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The Hills Which Turned Blue

Crags on Cairn Lochan
26 x 36 cm

The old name for The Cairngorms range of mountains is 'Am Monadh Ruadh', or The Red Hills. The name probably refers to the pink colour of the granite, which makes them glow red in the setting sun. However, in modern times the whole range has come to be known by the name of one of its mountains, Cairn Gorm.

This has led to an amusing paradox: Cairn Gorm means 'Blue Hill', so The Red Hills have now become The Blue Hills! Also, signs in the National Park are in Gaelic and English, so the mountains are red or blue, depending upon which language is used.


  1. Hi there Keith!... A beautiful watercolour! You have managed to satisfy both languages... with your skillful combination of the blues and the reds in this one!

    The foreground rock formation has a Sphinx look... and evokes within "Me" an early memory:

    My name is Ozymandias,
    King of kings!
    Look upon my works ye mighty,
    And despair!

    Remember that one Keith? I will remember this Tilley just as well! A beauty!

    Good painting!
    Warmest regards,

  2. You've got a great sense of distance in this one Keith and I find my eyes drawn to the hazy sunlit horizon. Superb.

  3. Hi Bruce,

    Yes, that's another figure in the rocks. I well remember those lines, they are so powerful and evocative.

    All the best,

  4. Thanks John. The sense of distance was all important in this one. The rocks are on the edge of an escarpment with a big drop beyond and terrific views out over Strath Spey.

  5. After visiting Bruce, I found your blog and so happy that I did. I went through all your paintings and was so impressed. Your work is beautiful. Thank you for sharing them and looking forward to more of your pieces.

  6. Hi Hilda, thanks for taking the time to look through my paintings. I'm glad you enjoyed your visit and I look forward to meeting you here again.

  7. Lovely painting Keith, I like the watercolour technique in this painting there is a nice balance between delicate washes and some more detailed work in the rocks. Just enough detail the work still looks fresh.

  8. Red or Blue, Keith this is a beautiful piece, it always amazes me how landscape artists can bring to mind all the senses even though you've never been there...
    And the word Cairn..... I've had 3 Cairn Terriers in my life.. feisty little guys too... BJ

  9. You manged to create great depth using a limited palette. Nice detail in the foreground too.

  10. Hi Barbra Joan,

    It's that feeling of wanting to share the experience that inspires me to paint landscapes.

    I had a West Highland Terrier once - very similar to a Cairn and, yes, feisty is the right word!

  11. Hi Keith enjoyed seeing your works at the Latheronwheel art show.

    Did I see a couple that aren't on the website (e.g. the mill?) or is my recollection not so good?

    I have started putting my paintings on a website too.

    Maybe you could take a look at my website at
    no www! Click on a picture to enlarge it.

  12. Hi Peter, I'm glad you enjoyed the paintings. You're right about the website, I haven't put some of them on there yet.

    I like your Newton Hill painting. The way you've suggested Wick in the background, with just a few buildings picked out, is very nice. The Reiss Beach painting looks promising as well. I hope you can get a photo of the finished painting sometime. Are they both acrylics?

  13. Hi Keith thanks for your reply. My first thought on seeing your Mill painting was "that's a quality painting why haven't I seen it on the website?", possibly an interesting response saying as much about the times we live in with the internet! Also it is good to see your paintings in the flesh, to really appreciate the light.
    Aye the painting of Reiss beach turned out fine (if I say so myself) and is currently hung on my sitting room wall so I will update the photo. You are right they are acrylics. I have a much looser style now/since then and will try and get my last few paintings up on the site.


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