Left at the Mountain North to the Sea
Highland Landscape, Inverness Museum and Art Gallery
22nd July to 26th August
The Way of the Righteous, oil on canvas, 110cm x 90cm
Painted during the lockdowns when we were all waiting for a way out.
The work comes from the myths and legends of the far north and the stories I have heard from the neighbouring farmers who have worked the land for generations. Also the land itself. In Gaelic and Celtic folklore, everyone born has a guiding spirit – always an animal (as strong as a horse, cho seolta ri sionnach). These animal guides came from heaven and were said to take the colours of heaven. Here the guides follow the legendary drovers' paths through the vast Flow Country of Caithness and Sutherland. The name Flow Country comes from the Norse “Watter lands”. Wet, dangerous boggy moorland. The tracks were followed by the drovers taking their animals on the treacherous journey from the North coast to the markets in Dingwall and Falkirk. When the many tracks come together the drovers called the final path ‘The Way of the Righteous’.
These bright coloured animals of heaven were said to have to pass through many perilous situations but here the dangerous part of their journey is over and they have found the righteous path towards the new beings they will help through life.
Roger Billcliff Gallery,
22nd September 2023
Queen of a Small Country, acrylic on paper, 10cm x 10cm