The Artist's Year

Issue 103

By Mary Ann Rogers

Suddenly the countryside is lush and green, the garden is producing the annual display of wild flowers which were never planted, but turn up every year, a gift!

It has been a difficult few months when my mother’s ill health took absolute priority, I feel that spring passed me by in a blur of trips up and down the road to Newcastle every day, to my mother”s house, then to St Oswald’s hospice where she died peacefully in May. We were very close and the grief hits me hard most days.

Still, the snowdrops, daffodils, bluebells, pink campion, aconites burst through, blossomed, faded and died. Watching hares racing around the fields and our guinea fowl and ducks prowling through the undergrowth has inspired the most recent paintings. Here is a sneak preview of two paintings which will be published as limited edition lithographic prints this summer.

With the regular summer exhibition here in the gallery having to be shelved, it is the perfect time to catch up with the lovely Scottish galleries which represent me, also hurl myself into a few new lochs and rivers on the way!

The House of Bruar gallery is quite close to ‘Soldier’s Leap’ at Killiecrankie, where famously, a fleeing soldier made the 18′ leap across the fast flowing River Garry. Ive always imagined this as a high, spectacular leap with a deep gorge below, but in reality, it is only a few feet above the narrow rocky stretch of river, and a very wet bashing about would be the pitfall. Stupidly I didn’t take my swimming things as the pool below the narrow gorge opens out into a beautiful swimming pool- next time!

Our Airbnb for a couple of nights up at Lossiemouth was perfectly located for sea swims, but the high winds from the north west created a surf which was WILD, definitely too dangerous for swimming while we stayed there.

A swim in the River Clunie, upriver from the Braemar Gallery was just the thing after a long drive, next time I plan to take my waterproof towfloat, carry my clothes, then swim a longer stretch of that beautiful river.

It was great to finally meet the owners of the new Portsoy Gallery, right up at the top of Aberdeenshire. A lovely gallery with some fabulous artwork, run by a couple of true enthusiasts. We walked round the harbours and watched some huge waves smash on the walls before another vicious shower drove us back to the car, drenched!

A quick detour into South Queensferry, Edinburgh, for a swim in the sea under the bridges, dodging little pink jellyfish was a great diversion, followed by a bit of searching for sea glass. These city beaches are great places for finding smooth, worn pieces of glass, although I didn’t manage to find any deep blue glass this time.

Back home and the gallery here in West Woodburn is getting busier now that summer seems to be almost here, plus the garden is beginning to produce the delicious home grown vegetables that taste like none other!

Mary Ann Rogers Gallery, West Woodburn, Hexham NE48 2SE.

Original paintings, limited edition prints, cards and exquisite gifts.

Open: Tues, Thurs, Fri 10-4 also Sun 2-5 • 07967550772

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