NATURE is taking its course in the art of Hetty Haxworth and Kit Martin. The two women, who will be showing a new collection of work at Brechin Town House Museum from next weekend, are long-standing friends. Both travel regularly from their homes to make new work at Dundee Print Studio and printmaking collective, Printroom Dundee. Haxworth near Fettercairn in rural Aberdeenshire and Martin across the water from Dundee, in Newport-on-Tay in Fife,

Having both lived in Glasgow before moving to these rural locations, the two artists admit their surroundings have seeped into their consciousnesses with different – and surprising – results.

Haxworth's new series of monoprints, screen prints and wood and perspex relief paintings document the movement of light over the Aberdeenshire landscape, capturing moments in time through colour and a deft line. Regular furrows and pylon lines provide stripes while ploughed fields add a colourful patchwork. Framing this scene are man-made structures; the rigid lines of fences and the cattle byres, which turn landscape into a geometric study.

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As the year passes, the seasons alter the context of these scenes. "I have been living in Aberdeenshire for eight years and the longer we are here," says Haxworth, "the more I notice the subtle changes as the seasons progress. Maybe it's an age thing!"

The Oxford-born artist says she has also been influenced by books. "When I first came here I read Lewis Grassic Gibbon's Scots Quair trilogy and that had a big impact on me. I went on to read other authors who write beautifully about the land, such as Laurie Lee and Steinbeck. Recently, while making this new work, I have been reading The Moon and the Bonfire by Italian author Cesare Pavese. That has seeped in too.

"I made a monoprint, A Place of Sunsets, after a good friend died at the end of last year. At the time, there was an intense period of incredible sunsets. This work is all about that time."

The changing landscape within the four seasons is captured beautifully in Haxworth's work. Carpets of snow cover the farmland in winter with blue shadows and criss-crossing black lines while spring is illuminated by the yellow of daffodils, oil seed rape and gorse. Summer shimmers with the purples of heather, pale yellow grasses and verdant green fields. In autumn, the land fades to russet browns and orange.

The process of monoprinting mirrors the transience and immediacy of nature. Each line can only be made once, making a single, unique image. The vibrancy of the oil based ink in this process is used to build up texture by overprinting extra tones and to make the hues vibrate against each other. Printing in this organic way is an exploration in itself. The full effect is revealed only at the very end of the process. Haxworth has made a short film about the process of making prints for the exhibition which visitors will be able to view.

Kit Martin, who has a background in medical and forensic photography, has been drawn to the natural world by taking a closer look at the detail.

Working with the zoology collection in The Bell Pettigrew Museum at the University of St Andrews for the past three years, she has been making prints using a technique developed in the early days of photography known as the cyanotype process. Also known as the photographic blueprint, this technique was invented by astronomer, chemist and experimental photographer Sir John Herschel in 1842.

Herschel was looking for a way to copy his notes and realised that by mixing two iron salts together, he produced a substance which was sensitive to ultraviolet light. This, he realised, could be applied to paper and an image made by contact printing.

While rooting about in The Bell Pettigrew Museum store, Martin came across drawers full of glass plates made by Professor Michael Stuart Laverack in the 1970s. The plates featured land and air-based creatures, as well as organic plant material. Professor Laverack, a zoologist, marine biologist, photographer and screenprinter, worked at the university, primarily in the Gatty Marine Laboratory, for 31 years until a couple of years before he died in 1993.

Martin explains: "I decided I would try to make cyanotypes from his glass plates, by making a digital negative from them. There was very little information with the original glass plates, some of which were made as positives and some as negatives."

"I also made cyanotypes made at the sea shore, as well as lumen prints. These are contact prints, made by placing fresh plant materials directly onto light-sensitive photographic paper and exposing them to sunlight for around three hours."

The resulting work veers between abstract and figurative. Hauntingly beautiful, it's as though Martin has revived a metaphorical butterfly trapped in the aspic of the past.

Placed together, Haxworth and Martin's work makes a perfectly balanced contrast. Haxworth's work echoes the grand sweep of the land as it changes across the course of a year, while Martin homes in on the infinitesimal detail of nature in a forensic, yet wonderous, fashion.

By looking in their own distinct ways, both have arrived at an end-point which speaks of the beauty of nature in its many guises.

Hetty Haxworth and Kit Martin, Brechin Town House Museum, Brechin, Angus, from September 2 – September 30.

www.kitmartinphoto.co.uk & www.hetty-haxworth.co.uk

Hetty Haxworth and Kit Martin will be running a screenprint and sunprint workshop on Saturday September 9 from 2-4pm in Brechin Town House Museum. Book at www.ticketsource.co.uk/angusalive or pay at the door.