The stones endure

By Avril Macdonald


Visiting old stones, such as those on Neolithic sites, I am always struck by the endurance of the material and wonder at the reason for the structures.They certainly have a hold on my imagination and provide me with a link to all our earliest ancestors.


Imagination is one thing but I had the physical experience of a sense of energy emanating from the ground during my last visit to the magnificent stone circle, Callanish, on the Western seaboard of the Isle of Lewis in the Outer Hebrides (or Western Isles) across The Minch from North West Scotland. Perhaps it was caused by a combination of the location, the antiquity of the site and the beauty of Lewis. If not that, then what? A mystery that may not be solved! The unique Monotype, Callanish (right, SOLD) resulted from that visit, a working from memory in oil-based inks of the colours and shapes of the landscape, stones and sky.


The collagraph, Portal, Pentre Ifan (above), was created in response to visiting that site - 5,500 year- old neolithic stones, on a beautiful spring day in Pembrokeshire in 2018. Some time after that visit, other visitors to the site vandalised it by painting graffiti on the stones which, in turn, caused significant damage to lichen on the stones. Police in the area take heritage crime such as this seriously but the site remains open to visitors.


Other stones have also stirred my creative juices such as this selection (right) of beach stones and flotsam washed up on a North Uist beach where I was watching the tide, resulting in a small etching (below).


One occasion where the original photograph  holds its own as a stand-alone work

Beach ware, North Uist Portal, Pentre Ifan weblrge 2 000160 Jolly Roger weblrge