2010 and the picture for Seb and Lucy for their wedding
 


 
I studied social anthropology around 1970 and one of the recurring topics was the “mother’s brother sister’s son” relationship. You, Seb, are my sister’s son and I am your mother’s brother.
mother's brother
When I moved to Skye, thirty three years ago, I started diving and often went to Varkasaig bay where there was a wreck close to the shore.
Varkasdaig
We found broken pots, timbers, bronze nails and copper cladding, and even a porthole. I never knew what the wreck was.
porthole
Just before Tim was born we had a new roof put on the house.
The builders, Annand and Macaskill (Roddy and Peter) came with Roddy’s son Neil as their labourer.
house
I have been interested in Buddhism and contemplation most of my life.
Buddha
 I found a contemplative poet, Thomas Merton, an American Trappist monk, who wrote a strange and perceptive poem, The Geography of Lograire. It includes a section about Malinowski, the first modern anthropologist, and Cargo Cults in New Guinea.
Thomas Merton
When I was in Papua New Guinea, some people there thought I had been sent by the Bank of Scotland to help them obtain the wealth from their ancestors. They believed that the wealth was being intercepted by the local white population.
My New Guinea house
I have been wondering about paintings with only one colour. I have done blue ones and yellow ones. This year I did a red one and had it framed at Marion’s studio just inland from Varkasaig bay. Between us we chose “champagne” for the mount and “gold” for the frame.
red painting at home

Reading around I discovered the Ten Kasinas, part of 40 objects of meditation recommended by the Buddha. I noticed “staring at red”, “staring at blue”, “staring at white” and “staring at yellow (or green)”.

kasina web site

Two days after my mother died last year, Neil Annand came to our house. I had not spoken to him since he helped put the roof on in 1984. He was researching the wreck at Varkasaig. He spent his childhood nearby. He had found the name boards from the ship that had been salvaged and kept in a shed and eventually resurfaced. It was called Yemassee, an American Indian name.

Neil with name board
Name board
When we were in Edinburgh to buy a bed for our flat, I went to the National Library of Scotland to look up Lloyd’s List to see what was known about the wrecked ship and also to look at some New Guinea photos by Malinowski taken in 1918.
Lloyd's list
Inverness Courier
Malinowski in the Trobriand Islands
At the top of the stairs there was a small exhibition of concrete poetry. One book page on show was of a simple blue blob by Robert Lax. I liked it.
Robert Lax in Patmos
The ship was one of the last American transatlantic sailing packets. It had completed 15 crossings between South Carolina and Liverpool. It was wrecked in a fierce storm in January 1859 attempting to return to South Carolina. The American Civil War was looming and the shipping company was destroyed by that and the rise of steamships
Similar ship to Yemassee
I went to see The Scottish Poetry library to find the person who made the exhibition in the National Library. She found me a pile of things by the poet Robert Lax. He was a close friend of Thomas Merton and also a painter called Ad Reinhardt who painted nearly black squares. 
Black moods by Ad Reinhardt
Robert Lax lived on the Greek island of Patmos for thirty years and has been called “the prophet of slowness”. The librarian found a DVD about Robert Lax called
“Why should I buy a bed when all I want is sleep?”
I liked that.
We had struggled to buy a bed at Ikea in Edinburgh. We got parts which did not fit together and only after three exhausting visits did we finally have a bed in the flat.
Robert Lax DVD
So that is how I have come to chose this picture for you two, a blue blob with words by Robert Lax, framed in champagne and gold,

with love from Robert and Anne.

Blue blob