As a Scottish Artist, l count myself fortunate to live on the East Coast, facing the sunrise. I am also privileged to live on The Tay Estuary, a wide amphitheatre of constant change, at the cusp of River and Sea. It has been a formative influence since I moved here as a child. I always know whether the tide is on the flood, or ebbing, and with that comes a greater awareness of the pull of the Moon and the Sun, a sense of the movement of the planets. The furious Autumnal Westerlies that churn the river to a dirty grey frothy murk and steal the light are a thing to be endured; the Summer and Winter high pressure systems that allow the river to replay the glow of the sky and redouble its luminescence a thing to be remembered; the concealing, shivering greys of the haar; the golden glitter of a calm winter morning; and most wonderful of all the all embracing, short lived roseate glow of a clear, still evening and dusk – how can a person fail to be moulded by these things? Yet, there is a sense that the whole truth is curiously out of reach, and beyond understanding. The gargantuan quiddity of it all can only ever be minutely apprehended. Thus we stand at the margins, puzzling at it, cherishing hard-won tiny nuggets of knowing. What must it be like to be a Seal, a Dolphin, a Gull, a Salmon, a Barnacle or Limpet, a Shrimp? What must it be like to have that experience of being in and of, not beside, or on?
In the coastal zones the community places hazard warnings, buoys, daymarks and lighthouses, as gestures of generosity that tell mariners to sail here, not there. Here, is no safe anchorage. There, is safe passage. Shoals. Reefs. Channels. Bars. Here be Monsters. They are navigation instructions, at their simplest. For me, their unsympathetic geometry strengthens the strangeness of the seas, and also hints at another hidden language. Out of context, or to the uninitiated, these interventions might signify a deeper mystery – waymarkers to aid the lost, on a more spiritual voyage. Underlying my experience of being alive, alongside joy, is bewilderment, and loss. There is a feeling of transience, of being somewhere littoral and liminal. In observing the Estuary, in experiencing it, quietness and hope is there to be found. We are all of us drawn to Water.