Thursday, 2 June 2011

Clyde Connections

I was asked to contribute to Homes & Interiors Scotland magazine last year around the time The River Runs Through It exhibition took place in Glasgow's Kelvingrove.

The feature was called I Love This and the format is that someone is asked to talk about a place that they love and why.

I chose the River Clyde because it has flowed through my life in many ways. Here's what I wrote:

I love this...
The Riverside, Glasgow

Annette Edgar lives and works in her native Glasgow. She studied painting at Glasgow School of Art in the late 1970s and her distinctive brightly
coloured palette belies an underlying darkness. She is one of 25 artists exhibiting at Kelvingrove in Glasgow, from November 12 to January 30, 2011, as part of The River Runs Through It, a fundraising exhibition in aid of the Riverside Museum Appeal.

Most classrooms in Glasgow in the 1950s and 1960s had a map of the River Clyde, so as a child I was always conscious of the river. It was everywhere you looked. 

The top deck of a bus was one of the best places to spot boats and cranes, which looked like prehistoric monsters moving slowly and silently in the sky. 

Grey was the predominant colour, and the weeping skies added a mournful quality to most days. Eventually, the sky would turn blue and the sun would shine silver and gold on the river, with the promise of excitement and possibilities.

When I was four, my Uncle Robert took me on to a ship he was working on. The boat was in dock; but, standing on the pier, looking at the height of the gangway, I was terrified. Once on board (wearing a sailor’s hat), I was enthralled. Unfamiliar smells and sounds abounded. Wet rope. Oil. Saltiness. Men shouting. Clashing and bashing. Horns sounding. Bells ringing. 

At that point, I fell in love with the Clyde.

Light reflections and shapes of the river and sea have been an ongoing inspiration in my painting. 

While I remember the Clyde as being silvery grey, I recall the people who worked at the yards being the same colour. They worked long and hard and got dirty in the process. 

Now, a new generation works in a different way in post-industrial Glasgow, but I hope there is room for continuation and possible expansion of shipbuilding.

Driving into Glasgow via the Kingston Bridge, it’s incredible to see the spread of changes that have occurred in the last few decades. It is – and always has been – a great river. 

When other things become a memory, it will still be there. It lives.

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