Migrations

Derek Robertson

Derek Robertson is an artist based in Balmerino in Fife, site of a ruined abbey and subject of a poem by William McGonagall. His studio is right on the Fife Coastal Path. His main interest is wildlife, and in my view he is extremely good at depicting it. Take a look at his website.

One of his interests was in depicting migrating birds, and he had travelled to North Africa and the Middle East in his researches. A couple of years ago, when the world watched appalled at the plight of human migrants, he recognised some of the places he had visited, and decided that he had to get involved. So he travelled there, helped the migrants in various ways, and produced a series of paintings with the title “Migrations”, combining images of migrating birds and migrating humans (the latter often in terrible conditions).

Indeed, the picture he is pointing to in the photo (work in progress) is based on a remarkable event that he witnessed in Jordan; but I can’t really tell it here, and anyway you can’t even see the incomplete picture very well in my photo.

He was a featured exhibitor at the recent Pittenweem Arts Festival. His exhibition in the Old Town Hall was of wildlife pictures, but a smaller exhibition in the Church Hall showed pictures from his Migrations series.

Enough to say that I was blown away by these, although they were not for sale. But we met Derek later when we got to the Town Hall, and he said that he could arrange for one to be printed for us.

The one I chose was called “For the wayfarer that you meet”, and featured a bee-eater against a background showing the hospitality of the people of Jordan to travelling guests. Apart from the fact that I think it is a great painting, the bee-eater brings back memories of being entertained by this colourful and extremely agile flier in a park in Cairns some years ago. If you go to this page and scroll down, you can see an image of the picture, and also read about the creation of this remarkable series.

Today the print was ready, so I took the bus from St Andrews to Balmerino Road End and walked down into the village to Derek’s cottage to collect the print. Derek was kind enough to make me a cup of tea and then take me to the bus stop afterwards.

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About Peter Cameron

I count all the things that need to be counted.
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