June’s Stateside work inspired by her family history in Eyemouth

June Renwick with one of her paintings
June Renwick with one of her paintings

DESPITE living in America, artist June Renwick has maintained strong family connections to Eyemouth and has donated a copy of her latest book to the town’s library.

Now a resident of Atlanta, Georgia, June is thousands of miles away from the town where her mother Margaret Macaulay and brother Colin live, but having spent many a happy time in Berwickshire as a youngster her Stateside work is often inspired by Border history.

Like many others, June’s family was torn apart by the events of ‘Black Friday’, the fishing disaster which claimed the lives of many fishermen on the east coast in October 1881, with both her great, great grandfathers and other relatives perishing at sea. Having been told both sad and happy stories from the sea growing up, she said she couldn’t not be influenced by tales from the past.

“I was regaled with stories of the sea. My grandfather was a fisherman and my grandmother, Elizabeth Maltman, was a fisher lass,” she explained.

“Last time I looked there was a photograph of her and her workmates on the back of one of the fish trucks, hanging in Mackays fish and chip shop in Eyemouth High Street. It is such a beautiful part of the world, it stays in your heart forever, no matter how far away you are. So much so that my husband and I bought a house overlooking the harbour in St Abbs about 12 years ago to enjoy the beautiful walks and scenery and escape the desperate heat of Atlanta summers.”

June’s said the decision to donate a copy on her new book, published by celebrated U.S artist Dominic Pangborn, was an easy one to make

“Eyemouth library is my mother’s second home, I think she must have read every book on the shelves by now! When she came over to America to visit in October I decided to dedicate the book to Eyemouth library in honour of my grandmother. People live and die, sometimes without leaving a ripple behind them; I thought it would be a nice way to honour her and her family, people who did not have an easy life, but worked very hard and made a good life out of very little.”