"On Hill of Forss" - watercolour - 24 x 35 cm
One of my favourite painters is Edward Seago. He was working around the middle of the Twentieth Century, and many of his paintings were of the landscapes around his home in Norfolk, in the east of England. It's a very flat area, with lots of waterways and lakes, but the main feature of his paintings was the big expanse of sky. Scotland isn't normally thought of as being flat, but Caithness is sometimes known as the "Lowlands beyond the Highlands", and it is predominantly low-lying and open. Like Norfolk, the skies are big and have a wonderful variety of cloud formations.
I have always thought that skies are an important part of a landscape painting, and it saddens me to see many painters treating them in a superficial way. It seems as if they want to get the boring bit finished quickly so that they can get on with the interesting part. When the land is confined to a flat strip across the bottom third of the painting, you have no choice but to think more carefully about the sky!
When I came across this view recently, I was stopped in my tracks; it was like a Seago painting come to life! A common subject in his landscapes is a view on a marsh, with a drainage dyke and a few wooden posts, and often heavy clouds with rain in the distance. This scene was actually on top of a hill, but because of the open landscape, the impression was similar.