When Fiona Robyn set the challenge of writing a blog post on My Most Beautiful Thing, it took a lot of thinking to decide what that would be. How can you choose just one beautiful thing?
After much soul searching, I realised that the one thing that means more to me more than anything else is just being there, standing amongst the landscapes that mean so much to me and my work. I’m luck enough to divide my time between two very beautiful places; the South Downs of Southern England, and my beloved west coast of Scotland.
I live in a small village on the edge of the Downs, beautiful soft rolling chalk farmland, with a landscape that has been shaped by man for over four thousand years. I’ve only been walking over it every day for the last ten years, but the sights, sounds and smells of the area are now very familiar and dear to me. At the moment, early mornings are the best time to see the area. The skies are filled with the sweet sound of Skylarks marking out their territories, and over the nearby woods, Buzzard soar and play on the rising warm air, calling to each other with their plaintive mewing.
When my wife Fiona and I return home to Scotland, our time is mainly spent around the coastal landscape of the Firth of Clyde and Argyll. Our family live on the North Ayrshire coast, overlooking the beautiful islands of Arran, Bute and the Cumbraes.
I don’t know how many hours I have whiled away just watching the ever changing light and mood of the islands; from the snow capped mountains and stunning clarity of a midwinters day, to the brooding skies and stormy light of the vernal equinox, it is a constantly surprising and enchanting place. It is a landscape I return to very regularly, both in real terms with visits to our family home, and in the art work it evokes with the memory of it’s stunning beauty.
So, my most beautiful thing? A chair in the porch, a good read and my sketchbooks on the table beside me, and the theatre of my beautiful islands taking place out of the window. Bliss!