Atmospheric Sky

'Atmospheric Sky' 20 x 16 inches.

I had started this oil painting a little while ago and it got forgotten. I was trying to have a more interesting foreground yet when I made changes it was taking distracting the eye from the sky and the drama that was present there.  Finally I put the painting back onto the easel and decided to simply focus on the sky and let the work be about the atmospheric sky. While we have been fortunate for a while not to have many storms there was a spell of moody weather about a week ago that brought in lots of nice skies especially in the early evening when here in the highlands it is still light.  There have certainly been some beautiful skies.  As I type here tonight it is after 8.30 pm and there is a soft pastel blue sky with apricot clouds that have grey and soft edges which threaten rain.

The cherry and the lilac trees are in full bloom and everything looks a lush green elsewhere in the garden. There are many birds too, blackbirds, robins, hedge sparrows, woodpecker that flies in from the pine forest close to our home and finches. There have been other visitors that fly in for the day and then seem to disappear, perhaps they stop here on route to somewhere else.

My art room needs another tidy up, it never seems to stay tidy for long, then I find I need something and then out comes everything!  I am busy tutoring before the holidays begin and then there is a break during July and August with just two afternoons being held for a summer class. I have plenty of paintings to finish, like the 'Atmospheric sky' painting it is time I got them all finished!

I wish you all a happy Spring time and happy painting!

Evening Sky

12 x 16 inches oil on linen canvas. 'Evening Sky'.

Greetings to you all, I have been very busy working towards exhibitions and also tutoring. Spring is here yet once again we have snow forecast for the weekend, fortunately the snow does not lie for long. Spring lambs are enjoying the moments of sunshine and do indeed leap for joy when they see it! 

Happy Painting to you all!


I arise from dreams of thee
In the first sweet sleep of
night, when the winds are
breathing low, and the 
stars are shining bright.


We are all getting impatient for Spring to arrive, I have spring bulbs that have bloomed on my window sill in my kitchen, just to brighten up everything. The wild garden we have looks forlorn and forgotten though the snowdrops are out beneath the cherry tree. The weather keeps changing from the storms of January to February's sudden snow showers, cold days and then milder wet days. But on the whole things out there look grey! This grey isle! But suddenly around tea time the sky will clear for a short while and such a lovely sky will appear, all blue with gold and everything is full of light, as if the sky is smiling down on us!

I have been getting paintings ready for an art exhibition in one of our Aberdeenshire galleries it is not always easy to make your own decisions on your own paintings but I think I have got there and am satisfied that the works are looking acceptable and pleasing to the eye. I have now chosen five new works. There are other artists that have been invited from the borders so I am now aware of the kind of work they do too, it is always interesting to see new artist's work. The art exhibition is about the Sky and the Sea so I was pleased to come across this poem by Shelley that while it is from a long time ago, another age it is indeed a lovely poem to read. My painting 'Early Evening' is still waiting for the right frame to come along! I tried it in a gold frame which didn't really suit it, so for now it is without one and will wait in my studio until another time. This painting is not going into the exhibition but I thought it went well with the poem!

Clearing Sky

'Clearing sky' oil on linen 30 x 40 cm.

'There is a society where
none intrudes,
By the deep sea, and music,
in its roar.

Lord Byron 1788 - 1824

The quiet and grey days of January make one inclined to stay indoors and keep warm. The studio becomes a place where I can gaze out of the window and watch the birds soaring up into the wild sky, notice the garden birds searching for food and even playing in the trees especially the chattering sparrows. It seems as if time is standing still, so quiet are the days, but it is a good time, a time to be still and to simply be, to understand that each season has times to be busy and outside and times to be quiet and more contemplative.

Wishing you all happy painting days this January.

Towards the Hebrides


Staffa is an organ
Thrown overboard by giants long ago.

Jura is a beast with its head down, sleeping,
Its back volcanic, its winds eroded.

Tiree is a gust of fields and houses
Low in the water on the world's rim.

Lewis is a congregation of juddled srmons
Battened-down hatches in a mist of whisky.

Eigg is one milk tooth biting the sky
Searching thirstily among sagging clouds.

by Kenneth C Steven.

Poetry inspires my paintings. I have recently come across the works of Kenneth C Steven he captures the beauty of the Hebrides in his writing. My painting was inspired by the wetlands of Lewis and is titled 'Towards the Hebrides' oil on canvas 60 x 60 cm.

the arrival of winter

oil on linen board 20 x 20 cm.

After days of such high winds our trees have almost been stripped bare of all of their lovely colourful leaves. Autumn fled away so fast, the joy of bright low sunshine that made everything alive and glowing has faded to a soft kind of light.  A light that is slow to appear in the morning, and keen to rest in the late afternoon.

I am sharing a favourite poem of mine, it is about the futility of war. I need say no more.

Futility by Wilfred Owen one of the poets of the first world war. 

Move him into the sun
gently its touch awoke him once,
at home, whispering of fields unsown.
Always it woke him, even in France,
Until this morning and this snow.
If anything might rouse him now
The kind old sun will know.

Think how it wakes the seeds,
Woke once the clays of a cold star.
Are limbs, so dear achieved, are sides,
Full nerved still warm too hard to stir?
Was it for this the clay grew tall?
O what made fatuous sunbeams toil
to break earth's sleep at all?

autumn evenings

autumn evening study

Everything outside is almost golden and bright, the dark pines in the forest are the perfect back drop for the ball gowns of the trees that almost seem to dance before it.

My art students and some invited local artists took part in a charity art exhibition that I organised and ran.  I would say it was so interesting to do, yet completely exhausting!  Those who took part and those who visited the exhibition that ran for the weekend including a preview evening really enjoyed themselves.
The large hall seemed to have an atmosphere of calm and beauty about it during the show, and once the exhibition was taken down on Sunday evening I immediately noticed the life had gone out of the place.  It had been as if all those artists had a part of themselves within their works!

 I have always loved paintings from a young age, as a child they were always represented peace and happiness to me.  My local library which was terribly small had some original oil paintings done in the traditional style, I think some would have been Victorian, I used to love spending time there as a child just gazing at these paintings probably more than looking at books which I also love.

I do hope in this world of technology we don't lost the interest of going to see original paintings in an exhibition, while the numbers that came through the door were low the comments made from those who did turn out to the preview and weekend exhibition was very positive.  They appreciated the very good standard of drawing and painting skills and it was good to hear that the public still have that ability to tell what is good well produced art and to be able to talk about it.  

My little autumn evening tree study is very small yet to me depicts this time of the year and the mood of it. Wishing you all happy autumn days of sunshine, mists and golden glory!