2017 has been a very busy year for Susan and I both with business and family. Our son was married 13th May. As a way to relax after the build up to the wedding we planned a painting trip to a Scottish Island called Tiree. Some friends of ours bought a holiday cottage there called An Caladh meaning rest place by the sea. We arranged a three night stay and hoped that the weather would be favourable and that its name would live up to expectations.
As we left from Glasgow Airport in a Twin Otter we hit thick cloud. It wasn’t until we descended below cloud level that we caught our first view of this small island. Tiree is only about 8 miles long. We landed on the tiny airstrip that was once used by Coastal Command during WW2 to be greeted by our friends.
First port of call was Scarinish Harbour. We purchased lobsters, crabs, fresh langoustines and local steaks for our evening meals which were exquisitely prepared by Susan. Whilst these were being discussed at the local fish van I launched into my first sketchbook watercolour on the island. It was of the picturesque harbour set against the backdrop of an ominous sky. This was worked up in to a studio watercolour painting of Tiree above.
Fortunately the ominous sky was more of a show than a shower so after lunch we were able to enjoy a sunlit walk along Balephil Bay. Out came my sketchbook, and I painted the beautiful white sands. This just whetted my appetite for more beach paintings. So before our evening meal I went down to Balevullin Beach only 5 minutes walk from An Caladh.
The beach is a favourite haunt for surfers and I could see why as the waves rushed in. I found a suitable vantage point and tackled two watercolours of the beach, one in my sketchbook, the other on a 12″ x 9″ Arches Block.
The next day I returned to do another sketchbook watercolour, this time changing the format of the composition to include the foreground rocks. Due to the strong sunlight and low tide, the sea became more turquoise in colour which made for a completely different painting. I was already starting to build up a mini collection of Paintings of Tiree to be developed into more finished pieces.
The pattern for the weather was rain in the morning, sun in the afternoon and great sunsets in the evening. On the Monday morning I was confined to painting a view from one of the windows of An Caladh. The distant white houses highlighted against the threatening sky and the palm tree made for an interesting composition.
Producing Paintings of Tiree is just one of the many activities I enjoyed during our three days on the island.
Did I mention the bike rides, watching thirty seals playing very close to the shore of Balephetrish Beach? Or the wonderful walks and spotting very large hares? And feasting on local produce, bird watching and a visit to the museum about Skerryvore Lighthouse?
As we took off, the skies were clear so we were able to enjoy stunning views of the inner Hebrides. These included Staffa, Mull and Iona, a reminder of some of the paintings I have produced in the past of these islands.
Visit alanreed.com to get updates on new Paintings of Tiree.