All of the biddies that feature in my paintings are strong women and I have great affection for them. There is a no messing, unflappable character to these women as they stoically face the world and just get on with what needs doing. The large painting hanging on the gallery’s feature wall – Big Bertha’s Birds and Bunting – refers to the ladies and seagulls belonging to the boat ‘Bertha’. In my youth a ‘big bertha’ was a rather unkind word used for a larger lady but I felt it could equally be attributed to the large boat. I suppose it’s no coincidence that the ladies on board are on the larger side but they are of course wearing many layers of clothing under their heavy overcoats. The ‘birds’ reference obviously refers to the seagulls but COULD affectionately include the ladies. And of course I couldn’t resist the alliterative title. Alliteration is an almost constant in my painting titles.
I saw a boat moored in Helensburgh many years ago simply called ‘Grace’. I loved the fact that the boat’s owner had named it after a loved one. A Grandmother? Mother? Sister? Or perhaps a wife or lover? I would never know but it inspired me. I now give female names to many of my boats. In this case I simply turned it around and put Grace onboard. She’s heading on The Selkirk to who knows where? It ties in nicely with the poem by Robert Burns. I’m not particularly religious but on Burns night I can always recite “The Selkirk Grace”
This is simply a very strong woman showing me the way to go and the correct path to follow. She will always keep you right. If she hung in my house I would have her hanging in my hall; pointing the way to my kitchen which is the heart of my house.
And to finish, Big Bass Haar. I have a fixation with The Ailsa Craig off the west coast and The Bass Rock off the east coast of Scotland. They both rise out of the water like gigantic pimples and take my breath away every time I set eyes on them. I love to stand on the coast and just stare. This view of Bass Rock is taken from Tantallon Castle which is another one of my ‘happy places’…