My latest illustration was inspired by a conversation with my sister. She lives in Australia and though we manage to stay connected through technology, she still feels homesick for all the people and places she loves in Scotland. It’s been three years since she’s been home, so I thought I’d get creative and remind her what she’s missing. What could be more reminiscent of Scotland than rain – especially when Scotland has so many different types to choose from.
As it turns out, we Scots have over 100 words for the myriad of forms rain takes – each more descriptive than the last. I then had the idea to combine these words with a mark-making exercise to replicate the look and feel of said rain being described. My sister loved it so much I thought I’d share it with you.
If you are unfamiliar with Scottish rain, it may surprise you to know rain doesn’t always fall in a uniform manner – (i.e., straight down from the sky to the ground). It often bounces off the ground (stoatin) in a persistent, deafening cacophony or it’s blown sideways in your face by a strong wind (yillen). This type of rain can feel like needles to the face and eyes – while the dreich type of rain just hangs, limp in the air. It’s a ‘feeling’ that permeates everything in a slow, somewhat dreary manner. Dreich is the more depressed cousin of Smirr (lazy rain) in that you don’t see physically formed raindrops, but everything is just a hazy, frizzy dampness. In fact, the word smirr sounds very much like the Danish word for mist which is smoor – so you can really get a sense of what this rain feels like.
Scotland is without doubt one of the most stunning and lush in the world. It is one of the things my sister comments on when she does make it home – how green and lush everything is compared to some of the dried, sunburnt vistas of Australia. So, while we may bitterly complain about the rain in all its forms, it is part of our identity and is the source of much of the natural beauty that surrounds us here – the mountains, the lochs, the heather, the grain for the whisky … oh I better stop there. I don’t want to make my sister homesick all over again.
If you love the rain or perhaps you are someone living away from Scotland and you’re feeling just a touch homesick, then this could be just the print for you. The print will soon be available to buy in the online store – once I replenish my stock levels – in the meantime, you can order from me by sending a messages on Facebook on Instagram.
I thought I’d let my sister have the last word on this one since it was created with her in mind after all.
“I love this – it’s a perfect combination of the Scots language, Scottish weather and creativity. It really does connect me instantly with home and memories of dreich days and getting drookit. I never thought I’d miss the different types of rain, but your clever work even conjures up the smell for me. Love. Love. Love.”