Above Dalwhinnie

On the hills above Dalwhinnie - hidden streamWell, the Courtyard Studios Open Weekend has come and gone ….the studio is back to normal now …if a little bit tidier and cleaner than it was this time last week.  But it really wasn’t the most successful of weekends. The visitor numbers were well down and so were sales.  I guess it’s just a sign of the times.

The weekend was of course, a very enjoyable one.  Despite the numbers being down we still had something in excess of 170 people through the doors…and that’s a lot of talking to be done!   On the Saturday, we were plagued by bad weather.  Raging gales blasting in off the Firth of Clyde and bringing with them intermittent downpours ….just the day for going to an art event!  Surprisingly around eighty brave souls turned out and made all our efforts worth while.  Sunday was a bit better with less rain and a lot more sun.  In the past, Sunday afternoon has always been the really busy time, especially after about half past one …Sunday dinners over, everyone comes out.  Not this year.  Two o’clock came and went with just a trickle of people ..and then someone mentioned it was old firm day …Rangers and Celtic were playing!  That explained it.  Thankfully they’d kicked off early, at midday and so there was hope yet.  And so it was.  After the game finished our visitors started to arrive and we did end up having a busy final hour or so.

'Above Dalwhinnie', Acrylic & Pastel, 2009

'Above Dalwhinnie', Acrylic & Pastel, 2009

By the end of Sunday I’d finally sold one painting and so all was not lost.  I sold it too a local couple who already own one of my earlier drawings and who’ve followed my work over the last few years.  Interestingly they bought what I consider to be one of the best paintings I’ve done this year.

 It was based on a day I’d walked a couple of the hills just to the east of Dalwhinnie.  It turned out to be one of the toughest days I’ve had on a hill.  As we climbed steeply up from the glen it looked like it was going to be a good day.  The snow on the upper parts of the slopes was good and we kicked steps all the way up.  After that things turned different.  These hills are really no more than high points on a great undulating moor land …now covered in soft sinking snow and there was a strong biting easterly wind blowing in to our faces.  Apart from the exhaustion, it really was a stunning and remarkable walk …like a great winter desert.  The painting I sold tried to reflect the views out from the edge of this wintry plateau across the glen to wards Dalwhinnie.  It’s quite a loose painting, more abstract than some of my paintings, but hopefully works on both levels…as a Scottish winter landscape and in a purely aesthetic, abstract way too.

With the Open Weekend over, I now have a bit of a gap …one in which I intend to get back into the hills a little more regularly again.  Here’s hoping for a real winter this year …lots of good and usable snow!

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