On arriving at Brynaport, our guests were warmly greeted by Fiona and Sophie Fontes, daughter and granddaughter of our hosts, Mark and Gillian Pattinson. Soon everyone was comfortably installed and ready to enjoy the first of many superb meals provided by the excellent cook, Alison.
Our first day, and we were blessed with sunny intervals and atmospheric clouds hovering over the spectacular Torridon mountain silhouette. Fortified by a hearty Highland breakfast, we met at the well-appointed studio to gather our painting materials, and top up with essential items. Then the great outdoors beckoned!
The views near Bynaport – our home from home for the week – are inspirational; whitewashed cottages line up above the shores of Loch Kishorn, providing a perfect foreground motif for our first painting day. The view is also ideal to get the feel of the some of the special aspects of landscape painting. Keeping this in mind, my demonstration focussed on some of the basic guidelines of colour choices for distant mountains, skies, and foreground trees. By teatime, most of us were back in the studio, ready to indulge in a cuppa and a slice of cook delicious homemade cake.
The next day we ventured just a bit further down the village road and onto the shingled beach of the Loch. The tide was still out, and exposed colourful ochre lines of seaweed, leading the eye along the water’s edge towards some rust-red sheds nearby. Combined with the majestic mountains dropping down to the opposite side of the Loch, this makes a perfect painting subject. For beginners, there is a good chance to learn some basic perspective on buildings, and for advanced painters, I was able to demonstrate the more complex wet-into-wet technique. As is often the case, I was impressed how well the less experienced in our group captured the scene.
Now well primed, we were prepared to tackle the exciting wild and open mountain-scape a couple of miles away. We were particularly lucky on day three, as the sun blazed down upon us from a Mediterranean blue sky. We had been invited to paint from the grounds of Rebecca Pattinson’s house (Rebecca is another of Mark and Gillian daughters). This not only offered us amazing landscape views from the terrace and gardens, but also abundant creature comforts. It was certainly very enjoyable and by the end of the day, we had our paintings to prove it!
Then came the ‘Saga of the Stones,’ as we made our way down to the nearest bay, with conveniently placed rocky outcrops just above the tide-line, and tall, weather-bleached fishing-net drying poles punctuating the sky. This was the perfect opportunity to work on our rock painting skills. I hope those of you less familiar with this kind of subject profited from my demonstration.
These classic formations so captured our imagination, that some of us carried on with our rocks the following day. Others used the final day to complete unfinished paintings, receive last minute technical advice, and select the best of our work for the informal viewing in the evening. Many of the Pattinson family, with Fiona Sophie at the helm, and some friendly locals awaited us with sparkling wine and delicious canapés, while two teenage girls played airs and reels on the bagpipes. To round off a perfect week filled with creativity and camaraderie, we sat down to another of Alison’s gourmet meals, all washed won with wine and happy laughter.
Until next year all the best with your painting,