‘Winter light, Ben Venue VI’

50-winter-light-ben-venue-iv-acrylic-pastel-2006-30

'Winter light, Ben Venue IV'

‘Winter light, Ben Venue VI’, Acrylic & Pastel, 2006, 30 x 30 cm Ref: 50

I did this small painting back in 2006 as one of four, all based on the same idea. These paintings though looked back a few years to one of the first winters we’d spent in Scotland. For a few weeks it was particularly cold – even the water at the harbour side in Irvine froze over for a few days. Anyway, on a clear freezing day, we drove up into the Trossachs to walk the prominent little hill called Ben A’an. This is a fine rocky outpost rising above the forests and overlooking the end of Loch Katrine. It’s something a little under 1500 ft but makes for a great few hours if you catch the weather right. A big path climbs quite steeply through the dense forest gaining height quickly.

On the day in question very little snow had penetrated the thick canopy of conifer branches overhead and it was only at abut the half way point where the trees thin and the ground levels briefly, that we got into some snow. From this point the rocky crags of Ben A’an dominate the view ahead, the path once more climbing steeply through a few more trees and over rocky outcrops to emerge at the side of the hill and in what I seem to remember is a small corrie. The path wanders up here for a while before turning and climbing onto the broad heathery ridge leading to the summit …perched above the main crags of this fine little hill. The views that day were stunning …all the bigger hills were completely covered in bright snow and we looked out over Loch Katrine. For me though, it was the view of Ben Venue opposite us that really drew my gaze. As we descended and the light started to fade it took on the appearance of something much bigger, much grander …it made quite an impression. We went back to walk it later that year but sadly only caught a damp cloudy day and so we got no impression of the hill. We finally made it back just over a year ago …and in good weather it lived up to everything I’d imagined when I’d first seen it on that cold day from Ben A’an.

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