19 February 2017

New Pier, Stromness. By Diana Leslie (2014)


Stromness artist and friend Diana Leslie paints Orkney, and especially Stromness. Wearing a marine survival suit and using a weighted easel to combat the wind she paints in-landscape, all year round. At first glance, her townscapes, buildings, boats and occasional landscapes are timeless, portraying Orkney as we might expect to find it, forever. Her most interesting work, however, captures the everyday – the people, co-op, post office and garage. In addition, these paintings are often repeated. For us, her paintings, therefore, are subtly about change. Now: old co-op, old post office, new pier.

Among the iconic line of Stromness piers, which has formed the theme for our Human Seasons blog posts throughout the year, the new pier has been a significant new landmark in the town. Diana’s painting, above, captures that point in transition, so often forgotten and ignored in favour of the static monument. Large floating cranes pile driving into the soft mud and bedrock. The painting itself may have been completed in more than one session. The essence of the moment, if you look closely, is captured even more by the drops of rain encapsulated in the surface of the oil paint.

For our last Human Seasons post, we want to remember changes throughout the year. Against the patterns of the tides, moon, sun and sky, changes have occurred, often unnoticed. Materials brought by the tide, a baby boy arriving in the night, the increase in cruise ships, house renovations, the water board digging up the street, developments at the community garden, storms and ferries come and go.

2017 marks the 200 year anniversary of Stromness becoming a Burgh of Barony. This designation meant that a Town Council could be formed and that the town could start to take control of some of its own affairs.  They adopted the motto ‘Per Mare’ meaning ‘by sea’. This year we look forward to celebrating these changes by the piers.

Sunrise                  07:34                    Moonrise           02:20

Sunset                   17:19                    Moonset             10:44

High tide         02:52 (2.58m)             Low tide       08:24 (1.56m)

High tide         15:28 (2.56m)             Low tide       21:22 (1.52m)

Waning Quarter Moon


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