The summer is moving away from Galloway now, chased by our feathered visitors who, having fled, are well on their way south. The swallows and martins had a good season here at Blates Mill, raising at least three broods. Interestingly, they chose to nest in the occupied buildings here, three sites in all, tucked under the eaves, though ruins abound on the site which are less frequented by human traffic and which you might think they would prefer. Perhaps they enjoy our company – the feeling is definitely mutual. Their joyful screaming and aerobatics, slicing at speed around the garden and over the loch, especially in the evenings when the insects are more active, has left a deafening silence and stillness now they are gone.
But in their place the red kites have returned to the skies around the cottage where they spend much of the year. In late summer they seem to move away, perhaps to encourage their young towards new territories.
This year has been one of renovation and regeneration at Blates Mill; of stopping the rot, repairing and remodelling the cottage interior and beginning to lay out the garden. Painting has been playing a necessary second fiddle. Yet the landscape continues unfailingly to prompt and produce a response through new work, with ‘The Big Water of Fleet Viaduct’ and ‘The Mossy Oak’ amongst others presently on display in The Gallery at Laurieston. Images and photographs captured daily around the cottage and beyond constantly inspire both painting and the written word, mostly stored up for winter, which for me proves a more fruitful time to create. In the interim the splendour of autumn and its palette begins to unfold, and we can only marvel and enjoy its beauty.
Painting: Sheep resting. Oil on board £120.(framed)