Dear Painters and Friends,
What a joy it was to return to the Scottish Highlands in July. Big skies, mountains and whitewashed houses along Loch Kishorn greeted us on a sunny Saturday. The sun went a bit moody for a while, but then made an increasing presence, transforming the landscape once more. The views from Brynaport, our base in the small village of Achintraid, are absolutely stunning, so we painted the first day in and around the village. On location, the mornings began as usual with a brief discussion on how to choose a subject, always tricky on the first day and different for beginners and more advanced painters. To begin with we sketched the scenes outside, followed by work in the spacious studio, a well received change from working in the open air for those who were complete novices to painting 'pleine air'. My daily painting demonstrations - designed to help everybody with their composition, drawings and to get started - proved especially beneficial in the face of the great, yet unfamiliar outdoors.
The next day, the rust-red sheds by the waters edge were again a favourite. Views inland with gleaming white cottages silhouetted against the mountains and green meadows were a wonderful subject too. The buildings in the foreground made a handy device to gently introduce us to the dramatic mountainscape beyond. One painting excursion took us to Loch Carron. The large loch has a little inlet, which featured a small group of boats huddled together, ideal for first time 'boat painters'. Consequently everybody sketched the boats successfully and speedily and we were able to finish painting in the comfort of the studio. Our third excursion was to a remote lake, partly covered with waterlilies and surrounded by the majestic Torridon hills and a few buildings in the distance - a truly Scottish Highland scene. Sadly, the day we had planned to drive over the famous pass to Applecross had to be dropped since the upper regions of the pass were in cloud. But perhaps next year, when I return we will have better luck.
The last day arrived with a brilliant blue sky, creating sparkles on the water and lighting up the mountains in spectacular fashion, giving us a wonderful final view to paint. The painting week finished not without a fun evening of Highland dancing, local music and a very tasty, fresh seafood food dinner. Alison, our cook for the week did us proud, with delicious three course meals every night and a hearty Highland breakfast. However, before we sat down we gathered in the studio for a last night display of our work. It was impressive to see everybody's paintings, which included not only watercolours but also oils and acrylics.
It was hard to say Goodbye to the Pattinson family, who had invited us to share their home for the week and whose generous hospitality we all enjoyed. Of course I am in the lucky position to paint in Scotland in 2015 and do hope you can join me again at Brynaport or on one of my other painting locations abroad.
All the best for your painting in the summer,