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.