I feel almost guilty saying it, given the terrible flooding and storm damage many in England and Southern Scotland are experiencing, but we in the north-east are enjoying an extremely mild and quite dry period. So much so that Nature is bursting back into life all around. I just love this time of year - it's by far my favourite season! I just had to get out there and paint the beautiful feeling of new life and colour, and I had planned to paint this bridge for some time. It is beautiful, and may well feature in future paintings, although not from this angle - when I sell a painting I like to ensure that the new owner will not find another similar one going on sale later. I don't usually replicate paintings for that reason. This is another area of thick tree growth which I have thinned out to display the bridge. The sky is clear and blue but subtly coloured with pink to add brilliance. The painting is all about the life, the new colour, the buds, the sheer beauty of this wonderful season. I hope you like it!
You may have noticed that I have a bit of a fascination for bridges! Well, there are few more characterful examples of a bridge than this one in the coastal Moray town of Lossiemouth. It's an old wooden bridge which is only wide enough for one person to walk and it's starting to show its age. For a painter, that just makes it all the more attractive! In this painting, I have tried to emphasis the dilapidation and character of the bridge and the calm, reflective nature of the River Lossie which flows under it. I hope I've succeeded - the council wants to replace this bridge so this painting could soon become a historical record! This painting is quite big by my standards and I really enjoyed the freedom to go a bit larger - I might stick at it! My next painting will be a completely different subject, and will again be large. In a major departure for me, it will be referenced mainly from a photograph. This is necessary since the subject is inconveniently far away for me - within the Arctic Circle actually! I'm really looking forward to doing it and now I have the photographer's permission to use his photograph I just need to get on with it!! Cheers for now!
My latest painting, Lochindorb Morning. Lochindorb is a wild and beautiful place near Grantown on Spey in the Scottish Highlands. Surrounded by rolling hills and moorland, my family and I have spent many happy days in this countryside and around the loch. Although not the primary focus of the painting, Lochindorb Castle features on an island in the middle of the loch. Amazingly, the island is actually manmade, providing a very effective defensive location! The castle's first mention in history was in the year 1300, when it was already well established and the stronghold of the Clan Comyn. It changed hands over the years and in 1455 it was the home of the Archibald Douglas, Earl of Moray. That year, while opposing King James II with the other Black Douglases, as part of a civil war, he was killed at the Battle of Arkinholm in Southern Scotland. Rather gruesomely, his head was presented to the King! The battle was a significant step to the establishment of a strong Scottish monarchy in the Middle Ages. After the battle, Lochindorb Castle was destroyed on the orders of the Crown and it has been a ruin these last 558 years. This location, with Lochindorb Lodge in the right foreground, means a great deal to me and I'm pleased with this little painting. Cheers for now!
'En Plein Air' is a French term meaning something close to 'In the open air'. I was amazed to find that until about 100 years ago, painting outside was quite rare. I love it - for me it's the rawest and most natural form of painting. I admit that in the depths of winter I was expecting to be painting snow - but no! This winter has been really mild and, unlike much of the UK, the weather up here has been pretty good. Today was cold and breezy but sunny, and the painting was 'Findhorn Beach'. I really wanted to feature the clouds, but when painting from life that can be difficult, as they move - quickly, as it happened! That's one of the things I love about it - by forcing you to be quick, a natural and spontaneous painting often results. I like this one.
People often ask me what equipment I use. Well, I see no point in having loads of gear when the basics will do. My water bottle is just a plastic bottle and my brush holder is a cardboard kitchen roller inner with sellotape over one end to keep the brushes in! I use a cheap plastic palette. What's important for me is that my stuff is light, and ready to go. I keep a day rucksac packed ready to go at all times so I can be moving in a couple of minutes when the fancy takes me. When I get there I just spread my kit out on the grass (or sand), pour some water out and off I go. The only things I never compromise on are the products that the customer will buy. My paper is always acid free and top quality. My paints are all artist quality - the only difference is that I use pans outside and tubes in the studio. Lastly, I insist on using my Kolinsky sable brushes, wherever I am. They form a beautiful point and hold so much more water than synthetic brushes that I can't do without them! If this winter continues, I hope there'll be plenty more 'en plein air' action to come before Spring!
A professional artist living and working in the beautiful north of Scotland. My work is realistic and quite traditional, though strongly interpretational in nature. My inspiration is the beauty of Nature, and the wonderful colours and moods she shows everywhere.