• Dragon

  • The way to the studio

MARGARET SHILLAN

From Scotland to India

Formerly artist-in-residence in Scotland in Pishwanton Life Science Centre, a piece of special land which is an education centre. I had the chance to use a huge studio with no electricity or water, which meant I was thrown into very close contact with nature. I had to walk there each day through mist, rain and sun, observing all the contrasts. Great sweeps of golden fields of barley; flooded lanes with dry stone walls either side;  and the wild geese flying overhead honking.

I also regularly travel to India to visit some friends who have an artist’s ashram in South India. I have been there many times before but what a contrast to Scotland!  In early spring the lilac jacaranda trees are just coming into flower. But I am much more interested in the mythology and festivals than nature. The image of Makara, a kind of dragon with a lotus coming out of his mouth; or the festival belonging to him where for one day the light falls onto the sacred stone in the temple through the horns of Nandi, the sacred bull. In India everything is full of life as you can see from the Syrian cross which includes the rainbow, the four sacred rivers of paradise and the flowering and budding cross itself.