I have always enjoyed working on collaborations with writers, especially poets, and when an opportunity came to take part in a new project I was very keen to be involved.
Shetland based writer Donald Murray has produced an excellent new collection of work entitled ‘Praising The Guga’, poems based on the story of the seabird hunters of his native Isle of Lewis.
Donald asked initially if I would draw an image based on one of the poems to go on the front of the pamphlet. When the poems arrived by email the choice of which one to depict for the cover was made all the more difficult by the fact that all of the poems in the collection are full of visually stimulating themes and beautifully evocative poetry.
Being handed something as rich in source material as this is a gift to an artist, and when Donald agreed to let me use some if his ideas to produce new works I was thrilled. I am now working on notes and sketches for a series of large scale charcoal drawings influenced by the poems. What I am trying to do with this work is rather than just illustrating the poetry, try to create artwork that will sit along side it and enhance the themes and imagery in the texts.
The images below are of two of the notebook pages showing working ideas for two of the poems, ‘A Seabird-Hunter Contemplates His Faith’ and ‘How To Become A Gannet’.
Over the next few weeks I will update the blog with sketches and ideas for this sequence of drawings.
The pamphlet ‘Praising The Guga’ will be launched at An Lanntair, in Stornoway, Isle of Lewis. Donald’s new book ‘The Guga Hunters’ will be published in the autumn by Birlinn.