Monday, April 27, 2015

Only Possible Under Sunshine

I'm in the middle of writing several new pieces that aren't quite ready to publish. Yes, not one, not two, but three. So, for now, I hope you'll enjoy joining me for a quick run-through of a weekend in Scotland. Beyond that, please be careful what you wish for.

These are what the boffins in Edinburgh call clouds.

As I crossed the border into Scotland, this rugged expanse invited me to the side of the road and asked - quite politely may I say - to be photographed. I was happy to comply. Blue sea in Scotland is a rare beast, as it is only possible under sunshine.

It then rained a lot, which felt more usual. However, the following day we drove north to Falkirk, a upwardly mobile city that has recently become home to The Kelpies, a pair of magnificent statues. I knew nothing about these, but they were gobsmackingly gorgeous.

But what is a Kelpie, Roth? I hear you ask. They're part of Scottish folklore, water spirits that take the form of horses. Traditionally, Kelpies are pretty unpleasant inhabitants of Scottish lochs, but these two lads (or ladies, perhaps) were quite charming. And, as you can see from the folk milling around their bases, pretty darned huge.

Each statue is an empty shell, with a superstructure supporting an array of irregular metal plates. The photos don't do these justice, as the musculature and motion of the Kelpie is suggested magnificently as you move around them.

Actually, now I come to look closer, the lad on the left looks pretty judgmental from some angles, verging on downright grumpy. But for his friend, the sky beckons the way to freedom.

Close detail of the the irregular metal plates. These are currently a year old, clean and free of damage. How these survive over time will be interesting. And as someone with no head for heights, I'm glad I won't be cleaning them.

Detail of the manes from the rear of the pair. Absolutely gorgeous design and execution are obvious from any angle, and well worth the long drive north to see them!

Okay, that's enough of the mythical loch-horses. This is a random field on the way to Aberfoyle on the edge of The Trossachs National Park. The skies were kind to us.

A wee mountain (with snow, if you looks closely) further along the same road, near a village called Ruskie. Nope, I'm not making this up.

Deeper into the Trossachs, north of Aberfoyle, we randomly turned into a long loop that promised great views and a few lochs. It did not disappoint. Again, the weather held out, and made these beautiful long views possible.

This is Loch Drunkie! There's nothing for miles in any direction. I suspect this is as close as I'll get to the Canadian wilderness without getting on an aeroplane.

And this is Loch Achray.

The locals were pretty laconic. Here, a Scottish teenager sits and grumbles about how unfair his life is, and wonders why he was born with horns.

My hosts, Gabrielle and Alistair. Lovely, lovely people. Thank you!

And this is the view from their beautiful home. I've posted pics of this before, but I loved the colours here. The sheep were indoors playing cards, I'm told. Most likely with badgers.

Are there badgers in Scotland? There are indeed. But, as they used to say on Tales of the Riverbank, that's another story.


This blog entry is protected by copyright © Indigo Roth, 2009-2015

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Tapping a Deep Rich Vein

I have no idea why I'm here.

It's Saturday afternoon. The crowds in the outdoor shopping centre are surprisingly heavy, perhaps summoned to spend by the sun on their skin; there's thoughts of summer and dreams of holidays here.

The shoe shops are tapping a deep, rich vein.

I have no idea how I came to stop in this town today, or why I'm standing here now in the middle of a busy thoroughfare, watching folk passing obliviously to either side; I'm not drawn to crowds, and tend to do all my shopping online.

Unlike the crowds, I'm not here to consume.

It occurs to me that I've not been to this town in a very long time. There's no regret in the thought; I rarely do regrets. It's just an acknowledgement that my own time and tide has held my attention elsewhere.

There is certainly a sense in me that I've been away for a while.

I started writing again a few weeks ago after a long hiatus; it felt like it was Time again. I'd long since abandoned any search for my creative Mojo, content for it to head back home when it was good and ready. 

And when it did, unrepentant and mischievously grinning, it wasn't alone.

I now find myself reading the old comic books that inspired me to draw as a kid. I'm surprised to find the same feeling in them, to the point of picking up bristol board and pens with thoughts about line and form and black-and-white storytelling. I even caught myself buying paint and canvasses when I have no great inclination or talent with either.

I'm dreaming.

And standing here right now, there's even something inspiring about the crowds around me; the colours, the sounds, the energy, the atmosphere. I may not be here to consume, but I'm soaking it all up. The sun isn't hurting either; it's great to feel it on my face and in my blood.

But why am I here today?

I have no clue, but that's okay.

I set my eyes on a distant landmark, step into the crowd, and move forward against the tide.


This blog entry is protected by copyright © Indigo Roth, 2009-2015