ‘old pheasant field’ became the frame within which to work.
On the estate the place that’s drawing me in is by the ‘Spanish Gate’. The removal of rhododendrons and a fallen tree has left a gap – a gash almost – in the woods near to the castle. The soil is dark, soft and rich; I love the coolness of it and can imagine it all as darker, richer, liquidity.