Nice to Meet Yew
This is my first painting in Scotland. The tree is enormous, which I showed by including the little bench in front of it and a small portion of the castle. At first, I thought it was a clump of trees, but when I walked around it, I saw a well-worn entrance through its long, shaggy branches. That’s when I saw it is one massive tree whose branches hang down like thick tentacles creating a tall and wide canopy cooler than any treehouse I’ve been in. (As I entered I said hello to a local couple, and—upon hearing my foreign accent?—they told me to look out for changelings.)
At the end of my trip I was thrilled to finally run into the gardeners (Yvonne and Christopher pictured) at Brodie, and they told me that the tree is a yew and it predates the castle. That’s more than 600 years old! Yews are known for their longevity because those hanging branches can reroot and form new trunks. AAAAND, I learned that Scotland’s--and perhaps Europe’s--oldest tree is a yew estimated to be 2,000-5,000 years old. Isn’t old stuff great?
Now, why is this painting magenta? It is a value study using only white, cadmium red, and quinacridone magenta
It took about three weeks for my self-addressed postcard to get to Chicago from Brodie. And the timing was perfect. I've been simmering in all things Scotch since my return, trying to keep that happy Highland flame flickering in my heart, and when I sat down to work on yesterday's blog post, my husband came in with the mail:
These handmade postcards were our first art activity on the retreat. It was good to dive in, and it kept us awake to deal with jet lag.
The Pipes Are Calling
Three years ago I went to what I called Amanda's Fantasy Art Camp. Two of my childhood friends and I went to a teeny island off of Maine to a retreat led by our high-school art teacher. The limitations and lifestyle on the island were 'camping' as far as I was concerned--we were urged not to flush the toilet in our lodging but once a day to conserve water. Camping!
Anyhoodle, this remarkable trip was a real boost to my art practice, and afterward I dove deep into artmaking and let the art writing go. It was the right thing to do. My painting and my goals have developed so much that I moved into a new studio. 500 square feet!
Three years later--June 2022--I went on my next retreat; this one another fantasy come true. My artist cousin organized a trip to Scotland AND we lodged at Brodie Castle. By this time I had gotten into a strong work routine and also joined a Scottish heritage group, Chicago Scots. This trip seemed like a good time to get back to some art writing, as I could document a special trip not only for myself but also for the benefit of the Chicago group and for my cousin. Clan Brodie!
Note: While I had indeed upgraded from cabin to castle, the toilet situation was pretty much the same. Old pipes!
I Heart Art
I do! I make it, sell it, think about it, look at it, read about it, and (sometimes) I write about it. Join my mailing list, and you'll receive my brief--promise--messages about new work, shows, events, and a little inspiration. Probably a picture of my dog, too.