Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The sketch was done on a bright summers day but what I wanted was the drama that I'd seen a week earlier that still remained clear in my memory. I decided to work big with this one and took a meter square canvas that already had a view of Brittany that I now found dull and disappointing. I find working over an old canvas is invariably doubley rewarding with the past image serving as guide to the future. Painting several month after the sketch is not always easy but for a place that is so familiar I am quickly transported back. Like a good wine drunk at the Chateaux vignoble the taste and smell alone will instantly take you back there. The sketch which now transports me once more to that cliff edge.

Traigh Ghearadha, Tolsta, Isle of Lewis. In the foreground is the ruined remains of the 12th century Castle Mhorair which sat atop the stone stack.
This has been my summer retreat for the past four years where I have been working to restore an old croft house and barn. The house is now finished and to let (see or simply follow the link in the Scotland page of my website. Over to the far right of this painting is where I cut my peat and if the weather is with me they dry. The work is physically hard but there is no better place. Last year it didn't happen and I left before I was able to bring them in so they will remain on the moor over winter.

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