In May 2017 Susan and I flew to the island of Tiree, one of the Inner Hebrides in a Sea Otter. We were greeted by our friends who were staying in a family holiday home called An Caladh.
First port of call was Scarinish, Tiree, a tiny village which has the only bank on the island, a grocery store, one hotel and a Post Office. There is also a ferry service to Oban on the Scottish mainland.
Whilst the others went to buy food for our stay, I painted a quick watercolour of the harbour in my hand made, leather bound sketchbook. The little red boat is apparently the most painted vessel on the island.
When painting in the comfort of the Studio, it’s easy to forget the mood and atmosphere that painting “en plein air” provides. Supplementary photographs are helpful for topographical accuracy, however they can sometimes be a little cold and sterile. There really is no substitute for having your own interpretation of the scene that was crafted in paint on the spot. As I’m writing this post with the very same sketchbook in front of me, I’m reminded of the heavy rain clouds departing over the sea whilst trying to balance my tiny box of watercolours on a fence post along with my sketchbook.
I’m also reminded of the fish van behind me selling fresh lobster and langoustines that we were to enjoy later in the evening.
It’s these visual aids that activate memories that you can bring to your studio work so that you end up with a painting that others can identify with and relate to.
You can read more about our trip to Tiree and see some of my other sketchbook studies from our trip on my blog post Paintings of Tiree.
This watercolour of Scarinish, Tiree is available online and from our Studio and Gallery in Ponteland.