ASSYNT

GOLDEN LILY

Acrylic, plastic item from the beach, paper, on canvas, 50 x 50 cm, 2022

I am aware that the waterlily theme must refer in some way to Monet’s great paintings in the Orangerie in Paris, and his oil sketches too, though I am not thinking of them. the shimmer of light on water, the shivery brush marks and skidding paint are most reminiscent in this one, though my palette is different. Golden lily is scratched into the gold paint at the top, and duilleag-bhaite bhuide, (yellow waterlily) down the side.

DEEP IN THE LOCHAN

Acrylic and linen on a deep cradled panel, 40 x 40 x 5.5 cm, 2022

This one has the Gaelic words for waterlily scratched into the paint, and a patch of linen underneath. Duilleag-bhaite which means drowned leaf, and bhan is white. I am fascinated by the idea of a wilderness full of lily ponds. Of the hummocky glaciated ground and the Lewisian Gneiss under it riddled with dyke swarms in straight lines, lochans and small hills and pockets of bog. I am also trying to make brush marks which fly over the surface, using the brush taped to a cane much more lightly than I have before.

LOCHAN REFLECTION

Acrylic and linen on cradled panel, 61 x 61 cm, 2022

Tarry blacks and repeating reflection shapes in the pink and the cream. It maybe an evening loch, whatever, it is abstract and mostly about paint! Note plenty of watery runs and slurpy translucencies make it pretty definitely about water.

THE LOCHAN OF THE GREEN CORRIE

Acrylic, charcoal, paper, linen on canvas, 61 x 61 cm, 2022

The Lochan of the Green Corrie, or Lochan à Choire Ghuirm, which rather sadly, from being a remote and undiscoverable lochan (Norman MacCaig’s final request to Andrew Greig was to go and fish in this mysterious and hard to get at place) high up in Assynt, seems to have become a popular spot to fish in. It’s quite present on the internet, possibly due to Andrew Greig’s book, At the Loch of the Green Corrie. We walked part of the way to it, though our aim was the waterfall lower down. (and we didn’t even get to that). I doodled a fish into the paint with my palette knife.

WATERLILY LOCHAN

Acrylic and gold mica flakes on canvas, 61 x 61 x 4 cm, 2022

This is one of those paintings that looked gorgeous when just finished and then the next day flat and boring, So I had to work on it with layers of glazing on some more translucent blues – pthalo, ultramarine, and deep Australian blue – with some black too. and then the gold mica flakes are specks floating on the surface.

In Assynt in the summer the many little lakes (lochan) on the hummocky Lewisian Gneiss are full of wild waterlilies.

ALLT À BÀTHAICH

Acrylic and oil pastel on canvas, 61 x 61 cm, 2022

Words scratched into the surface of this one are Allt a’ Bàthaich, the name of the burn that flows down from between the two north peaks of Quinag via waterfall after waterfall.. Scots Gaelic meaning the stream of the byre – the flatter patch of grassland under the main ridge of Quinag is called the Corrie of the byre, Choire à Bàthaich, which was a shieling, a summer grazing for cattle, and might be the reason Quinag (Cuineag) is the name of the hill itself, as it means milking pail. That is supposed to refer to its shape, but it could mean literally a place to fill your milkpail.

ACHADH A’ GHILLE BHUIDHE (THE FIELD OF THE YELLOW-HAIRED BOY)

Acrylic, paper, linen, gold mica flakes on canvas, diptych, 80 x 120 cm, 2022

the shimmer of the gold paint in this one is hard to photograph. I need to have some Gaelic lessons so I know how to pronounce these titles. But it’s all about a place, its view of the Summer Isles, its hopes, the hay harvest, the potato harvest …. in Coigach. (A’ Chòigeach’), meaning the five fields, is derived from the ancient tradition of dividing land into fifths. the five ‘fields’ being Achduart, Achnacarinan, Acheninver, Achnahaird and Achiltibuie. perhaps a bit like Irish “townlands”.

as Tim Winton says in his 2014 essay  ” perhaps it’s you, the viewer, who is changed; something has stuck, something’s going on … a listening gaze. ….. open to the steady yet returning stare of a creation that groans in travail even as it feeds us.”