Skip to main content

The Wind and The Sun

We have been having some nice weather recently, so I set out, the other day, hoping to find a nice sheltered spot to paint in and enjoy the warmth of the sun. Unfortunately, I couldn't find anything that appealed to me where I could work in comfort. The subject which really caught my eye involved painting facing into a cold wind. I thought about not doing it, but it was too good to miss and I didn't want to waste any more time looking around.

As it turned out, the sun proved to be a nuisance, combining with the wind to dry out the washes too quickly. In several places I only just got away with working into previously laid areas without the paint running too much. I will have to remember to put the washes on wetter as the weather gets warmer.
The wind was also a problem as usual. I like to hold the brush at the end of the handle and move it with my whole arm, but in a strong wind it is difficult to make it go where I want it to. On this occasion, when I was painting the sea , a sudden gust of wind carried the brush up over the distant cliffs. I knew that the sun would dry it quickly and it was only by dabbing, with a wet brush and a tissue, that I was able to rescue the situation.
I eventually reached a point where I had most of the painting completed, but the wind was becoming very wearing and I felt that I was beginning to lose interest. When this happens I usually stop and finish it off at home. After looking at the subject for so long I can retain enough of it in my memory to put in any finishing touches later.

The nearly finished painting

It is interesting to compare the watercolour with the photograph taken at the time. The distant Orkney Islands seem much further away in the latter, but to me, on the spot, they seemed much nearer. This is often the case with photographs, where distance is exaggerated, and illustrates one of the dangers of working from them.
Despite the difficulties, I was fairly happy with the finished painting and I think I caught the effect of the sunshine on the cliffs. It was just a shame that what could have been a pleasant experience turned out to be a struggle again. I will just have to be patient and wait for the better weather, and the midges!

Ushat Head and HoyWatercolour, 10 x 14 inches


  1. you did ever so well and made the most of that situation keith,the painting looks fresh,great sense of distance
    if there is something i can't stand it is the wind,it just goes into my brain and gets really anoying.

  2. No, it makes nice waves but it's not so good for painting in.
    Believe it or not, there is a big surfing competition here this week and there is no wind, so no waves!

  3. I felt as though I was there, Keith, battling with the wind and yet, at the same time, really wanting to finish the painting. It looks as though you succeeded - the painting is really beautiful.

  4. Thanks for your comments Diane. I'm glad you like the painting.
    I have had a quick peek at your blog and it looks interesting.I will have to spend some time reading through it and taking it all in.


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

North Coast 500

In 2015 the North Highland Initiative started a project to boost tourism in the northern counties of Scotland. The idea was to publicise a 500 mile route through Inverness-shire, Ross & Cromarty, Sutherland and my home county of Caithness, and promote it as a superb road trip. I don't know how successful they expected it to be, but it has quickly become very popular and has been called one of the top five coastal routes in the World. In fact its popularity is becoming a problem for the local residents: some of the roads are single-track, with bays at intervals to allow two vehicles to pass each other, but there is an etiquette for their use that strangers are not always aware of. The result is that local people going about their business find themselves held up by slow-moving tourist vehicles, so if you use the route please pull over and allow other vehicles to pass. The amount of traffic will probably also cause damage to the roads, which were not intended for heavy use. Desp…

Old Broubster Village

Throughout the Highlands in the Nineteenth Century, tenant farmers were evicted from their homes, or 'crofts', during the notorious Highland Clearances. Landowners, in a drive for efficiency and more profitable land use, wanted to replace the old system of small-holdings with large sheep ranches. The crofters were forced out of their scattered homes, often in a brutal manner, and re-housed in new communities. The land that they were given was often of poor quality and they had to work hard to maintain even a subsistence level of life. During this period many people took up the offer of a new life overseas, emigrating to Canada, New Zealand and Australia, where their descendants still have strong links with Scotland.

In 1839 tenants from the estates of Broubster and Shurrery, in Caithness, were resettled in a new village. Land was provided for them, but they probably had to build their own houses. The dwellings were in the form of long-houses, which consisted of a …

Christmas Wishes

A couple of my latest watercolours and -

Best Wishes to all for Christmas

"The Fuel Bowser", Watercolour, 24 x 18 cm

"View at Skelbo", Watercolour, 16 x 26 cm