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The Old Man of Hoy

The Old Man of Hoy
16 x 26 cm

I painted this watercolour in a bold manner, which suited the rugged subject matter. I started with the dark areas on the rock stack and let these run into the cliffs behind, which I painted in one wash. Then I continued with the hillside, also completed while it was still wet. While these areas were drying, I painted the background coastline and the sea in the foreground. I completed the rock stack with a wash of pale colour and put a bit of dark detail onto the cliffs. Finally, I painted the sky and a bit of detail in the water.


  1. Ever climbed it Keith?!

    Stunning, each time you amaze me how much mass you can put in such a tiny sheet of paper.

  2. Keith, honestly, I know I gush on a regular basis about your work, but this is just awesome, awesome! I am going to share on my Facebook!!

  3. No I wouldn't be very happy climbing it René! I would like to get over to Hoy one day though.

  4. Thanks for that glowing comment, Nicki!

  5. you make it sound easy keith,
    but i know i couldn't do these water colours,a wonderful image keith!

  6. Nice work Keith, and like most of your land/seascapes, very easy on the eye.

  7. Well I've had plenty of practice Rob. I would find oils more difficult.

  8. I find the sky very interesting it leads the eye to the stack and cliffs very well. There is an impressive view of this when arriving at Orkney the ship passes by this and it always looks so impressive. I have stood on that cliff looking down at the stack after a long walk there and part of it was very steep in places. A lovely painting of the stack Keith.

  9. Hi Keith!... Another beautifully composed gem!

    Your dark massing of the cliff fairly embraces the side-lit Old Man-very effective use of light against dark!

    You achieve so much in the way of effective colour with a very limited palette. Love the simple but elegant sky passage as well!

    "Simply".... Lovely Keith!

    Good Painting!
    Warmest regards,

  10. Yes Caroline, I got this view from the ferry to Orkney. I took lots of photographs as the ship sailed past.

    One day I'd like to go over to Hoy and do that walk out to the cliffs. In fact it would be great to camp there and watch the sun set over the sea. Another dream to add to my growing list!

  11. Hi Bruce, I think the limited palette definitely helps with getting the values right. Reducing the number of decisions that have to be made is an advantage, especially in a quick painting.

    All the best,

  12. Another stunner Keith. You always make your paintings look so simple. I love the way the rightmost cliff face stands forward from the rest giving a real sense of dimension.

  13. Thanks John. I think the paintings look simple because, in a way, they are simple. I try to ignore detail as much as possible and concentrate on an overall impression.

  14. Hi Keith
    ´Nice paintings. I like it indeed.
    All the best for you :)

  15. Hi Keith,

    Hope the world up there is getting warmer. Still, so much opportunity for some great snow scenes.

    Lovely watercolour, yet again. Maybe next time a watercolour from the top of the 'Old Man of Hoy' to give us the view!

    Regards John

  16. Thanks Keith... Now I managed to get into my account!
    Once again... A stunning piece of work.

    Happy Painting..


  17. Thanks John. I think painting from the top of the rock stack might qualify as 'Extreme Watercolour'!

  18. An imposing painting Keith with lovely warms tones and light.

  19. Hello Ingrid. I hope you've been coping with the winter weather.

    I was really pleased with the strength of tone and colour in this one.


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