I was recently invited to write about my art practice in the August issue of Artists & Illustrators Magazine, 2017.Read More
Over the next 6 months I will be exhibiting at the following galleries.
Please direct all enquiries to the gallery.
Crinan Gallery • Gallery Artists • Sun 2nd Jul – Sun 20th Aug 2017
Crinan Hotel • By Lochgilphead • PA31 8SR
The Wade Gallery • Summer Exhibition • Sun 16th Jul – Sat 19th Aug 2017
The Wade Gallery • 1 The Terrace • Elie • KY9 1DP
Compass Gallery • Selection of New Works • 8th Aug 2017 – 2nd Sep 2017
178 West Regent Street • Glasgow • G2 4RL
Panter and Hall • Battersea Autumn Affordable Art Fair • 19th – 22nd Oct 2017
Battersea Evolution • London • SW11 4NJ
To reach our destination Liz and I navigated our way from Lerwick harbour to Sumburgh Head, passing shetland ponies and sheep along the road.
Nothing could prepare me for the jaw dropping scenery as we snaked across the landscape, driving over the airport runway which is closed whenever a flight is taking off or landing. As we approached our accommodation, a recently renovated cottage located next to the Lighthouse, we were greeted by a small cluster of puffins flying to and from their burrows. The dramatically perched Lighthouse on the cliff which was designed by the famous engineer Robert Stevenson is home to one of the largest puffin colonies in Scotland.
Looking up to Sumburgh Head Lighthouse, ink and gouache on paper
Despite being the beginning of August we were still able to enjoy the last of the puffins who weren’t quite ready to leave the comfort of their burrows for the harsh Atlantic and North Sea.
Dark clouds over Fitful Head, gouache and wax crayon on paper
Throughout our stay we were given permission to use the Visitor Centre/Cafe as a studio space, this provided us with an uninterrupted view of the landscape and birds, a place of refuge and contemplation when the high winds were too strong to work outdoors. We spent many evenings mesmerised by the flightiness of fulmars and bonxies (great skua) as they circled the cliffs unaware of our presence. Who needs a television!
Storm over Fitful Head, gouache on paper
The continual change in weather became the focus of many of the works I made on Shetland. Passing showers, gale force winds, storms, blazing sunshine, fiery sunsets, misty mornings and rainbows. All of the elements which I endeavoured to embrace and battled against. The experience of being in the landscape, watching it fade and re-appear as dark clouds descended above created a sense of urgency and energy in my way of working.
The lighthouse itself is a fantastic place to be based. I’m looking forward to continuing my exploration of Shetland on my return next June 2017.
To see more photographs and examples of work made during my two week residency please follow me on Instagram.
Thank you to all the staff who made us feel so welcome and to Angela Hunt for all her help.
Shetland Pony, Waterless Lithograph, 21 x 29 ins
Submerge Head Lighthouse, Pastel on paper, 21 x 29 ins
The Low Light
In early April 2016 I was kindly invited to join artists Kittie Jones, Leo du Feu, Nye Hughes, Liz Myhill and Susan Smith on one of the most beautiful islands in Scotland, The Jewel of the Forth. For one week the Low Light, a former navigational lighthouse became our home and stomping ground.
In this blog post I have shared notes made throughout my stay, as well as photographs of some of my favourite spots to paint and examples of my work made on site.
From left to right: Leo du Feu, Liz Myhill, Lara Scouller, Kittie Jones, Nye Hughes and Susan Smith (taking the photo)
Looking out to the Firth of Forth it takes me a while to adjust my vision when gazing at the rocks in front of me. It is only when I see a flash of golden yellow that I realise I am staring at two shags, a male and female who are protecting their nest, both staring back at me with their beautiful green eyes. Their slick glossy feathers are perfectly camouflaged against the wet black rocks.
The painting below was made at Lady’s Bed in the rain under the shelter of my umbrella, the watercolour sticks began to bleed and feather as I worked quickly to capture the two prehistoric looking birds.
There are intervals when all but a few kittiwakes fall silent for just a few moments before the entire colony erupts again into a loud cacophonous sound, amplified even more by the cliff gully which their nests are cemented to. Their features are gentle looking compared to the black-backed and pink legged gull which can also be seen circling the skies above and dotted in the landscape, often casting a shifty side-glance at whoever catches their eye.
Pilgrim’s Haven, watercolour on paper
If I look up into the distance I can see Bass Rock. Occasionally I have spotted gannets cruising close to the surface of the sea near the Isle of May. Despite being far away their presence feels very dominant, almost like they are patrolling the waters.
Passing storm, Bass Rock, watercolour and wax crayon on paper
Seals basking on Maiden Rocks, Isle of May, watercolour on paper
Thank you to everyone who made the Isle of May possible. Thank you Leo for organising the trip, David Steele the reserve manager and Becky for being so accommodating and Roy the boatman for bringing us there and back safely.
If you would like to see more pictures from my time spent on the island please visit my Instagram page.
Guillimot colony, St.Abbs Head, pastel on paper
In October 2014 I received the SWLA Seabird Drawing Bursary which enabled me to attend the the week long course held in June 2015. The Seabird Drawing Course programme focussed on field drawing at specific bird colonies in North Berwick and the Firth of Forth, Scotland. Activities entailed drawing exercises and talks lead by wildlife artists Kittie Jones, Greg Poole, John Threlfall and Darren Woodhead who all provided excellent guidance and inspiration.
Participating in the course allowed me to try new approaches, develop a new body of work and make connections with people working in similar areas. Since the course I have been enjoying exploring the east coast of fife, looking for new inspiration. I have become more attuned to my surroundings and the birds that inhabit it.
During the course it took me a little while to settle into this new way of field sketching that required looking at bird colonies through binoculars and a telescope, proving difficult at first as it involved a lot of patience and concentration. The image through the telescope revealed subtle nuances of each bird whereby the pattern and colour were much clearer to me than any museum display had been able to offer before. This new approach to drawing proved both a challenging and inspirational endeavour. It highlighted many strengths and weaknesses in my ability as a draughtsman, reigniting my passion for nature and working outdoors.
There was a provocative tension between drawing an accurate depiction of a bird and producing something more expressive. It highlighted for me that field drawing is an important skill to have and a good foundation to build on.
The seabird drawing course proved an invaluable opportunity to work alongside other artists who share a similar passion for drawing and facilitated further sharing of ideas and techniques.
The Bass Rock, Fidra and St.Abbs Head each offered something different in their unique characteristics both in terms of the topography of the landscape and bird colonies that reside there. After many weeks, I am still dreaming of the islands and their birds.
St.Abbs Head, pastel on paper
The Annex Residency provided a unique opportunity for my sister (Kim Scouller) and I to spend one week based in and around Crinan, a small harbour village on the west coast of Scotland. Surrounded by stunning seascapes, breathtaking views of Jura and the famous Crinan canal on our doorstep – it did not take us long to settle into our work.
During my stay I made a series of drawings based on the boats moored in the loch and in the working boat yard. Above is the Victoria Semper and the Duke of Normandy. We were lucky to see the VIC32 arrive to refuel and continue it’s journey onto the Sound of Jura leaving a trail of puffy black cloud.
Freshly caught squat lobsters, cooked and ready to eat or draw!
The work made during our residency were included in a group exhibition called ‘Doors of Perception’. The show helped to raise funds to buy suitable doors for the annex studios.
Crinan was a fantastic place to be based for a week. Both Kim and I are grateful for the generosity and enthusiasm of our host Ross Ryan, his family and the community spirit in Crinan all of which added to the memorable experience of working there.