ASSYNT

ALLT NA BRADHAN

Acrylic on canvas, 20 x 20 cm, 2022

The other of two small ones (acrylic on canvas, 20 x 20 cm) done in one go on the table after messing up on various others. Often the practice makes perfect works!  Assynt hill painting, Allt na Bradhan, meaning ‘burn of the quern(stone)’ named after one of the streams that run off Sàil Garbh (rough heel in English, heel denoting a long slope which ends a chain of peaks) so clear in that morning light, and Sàil Gorm, the blue one.

ALLT NA SAOBHAIDH MÒIRE

Acrylic on canvas, 20 x 20  cm, 2022

this little painting is one of a pair of preparatory sketches. The name Allt na Saobhaidh Mòire is from a stream that runs down between the two towers of Quinag. Saobhaidh Mòire means ‘Large fox-den’. Which is the name given to a large hollow on the hillside on the east side of Sàil Ghorm.

THE BLUE SLOPE

Acrylic and gold mica flakes on canvas, 50 x 50 x 4 cm, 2022

Sàil Ghorm, or the blue (heel) slope, from Quinag in Assynt, the more  westerly of the two huge gable ends of the mountain that looked down at us in our lodge at Kyelsku and reflected in the loch.

THINKING ABOUT WALKING TO THE BONE CAVES

Acrylic and pencil on deep cradled ply panel, 41 x 41 x 5.5 cm, 2022

After spending hours researching geology and many other things about Assynt for my blog. Gaelic place names. I have been reading that every small spot had a name and a meaning. The place where this or that happened and it’s very similar to the naming used by First Nations in north America. Every spot having a meaning is a bit similar to Indigenous Australians’ involvement with country, but it was not a sacred meaning nor did it reach as far back into deep time as that in Australia. But as a deeply felt part of the Scots Gaelic speaking identity much of it is sadly lost now.

ALLT NAN UAMH

Acrylic, pigment, marble dust, cold wax, oil and oil stick on canvas, 50 x 50 x 4 cm, 2022

The geology of paint – the Gaelic (Gallic) name of the disappearing burn, Allt nan Uamh, layers of cold wax and raw pigment then words scratched into the surface of this one, covering up, revealing, and scratching into it with palette knife .

WALKING TO THE BONE CAVES

Acrylic, paper, marble dust, charcoal, oil stick, cold wax on canvas, 50 x 50 cm, 2022

“walking to the bone caves”, a bit of a theme – or even the Gaelic (Gallic) name of the disappearing burn, Allt nan Uamh, the stream of the Caves, both scratched into the surface of this one, which I worked into with cold wax medium and oil paint and zest thinners. wiping off, scraping off, drawing into it with pigment sticks. For information about the bone caves see my blog all about our stay in Assynt, in the far north west of Scotland.

BEALACH A CHORNAIDH

Acrylic, charcoal, cold wax, marble dust, mica flakes, oil and oil stick on canvas, 80 x 70 x 4 cm

the title is from the OS map, the pass between the peaks of Quinag. Bealach means pass.

trying to keep the feeling of the preliminary work on paper, but remembering all that Lewisian Gneiss, the gritty twisted rock with its nooks and crannies, the tiny special flowers, mosses and ferns we found.

INCHNADAMPH

Gouache on hot press 300 gm paper, 15 x 11 inches, 2022

The early and ground-breaking geologists Peach and Home stayed at Inchnadamph in the early 1900’s. In the glens behind the hotel the limestone rock is porous, rivers disappear and reappear, there are caves, and limestone pavements high up just like the Burren in Ireland and Malham Cove in Yorkshire, with specially adapted plants.