Skip to main content

John o' Groats Hotel

John o' Groats House Hotel
25 x 35 cm

The settlement of John o' Groats gets its name from a Dutchman, called Jan de Groot, who ran a ferry from there to the Orkney Isles in the early 16th Century.

The striking John o' Groats House Hotel was built in 1875, near to the site of Jan de Groot's house. It's in a run-down state at the moment, but there are plans to renovate it and to improve the area generally.


  1. Nice little sketch, with a lovely story along with it.

    Jan de Groot, yes a very familiar name over here still.

  2. I wandered through you blog again
    to see what I was missing here and
    now I know what it's missing in
    this sketch. It's the suggestion!
    It's much to much painted out, the
    last time you painted Jan's house
    it was more simplified, suggestive
    and there for more interesting for
    the viewer to imagine things.

    Maybe you should do some urban
    scene more often, for that matter
    I would love too see where you
    live, ... in watercolour that is.

  3. Beautiful painting - I have been up there and you make it seem less desolate than it felt on that day. I hope the hotel's face lift goes well and it is restored to its former glory.

  4. Keith, I like it. continued happy painting to you.

  5. Thanks René. I can see what you mean. When I paint buildings close-up, I tend to treat them as portraits and get caught up in trying to get a true likeness. When they are further away it's easier to paint them more loosely. That's something I'll have to think about.

  6. Thanks PurestGreen. It would be really desolate without the hotel.

  7. Hi Keith!... It's a "dilly"!... It's a Tilley! Stay the course!Your paintings have a panoramic beauty... they say Scotland.... sunny... and unfettered spaces.

    Good Painting my Friend!

  8. Does the desolation of the scene and the grandeur of the hotel actually 'come together'? I realize, of course, that this is the reality of the scene, but it is interesting that two so disparate images can reside together. For me, they both seem to pull in their own direction.

  9. I think it was the contrast that interested me Diane. I seem to be drawn to buildings in isolated positions.


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Moorland Fire

Moorland Fire Watercolour 25 x 36 cm
There is a definite feeling of approaching autumn now, with some cooler days and more unsettled weather. It hardly seems any time at all since the spring, when there was a long spell of dry weather and the moors were tinder-dry. There were a number of serious fires at the time and several nature reserves were badly damaged. I think they were mostly caused by accident or carelessness this time, but unfortunately there are people who seem to get satisfaction from starting fires deliberately.

The fire in this painting is of a different kind. Every year between, autumn and spring, shooting estates burn off small patches of moorland to leave a patchwork of heather. This encourages the breeding of grouse, with the old growth providing cover and the new shoots providing food. The operation has to be done very carefully, because fires can easily get out of control, and once the underlying peat starts to burn it can burn for days and is very difficult to p…

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

Trying Out a Pochade Box

I had an old box for storing photographic transparencies that wasn't being used any more. It was just the right size to make a good pochade box, so I thought I would see what I could do with it. I fitted out the lid to hold two 8 x 10 inch panels, with the base holding the paints and brushes and a palette holding everything in place.

For its first trial I took it out to the same location as the previous post. This time it was raining, so it was an ideal opportunity to see how I would get on painting with the pochade inside my vehicle. It worked very well in the cramped conditions and was very easy to use.

When I had finished I just closed the lid and went home. Later, when I opened the box again, I found a blob of Pthalo Green right in the middle of the painting! I think the wood that I used for the palette was too flexible, so it had got pushed up into the lid. I was using acrylics, so normally it would have been easy to wash the green off. Unfortunately, I was trying out Atelie…