Monday, November 17, 2014

Memories and Imaginings

"Ruin Above Halkirk" - watercolour - 16 x 26 cm
Another of the old ruined crofts that are spread throughout the landscape of Caithness. For a few local people they hold memories of family or lost communities, while for others they are a source of romantic imaginings.


Friday, October 10, 2014

The value of keeping sketchbooks

Over the years I have built up a large collection of sketchbooks. Occasionally I look back through them, enjoying the flood of memories that come to me, as well as seeing how my sketching has developed. They are also a good source of fresh material for studio work, when my recent sketches don't inspire me.

Looking at some sketchbooks from 25 years ago, I found the sketch below, from the time that I spent on the Isle of Arran. I could still remember the colour scheme, so I decided to try a painting of it.


Pencil sketch made in Glen Catacol, Isle of Arran


'Glen Catacol, Arran' - watercolour - 25 x 36 cm

The crag on the left is called 'Creag na h'Iolaire', which means 'Crag of the Eagle', so I couldn't resist putting in an eagle soaring above the glen. It was useful for adding interest and balance anyhow.

After I finished the painting, I remembered that I had made a watercolour about the same time as the sketch. I managed to find an old pre-digital photo of it, which I photographed again to upload here, hence the poor quality. I was interested to see how my painting has developed in the 25 years between the two versions.


'Glen Catacol' - watercolour - 23 x 34 cm







Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Sunshine and Showers

My favourite weather for painting is a mixture of sunshine and rain showers. I love the contrast between the sunlit yellows of the landscape and the dark blue-greys of the heavy clouds. The cloud shadows are useful for composing the tonal values of the painting, allowing a kind of spotlight to be shone on certain features.

These are two versions of the same subject, with the sunlight used to provide different focal points.


"Dwarwick Head, Clouds Building" - watercolour - 16 x 26 cm

"Dwarwick Head, Rain Clouds" - watercolour - 16 x 26 cm










Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Scrabster Ice Quay

"The Ice Quay at Scrabster" - watercolour - 13 x 18 cm


A while ago I posted a painting of a 19th Century ice-house. This is a small watercolour of the modern equivalent, at Scrabster. A refrigeration plant produces ice in industrial qualities, which is piped into fishing boats moored at the quay alongside.


Monday, August 18, 2014

Syre Church, a Tin Tabernacle

"Syre Church" - watercolour - 16 x 26 cm

Syre Church, a small church in Strathnaver. It was built in the late 19th Century by the Free Church, a group which broke away from the established church in protest against the control of rich landowners.

The building is of a type known as “tin tabernacles”. These were pre-fabricated structures, made of corrugated iron. They were quick and easy to construct and were often used by non-conformists. They also make attractive subjects for artists!