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Inspiration in the Scottish mountains

I've spent the last four months climbing and walking in the Highlands, always looking around me and absorbing everything that the hills offer. Once the snows melt back and the hills turn from white and yellow to green and purple, I'll find myself in the studio every day. The beginnings of ideas take shape in my sketch books and in my imagination - all those trips contribute to them, sometimes in small subtle ways, sometimes in obvious plans that are near fully-formed.

I was unable to get to Torridon and Skye this Winter, despite them calling me from the map. Instead I travelled to some lesser-known peaks to enjoy the quiet excitement of remoteness and adventure. Climbing the mountain Streap from the North was one such enjoyable endeavour. A long approach through forests and heather, frozen bogs, a long winding snowy ridge and a final steep arete leading straight to the beautiful sharp summit. Another highlight was climbing the Ceannacroc Couloir near Glen Shiel, involving another long approach up a remote glen. The weather this Winter has been far better than last year, and although there is always beauty in the hills whatever the conditions, having sun to light the scene and create deep bright shdows is uplifting and spectacular.

There may well be a little bit of Winter left in the mountains and I still have plans for the remainder. Painting subjects in no particular order will be: A Brocken Spectre; The Ben Nevis plateau; Streap through the mist; Ciste Dhuibh/Glen Shiel; Aonach Beag; The Allt a' Mhuilinn approach to Ben Nevis. There will be more I'm sure.

Here are a few photos

My daughter leading the way in the Glen Coe hills

A golden lochan from Creag Meagaidh

Looking up the Ceannacroc Couloir, Sgurr nan Conbhairean

Me climbing on the North Face of Aonach Beag

Studying the view

Icy streams

There will also be two new prints available soon - The Glenfinnan Viaduct and Loch Shiel, and Reflections in The Northern Cuillin, Skye. An announcement will be made in the next few weeks here, on Facebook and Instagram.


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