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!

The arrival of Autumn

oil on canvas 10 x 8 inches

The days seem to be flying by and this morning when drawing in my art room I looked out to the sky and thought for a moment I heard the arrival of the geese, heard that lamenting sound they make. Surely not, it must be too early for them as all week the sun has been shining giving out such light and warmth.  So much is green here around my home, in the lane and further away in the forest. The wild flowers are still in places where the light gets in standing tall almost defiant against the changing season.  I don't want to see drab dull days, bare cold trees standing stark against a grey sky.  I will miss those flowers they seem to have been so abundant this year mostly due to all the rain that fell during spring and summer. It is really only during this autumn that the skies seem to have cleared allowing at last the sun to dash in and say hello for hours on end each day to Scotland!

I painted this small seascape during the summer.  We usually visit the beach at the weekends to walk along the sand or by the harbour.  For years I lived by the sea and had such a great love of that great expanse of water and the way it always seem to look different depending on the weather. I loved the way the sky changed so many times during the day, the way the colours of that sky would alter the colour of the sea.  Some days the sky would be crisp blue with no clouds, the sea a deep dark blue, but only for a moment before a few clouds would sweep in and change everything. Often the horizon line would be crystal clear, yet another day it would disappear while a cloak of mist obscured everything. Then there was the moon light dancing on the sea, setting sun, dusk, and dawn. Once in the depth of winter I saw the moon and the sun both visible in the early morning sky. I was painting in a studio over looking the bay during November, the studio was perched high above the village, from it I could look down on the narrow lanes and see everyone going about their daily routine.  I could see the birds in the bushes by the wall playful and their bird song could be heard above everything.  Then I could look up from the lanes to the roof tops and then right out to that bay and right out beyond to that far horizon line and see boats so small in the distance.
At 4pm I could walk through the lit lanes and over to the beach then with the moon light shining over the small path up some steps to where I would finally find myself walking along a coastal path that lead over to the next sea village. The moon light lit up everything and the scene was so beautiful, sea, crashing waves against the rocks, moon shining on the sea just above the sea village illuminating the old crofts giving the illusion that it was close by. I knew I would remember that moment for always, it was just perfect, ....

In the forest

oil on linen board 30 x 30 cm.

I have been for walks in my forest again and even on days of rain it is a special place to be. Even when the rain is dripping onto leaves and the mist can be seen coming in slowly almost creeping gently in to find shelter from the showers.   I have started drawing, all kinds of things from the forest leaves, a branch with rowan berries and pine cones.  This helps me to get to know my forest better and to see the different kinds of trees that live there.  I brought home a cone to draw and noticed it was a different shape to the ones I usually see.  I looked up the tree in my book on the subject and discovered the cone was from a mountain pine.

My  small oil painting was an exercise to capture a part of the forest from memory.

wishing you a happy painting day.

rain and misty weather

'Highland glen' study 10 x 12 inches new masters acrylics by Old Holland.

We had a beautiful day of sunshine yesterday and I went out for a walk in the countryside close to my home. I am lucky to live on the edge of a forest and also farmlands with trees that surround it. I picked some wild flowers too that I brought home with me.

Today as forecast it is a different kind of day! misty and continual rain! the sky is so bright and white. The American landscape painter the late John Carlson who was a teacher of art and painter left us a wonderful landscape book that tells us everything we need to know about landscape painting. One of the things he writes about is that on a dull rainy day the sky is actually lighter and brighter than on a blue sky summers day. I can really appreciate that today as the sky is white with light!

Wishing you all a happy painting day!

north east coast

30 x 30 cm oil on linen canvas.

Once again I have been held back due to my health.  This time I have been suffering from Shingles which was a surprise, not as bad as it could have been but it has prevented me from going out sketching and spending days out.  Some days now it seems better but then seems to return and give me discomfort.  I can't complain really when I think what some people who are really ill have to deal with but it is hard at times to accept that I have to slow down for a while longer.

A strange summer regarding cool and wet weather for a great deal of it so far.  It has been very windy too.  But there have been some beautiful skies to gaze at and in our pond there are now several water lilies and a tiny frog who tends to just stick his head out between the lilies to say hello during the day!

I have been invited to exhibit four paintings for the Strathpeffer pavilion art fair.  This is one of the paintings I will be having framed up for the event in November.  I plan on putting in four seascapes showing different weather conditions but mostly based on the same view!  I love the variety of colour that can be seen during the ever changing weather conditions.

I hope my painting friends here in blogging land have been keeping busy! sorry for not commenting during the last month but I will be catching up with you all soon.

Happy painting to you all!

Incoming mist

'Incoming mist' 50 x 50 cm. oil on canvas.

Lots of days of rain, wind and chilly weather in general.  Fortunately there has been plenty to keep me occupied with classes and taking paintings to galleries for the summer gallery artists exhibition.  I got some good news of sales in all the galleries I show my work which has been so encouraging to hear.  Though hard at times to say goodbye to my old friends the favourite paintings as it has been those ones that have been sold.  Strange how some paintings we as artists enjoy painting and don't seem to mind them leaving us.  But others seem to be a part of us and our life and those are the ones that are hard to say goodbye to.   Fortunately in this world of technology we can have an online image presence of them and also a print out.  The good news is that those who buy them are happy to own them and that makes everything so worthwhile.

