AMY WINSTANLEY: Self-Directed Residency, 2014

Gathering. This was my 25th year of visiting Eigg but the first time doing an artist residency.  It was a week of beautiful November sunshine, some visiting and socialising with an equal measure of solitude and thinking time.  It was a gathering of ideas, thoughts and material for my project I am working on towards a show next year.



I am interested in man’s relationship to nature, our significance and also our insignificance.  I wanted to explore my relationship to nature on Eigg.  This is one of memory, familiarity, playful interaction as a child, fascination and awe at its magnificence as a discerning adult.


The light up north this time of year is wonderful.  It enhances the autumnal colours of the land and makes for a magical feast for the eyes.  Rum glowed pink some mornings, the cliffs behind the Bothy burning a fiery orange in the late afternoon sun, the bracken singing its colour to the purple sea beyond.


Once you stop, look and take-in the natural surroundings, you can be witness to some amazing sights.  Acts of nature that happen whether seen and appreciated or not.   All this beauty, always existing, all the time.

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In the Bothy library I stumbled upon Nan Shepard’s book “The Living Mountain”, a masterpiece in nature writing.  It does well to capture the poetic beauty of nature just being: “the mountain world ‘does nothing, absolutely nothing, but be itself'”.

I am fascinated at how insignificant one can feel within nature, how this in turn, and perhaps paradoxically, can make one feel happier, more present and in-the-moment.  As John Muir put it “Going out was really going in”.


Some sketchbook pages: