Skip to main content


Haymaking at Loch Calder
18 x 25 cm

It's that time of year again, when there is a sudden flurry of activity to get the hay in while the weather is good. I was talking to a farmer the other day and there seems to be a lot of skill and judgement involved in hay-making. Apparently, the grass has to lie in the field for a few days after it has been cut, in order to dry out. If it's left too long though it goes off. There is no problem when the weather is fine and settled, but when some days are wet the whole process becomes a gamble: Whether to bale up the hay today, even though it's still a bit damp, or wait until tomorrow and hope that it doesn't rain. Even a bit of fog overnight can spoil things, so in our changeable climate it must be very difficult.


  1. Hi there Keith!... Another bright summer gem! This beautiful summerscape... could well be found anywhere here in Canada right now as well!Our farmers are busy taking in the hay and harvesting grains everywhere you look.

    It's true for artists as well as farmers Keith. When the weather is sunny.. hot and favourable... one must "make hay"! HA HA!!

    Good Painting and Happy Summer Plein Airing!
    Warmest regards,

  2. Super painting - I love this time of year, but I am glad I am not a farmer, they are rushing around like bees at the moment, frantically trying to get it all done.

    I must get out there and paint some of these, myself, it is a few years since I did some bales!

  3. Hi Bruce,

    Yes I hadn't thought about our own gambling with the weather. The other day I had just set up my easel when it started raining. I could easily have given up before I had started, but I decided to carry on and see what I could do. The rain didn't come to anything in the end and I got a good painting done. The gamble paid off - this time!

    All the best,

  4. I wonder what it is about bales, Rolina. They just cry out to be painted don't they.

  5. I love your sun filled painting Keith the light is especially nice. Not much in the way of sunshine here it has rained all day.

  6. Thanks Caroline. It was raining here too today. It was very gentle though and warm, so not unpleasant really.

  7. This is so beautiful; so full of light and fresh air. I can smell it and feel that I am there. In fact I want to go there; I have a passion for Scotland.
    Sue xx

  8. Beautiful fresh watercolour and very evocative scene, Keith. A little bit of this rural activity going on where I live a week ago too!

  9. Thanks Michael. Hope you had a good holiday.

  10. Lovely Keith!!

    As Kevin Menck once said those hay stacks are very difficult to paint, or put it better to give them weight so to speak. You even maneged it in watercolour!! I knew about your story, but you didn't mentioned the risk to stack wet or moist hay, it could cause hay heats, and burns off your farm.

  11. Yes René, I'd been looking at some of Kevin's recent paintings, so when I saw these bales I just had to have a go at them.

    I haven't heard of many fires recently. The farmers around here seem to wrap them in plastic and keep them outdoors, so that's probably why.


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