Belties, Boats and Wee Biddies...
plural of 'belty' [bell-tee]
'The Belted Galloway is a traditional
Scottish breed of beef cattle'
"“I’m often asked where the inspiration for my work comes from, especially my ‘Belties’, ‘Boats’ and ‘Wee Biddies’.
The Belted Galloway are an iconic breed and a favourite of mine.
Although native to Dumfries and Galloway, they can be found all over Scotland in my paintings and regularly make it onto my Clyde Puffers as a helmsman or a ships mate."
Originating from western Scotland, Belted Galloways are perfectly suited to the wet, cold winters and the boggy soft terrain of Scottish farms.
Their long, curly outer-coat is ideal for rainy weather, as its coarseness deflects moisture from the animal’s skin.
They also have a soft undercoat to keep them warm in colder temperatures and the head of the Beltie has long hair around its ears, preventing frostbite in a case of an extreme freeze.
"Growing up, my parents lived in Inveraray and I loved visiting and seeing the ‘Vital Spark’ moored at the jetty.
Puffers have always fascinated me, the solid, industrial majesty of the hull and the huge sheets of steel held together with massive rivets are a joy to paint."
plural of 'biddy' [bid-ee]
'an old woman' 'an old biddy'
The Clyde puffer is a type of small coal-fired and single-masted cargo ship, built mainly on the Forth and Clyde canal, and which provided a vital supply link around the west coast and Hebrides of Scotland.
Built between 1856 and 1939, these stumpy little steamboats achieved an almost mythical status thanks largely to the short stories Neil Munro wrote about the Vital Spark and her captain Para Handy, which produced three television series.
the Vital Spark is "aal hold, with the boiler behind, four men and a derrick, and a watter-butt and a pan loaf in the foc'sle"
"As for my Wee Biddies, it’s difficult to say…. I remember seeing an old lady walking down Sauchiehall Street on a hot summers day, wearing a coat and headscarf.
It struck me she always wore the same outfit whatever the weather and the image stuck in my head!
"I like to put my wee biddies on boats and in fields and send them on adventures.
I like to think she is a homage to my own grandmother who I sadly never had the privilege of meeting"