2017 – love, loss & landscapes



This year has been pivotal!

A massive change in my personal life in August of this year has set me in a heady spin of varying and unpredictable direction. From insanity, grief, malign indifference to magical flights of chaos, fervent determination and salient acceptance. What this event has taught me is that I am not a ‘normal’ human. I am not able to simply forget, shrug things off and just ‘move on’. My past is very important to me and I will carry it with me come what may. The past is not something that weighs you down, it is something that makes you stronger as you drag it behind you. Move on; YES! Leave it all behind; NO! As a person, a Gael and an artist what has gone before me constitutes my very being, my future, my children’s future, I am proud. I can’t help myself. I am compelled to delve into all the feelings and emotions which have been brought up through this change, to confront them all, for inspiration, meaning and furtherment. Truthfully I’ve always held the idea of the ‘tortured artist’ in high regard and as it would transpire it would seem that I am one such artist. Adversity is tough; but when accepted and confronted it does prove to be a gold mine of creative and spiritual strength. Easy? – NO! – Difficult? – YES! The most precipitous route is often the most rewarding. The future is unknown and everything is possible.

In the last 3 years I have developed a healthy obsession with landscape photography, at it’s inception this was a catalyst to get out of the office and to be outside exercising more. I am the first to admit that I got into a rut of working inefficiently, staying in the office for far longer than I needed to, procrastinating, looking at vacuous pish on the internet, scratching my chin over pointless details, wasting my own time and energy. Festering my belly button! Going out and taking landscapes definitely broke this vicious cycle and undoubtedly improved my personal life too (at least I thought so‽). Happily I have managed to turn this obsession into something that has proven very profitable for my other creative work and it has engrained itself into pretty much everything I do. I have written a very heartfelt and honest account of this for onlandscape magazine. It really was a struggle to get over the emotional connection between my landscape work and my personal life. The adventures and experiences which spawned most of my landscapes were, without doubt some of the happiest and most fulfilling years of my life.

Here is the article… Please read it as it means a lot to me.
Plus I might have become a poet‽

❐ • The Rain In my Blood // an exhibition // a record // the best years of my life

Professionally things go from strength to strength. I have enjoyed more creative freedom this year than any other. My clients have been gracious enough and I guess confident also, to just give me an idea and turn me loose. This is amazing! It does have the problematic pitfall of having to magic stuff up out of nothing but it has driven me to dream, to meditate, to make more music, to exercise, to paint. I have become comfortable with being wild and free. Some days I don’t even know what I’m doing but I feel compelled and accepting of my need to create without boundary or outcome. I have always harped on about finding that little seem of magic and I am getting better at stumbling into it. Not through conscious deliberation, or planning but by NOT GIVING A FLYING FUCK! You know if there is something that this year has taught me it’s that nothing is set in stone. The concept of the future is almost entirely fictitious and that the less you care, the less you try to control things the greater the chance of that illusive magic materialising. There is a saying… Expectation is the source of all heartbreak. And it’s true. Expect nothing, just let the moments pass and drink it all in, the good the bad the ugly, the happy, the sad. It’s all valid, infinitely interesting and what life, indeed the universe are all about.

So people… I’m not going to gush about achievement creative, economical or cultural. I am not going to name names or shout about what great stuff I have or have not done. I have put some of the pictures I am most proud of here… You can look at them. However in my current configuration I realise that my work may be important to me, that I value it, but what you or the the wifie next door think don’t really interest me any more. Fact is I will go on my way doing what it is I want to do. I no longer hold any fear or trepidation for the future, for other peoples hopes and aspirations, what people think. This is not an egotistical thing. It’s the exact opposite… What I realise now is that in the grand scheme of it, none of it matters. None of it!

Lastly, after all this philosophical ranting. I would like to present a piece of music (scroll to the bottom of the pictures) I made whilst in the throws of the most emotionally bereft and heartbroken state I have ever been in. I channeled all the grief from the breakup of a relationship which I held very dearly, but also the latent grief I had bottled up from the death of my Mother 5 years ago. SO AYE IT’s HEAVY! But probably not in the way you think… The track is called the ‘The Last Time She Lay Her Head On My Chest’ it is dedicated to that relationship, to her, to my Mother. It is not simple or beautiful, it was just a vehicle for me to process and cope with feelings which at the time I could find no other way of escaping. There are things hidden in it. Breath, voices, times, experiences, confusion, love and sadness. It is what it is and I am proud of it. Jamie (Schreachal) MacDonald played the fiddle on it and I appreciate his help very, very much. I would also like to extent my eternal gratitude to: Fiona Dunn, Ross Ainslie, Andre Gobbi, Adam Sutherland, Hamish Napier, Spad Reid, the Somerville brothers, Paul Jennings, Michael bryan, Innes Watson, Tom (magic) Harris, Thor and Kitty and Valerie. You have all helped me through this with such grace and patience and I feel so lucky to call you my friends. My Father continues to be such a stoic and dependable rock, there is no way I can describe how much I love that Man.

So I am away to Torridon for Christmas to look for meaning and traces of my ancestors in Corrie Mhic Fhearchair. Then I’ll be out in the North west with the band. It will be unbridled chaos. You should come…

I hope 2018 is as good for you as it is going to be for me. Onwards and Sideways.

Gràdh Sìorruidh!

Somhairle.