I’ve taken a break from the larger and slightly more abstract oil paintings I was doing and since returning from our holiday up in Sutherland, have been working on several smaller acrylic and pastel pieces.
These paintings are based on views we had while walking in Sutherland and are slightly ‘tighter’ than much of the work I’ve been doing recently. It has made a nice change and I’ve been enjoying working in this manner ….the wild landscape of the Flow Country is still very vividly marked in my head and I want to try and get some of that down while I remember it clearly.
The first painting, ‘Approaching snow shower, on the slopes of Ben Loyal, Sutherland’, was based on the very first walk of our holiday. You may remember that we’d set off in bright sunshine to walk Ben Loyal, the magnificent mountain close to the north coast of Sutherland. By the time we were clambering our way up the steep slopes towards the main ridge, the cloud had bubbled up all around and we were suddenly enveloped in a heavy snow shower. It came in so quickly …one minute nothing and the next …heavy large snow flakes falling all around us …well, whizzing by almost horizontally ..the wind had picked up as the shower arrived and the temperature dropped. On that day, the cloud descended and stayed low for the next four hours and we decided to head back down and try again another day. On this holiday of wild and cold weather, the next chance we got was our final day …and we made it to the top …and indeed, all the way along this great hill.
I did manage to do some quick sketching while we were out although not as much as perhaps I should have! You know the trouble though ….once you start walking …well, you just want to carry on. The thought, especially when it’s cold, of stopping and sitting to draw, is not always as enticing as striding along on the top of the mountain! Anyway, here are a couple of the quick sketches I did.
The last two paintings are both based on the same day ….when we went to walk Beinn Griam Beg …one of two small (just under 600m) hills rising in the middle of the Flow Country. Right from the start we were caught in frequent and at times heavy snow showers that swept in from the northwest and completely shrouded the hills ….and us. It was quite a long walk across the bog to the base of the hill and then a fairly gentle pull up onto a broad and in places stony ridge. These two paintings try and show something of how remote this area is ….and a little about the nature of the conditions we experienced that day.
I’m already planning several more smaller Sutherland pieces ….images of which will go up on my Face Book page Keith Salmon – Scottish Landscape Painting …as and when they’re completed….so keep a watch out!