Making plans

157 'On Ghlas Beinne, Rannoch Moor', Acrylic & Pastel, 2010, 76 x 23 cm

Work In Progress: 'On Ghlas Beinne, Rannoch Moor'

No walks in beautiful snow covered glens and mountains this week I’m afraid. It’s been one of paint and paperwork. We’re now half way through March and there’s much to do before leaving for Speyer in early May …not least of which is to arrange flights out and back. The place where I’ll be living and working is being used for an exhibition until May 9, so I needed to get a flight as soon as possible after that. My partner Anita took on the job of booking the flights on-line and after much time she had everything sorted …except for some reason when it actually came to booking ….the system wouldn’t work! After a few choice words we decided to go into the travel agent the next morning and have them do the work. So then, I’ll be going out on 11th May.

One of the really difficult parts of this trip for me will be finding my way around, learning where the shops I need are, where the items in them are, …in other words finding out about all the day to day things that normally you can just use your eyes for! To help with this, Nita is travelling out with me and will stay for the first two weeks. After living with me and my fuzzy eye for over twenty years, she is a great guide …not just on the hill but perhaps more importantly in everyday situations. With a bit of luck in those first couple of weeks I can get myself orientated, get my studio set up and start to explore my surroundings.

158 'Blackmount, winter', Acrylic & Pastel, 2010, 76 x 23 cm

Work In progress: 'Blackmount, winter'

Mike Lauter of the Speyer arts association said that navigation around the city would be easy for me as the cathedral is at one end and there’s a tower at the other end …..and the house / studio is somewhere in between them! Sounds great. As for getting my gear over there, I’ll be arranging to have it sent out by courier a short time before we leave. We had thought about driving over with all the gear but the expense would be pretty high especially as my local courier will send 20kg packages to Germany for just ten pounds. A few well packed boxes of gear should be enough for a few months and anything forgotten will just have to be done without!

The work for the exhibitions is coming on well. I’ve now got the seven paintings completed for the spring exhibition at the Athol Gallery in Dunkeld and just need to get a couple of pieces framed. I’m currently working on two long thin 76 x 23 cm paintings that will be for the Blairmore Gallery show in the summer. One of these is based on our day over on Arran the other month and is worked in diagonal bands of colour that mimic the bands of rock, snow and grass that we saw in Glen Rosa. This painting is almost complete and indeed I have it hanging in an old temporary frame in the studio at the moment. I like to do this with all my pictures. It allows me to see them better and gives me some time while I’m working on other paintings, to decide as to whether they’re finished or not …and if not, what needs doing to them.

159 'Winter bands, Glen Rosa', Acrylic & Pastel, 2010, 76 x 23 cm

Work In Progress: 'Winter bands, Glen Rosa'

The week ends with another trip up to the Strathearn Gallery to collect the three unsold works at the end of the show, and then to drive across country to Pittenweem to drop off the three new pieces for the Fisher Gallery. We’ve never been over to the Fife coast before so it’ll make a nice change and it’ll be great to see the gallery and to meet John Fisher. Hopefully the rain and gales forecast for the next few days will have passed through by Sunday and we’ll get a chance to see some more of this splendid Scottish landscape.

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