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Caithness Skies

'Sunset at Loch More' - watercolour - 25 x 36 cm

Caithness is known for its big skies and each season brings out different aspects. I find summer sunshine a bit uninteresting because of the lack of clouds and the washed out light. Rain showers bring spectacular rainbows though. The late sunsets mean that days are very long and it hardly gets dark.

Winter is a complete contrast. The days are very short and the sun is low in the sky. The light is often poor, but on cold sunny days it can be very clear and the afternoon sunsets are beautifully soft and colourful. The following long nights are crystal clear with spectacular views of the stars and the white streak of the aptly-named Milky Way. A bonus this year has been good views of the Northern Lights or Aurora Borealis. Not as spectacular as the view from Arctic regions, but impressive even so.

'The Northern Lights' - watercolour - 13 x 18 cm


  1. Hi there Keith!... Both of these paintings are spectacular... and both capture elusive lighting effects with great success!

    My favourite is the top scene... with its careful layering of distance as the scene steps back... and your warm sky treatment - so believable... both paintings! Both real gems!

    Good Painting!
    Warmest regards,

    1. Hi Bruce, this kind of subject is so ideal for watercolour that it's a joy to paint. The sense of distance seems to appear naturally as the washes are laid down.

      All the best,

  2. I agree with Bruce totally,

    At first I thought what a fast composition (the top one) but when clicked on the thumbnail it becomes very clear, a great painting!
    You reached the everlasting golden light I'll reckon.

  3. love them both - I hope one day to see the northern lights myself - wonderful

  4. This should be a good winter for them Sharon, with solar activity being at a maximum.

  5. Beautiful painting. The lights are possibly different further south than in Sweden where they seem to move across the sky in long, fluctuating bands of light and colour. Unbelievable and overwhelming.

    1. They were moving across the sky, as you describe, a few weeks earlier Diane. They're not as spectacular as in northern Norway though.

  6. Your painting of the loch sunset is really beautiful Keith, very atmospheric.
    The milky way is something I haven't seen since the 50's and 60's when as a child living in a small village in the country, I would take great delight peering up into the sky after dark. There is too much light pollution to see it now from down here.

  7. Thanks Frank, it's one of the blessings of living in a remote place.


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