Posts

Showing posts from 2012

Impressions of an Untamed Country

Image
I'm having an exhibition in the Mezzanine Gallery, at Elgin Museum, during October. This is a selection of the paintings on show. Most of them have been shown here before, but I think the first one is new. Lone Pine and Lochnagar - watercolour - 25 x 36 cm Link to Elgin Museum

Landscapes of the Far North

Image
This is a selection of paintings from my 'Landscapes of the Far North' exhibition at Eden Court in Inverness, running during September. A Highland Shelter - Watercolour - 25 x 36 cm  Ben Hope over Eriboll - Watercolour - 25 x 36 cm Caithness Moorland - Watercolour - 18 x 26 cm  Foinaven and the Kyle of Durness - Watercolour - 23 x 34 cm Stac Pollaidh and The Minch - Watercolour - 25 x 36 cm  The Old Man of Stoer - Watercolour - 25 x 36 cm The Road to Durness - Watercolour - 25 x 36 cm

Moorland Fires Again

Image
Sunset Fire Watercolour 18 x 26 cm We've just had a couple of serious moorland fires again in Caithness. They've been put out now with the help of the rain, but I expect they will smoulder for a while yet. Once the fire gets into the peat it can burn underground for a long time. I don't know how these started. It's too late to be moorland management so I expect it was accidental: just throwing a cigarette out of a car window can be enough. It's strange that we had no fires when the weather was warm and dry recently, but we've had them now that it's cloudy and cold. I didn't get out to see the recent fires: I don't like "ambulance-chasing" in any case, but this painting was from another one that I sketched a few years ago. From a painter's point of view the smoke and the setting sun combined to make a wonderful subject.

Brochs

Image
Dun Telve Broch, Glenelg Watercolour 25 x 36 cm Throughout the Highlands and Islands of Scotland there are the remains of ancient round towers, called brochs. The best-preserved ones are in the Orkney Isles, but there are some impressive examples on the mainland in Glenelg, in Wester Ross. These mysterious towers were built during the Iron Age and experts disagree over what they were used for. They seem to be defensive structures, but they may been intended to show off the wealth or power of their owners. The most complete of the surviving brochs are around 25 metres tall, but they may originally have been higher than that. The walls were hollow with staircases ingeniously built into them to give access to upper levels. There were no windows and just a small, low doorway. They were built of stone and amazingly no mortar was used to hold them together. The fact that they have survived at all, after two thousand years, is a testament to the skills of their builders.

The Cuillin Mountains of Skye

Image
Light on Marsco, watercolour, 25 x 36 cm The Isle of Skye is famous for the Cuillin Mountains , probably the most impressive range of mountains in the British Isles. There are actually two separate parts of the range, lying on either side of Glen Sligachan . On the northern side are the Black Cuillin , composed of very old, gabbro rock. They have a very jagged outline and provide some challenging climbing conditions. To the south the mountains are known as the Red Cuillin , because of their pink granite rocks. They have a more forgiving, smoother outline. These hills include Marsco , the subject of the painting, with slopes which sweep down into Glen Sligachan. Location - https://goo.gl/maps/zW5izUcYmfT2

Crags on Arkle

Image
Crags on Arkle Watercolour 25 x 18 cm This is a small watercolour of some crags on Arkle, a mountain in North-west Sutherland. I was pleased with cliffs and the feeling of recession, but the top half of the painting felt a bit empty. I thought that an eagle, soaring on the updraughts in the background, might give it a bit of life and a sense of scale. It's amazing how a simple brushstroke can transform a painting sometimes.

In the Corrie of the Snow

Image
In the Corrie of the Snow, Watercolour, 25 x 36 cm When I first visited Coire an t-Sneachda, in the Cairngorms, it was October and already there was a covering of snow. The cloud level was low and the surrounding cliffs disappeared upwards into the mist, making them seem even more dramatic. The floor of the corrie was covered with scattered boulders that had fallen from the crags above. The scene was desolate, but there was also a peacefulness in the complete silence. I hope I have managed to convey some of that feeling in the painting.

Sunset at Latheronwheel

Image
Sunset at Latheronwheel, Acrylic, 20 x 25 cm This winter has been very different from the last two. So far, instead of snow and ice we have been having mostly wet and very windy weather. The other day there were heavy showers of hail and wind gusting at over 60 mph. It was very noisy at home, so I decided to go over to the more sheltered east coast in search of some peace and quiet. I took my pochade box with me and found a good painting spot in the car park at Latheronwheel Harbour. Even at the foot of the hill the wind was still blustery, but using the box I was able to paint from the comfort of my vehicle. As it happens, with the wind coming off the land, the sea was quite calm and there was nothing else in the subject to indicate the rough conditions. It just looks like a calm sunset!

Sunshine in the Dales

Image
Having just painted a large watercolour, I then had a commission for a large acrylic as well. It was also to be on a gallery-wrap canvas, which was something I hadn't tried before. The brief was for a painting based loosely on a photograph of a Yorkshire Dales landscape. I used to live in that area, so it was a subject I was very familiar with. Stage 1 I did a few pencil sketches to try out different compositions and then drew the outlines onto the canvas. Thumbnail sketches Rough outline I started the painting by establishing all the darkest areas. Stage 2 Stage 3 Then I covered the rest of the canvas with loosely applied paint for the middle-valued areas. The lightest values were left as white canvas. Stage 3 Stage 4 From this rough groundwork I then continued to build up thicker and stronger colours. Stage 4 Stage 5 Stage 6 Stage 7 At this point I reassessed the painting and saw a few things