Sign of the times

Towards Blairmore from the ferry

Towards Blairmore from the ferry

Well then, that’s the exhibition at Blairmore Gallery finished. We had extended it for a week and yesterday we travelled up to collect the work. As the title of this blog implies, it wasn’t the most successful of shows sales wise, but it was I think a good show and selection of work and was seen by a lot of people …both local and visitors. I think that today’s economic situation is starting to take a toll and a lot of businesses catering for anything other than essentials, are probably starting to feel the pinch. Paintings are not I guess at the top end of most folks list when it comes to expenditure these days! That said, things are still ticking over and the important thing about exhibiting your work is that people see it. They may not be able to buy any of it at present but if they like it enough they may remember it when the economy starts to pick up. The exhibition at Blairmore has been an excellent way to promote and showcase my work to a large number of visitors to Scotland and as Blairmore usually displays several pieces of my work throughout the year, this may well pay dividends further down the line.

West, across the Firth of Clyde

West, across the Firth of Clyde

We’ve had superb weather in this part of Scotland over the last week, but yesterday when we got up it was dark and grey and as we drove north up the coast road towards Largs, the views out across the Firth of Clyde to the Isle of Arran were rather sombre to say the least. The fine sky-line of the Arran mountains was gone …their summits cut off by a thick layer of cloud.

A passing sea plane ...above the Firth of Clyde

A passing sea plane ...above the Firth of Clyde

From Ayrshire, you can get to Blairmore Gallery one of two ways. Either you can drive all the way … a lengthy drive that involves heading north up to Tarbet on the side of Loch Lomond and then heading up and over the Rest and Be Thankful (where we were walking on Beinn an Lochain the other week). On reaching Loch Fyne you then have to turn south and drive back along Loch Eck to the turn off for Blairmore village. It’s a beautiful drive in good weather but as I say, it’s a good way and takes around two hours. The alternative route and the way we generally go, is to drive north up the coast to Gourock and catch the Western Ferry over to Dunoon …a few miles to the south of Blairmore. This saves much driving and a little time …although you do have the cost of the ferry. This however is currently just £20 return for a car, driver and one passenger (if the ticket is purchased prior to getting on the ferry) and so with the cost of fuel these days, there’s very little in it …and this way you get a twenty minute break and a pleasant boat trip across the firth.

When you see the ferries arrive they really don’t look very big but it’s amazing just how many vehicles they fit on. When we arrived yesterday one ferry had not long left and another was arriving …just a few hundred metres off the shore. In the summer they seem to run three ferries at one time which means you don’t really have too long to wait if you just miss one. We were just second in the line and as such were right at the front of the ferry with views out across the firth towards Dunoon. In fine weather you can get out of the car and stand and enjoy the views of the firth and the hills on all sides. It’s a busy piece of water too and there’s always something to watch. On one occasion when I was travelling back on this ferry with a colleague, we briefly spotted a couple of porpoises and another time Nita spotted a submarine. Nothing quite so exciting yesterday though, just a single yacht making the most of the breeze and a small cruise ship heading south. The weather was though improving slightly and the cloud had risen off of some of the hills but there was virtually no colour anywhere.

A grey morning on the Firth of Clyde

A grey morning on the Firth of Clyde

The work is now back in my studio and I’m already sorting through it and reallocating it. We’re heading up to the Gallery on the Corner in Edinburgh next week to deliver several pieces and to collect several others that they’ve had since the spring. I’m also now working out the exact selection of paintings for the show in the Queens Gallery in Dundee in September and the Speyer exhibition in October ….so it’s all go still.

Blairmore Gallery have retained five paintings for their permanent selection and as I’ve said in the past …it does make a great little day out …especially if you drive up via Loch Lomond and return via the ferry…..and who knows, you may even see a porpoise en route!

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