‘Lemon tinged clouds in a soaring porcelain sky, building seas & the roaring luminous surf at dusk, never lose their power and keep me reaching for my brushes‘. Caroline Hunter
I was born in Edinburgh in 1964, my parents had a chandlery shop in Dundas Street.
In November 1968 we moved up to Orkney, sailing from Leith overnight. Mum had got a job as Latin teacher at Stromness Academy, Dad built fibreglass boats and after a few years we moved to a house overlooking Scapa Flow, from my bedroom window I could see the “Flotta Flare”, where they burnt off gas from the Flotta oil terminal and the “Barrell of Butter”a famous skerry in the Flow with a winking light.
Child hood was spent quietly pottering about in, or at the edge of, the sea. We had canoes, rowing boats, Dad built a fibreglass yawl in which we sailed to Hoy one memorable summer. Dad was always in his workshop fiddling with & adapting his boat designs. The sea was always there, giving a strong sense of place and reflecting and amplifying changes in the weather from furious storms & gales to calm grey dawns punctuated by the sound of tiny wading birds.
After 10 years we moved into Stromness, to a house which used to be the Inn and watering hole for the Hudson Bay ships. In the sitting room there was a hatch that led to a cellar which filled with sea water during the high equinoctial tides. This house was about, literally, 4 feet from the sea, windsurfing was the thing and Dad took boat tours in his Drascombe lugger.
Aberdeen next, to study History of Art, then seven years working throughout mainland Scotland, Shetland and the Outer & Inner Hebrides as an archaeological fieldworker. I returned to Orkney in 1992 and began to paint in 1994, age thirty.
I moved south again in 1995, spent four years in the Scottish Borders where I met and worked with Diana Bruce who owned the Mainhill Gallery. She helped and encouraged me greatly, suggested I submitt to the RSA, gave me my first gallery backed solo show and took my work to London.
I had to get back to the sea though! So in 1999 with £250 in the bank and my washing machine in the back of my maestro car, I headed for Argyll. Something fell off the car just outside Dumbarton and that was the last of my money gone. I stayed with very kind friends for a couple of months and then found a house on the edge of Loch Sween – new waters to explore, I bought a kayak and met my husband. In 2003 we got married, moved across the Loch to Tayvallich and our first baby Donald was born 5 days before the opening of my solo show at John Martin of London. We went down on the sleeper and attended the opening with Donald in a sling.
Tayvallich lies between Loch Sween and the Sound of Jura. I can hear the sea rushing in and out of the Sound from our bedroom window, my kayak lies in a bush at Carsaig jetty, I don’t get out as much as I did, but I love to be at the water’s edge at dusk or early in the morning, watching the waves and the water’s surface, hearing the wind and the birds, I feel I am home.