Tag Archives: painting of the hebrides

Hebrides 9

'Callanish 1'. Mixed media on 5x5" wood

'Callanish 2'. Mixed media on 5x5" wood

‘Callanish 2’. Mixed media on 5×5″ wood

Today’s been quite productive and I can see the kernel of a series taking shape – the colours, shapes and brushwork. The series (which will include at least 20 small works on wood, and a series of 3 etchings) will follow the journey from Ullapool to Lewis then Harris.

'Ullapool to Stornaway 1'. Mixed media on 5x5" wood


These are an ok start. I think they’d work well as a block;  a bit like a wall of tiles, where the sense of changing light and landscape can be seen as a pattern, which will take a bit longer to emerge…


'Ullapool to Stornaway 3'. Mixed media on 5x5" wood

‘Ullapool to Stornaway 3’. Mixed media on 5×5″ woo



'Callanish 1 + 2".

‘Callanish 1 + 2″.

'Ullapool to Stornaway 1+3'. Mixed media on 5x5" wood

‘Ullapool to Stornaway 1+3’. Mixed media on 5×5″ wood





The painting of a small boat seen at a distance in fading light (from the ferry to Stornaway) took several variations (images below) the first of which was best. I’ll work more on this tomorrow – the key is a very fast, instinctive paintwork and I was annoyed at myself for fussing and changing what I knew worked better in the first place!

'Ullapool to Stornaway 2'. Mixed media on 5x5" wood

‘Ullapool to Stornaway 2’. Mixed media on 5×5″ wood

'Ullapool to Stornaway 3'. Mixed media on 5x5" wood

‘Ullapool to Stornaway 3’. Mixed media on 5×5″ wood







I’m also playing around with the idea of luminous lines – an idea which began as imagining lines echoing the landscape in luminous night-glo tape and words for Louise’s poems.


Easy to think of, tricky to do! (the image on left shows the basic idea, though the reality would be smaller scale, tape affixed to fences etc).

Since we’re applying for the An Lanntair project which has a small budget, I’ll put this idea on ice for the moment, but it can be reflected in paintings and etchings, for example the lime-green line next to the Callanish stone in ‘Callanish 1’ above.


‘West ~ Singing Sands’


‘West ~ Singing Sands’. Mixed media on 40×40 inch veneer redwood panel

This is the first in the series of three paintings for the upcoming Eigg Island exhibition/event. Titled West ~ Singing Sands it hopefully captures the romance of islands – traveling across the waves to places unknown, changing weather and gradual revealing of a new landscape.

It’s deliberately almost kitsch, or I’d prefer to say child-like. I was thinking of many things during the painting of this, among them a sort of 1950s take on ‘the exotic’; travel posters, brass ashtrays with vividly glazed pictures of seascapes and so on. Nowadays people fly to various exotic locations several times a year, but the Hebridean islands still hold this adventure story-like appeal for me.

In my last post I talked about my struggle with this painting, and the happiness I felt when, having painted layer upon layer of glazed colour, I decided to whitewash the entire thing then scrape back the paint to see what revealed itself. Here’s what emerged..

P1190487I was immediately reminded of ‘Prince P1190490Caspian’ from The Chronicles of Narnia by CS Lewis, when the children are whisked away from the beginning of a school term to an island (read post Here) – the idea of magic emerging from amongst the humdrum and every day details.


I was tempted to leave it at this, but it needed to be more resolved and deliberate, so the tricky thing was deciding how much to paint and what to leave untouched.

Lastly, I was happy that I’d come full circle in this process, since from the beginning I’d been inspired by the weathered maps I’d discovered (below) on a wooden post on Eigg, which ‘spoke’ to me about the mystery and magic of islands.

(My next painting in the series is North which I’ve already started; quite different in feel – more dramatic and dark)