The photographs above show details of two paintings – ‘Mountains of Rum from Laig Bay’ and ‘Mountains of Rum from Laig Bay 2’.
In these works I wanted to combine simplicity and texture, and capture the stillness of Laig Bay (on the west coast of the Isle of Eigg) in the early evening. This was my first experience of this view, and I think there’s something about first impressions of landscape that can affect us in a different way from a view that’s familiar to us, or ‘every day’.
As an artist it’s all about trying to be present. The impact of a view as epic as this seems to empty the mind of its familiar habits or ‘chatter’.
In photographs, Laig Bay looks at its best in bright sunlight, but being there, on this particular evening, the mountains revealed themselves slowly from behind the clouds, even the waves seemed to move in slow motion
A friend of mine, the talented poet Jennifer L Williams, responded to a later painting I made of this view (the full poem can be read Here). Although she hadn’t heard me describe my impression of the view, the lines of her poem captured this stillness, also the sense of closeness to the elements..
Outside where we belong with the fire and the sea’s glass
Its waves of green astonishment lavishing the sand
The creatures of the deep and the wild salt
This sense of closeness to landscape feels to me like ‘being in on a conversation’ – it feels as though there’s no barrier between you and the landscape. And when you think about it, there isn’t.
I added sea salt and sand from Laig Bay to these paintings (you can see it especially in the bottom of this painting on the left). Sand adds a slightly sparkling impasto ‘body’ to the painting, and I like this because it adds something visceral to the painting – something tangible, not distanced or idealised.