As this year’s 3 Harbours Festival drew to a close, one of the prime attractions was the Mural Fest in Cuthill Park, on the outskirts of Prestonpans. Six artists faced the task of painting a mural based on their interpretation of the John Lindsay poem “Scary Haven”. Among the artists was local woman Shelley Jones.
“I wanted to convey the idea of land merging into sea and sea turning into land” she explained. “In the poem the Topaz is the boat that gets stuck.” Shelley represents this idea in the main body of her mural. “The skeleton ships are stuck in the mud and they are never leaving.” There is an element of hope in the painting though as the artist indicated the lone vessel in the top-left corner of her work. “It’s the one that got away” she added with a smile.
Shelley also demonstrates her interest in old maps in her representation of the harbour with it’s tide mill and narrow basin. She stated that these were marked in on the 18th century ordinance survey maps of the harbour.
During previous festivals, Ms Jones has opened her house to other exhibitions but this is the first time she has participated as an active artist herself. I asked her how she found doing the mural.
“Terrifying”, she said. “I’ve never done a mural before.” However, despite any nerves the experience has obviously been a positive one for the artist. “I enjoyed being creative. When you are hosting it’s difficult to see things.” The painter also seemed to revel in the experience of being around the other mural artists.