Friday, January 20, 2006
Location, Location, Location
When we moved from the North of Scotland to Norfolk, about eighteen months ago, the general consensus was that we would 'find it very different'. After all, people said, it's flat. And that is not something that could be said about the village we lived in in the Highlands, which was built either side of steep hills. Here, what they call a hill, we tend to think of as an incline. But that actually doesn't matter a bit.
In Scotland, the landscape is dominated by the mountains, it is true. They have a fierce beauty, standing tall, proud and changing little from year to year. They are a reminder to us of our own impermanance, of how small and insignificant we are by comparison. Here in Norfolk, it is the sky that is huge, and the land, which spreads out as far as the eye can see, disrupted only by a stand of trees here, or a church spire or two there. And that huge sky has an equal beauty to those hills, and serves as a similar reminder. If you will, Scotland has vertical scenery; Norfolk, horizontal.
When asked, but surely you miss the mountains?, the answer is, usually, not really. I love the light and the openness of the Norfolk landscape. It encourages me to be open with myself and others, to take risks with my self and my art that I might not otherwise take. The hills can be claustrophobic, encourage you to be secretive with things, about things. Dark.
The buildings are different, too, the vernacular architecture using flint to embellish its buildings. See the picture for an idea of what the flint looks like, each piece a tiny painting by itself. Truly, there is inspiration wherever you look in this lovely place, and for that, I am profoundly grateful.