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Old Farm at Backlass

"Old Farm at Backlass", watercolour, 16 x 26 cm

Rather a stark image, with nothing much to relieve the hard lines of the building. However it does, I think, convey the feeling of the place on a calm, clear day: a huge empty sky, an equally vast empty landscape, and the old buildings seeming incongruous in their isolation, now that they no longer serve a purpose*. Backlass is several miles beyond the end of the public road at Loch More. It is one of the more remote of the old farmsteads, and yet it was still inhabited less than a hundred years ago.

*The buildings may no longer be useful for humans, but they still serve a purpose for wildlife. Deer find shelter from the worst of the weather, and birds roost in the roofs. When we were there, a Barn Owl flew out of one of the open doorways. It was wonderful to see such a majestic bird gliding over the moorland.


  1. Good afternoon Keith!... Your painting accurately depicts the loneliness of this relic... with the vast depth of space amplifying that sense of remoteness. It sirs one's imagination to conjure up stories of the brave spirits who created and lived out their mortal lives soi distant from other humans.

    The now smokeless chimneys must have added some warmth and sense of belonging from the viciousness of the landscape during windy winter weather. It always leaves me wondering about the circumstances which forced them to abandon their efforts and property.

    A lovely watercolour which stimulates the imagination. Is there any better reason to paint than to accomplish such a purpose??? I think not! WEll done... again Keith!

    Good Painting!
    Warmest regards,

    1. Hi Bruce, the painting is indeed successful, judging by your feelings for the scene,, which are very much the same as my own.

      I think these places were simply abandoned when an easier life became available elsewhere. We have a romantic notion of the fortitude and self-reliance of such a life, but in reality it must have been hard and unforgiving.

      All the best,

  2. I love the silence. Once again, a beautiful painting, Keith.

    1. "The silence" - yes that's exactly right. Thanks Diane.

  3. I just love the perfect simplicity of this painting and the feeling of a time gone by.

    1. Thank you Caroline. I wasn't sure whether it was too simple when I was working on it, but now I think it really has caught the feeling of the place. I'm glad I didn't do any more to it.

  4. I agree with the previous comments. I like the feeling of this simple watercolour, I like the way you have painted it without overloading your brush. The simplicity is the essence of your painting. Helene

    1. Thank you Helene. Simplicity is the main thing I aim for.


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