Monthly Archives: March 2016

Bass Rock series day 2

'Rockpool, Daisy Island (North Berwick)'. Mixed media on 8x8" wood panel

‘Rockpool, Daisy Island (North Berwick)’. Mixed media on 8×8″ wood panel

'Berwick Law from Daisy Island'. Acrylic on 8x8" wood panel

‘Berwick Law from Daisy Island’. Acrylic on 8×8″ wood panel

'Bass Rock and Waves. Acrylic on 8x8" wood panel

‘Bass Rock and Waves. Acrylic on 8×8″ wood panel

Three finished works of the Bass Rock for the Greens and Blues gallery in North Berwick.

I had to create the obligatory Bass Rock painting, not that it’s a chore since I love the shape of the Bass Rock, but when I’m at the beach it’s the rock pools I find fascinating.

Daisy island is a tidal island so you can walk across to it at low tide, though it’s also a bird sanctuary so sometimes it’s restricted. What I wanted to capture here is the way it feels like a safe haven, even the grass is incredibly springy and soft, you can throw yourself on it without injury should that wish arise. When I was a kid I practiced somersaults and cartwheels there, and to this day I partake in a forward and backward somersault when I visit. I also find it easy to meditate there.

The lichen on these gnarly basaltic vocanic rocks is acid yellow (I used cadmium yellow straight from the tube) and in autumn the rock pool reflections have an incredible clear gold clarity. Really enjoyed painting these today!

Crammond Seagull

Crammond SeagullIn progress – a seagull flying over Crammond mud flats. The seagull needs a lot more work.

My camera screen is broken, so I tried to swap bits of it with another broken camera which almost worked – it take photos at least! The screen is totally blank so I’ve no idea what I’m looking at and can’t set light etc! Hence the low quality. I’ll be getting a new camera next week hopefully..

Old Books

'Old Books, Gosford House'. Mixed media on 20x16" canvas

‘Old Books, Gosford House’. Mixed media on 20×16″ canvas

I’ve been working today a bit more on this painting of old books in an abandoned room in Gosford House. There’s more detail on the books, I also want to capture more of the diffused light I remember but it’s nearly there..

Cockenzie Power Station Limited edition print series

'Cockenzie Power Station, 26th September 2015'. Mixed media on 17x11" wood panel

‘Cockenzie Power Station, 26th September 2015’. Mixed media on 17×11″ wood panel

As mentioned a few weeks ago, limited edition prints of Cockenzie Power Station, 26th September 2015 will be available at the Peter Potter Gallery in Haddington.

They’re in a limited edition of 25 Giclee prints at 17×11 inches (signed, dated, numbered and titled by hand)

These are now on display in the gallery which is near Lungate Bridge, Haddington at number 10, the Sands. There’s a lovely cafe in the gallery with views of the bridge. The current exhibition by Alan Knox explores ‘the debatable land’ and the history of the Borders country.

Painting on Lindisfarne…

DSCF1047Yesterday I was at Lindisfarne to meet Ros Duncan of the Peregrini Landscape Partnership to talk about a painting workshop for the public in August this year.

We’ve had a few chats on the phone so it was lovely to meet Ros in person. We were teeming with ideas for various projects as it’s such an inspiring island, but for the moment the focus is on the workshop!

12805677_10154547257702788_2875325447151154776_nWe wandered around Lindisfarne looking for suitable painting vantage points and Ros suggested a little hill in the south of the island called the Heugh as the perfect spot for people to draw and paint. It has spectacular views around the island and it was a beautiful day yesterday as you can see from photos these photos from the Heugh…

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The Heugh hasĀ  the added advantage of benches to sit on, also the lookout tower and walls for shelter in case of wild weather (though August should be quite mild).

From there you can see Lindisfarne Castle in the east, Bamburgh Castle in the distance across the sea, the nearby ruins of Lindisfarne Priory and, down below on the shore, St Cuthbert’s Island. You can’t fail to be inspired by it – I painted Stormy Sky (below) in October 2014 looking out to St Cuthberts Island. The light is incredible, ever changing with that crisp luminous clarity of east coast light.

'Stormy Sky, Lindisfarne'. Mixed media on 20x16" canvas

‘Stormy Sky, Lindisfarne’. Mixed media on 20×16″ canvas

By the end of April we’ll have more details about the workshop, so if you fancy a day there drawing and painting, feel free to email Ros Duncan (Community Engagement & Heritage Education Office, Peregrini Landscape Partnership) for more details in May –


Thanks again to Ros Duncan for a most productive and enjoyable day, and to Donald Ferguson for photos, the drive there and excellent sandwiches!

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'Hoy'. Mixed media on 15x15" wood panel

‘Hoy’. Mixed media on 15×15″ wood panel

Today’s painting is of the Isle of Hoy in Orkney (a recent commission). I’m quite happy with this now, particularly the texture of cliffs and layers of seabed built up over time.

‘Hoy’ means high ground, Hoy and the surrounding islands in the northwest of the Orkney Isles tilt upwards to create higher cliffs and hills. This rock formation is called ‘the Old Man of Hoy’, partly because it used to have an extra ‘leg’ which formed a bridge, but from this angle it does look figurative and reminds me of Easter Island sculptures.

I have a past connection to Orkney as I lived there for a year when I was about 20 when I joined the Orkney Youth Theatre. I remember the wild, wild weather, lashing rain and huge waves crashing over the ferries when we toured our plays to various remote islands (often performed to one or two bemused looking farmers and a few children!).

The story of Orkney is steeped in Viking and early Christian history which makes for interesting reading (or watching, if you’ve been following ‘Vikings’!).

It’s been an absolute pleasure to create this work, and I’ve enjoyed the contrast in colours from the ‘Nocturn’ series