Colin Brown makes no secret of the fact he was mesmerised after reading the dial on a radio set he was given as a youngster.
All those different places, the far-flung locations, and exotic-sounding names cast a spell over the Scot and he remains bewitched more than four decades later.
So much so that Mr Brown, 57, who is now an acclaimed artist and works at his Stonehaven studio, has created a new exhibition – “A Love Letter to Europe” – which will go on display at the Kilmorack Gallery in Beauly, Invernesshire, later this month.
The Press and Journal caught up with the north-east artist and he explained why he had chosen to focus on this subject for his 15 paintings.
He said: “As a young boy, growing up in Kingussie in the Scottish Highlands, I was given a large radio for my birthday one year.
“Well, the dial just fascinated me with its seemingly random list of European place names. I can remember Lyon, Praha, Hilversum, Bremen, Goteborg, Rotterdam and Berlin – but there were many others and they transported you far away.
“This radio became my constant companion and I scrolled endlessly through the long and short wave bands, picking up fragments of European language and music.
“Occasionally, and with great delight, I stumbled across a football match as well.
“My radio enabled me to realise for the first time that although I was Scottish, I was also part of a bigger picture. It began a lifelong affinity with the continent of Europe, strengthened later by regular visits to its many cities. I even lived among my fellow Europeans for a time, in Italy and Germany.
“Coming forward to the present day, and in light of all the current negative atmosphere, I feel very strongly the need to register my deep love for Europe in its many forms – and to celebrate its diverse cultures, languages and traditions.
“So the idea was formed to create a series of fifteen paintings paying homage to specific cities I have spent time in. This project has now come together into a fully realised exhibition with Kilmorack Gallery.
“Some of these places I know very well, and others less so. But every city in its own way represents a part of the Europe I love.”
Mr Brown, Scotland’s most prominent collage artist, plies his craft from a small, wood-lined studio in Stonehaven. It’s a paint-spattered, paper-patterned milieu where he admits he occasionally loses track of time.
But, as he added: “I wanted to make an important point in this exhibition.
“We are all different and yet we are all the same.”
The exhibition will run from March 16 to April 20.