The Spirit of the Highlands is land, people and memory. When we dig deep beneath the earth we are standing on, we are able to connect with the natural environment, human ancestry and collective memory.
My four illustrations are inspired by a story written by Luna Sikkens, ‘The Trees of the Clava Cairns’ and visits to the Balnuaran of Clava Bronze Age burial site near Inverness.
It’s a place where ‘the earth speaks’, rich in natural history, folklore and archaeology that awakens your senses and like many of our ancient sites, a place that we will never completely unravel. The Clava Cairns and their attendant trees retain their mystery and trigger the imagination.
Initially I researched the history and archaeology of the site, then worked in sketchbooks on location. For my preliminary studies I worked in conte and pencil, then worked up more detailed drawings in ink, watercolour, charcoal and conte in the studio. I also explored natural textures at the Clava Cairns, using fallen lichen, bark and twigs for mark making. These techniques fed into my four mixed media and collage illustrations.
Although the Clava Cairns are an ancient burial ground, it is very much a living site, a wellspring of energy, and a place of peace and resilience that I keep returning to.
To discover Georgina Coburn's preliminary drawings for this piece, please click here.
To view other works from the artist, please visit Georgina Coburn's website here.