A personal view of Calanais

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ARTIST Jill Smith’s ‘Personal Vision of the Calanais Stones and Landscapes of the Western Isles’ will be exhibited for visitors to the Farmhouse Gallery at Calanais Visitor Centre in a celebration of the Summer Solstice, writes Eilidh Whiteford.

Now retired and rarely showing her work, this is a perfect opportunity to see some of Jill’s original artwork in the exhibition which runs from June 20 to 25. Jill’s own particular and personal vision of the Callanish Stones, at which she has spent a great deal of time over nearly 30 years, in all weathers and at all times of the year, has special meaning to her.

A former actress, Jill’s view of the world changed when she moved to a small farm in Norfolk and began to spend much more time alone at Neolithic sites around Britain.

After visiting the Callanish Stones in 1982, she lost her heart to the islands and moved to Gravir in South Lochs, Lewis, in 1986.

Here she developed her pastel artwork, exhibiting it in her own hall, to which people came from all over the world. She sold cards and prints at craft fairs in Stornoway and wrote articles for many magazines. She also wrote poetry which she performed with slides of her work, presenting this at venues all over the country. After a move to Glastonbury, where she spent 10 years continuing her artwork, Jill also wrote two books – The Callanish Dance and Mother of the Isles.

During that time however, she returned to the islands at least once a year and finally settled back in Lewis in 2008, at Aird, Uig.Though now retired, Jill still creates her artwork and is excited at the prospect of showing it at Callanish.