In 2019, my husband Erlend Tait and I began a series of short residencies at Inverewe Gardens, the outcome being an exhibition of works inspired by our time spent at the gardens and a commissioned portrait from the NTS of Mairi Sawyer.
Here is a selection of the work I created which includes a couple of collaborations Erlend and I made
The Shelterbelt / coloured pencil and graphite on paper / 70 x 29 cm / Without the planting of the shelter belt 150 years ago, Inverewe Gardens would not be the magnificent place that we are all enjoying today, and for that reason alone, it felt really important to honour those trees. They really are the gardens guardians, who protect the plants from the strong Atlantic storms. Thank you Shelter belt!
Trachycarpus Fortune / coloured pencil and ink on paper / 60 x 45 cm / The Trachycarpus Fortune plants can be found in the China region of the garden. The main trunk of the plant looks almost as if it’s covered in scruffy hair. This in itself makes it look like some giant insect, quite cute! but if you look for a little bit longer, you will discover there are many beings hiding within those tufts.
Pollinators / Erlend & Pamela Tait / graphite, colour pencil & watercolour on paper / 35.5 x 30.5 cm
On this piece I drew the Flame Carpet Moth (top), Green Pug Moth (bottom) Lempke's Gold Spot Moth (top left and right side) and the True Lovers Knot Moth (lower left and right side). In each corner the circular shape represents the moon, and also white flowers, which the moths are attracted to. Erlend drew the small portrait of Mairi who sits within
Portrait Of Mairi Sawyer / by Erlend & Pamela Tait / oil, etched copper with intaglio ink & escutcheon pins on linen panel / 50 x 40 cm
Within Mairi’s lifetime there were a small amount of photographs taken of her. These mostly show her within the environments she loved most - the countryside and the gardens. There are only a few portrait photographs which we were able to use as reference, and after drawing various studies we settled on a composition which gave a sense of movement: swirling from lower left up to the right in the clothing and hair, reminding us of the wind; contrasting with the figure of Mairi facing into it, much like the shelter belt does; and finally the background referencing the multitude of shapes and colours and sizes and layers of the gardens.
These 6 Monoprints were an experiment into exploring the layering of shape and colour created by all the different plants within the gardens. The rich tapestry of colour and shape was at the forefront of Mairi Sawyers garden design and it is just a joy to experience.
And then, when I finished experimenting with the above monoprints, I was left with these cute little paper shapes which were too lovely not to use, so I made these small collage pieces
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