Works in progress

The autumn’s nearly over now and we still haven’t found the right moment to cut the hay field, maybe we’ll have to put the sheep in during the winter.  It’s been a wonderful year for insects, flowers and birds; this year’s stars being the swathes of black knapweed, a large charm of goldfinches and dozens of martins and swallows. It was a joy to share the flower meadow with colleagues from the Older Emergent Artists’ Residency at Cove Park.  We’re working on a collaborative project, with a working title Time Field, all about our perspectives on older people being ‘walking history’.  Here are Kate Clayton and Lesley Wilson doing some improvisation work together:


Meanwhile, I’m also pressing on with my own project, Coronach (Song for the Dead), a requiem for the bird-life that once was so prolific here.  As ‘walking history’, I carry in my head the memories of huge flocks of lapwings, starlings and greenfinches – all gone.


Sparrow hawk

I’ve taken over the old stable barn for this site-specific installation of paintings, drawings, found sculptures and video.  Once again, I’m following my fascination with ‘play of light’.  and hope to have it completed by the spring.


Coronach – Work in progress






A week at Cove Park

Who would imagine that a week spent on a Scottish hillside, in a converted container in a blizzard could be such an inspiring experience?  I was delighted to be chosen as one of six emergent artists to take part in a Luminate Older Artists Lab on the banks of Loch Long at Cove Park.  It was an intensive week of discussion and re-evaluation of our practice, leading to some valuable new insights for all of us.  We felt it helped us to resolve issues of focus and visibility and taught us to value a collaborative approach.  We gelled so well as a group that we’re planning an installation together, based on Lesley Wilson’s play The Field.

Version 3



Galloway gloaming

It has been a stunningly lovely summer at Barnhillies, months of windless, cloudless, balmy days – lovely for sun bathing and catching up on visiting family and friends, but not for painting.

With the break in the weather inspiration returns – it’s the banks of mist and cloud, the shafts of light, the constant shift of light and dark, the inky colours…  It feels strange to be ‘on my own’ now I’ve graduated, but there’s lots to do and I still get a special thrill giving people my business card, which reads Annie Peel, Artist.




Degree show

Here it is – Tasaidach (gaelic for shroud)  my one piece for Edinburgh College of Art degree show.


It measures 8 feet square.  The media I use are lime-wash, bitumen, sheep dye and cobalt on sheep shearing bag.  The wooden panels are from an ash tree felled at Barnhillies.
Off for a much needed break – more on my return!

It’s all about space

My last blog ended with the cliff-hanger – “watch this space”.  So here it is:

A3 Rh3


The Rhinns triptych is complete now – you can see it all on Youtube .   I was well out of my comfort zone working at such height, not least because starlings, nesting above it, often chose to whizz past my head!

In fact, I’ve been out of my comfort zone for weeks, now – fighting gremlins on our slow broadband to get my artist’s book to publish and filming and editing the installation of Tanasg, but as “they” say (annoyingly) “No pain no gain” I now have some new skills under my belt and everything ready for my Degree Show.  The installation film loop takes the Tanasg ideas a stage further- Tanasg is gaelic for ghost, and this  movie is both a requiem for and a celebration of the natural world.


So now, it’s just a few days until I take my work to Edinburgh and install it in another space.  I’ve learned so much about how works interact with the space they’re in – the work affects the site and the site affects the work; it’s all a bit ‘smoke and mirrors’.  Currently the studio space at ECA is being transformed from a busy workshop into a gallery.

Watch this space:









Barn dancing




It’s been a busy time at Barnhillies barn, getting it cleared and ready for my Degree Show.  Murray Shaw kindly moved all the hay bales, letting the light stream in.  I plan a ‘virtual installation’ – a film loop which will accompany the work I show at Edinburgh College of Art in May/June.  Next, the big lorry from Dumfries Timber Co arrived, delivering sheets of MDF for the third and largest piece in my Rhinns triptych. This will measure 4.5m x 3.6m.  Although I like to work on the floor, I’m seriously thinking of acquiring some scaffolding.


The ‘barn launch party’ was a workshop for the Spring Fling Rural Mural artists – enormous fun, now known in our follow-up emails as the “Sprayathon Fun Day“, which just about sums it up.  My workshop in the afternoon was all about the materials I use, linking my work to the rural farming community.


A huge thank you to Damian Rothwell, who helps us around the farm.  He has become an invaluable artist’s assistant, installing my finished pieces.  All I have to do now is create some new work…
Watch this space!












The downward slope?


It’s hard to believe it’s my last term at  Edinburgh College of Art.  It has been a long road; six years of studying part-time, driving the wild pilgrims’ road across the hills to my ‘other studio’ in the Old Town.  The final push will be work for my degree show in May.
The first job is to clear our big barn, ready for a new installation which will form a virtual appendix to the work I show at the university. We’ll be moving the big hay bales, rationalising the junk and re-piling the growing heaps of felled timber.  That done, it will be wonderful space to showcase my larger works.
I love the way the sun filters through the slats of the handling area and plan to use this for some more calico hangings, using the light as I did for the Tanasg series.  I’m preparing MDF boards for some new modular work to go on the barn walls, probably an extension of the Rhinns series, moving above the horizon into the wild Galloway skies.


The newly cleared and power-hosed space will get a ‘christening’ in March, when I give a workshop for this year’s Spring Fling Rural Mural artists.  They’re coming to look at the parallels between the media they use for street art and the rural-equivalent materials I use.  It will be interesting to see how their ideas feed into my work.