I had a new treatment on my neck and shoulders recently called the Bowman technique and I am very surprised to see that so far for the last week I have been feeling my old self again! long may it continue!

Wishing you all happy painting days!

Sea Mist

' Sea Mist' oil on canvas 20 x 16 inches.

I am feeling so much better! and have been able to do some more painting. I decided to tackle the big size of canvas after having been doing only small practice pieces for a while now.  I kept to a limited palette and then used a very large very soft brush to smooth out the sky.  The end result was much more like a watercolour painting with an almost flat looking wash effect!  I have also been carrying on with my small acrylic paintings where I build up the painting using lots of very fine glazes. I must take a photo of them soon, I am pleased with one of them.  I managed to achieve a subdue lighting and then used a satin varnish to bring out the warm tones.  But more on that later!

 The sun was shining here today though it is still quite cool, it was minus 2 in Braemar  last night bbbrrrr!
Keep warm and happy painting to you all!

Another move forward

'moorland in summer' 12 x 18 inches oil on canvas.

This is the second of five paintings that I have been very slowly working on since Christmas. This painting is a work of the imagination it is a place I visited on the isle of Skye many years ago and I remember how changeable the skies are on this island. The tiny specks of wild flowers or grasses in for the foreground are yellow and represent hope.

  I had another set back these last two weeks when I was only able to paint for a very short while due to my shoulder giving me trouble again. I think, fingers crossed my osteopath may have sorted it out! but I still need to move carefully forward.  Yet this whole business of my grumpy shoulder! has made me think a lot about how much we all dream of being able to have more time or less of a grumbly complaint so that we can actually paint! yet in my day dreams and late evening dreams I have at least be able to think about my present paintings and to learn from past mistakes and about how important it is to think about what we do when we set about painting.

  It was a strange feeling coming into my studio on Monday evening and knowing that I had to give it a couple more days before I could paint as my osteopath had just given me that morning a very good session on my shoulder.  She always kindly says when I am about to go home that I must rest my shoulder that day and take care with it during the following day. Yet I just had to hold my paint brush and then simply knew what was the next thing I needed to do to my painting yet I had to be wise and wait!  It does all feel a bit like I am writing a poem, if I am going to make a comparison, there is that time when you just know what it is you want to say yet you are unable to find the words or are miles away from pen and paper being out on a walk at the time. Something else happens! the ideas and the visions or plans gets buried deep inside, all feeling a bit as if autumn leaves are falling slowly and gently on top yet being light enough to conceal, they do not really remove them (the visions).  

Often during the twilight hours or at times of darkness the yearning for the light to shine out really seems to be at it's most strongest.  When all is silent the mind and it's pictures comes to life and truely inspires the inner eye.  I have been able to remember what it is I need to do with the painting that is on the easel now, that distant unreachable painting, for now at least!

I look forward to sharing another of my paintings with you soon.  

Happy painting to you all!

Highland view

'Highland View' oil on canvas 50 x 50 cm.

I can't believe it has been two months since I posted a painting here! I haven't been well and then my old computer broke down so my husband decided to build a new one! that took some time, not his fault but mostly to do with the wrong parts being delivered and then waiting a week or more for the delivery man to bring the right part!!

I have managed to do a little painting and set to on five paintings done slowly since Christmas!!! The oil painting 'Highland View' started off as an acrylic painting which actually made a very good base for the oils to then work on top of. The acrylic painting had been built up using glazes which dried quickly, but I decided to create a soft atmosphere by using the oils as it allowed the enveloping clouds to really drift down over the distant hills and for that overall soft focus look.  I have some other ideas for future paintings too which I must make a start on.

I have done well with some sales at the Milton Gallery in the exhibition 'Elements', a beautiful gallery in the heart of Deeside.  I have also been fortunate to have some sales in other galleries too. So I must get painting to replace them!

Wishing you all lots of sunshine and happy painting days!

Winter's day

'winter's day'
oil on canvas board 10 x 12 inches 

So far we have been fortunate not to have too much snow but we have had a lot of wild storms that have brought many fine old trees down. One of my favourite walks by Brodie castle have had a lot of beautiful trees down so the walk around the pond may not be open for a while.  It is sad to see the old trees many of them surviving many many years in age now fallen. I often think they must have seen a lot in their time!

I am able to do some painting and am getting work ready for a winter exhibition over at Milton Gallery near Banchory by Crathes castle where I have been asked to put in up to six paintings. The title of the exhibition is about the elements so I think my works will be very expressive on that subject!

I have returned to my old love of the glazed paintings and have even been working on a large canvas again! I am using acrylics as they are excellent if you want to get ideas down and they are also good for mists and effects on textured boards.  I am looking forward to seeing the sun again, hope it will come around soon!
Happy painting to you all!

tiny holiday paintings for Ulrike to see!

During my festive holidays I found a quiet time to create some tiny 5 x 7 inch oil paintings. I really enjoyed painting these and have another almost finished on the easel as I write here! First of all the small size of canvas is good as it gives the artist a lot of opportunity to be bold and not worry about the outcome too much. Also as oil paints take a while to dry it is good to get the painting to a point then leave it while I start another one. A tiny canvas can be done fairly quickly in one sitting then you can add another layer or glaze later on after some careful thought.  These are paintings of my local area.

I was chatting to my friend Ulrike on the phone this evening and I said I would post these paintings for her to see after all she lives a long way away in Bremen Germany!