I’ve booked my ticket for next Wednesday and so the panic starts to try and complete everything on my list of things to do. Inevitably the list seems to stay the same as each day I defeat the object of making it by simply adding more to it. So as always it will continue like this right up to the last day. This time the car will be full of my latest work created over the winter months from a wealth of sketches I’ve been doing over the past five years. The cold spell and snow put me into hiberation mode which meant no distraction for nearly two months. Living alone can often mean that I drifts off down the road to friends in search of company and conversation. During times like this I can spend days without seeing anyone and with no English neighbours the mother tongue gets rusty. Twenty years ago I found this a distinct disadvantage having for all practical purposes no French at all there were times when I longed to speak English but none of my Breton neighbours understood a word. So after six months I had made significant progress and my neighbour Marie L’hours was very impressed that I knew certain medical terms which meant I could be trusted to collect her medicine from the pharmacie.
She complained biterly about all the wrinkles in her portrait but I could have found more.
Now three of those immediate neighbours are dead and the village has taken on the typical deserted look of a Central Finistere hamlet. I am thankful that there is no working farm left in the village and so the impact of modern machinery has not devistated the rural setting. We do however at this time of year suffer from the noise of chainsaws although this year has not been as bad with no major massacre of hedgerows.
I find often just as I finish a painting of trees or a field entrance the machinery arrives and all is cut to the ground. This year was no acception with the local authorities passing with their rotating blades the week after I had painted a flooded field entrance. In contrast to this work has been my paintings of Scotland where there are far fewer trees and the wonderful drama of wide open spaces.
The exhibition opens on the Island of Gigha on March 5th and runs till the beginning of May and during this time I will be even further north at the very top of the Outer Hebrides on the Island of Lewis where I’ll be painting and building. I have a traditional Crofters house which I endeavour to let out during the summer months. www.hebrides-cottage-holiday.co.uk
My diverse artwork can be seen on www.tomhickman.co.uk