THE SLAKE                                                         Detail             

30” x 40” (76 x 102cm)

Acrylic on panel


Half a lifetime of holidays in Sutherland and Easter Ross have imprinted the highlands of Scotland on me. I think about them often, even now living as I do in southern England, a ‘child of the kindly west’. One day, idly sketching, playing with oil paints on a small panel, I roughly scumbled a highland scene, with some water moving over stones. I became intrigued by the ‘waterfall’ and did another rough, somewhat larger. I’ve always been interested in optical illusions. You know the sort of thing, a ‘cup or two faces’, or the ‘Necker cube’. Now I found I had produced, purely by chance, quite unintentionally, my own illusion, a version of the ‘cup or two faces’, but this time with two animals. That was when I decided to work the image up to full size. That was the genesis of this painting. To this day I’m surprised how many people simply don’t see both beasts.

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