My first collection of paintings is called Coast, inspired by a big cycle tour I undertook with Tony (my husband) in 2014. We set off at the end of April and started to make our way clockwise around the coast of Britain. We started in Lancashire so within a week we were crossing the Scottish border – according to the sign we were very welcome.
In our enthusiasm to be on our trip we didn’t really take account of rest days, slotting two nights in at Kirkcudbright at the end of the first week (where we had a bit of a laundry mystery) and then cycling happily on for another week before we realised that we really should have a proper break. Cue the entry of a wonderful web based organisation called warmshowers where cycle tourists offer fellow cycle tourists a bed for the night in their home. Even though it felt like we were in the wilds of Scotland we found a host who was a couple of days’ ride away.
I’m not sure of the sequence of events but somewhere in the conversation we talked about needing a two night break and our hosts offered two complete strangers rest and recuperation. We spent a lovely couple of days with them being fed and watered, getting our laundry done and relaxing, but I think Tony earned our keep helping Dick unload and stack a delivery of logs!
Although we have yet to accept the offer of a return visit, with the power of social media we have stayed in touch. Dick is a very talented photographer and in late 2020 he posted a photograph that made me want to paint my interpretation of it. Of course I asked permission and so started the artistic life of ‘A Scottish Island’.
It brought back so many memories of the Scottish part of our trip, the stunning views of the islands in particular. My artistic adventure started four years after our cycling adventure but it’s so great that through one I could explore and remember the other.
The sign at the border was right, we were made very welcome.
If you would like to read more about our adventure you can find our blog here.