The Hopeton Monument sits upon Byre Hill, part of the Garleton Hills in East Lothian. It serves as a visual cue to me on returning home that I have not far to go. The winding roads that lead to it from all around accentuate this rather modest hill and make it almost lofty.
From way back when, I have loved driving towards the Hill and its monument. This chimney type edifice was built to honour the Honourable John Hope, the 4th Earl of Hopetoun - he later became Lord Niddry. The monument is all of 95 feet or 30 metres tall and 132 steps take you to the top from where you can enjoy magnificent views.
Over the years I have spent a lot of time studying, sketching and photographing Byres Hill and the Monument. It has become an obsession. As to why I really cannot say. Perhaps it is something to do with being a personal landmark. Perhaps it is to do with the landscape in which it sits. Autumn and winter lay bare the fields so the plough lines are on display. The contours of these lines mirror those of the hedgerows and the road that travels on upwards towards the monument.
Today I finished an artwork based on all the material I have collated over the years. Intent on working solely in acrylic, I stuck to my guns until right at the end when I could not resist a signature collaged tree. Hopefully the whole painting - which is not large conveys the wonders of the East Lothian landscape; its rich autumnal colouring and its patterns.
Carol E Duff