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!


Friday, August 8, 2014

Recent Sales

Thanks to everyone who purchased my paintings at The Castle of Mey and recent art shows, and to regular customers on their annual visit to the area.

Here are some of the paintings that have now gone to new homes.


"Loch More in Winter's Grip" - watercolour - 16 x 26 cm

"Maiden Pap" - watercolour - 16 x 26 cm

"Low-tide at Wester Haven" - watercolour - 16 x 26 cm

"Thulachan, Strathmore" - watercolour - 16 x 26 cm

"Sunshine and Rough Sea at Dounreay" - watercolour - 16 x 26 cm

"Along the River at Westerdale" - watercolour - 24 x 36 cm

"A Flow Country Bothy, Shurrery" - watercolour - 24 x 36 cm


"Scrabster Lighthouse" - watercolour - 24 x 36 cm

"The Old Man of Stoer" - watercolour - 24 x 36 cm