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Summer 2021 – a brief update

We were out walking in the hills near Crianlarich a few days ago and there was a decided chill in the air. It’s only the middle of August, but in that chill was the first hint of autumn maybe? This summer is rushing by and if I don’t get this written soon, I’ll have to call it the autumn update instead!

So then, what has been happening? Like most folk I guess, I’ve been slowly getting myself back into a slightly more normal way of life since the easing of many of the COVID restrictions. The front section of my studio is now once again OPEN to visitors – albeit, mask wearing visitors! It’s been great having people in and hopefully we are all benefiting from being able to meet other people.

Back in May last year we had booked a caravan for two weeks in Upper Badcall near Scourie in Sutherland, but of course, with the first lock-down this had to be postponed. We re-booked for the first two weeks in May this year and were lucky that the travel restrictions were lifted just a couple of weeks before we were due to go away. Fantastic, it was so good to get away up north and to see and explore the wild landscape of Assynt and Sutherland once again. In all honesty we weren’t feeling particularly fit and so we didn’t do any big hill walks during the holiday but instead enjoyed exploring some of the many lower level tracks that wander across and through this rugged landscape.

On Fiarach near Crianlarich

We re-visited Sandwood Bay so that I could make some more sound recordings and were very lucky in that the rain that had been falling steadily during the two hour walk out to the bay, suddenly stopped as our feet touched the sand and stayed stopped for the next five hours. The sun even came out and it was really pleasant just sat enjoying the peace and quiet of this remote place while the sound recorder did its thing. I’m hoping to make a new painting based on these recordings sometime later this year.

Sandwood Bay, Sutherland

During most of the holiday the cloud level was very low and so we didn’t actually miss much by choosing to stay off of the tops. We actually enjoyed many dramatic views as dark clouds drifted across the higher hills and I’m hoping that some of these encounters will prove good subject matter for future paintings…….indeed, I’ve already got a couple of the smaller acrylic and pastel pieces finished.

‘Overlooking Badcall Bay, Sutherland’
‘South from Badcall Bay, Sutherland’, Acrylic & Pastel, 2021, 30 x 30 cm

With the sudden easing of restrictions we had the opportunity to finally exhibit the “Kylesku Project”. The exhibition which was originally planned for May 2020, was rearranged for June 2021 and so as soon as Nita and I returned from Sutherland, I was rushing around to get everything ready for the show. Sound engineers, Graham Byron and Drew Kirkland, Graham’s wife Tracy, Nita and I, all travelled up to Lochinver along with the work in Graham’s big van and it made quite a road trip. On Sunday morning we met up with Assynt Field Club members David and Avril Haines (who had organised the exhibition) and together we spent several hours hanging the five paintings and setting up the audio system and big screen. The work was exhibited in the Marine Room at An Calla Café and Bunkhouse in Lochinver in Assynt and our thanks go out to Julia and Jason for inviting us to show the work in there café: http://www.ancalacafeandbunkhouse.co.uk

The exhibition lasted for a month and it was great to exhibit this piece in the north west of Scotland. I think it went very well and I think everyone was happy with the outcome. A really big thank you to David and Avril for all their help and support. You can learn more about the Assynt Field Club by visiting their website: https://www.assyntwildlife.org.uk

Just a week after hanging the Kylesku work in Lochinver, Nita and I were back up north again, this time to deliver three paintings to the lovely An Talla Solais Gallery in Ullapool. Of course, we just had to turn the trip into a mini holiday and so managed to get a really nice walk done at the same time!

As you are probably aware, I’ve been showing a few paintings at the Seagull Gallery in Gourock for the last few years. They sold the painting they had last December but I had to wait until May before we could travel there with a couple of new paintings. In the past I’ve just shown my smaller work, but this time they have one of my 80 x 80 cm acrylic and pastel pieces as well as one of the 76 x 23cm paintings.

So then, do pop into these galleries if you have a chance, or call into my studio if you are in Irvine. Alternatively, just check out the “Paintings for sale” section above or to see and listen to several of the audio paintings, click on this link that will take you to our YouTube channel and the virtual exhibition of paintings and audio that Graham and Drew put together earlier this year: https://youtu.be/oOUvhjP_XZQ


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