JK and Carolyn were exploring Glasgow, walking in the neighbourhood of George Square. Suddenly the innocuous pigeons scattered around on the ground and settled on statues formed a massive flock and began to swirl, zooming just over people’s heads and, as a unit, taking some action that seemed as if it might endanger this poor woman. It was soon apparent that the woman was an old friend and her bag was loaded with seeds. If you’ve ever seen Mary Poppins, you have seen a very similar phenomenon. The Bird Lady must appear with enough frequency that the birds were on the lookout for her. After chucking some handfuls of seed, she chuckled at their zeal and trundled on. To the next bird rendezvous?
Rainbows are everywhere on Skye! Still, a rainbow appearing just beside The Old Man of Storr seemed exceptional to Carolyn and JK after a few days of rainbow spotting. This is the view of the famous stones from the highway, and one of the clearest views we had of them. As our bus moved around the hills, the rainbow passed in front of the Old Man and then shifted to the left side. Imagine the awesome beauty of those green hills, enormous stones, and the freshness of the rainbow light through the rain changing through 150 degrees of beauty.
Here is another scene from Scotland. JK and Carolyn ventured through three days of walking the West Highland Way. It was very rainy before, during and after those three days. The scenery was spectacular and lush, and also reflected in the puddles on the trail. Somehow the moving clouds and unexpected beams of light brought the landscape to life as muted tones shone brightly and shadows enhanced them… just for a moment before the strong colours retired into fog once more.
When I saw piled stone way markers in Scotland I wondered if they are part of an ancient custom or something that migrated over from the Canadian North. Are they called Inuksuit (plural of Inuksuk) in Scotland? Certainly I have seen them wherever there are rocks and people, these days, so it makes sense that ancient people would have a little rest and pile some rocks as well. If anyone knows more about the little stone men of Scotland, I’d be pleased to hear from you.
This painting is of a Canadian Inuksuk, I just can’t remember exactly where it was. The rock at the bottom looked like a bird with outstretched wings, making the little fellow look like he was surfing the breeze. A lovely idea! Anyway, this was just a little sketch, the first I did with my travel kit from Scotland. The colours are excellent!
I’ve been asked whether my style has changed now that I’ve been to Scotland. I had to answer that my experience was very wet: every scene was softened by mist or rain and that means that when I paint images from my trip I often use lots of water and blend the colours and shapes into one another. I suppose you could say that my style changed, but only according to what I was trying to capture.
However, it’s a trick of the rain to make shapes sharp and clear so long as they are close to your eye. In The Rose Window, shapes are again sharp and clear. This was something I saw in Scotland, and it was raining, but I was in a bus parked very near to a hotel. This beautiful window, carved from local stone and adorned by the climbing roses, was about all I could see. Maybe that’s why this painting is more like my usual style. Could it also be less watery because I was warm and dry in the bus?
Scotland was wet. It was misty and lush and, everywhere the eye could see, tapestried with muted colours that trailed over and into one another in ways that mesmerized. The Highlands were like a soft, abstract painting, but an ancient building nestled into a mound of rocky grass grounded the scene into blurred realism.
The Old Man of Storr, that is. Carolyn and JK climbed up to this famous monolith. It was rainy and blowing a gale, but that only made the mysterious stones eerier. The Old Man isn’t in this view; it’s down the trail a little somewhere in that mist.