Two years back I was asked to be in a show where the exhibitors had to make a suite of prints in response to a Scottish novel. I chose Muriel Spark’s The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie.
The truism that “the book is better than the film” (which I often dispute) is certainly true here. The book is great, the film not so great. Made on location in 1969, Edinburgh has never looked so bright and colourful, something that perturbed Spark when she saw it. It didn’t feel like the 1930s as she remembered it.
There is a scene in the film where Miss Brodie and her girls are on an outing to the museum on Chambers Street. As I watched it I started thinking of a scene they could have done using the fish that used to be in a tiled pond in the entrance hall.
So this image began life as a print, an etching. School girls looking at fish. A subject you might get in a Japanese print.
An image driven by shape. To me paintings must have a strong abstraction in them, however representational they might be. I hoped the dark shapes of fish would convey some sense of threat, of impending war, a game of battleships.