Music, poetry, art, history, all challenge traditions and broaden boundaries. I am searching and striving to take the mind beyond the surface of what the eye perceives.
The landscape in the Scottish Borders is steeped in history and there is an underlying pulse. Deeply indented markings show evidence of past ages and inhabitants all of which awaken passing thoughts, and reflections, opening up means of expression and interpretation and suggest brush strokes.
I was born in Selkirk therefore a 'Souter' as was my father and grandmother before me. My father, who lived to the grand old age of 103, was a founder member of the Selkirkshire Antiquarian Society, (still in existence to this day). It was formed in 1947, to enjoy and protect the exceptional fruitful field of historic, literary, and archeological lore which is available throughout the county. He was passionately interested in and knowledgeable about local history. I remember as a child, my father going on field excavations – no metal detectors in those days – and painstakingly searching ploughed fields and unearthing numerous exciting finds like flint stones, crude tools, and coins used by ancient civilisations. These fields hold many secrets. Significant Bronze Age artefacts have been found in recent years with the aid of metal detectors.
The Scottish Borders is exceptionally rich in cultural heritage. Mysterious hill forts, ruined abbeys, stately homes. The Cheviots, Tweed Valley, the Lammermuirs, all have relics of Neolithic and Bronze Age burials, Iron Age farms and forts, medieval churches and castles, reiver towers, and battlefields. It has not always been the land of calm and beauty as it is today. We are fortunate there are no longer over the border raids for sheep rustling, but the drove roads and tracks are still in existence.
There is an awareness, a mindfulness, of the past as I search for transformative qualities of thinking, experiencing, and remembering.
A sense of tension
A sense of place
A sense of mystery
A sense of history
A time of lay about
A time of inner debate
A time of doubt
A time of gestation
A fascinating and never ending journey
A journey of process
A journey of discovery
A tumult of emotional human experience
An expression of my innermost joys and sorrows
An orchestration of marks, shapes and rhythms.
To portray, metaphorically and poetically things that are formless, intangible and unseen.
Transcending the purely visible.
It is an intensely mindful experience Allowing paintings to gestate and accrue history.
Ultimately of course, paintings come from deep within the artist with all the complexities of life experiences. That is much harder to put in to words and explain, which is why I love to express myself through paint. Lose horizons, flatten planes, let the imagination run free. Hints of hidden meanings, glimpses of the past, complex personal dialogue. By-pass the conscious mind, gather fragments of collective memory, to achieve an emotive response to the Borders landscape.
Rooted in the history and soul, of home and family my journey continues into the unknown as I search for the way forward.