East Neuk artist Philippa Mitchell turned to the Fife coastline for fresh air and inspiration during the covid lockdown. She walked and sketched through the four seasons, resulting in a vibrant body of work which now illustrates Philippa’s new role as Fife Coastal Path Artist in Residence.
Philippa’s sketches and paintings are characterised by colour, whether it’s the azure waters of a sheltered bay, purple thistle down or the bright yellow splash of buttercups. They reveal a seasonal view of Fife’s shorelines that is personal to the artist and doesn’t always depict the usual iconic locations. Her Fife Coastal Path collection of landscapes and wildlife will be showcased at the Pittenweem Arts Festival running from 5-12 August, along with other pieces of her work.
Fife Coast and Countryside Trust (FCCT) manages and maintains the 117-mile Fife Coastal Path. It links photogenic fishing harbours, award-winning beaches, wildlife reserves, heritage sites and coastal communities.
Philippa walked the entire route with her bird ecologist husband Carl. She explains: “Starting on 1st January, leaving a chilly Kincardine Bridge, we walked, I sketched, and Carl recorded the birdlife through the seasons and the months so that we ended in Newburgh in December as the Christmas lights came on.
“There was snow and ice, hot sun and wildflowers, as well as the odd blister. There was also the constant presence of the changing sea to our right. The Firths of Forth and the Tay, as well as the coastal waters off Fife Ness, reflected the landscape and weather with storm clouds and strings of gannets.”
Training as a textile and surface designer gave the artist her love of colour and pattern as well as drawing and painting skills. Since then, she has been largely self-taught and has lived and worked in wild and beautiful places around the UK including the Highlands, the Cotswolds, Somerset, Wales and the Norfolk fens.
She adds: “Inspired by observations and impressions of specific places experienced, I aim to convey my passionate interest in the natural environment and wildlife in my paintings. My work tells a story or records a moment that I have experienced while walking, usually in my local environment.”
Jeremy Harris, CEO at FCCT, says: “Philippa’s uplifting art has captured the ever-changing colours and moods of the landscape and wildlife along the Fife Coastal Path and we are delighted she has agreed to be our Artist in Residence. I know so many local artists who have been inspired and moved by the spectacular scenery that can be seen from the paths that we manage and am pleased to connect FCCT further with the arts through this residency. We hope that Philippa’s work will inspire many more to put brush to paper and canvas or to sketch!”
Accompanying the collection is a new, limited edition of signed books which is full of paintings, sketches and written notes describing her journey. This and greetings cards are launched in August.
Find Philippa Mitchell at Pittenweem Arts Festival (Venue 53, 19 Marygate) and purchase her work on her website.