Stenton Gallery
Campbell Sandilands

'Mizu no Ki (The Energy of Water)'
120 x 45 cm
colour pigment, sumi ink on canvas

'Echoes of Nature'
140 x 196 cm
oil on canvas
'Echoes of Nature'
140 x 196 cm
oil on canvas
'Snow Day'
196 x 140 cm
oil on canvas


Zen Travels in the North-East

My 'travels' started with a residency in Catterline on the north-east coastline [of Scotland], in February 2004. For a month, I enjoyed the solitude of the Watchie Studio, perched on the cliffs at the edge of the village. Contemplative coastal walks, and just 'being' in nature inspired me to create new works. Wind-generated electricity in the Watchie was limited, so I sometimes read in the evenings by candlelight, and overall I felt invigorated by my simple existence.

Having nowhere to call home, I moved to a farm near Stonehaven, working part-time in exchange for accommodation. This was to be home for sixteen months, with further stays at the Watchie after leaving the farm.

Huddling close to the hearth through winter evenings, I had plenty of opportunities for reflection, and time in hand to mull over Zen poetry and writings. Thus my Zen travels continued.

Bringing my armchair into the gallery with a selection of the books I had around me, I have tried to recreate my 'seat of learning'. I invite the viewer to take time to relax in the chair, and if you feel inclined, to browse through some of the books.

I have long seen the process of doing my artwork as a spiritual journey, affording me times of deep serenity when lost in the moment. Nature feeds my soul, and I feel a great affinity with some of the Zen poems on nature.

Taking time out from the unpleasant task of gorse bush cutting on the farm, I thrilled at watching a cloud of starlings disappear as one into a cascade of ripening barley. On another occasion doing the same job, I was visited first by a baby rabbit, and then by a friendly cow who wanted to lick my thorn-impregnated hands. It was a real privilege working with the animals on the farm, and being part of the landscape on a night when the northern lights were out dancing was an absolute joy.


Campbell Sandilands Stenton Gallery, April 2006

Campbell Sandilands CV


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