This sketch of Esk at the Suspension Bridge, full of energy and skill, has its origins in Ruth Nicol’s visits to the Scottish borders, to explore the land where the poet Hugh MacDiarmid was born and brought up.
In the exhibition catalogue, the artist recalls, “I started with Brownsbank [the poet’s last home] but then I had a marvellous experience in Langholm, where MacDiarmid – or rather Chris Grieve – was born. I was shown around by Margaret Poole, who knows the small town closely and has lived there a long time. It was wonderful, with the three rivers, hearing one river in one ear, and another in the other. And Langholm gives you a sense of the Borders -” The MacDiarmid Memorial in steel and bronze lies close to the minor road from Langholm to Newcastleton.
Also in the catalogue for ‘Landmarks,’ Ruth speaks about some of her influences: “Frances Walker and Bet Low would be my role models. Their sheer determination, Bet Low’s beautiful landscapes, her dedication, her getting an education against all the odds, during the Second World War, these things are exemplary. And Frances Walker, just continued in persisting in a medium I don’t understand, printmaking. But it’s the example of their endeavour – that’s what I admire and take seriously.”
Ruth Nicol herself is a very dedicated artist. She is Scottish, b. Glasgow, now living and working in Edinburgh. She trained in Drawing & Painting at Edinburgh College of Art, graduating in 2010. She has won numerous awards and her work is held in private and public collections throughout the UK.
Exhibition catalogues are available from the Gallery – just phone or e-mail for a copy. They are £10. plus P&P.
Pencil on paper
Photo courtesy John Reiach