Tag Archives: paintings of scottish landscape

Borders Country – Day 2

‘Tweed River near Peebles 2′. Acrylic on 5×5″ wood

‘Tweed River near Peebles 2′. Acrylic on 5×5″ wood

‘Water Reflections (River Tweed) 2’. Acrylic on 5×5″ wood

‘Water Reflections (River Tweed) 2’. Acrylic on 5×5″ wood

Today’s paintings – two studies of the River Tweed.

As mentioned in last Sunday’s post this year I’ll be painting the Borders landscapes of Scotland and England.

There’s no particular topical reason for this (Scottish independence for example) – I just decided to paint the Borders because it’s such a familiar landscape and I’ve been visiting the area since I was a girl.

In summer we usually spend quite a lot of time at the River Tweed – building fires, canoeing, or just sitting around enjoying a picnic.

Borders countryside is quite gentle compared to the Scottish Highlands, or even the Yorkshire Dales farther south, but there’s definitely a distinct Borders look and feel; characteristic rolling hills, the patchwork of farmland, tree plantations, un-tended areas of wilderness that are variously verdant and lush, or stark and bleak.

There are numerous lochs, reservoirs, castles, Peel towers and rivers. Dry-stone dykes, sheep – loads of them, and horses (an excuse for me to paint horses, which I love to do!) And of course there are the west and east coastlines in Dumfries and at Berwick.

It’s very varied, which is why I’m looking forward to painting this series so much. As always, I’ll blog about the places I paint since that’s all part of the fun. People, the arts, places to visit and so on. Also, the Borders country has a very dramatic history – due partly to wars between Scotland and England.

Engraving, showing Borders Reivers raid on Gilnockie Tower

Engraving, showing Borders Reivers raid on Gilnockie Tower

‘Reiving’ (raiding cattle and other resources across the borders) became a way of life for many in the Borders.

In the first place this was through necessity – as a side effect of war and its devastating impact on the land, but then even in peace time Border Reivers chose to live this way, and they didn’t take kindly to being monitored  by the authorities of the time!

I’ve been doing quite a bit of research and in tomorrow’s blog, I’ll explore more about the Border Reivers. You’ve maybe read or heard of Sir Walter Scott’s famous stories about the Borders, and though factual in terms of names and some events, these were highly romanticised.

Statue of Borders Reiver, Galashiels

Statue of Borders Reiver, Galashiels

In fact, the more I read about Border Reivers history (Charles MacDonald Fraser’s ‘Steel Bonnets’ among other books) the more it sounds like a cross between cowboys, guerilla warfare and the Mafiosi (but more anarchic!)

Nowadays the Borders are as calm and safe as it gets – sleepy villages with antiques shops and small art galleries, sheep farmers, baroque hotels. You’d never guess its dark and difficult history, the only clues to the past in the landscape are the occasional Peel Towers (defensive look-out towers) dotted around the countryside, and of course there’s a wealth of literature and history to be explored in the numerous books on the subject, also castles, abbeys, ancient houses and museums

So how did this area change so radically after the Union of the Crowns in 1707? I suspect that this may reveal yet more grim history. It’s not all gloom though – there are Borders Ballads and poems, not to mention the beautiful landscape of which I have many happy memories, and there’s another reason I want to explore Borders history; one of the most notorious Borders Clans or families were the Kerrs, and as my Grandmother was a Kerr, I definitely have ancestors from the Borders!

So this year’s blog will be a combo of painting forays and ‘Who do you think you are’ minus the celebrity angle!

Today’s paintings again, from different angles, showing texture/size etc. (All paintings at 5×5 inches are available to buy at £57 each, or £100 for two)

P1220144 P1220151 P1220139

 

 

 

50 Paintings of Eigg Series No. 6

Eigg Series. No 6. Acrylic on 5x5" wood

Eigg Series. No 6. Acrylic on 5×5″ wood

P1100353

A Schueler-inspired early evening sky. Or to be accurate, the sunset looked very Schueler to me, if not my painting!

Jon Schueler was born in 1916 in Wisconsin, and was around at the time of the later school of American abstract expressionism, (though he never felt particularly part of that movement). He moved to Mallaig (the ferry town on the mainland near Eigg) in 1957 and set up his studio there for a year. He returned many times to Mallaig – his longest stay five years.

I dropped into the Heritage Centre in Mallaig, which shows a few of his works (nearly all his works were on large scale canvas) but feel it’s a shame more isn’t made of the fact that his life’s work centred around Mallaig. I wanted to buy a Schueler post-card, but no luck, they didn’t stock any. More reason to develop galleries and art centres in this beautiful area of the world

Schueler painted the stretch of sea and sky between Mallaig and Skye called The Sound of Sleat

Here’s a small selection of his paintings. Beautiful work, and an inspiration…

“When I speak of nature, I speak of the sky, because the sky has become all of nature to me. But it is most particularly the brooding, storm-ridden sky over the Sound of Sleat in which I find the living image of past dreams, dreams which had emerged from memory and the swirl of paint. Here I can see the drama of nature charged and compressed. Lands form, seas disappear, worlds fragment, colors merge or give birth to burning shapes, mountain snows show emerald green. Or, for a long moment, life stops still when the gales pause and the sky clears after long days of careening sound and horizontal rain or snow.”

Mood Cries for Sleep

Sea Light Dreaming

Sea Light Dreaming

Light and Black Shadow

Light and Black Shadow

 

 

 

 

 

The Sound of Sleat, June Night XIII

The Sound of Sleat, June Night XIII

 

 

Sleet Winter Blues III

Sleet Winter Blues III

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jon Schuler

Jon Schuler

Jon Schueler; 1916 – 1992