In September 2019 I moved into film-making and found myself absorbed by this medium. The work I make comes under the auspices of Artists' Moving Image. This is a beautiful field of work best described as painting with film. My films are slow and detailed, allowing the viewer to see more than they would normally observe in the daily round of activity and to encourage a slower more gentle approach to the usual pace of life. The content is usually based in nature and through watching these films I hope to encourage a greater awareness and love of the natural world. I hope that in its way, this will foster an awareness of climate change and the need to take personal action. No matter how small or insignificant our own efforts may seem I believe there is great power in the sum of the parts and that everything we do makes a difference.
I also create kinetic sculptures (another favourite working practice of mine) and use them in my films but by the time they go through the filming and editing processes they usually look very different on screen from the original studio pieces.
My films can be watched by visiting the Film section and choosing the links provided to Vimeo.com.
'QUESTIONS REGARDING THE DEATHS OF TWO COVENANTER WOMEN AT WIGTOWN IN 1695'
In Autumn 2022 my film about the Wigtown Martyrs was selected twice for video poetry festivals, both in the United States. The film, entitled 'Questions regarding the deaths of two Covenanter women at Wigtown in 1695'
, is my interpretation of a poem by Scottish poet Elizabeth Burns (1957-2015). It recalls the time of the Covenanters in South West Scotland, and in particular two women who were persecuted for their beliefs, tried and executed by drowning. Margaret Wilson and Margaret Maclachlan refused to swear allegiance to James VII of Scotland (James II of England) as head of the church. They became known as the Wigtown Martyrs.
You can watch the video here.
GEOWEEK 2022 SYMPOSIUM
Still from 'Questions regarding the deaths of two Covenanter women at Wigtown in 1685'
Communication measures to bridge 4.543 billion years
10 - 15 May 2022
Institute of the Arts, University of Cumbria
I was invited to create a film for the GeoWeek symposium, which took place in The Institute of the Arts at Cumbria University. Although I felt hesitant about approaching the topic of geology I soon realised that the Solway coastline where I live, which lies across the Solway from Cumbria, has a rich geological past.
250 million years ago Laurentia (Scotland) and Avalonia (England) collided and formed the land mass we know today. The boundary or fault line which marks their conjunction is known as the Solway Line. Despite their close proximity, divided only by the water of the Solway Firth, the geologies of these two coastlines are very different. Today the south-west coastline of Galloway still exhibits striking rock folds and formations formed by that collision, bearing witness to an ancient and immutable past. However, change is ever present whether through tidal erosion or post-glacial rebound. This film celebrates both past and present, history and folklore, whilst acknowledging the coming of an unknown future.
My film 'the Solway line' explored my experience of all these and was screened along with other moving image artists throughout the symposium. You can view it here
Still from 'the Solway line'
ALCHEMY FILM AND MOVING IMAGE FESTIVAL 2022
Hawick, Scottish Borders
Last year I was selected to screen a new film 'let nature guide my eyes'
at the Alchemy Film and Moving Image Festival in Hawick. I was able to be there in person to fully absorb the vibe of being a film-maker at an international festival (ooooh!) for the screening. You can watch it here
Still from 'let nature be my guide'
let nature guide my eyes I was commissioned to make a documentary film about the work of Gallovidian silversmith Michael Lloyd. A graduate of the Royal College of Art, Michael has spent his working life producing exquisite pieces, not least of which is the Scottish Parliament Mace, presented by Her Majesty the Queen to Parliament at the inaugural opening in 1999. I created a film about his practice, encompassing his beautiful drawings, his work in the studio and the resulting finished piece. Nature has always been a guiding principle for his work and this film honours that relationship.
The film was originally screened in October 2021 at the Fen Ditton Gallery in Cambridge as part of their Waterland exhibition where Michael showed his work - the same water beaker I had filmed him creating.
Water Beaker by Michael Lloyd
photo by Sue Thomas
Society of Scottish Artists
In October 2021 my film 'between black and white' was screened as part of the Society of Scottish Artists exhibition 'In Between'. This moving film exhibition asked for a 3-minute film interpreting the phrase 'in between' and you can watch it here
. Length 00:02:57
Still image from 'nothing is black and white'
I created the film from my longer piece 'nothing is black and white' which you can also view by clicking here
. Length 00:20:00
In times of stress and uncertainty we long for something secure, known and dependable. But nothing is black and white. Life is a chaotic process and constantly changes. However there are ways to step away from such times and move into a state of greater peace. This film offers one such moment, allowing a move from the outwith to the inner, a place that asks nothing but awareness of the moment. It is an offering of quiet and relaxation moving only at the pace of this kinetic sculpture.
DURATIONAL FILM AND SPIRITUAL REFLECTION
Over the weekend of 20/21 February 2021 I presented at 'Spirituality and the Supernatural' an international conference led by Progressive Connexions
. My presentation, entitled Durational Film and Spiritual Reflection took the form of a 15 minute film. I made this choice when the physical conference, due to happen in Lisbon in 2020, was rearranged to an online forum and decided that a powerpoint presentation would be both very boring and potentially rather hit-and-miss, given my very low bandwidth speeds. A ready-to-go film seemed a far better option.
Still from the presentation, taken from the film 'lament'
You can watch the presentation here . . .
. Length 00:15:51
THE SPIRIT OF THREAVE, Threave Gardens, Castle Douglas, Dumfries and Galloway
The panels on the main drive
For those of you local enough to visit this wonderful National Trust for Scotland property I have a permanent piece of work on show on the main drive. This series of large panels was commissioned by the Trust and highlights the special features of Threave. You can read all about the installation in the Gallery section
of this website.
You can see the Trust's website for Threave and find out about what's on now by clicking here