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Artists Colony -
Canadian Artists In Caithness
On Caithness Shores.....................
Three Canadians, one who has been a while and two newly brought in by the tide held a small exhibition of their latest work "Travellers Sea" at Freswick hall. Monique Sliedrecht has been working in Caithness for some time and was recently joined by Rob Hengeveld and Marcia Hengeveld who took a working break for a month in Caithness. They have stayed with local writer Murray Watts at Freswick Castle.
All three found the sky to be an all encompassing source adding vibrancy to their work and perhaps an urgency reflected in what local folk have had to do where everything was controlled by the elements - the farming season, the challenging environment and not least the all pervading sea. For centuries the sea has taken folk away and washed in new and often powerful forces all dealing with a force the most unpredictable friend and foe.....the sea. Perhaps this latest mini invasion from around Toronto will leave a mark in the minds of local people and perhaps something more will grow if others follow their path. All invasions begin with an advance party. Monique Sliedrecht came over a year ago. Now there are three. Perhaps the sea will draw more even though they now fly over it arriving in a couple of days rather than weeks or months by boat.
Many Caithness folk left for Canada just as they did from various parts of Europe. Perhaps this is just the backwash of the tide that took so many away. But it could be that lapping just before a larger wave washes back part of what the first took away. Whatever the reason there is little doubt they have enjoyed their stay, felt the ever changing presence of the sea and sky and for now one will stay for a while longer until the next wave takes her away and two will return.
The local Freswick Hall committee are to be congratulated on helping to stage exhibitions in their hall. Their is little doubt that the former school now Freswick Village Hall makes an ideal small venue for staging the artists work. Its position overlooking the sea but above the fields allows you to feel the work on show almost jumped through the windows on to the canvass or mixed media presentations where even a feather showed the perfection of nature and connection with life and the shore.
The exhibition may have been small but it was large in ideas. From Rob Hengeveld's grasp of the ancient structures and sets of pictures where layers of peeling paint and old floor boards pulled at the layers of history in the area through Marcia Hengeveld's use of materials where feathers were held up for examination with touches of colour through to Monique Sliedrecht's pulling yet more from the shore and sky. There can be little doubt that Toronto and Canada will be seeing more of Caithness in the future. This message in a bottle will undoubtedly have far reaching ripples when it is finally opened................
Monique Sliedrecht accepts commissions and can be contacted on firstname.lastname@example.org