On Tuesday, 30th January they'll be celebrating the winter fire festival of Up Helly Aa in Lerwick on the Shetland Isles. Almost 1000 torch bearers will parade, singing and marching and finally throwing their blazing torches into the replica Viking galley, that will set alight the night sky. Festivities carry on until after daybreak the next day. I just wish I could be there! It's an event that involves all the communities and mini-events continue on in the smaller communities until March. For more info visit http://www.northlinkferries.co.uk/uphellyaa/ for links to the event timetable. These 2 recent works were inspired by this festival of fire and light. I wanted to capture the colour of the blaze and the swirling, twisting smoke that travels through the flames.
When working on these Up Helly Aa paintings, thoughts of my childhood came to mind. Supper on Winter evenings, toasting great wedges of bread over the embers of the kitchen fire. Waiting patiently and measuring the rate of toasting, by the smell of burning bread! To this day, I still love the smell and taste of well done toast. I was a very young child, in those pre-TV days, and with the lights low, we would listen to the radio, play with toys, or Mum would read us stories. If the fire was blazing brightly, we'd look for 'faces' in the fire and watch for the 'fairy dancers,' as my Mum called them. Of course, we believed in fairies, as all things are possible at that age. Mum would point to the flickering shadows on the walls and ceiling to confirm their existence, just in case there was any doubt.
With these memories in my head, the 2 artworks, below, are more about the 'fairy dancers,' their smoky shadows dancing and jumping in the fire.
How times have changed . . . . . now I have a toaster.
The toaster and I still haven't come to agreement as to-
1) how high it will eject the toast, or,
2) what speed and trajectory the toast will fly in!
best wishes to you,
Cherish your journey.