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.
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: