Monday, 30 December 2013


Our way
Well here once again....December is coming to a close and as per usual I am filled with both trepidation and excitement at the prospect of beginning a new year. It helps to have plans and a few dreams and hopes too. The main thing is to keep positive and embrace whatever life throws at you. 
Oil and earth on card
In the mad run up to Christmas this year I was keen to do some painting and get some tangible ideas down. I did manage a few pieces on card and feel relatively enthused by the potential in them. Still drawn to the wild landscapes of Northumberland and the inclusion of burnt peat in these studies adds another dimension which I am enjoying's fairly unpredictable and it's archival fragility feels irresponsible which I like!

Tiny studies on card

All at sea

I'll keep on painting and have plans to take part in the first ever Scottish Borders Art Fair in March. More of this later. I have also been thinking about how to present my smaller works on card in a more commercial way. John carried out the plan.Below are some prototypes.
Oil on card float mounted on deep wooden frame
View from Hepburn
Small night walk
I worry constantly that I somehow might run out of ideas but the landscape keeps giving. I've written about this many times in other posts .... it's all down to the light and the weather. A place so familiar can offer up so many new things at different times and on different days. The Antarctic is not exactly a  familiar place for any mortal but  listening to the Forum the other day on Radio 4 it was fascinating to hear the photographer Camille Seaman talk about her methods used whilst photographing icebergs...she never photographs in bright sunlight...only in overcast and stormy conditions, these particular light conditions provide her with unique colour and shade unseen in brighter conditions. Stunning images and really worth checking out.

We have been out walking and bouldering in between the storms, strange weather patterns lately, like shifts, 3 days on, 3 days off kind of pattern. So no matter the form we've taken the opportunity to get out.

Looking towards Ruberslaw...River Teviot in Flood

Evening Sky

Gillean going for it

Little study-just for fun

Sunday 29th December

On the way out

If you have been reading,thank you and here's  to a peaceful and very creative 2014 :)

Sunday, 1 December 2013

November Blog

Looking back on all my photographs from the last month many of them have a very similar theme, light. It's a natural response at this time of year and when the sun has been shining I have been keen to photograph what I could. As it happens I have had a bit of a break from the studio this month.
Kyloe in the woods
Both of the ideas I had been working on have taken a bit of a back seat.
 I took a (long over due and very welcome) 4 day visit to see my sister in Ireland, and this past week a certain someone's 14th birthday meant studio work was out!
 Also with all the colder dry weather  climbing has had more than a few days look in too. Excuses, excuses, I know but
 experience has told me that a few days/weeks out of the studio doesn't do anyone any harm. It's pointless beating yourself up about it but I suppose we all do it at some stage or other.We should just try to relax about it and remind ourselves that new ideas often incubate very well when your out doing  things and seeing people.
Delicate greens
Time and the lack of it is an issue for  me and I know I'm not alone here. There are  always a million things to do!

Another thing too that is often overlooked is getting work prepared for  galleries/selling....not to mention  time consuming travelling etc
The amount of time an artist should and could spend updating web pages, sending out submissions and applying for this that and the next thing is unending should they wish to go down that route. Sometimes you have to and it's a real struggle to do these things when all you really want to do with your precious studio time is paint! Oh to have a PA !
In the woods

Sunset over the Cheviot

So now in the frantic run up to xmas I have made the conscious decision to get x amount of drawing and painting done to appease the time and guilt gods or else I won't be able to enjoy my turkey come the 25th!

Still thinking about the editing of my images and I made one A1 sized burnt earth/PVA and charcoal drawing earlier this month that felt promising so I want to get back into that zone now.

Burnt earth/PVA/Charcoal on linseed stained paper

Walking out from Kyloe 

Low sun
Yellow, the colour of the month!
Roses in November !

Dunbar harbour

Moody sky near Crailing

Time is never easy to fathom, only 20 days till the shortest day...another significant marker in the year, hopefully more good times to come.