Posts Tagged ‘painting’

A shot in the (almost) dark

February 2, 2015

The View at night for a change! The almost full moon smiling down on our glen.

The View

Puff and Biggles don’t like to share their favourite perch, so when Mrs Under-by muscled in, off they flapped elsewhere. “I just wanted to be in on The View!” she said.

Mrs Under-by

This week has been a cold one for sure with the temperature hovering around freezing but more importantly, accompanied by a fairly strong, face-achingly, northerly wind. Ouch! A good week for scuttling around outdoor chores and heading back inside to warmer activities. Although Kevin’s been indoors, he’s not been on the same cushy number as I have, as he’s been working in the old church, making a start on our Quail brooders.

Quail brooder

After sending for another supply of upholstery glue – because I couldn’t for the life of me find the ‘safe place’ where I put the first lot! – I’ve finally completed the re-upholstery of our parlour suite. We’re both pleased with the outcome although I don’t think that I would be in a rush to take on a similar project. Well, maybe one chair. I have to say that it was hard on the back, all that stooping with hammer and tacks, rendering any subsequent duck-house cleaning to be quite painful. Lucky that I had a Kevin then, to step in with his shovel!

Parlour suite

Easier on the back, I’ve also had the time to do several paintings. First up was ‘Duck and Dive’, using Indian ink once more…

Lucky and Chance

…followed by Polly Blue-tail, with a hint of red this time. I prefer this one – lots of fiddly pen work!

Polly Blue-tail

Lastly, I had a go at some mixed media. I have absolutely no idea what to call this one! Any ideas?

mixed media

Snow and other matters monochrome

January 19, 2015

THE VIEW from a slightly different angle today. Beautiful, but hardly rising above freezing.

The view

The snow reached down to Garybuie a couple of days ago, not much more than a smattering really, but I’m still not keen. Still, I shan’t complain after hurricane force winds deftly removed some of our roof tiles and a couple of large-ish tree boughs prior to the arrival of the white stuff.


MacLoed's tables

But, at least the sun made an appearance today and most feathered residents congregated outside the old church for some serious sunbathing. It amused me to see that they divided into same species groups – talk about clannish!


None of this sun worshipping for Lucky and Chance however, they spent a lot of their day keeping their feet ‘warm’ in the running water!

Lucky and Chance

I’ve mentioned in the past that I subscribe to an art magazine, ‘Paint’,
and probably my favourite artist is Vic Bearcroft. His animal portraits in soft pastels are stunning but recently he’s moved on to monochrome portraits using Indian ink. So, Patches being a monochrome kind of cat, I thought that I’d give it a go. There’s plenty wrong with it but overall I’m quite pleased with the outcome.


Nothing going to plan

April 30, 2014

The View

Our dry, spring weather continues so I thought I’d have a ‘garden day’. We’re off on an adventure on Saturday leaving Garybuie in the capable hands of dad and our ever-helpful neighbours, Mark and Gerlinde. I’m not going to tell you where our adventure is taking us, you’ll just have to wait until we return! Anyway, I needed to get the veggies ship-shape before our departure so I weeded the polytunnel and planted our main crop potatoes.

potato planting

Needless to say, getting the animals ship-shape is a different kettle of fish! Every year we make plans for our breeding program and seemingly every year those plans are thwarted. Apparently, this year is no different although to be fair, there is potentially beneficial plan-thwarting this year! Puff and Biggles are both definitely broody although at least one of the three musco-teers continues to lay in Puff’s box. The poor duck will be atop a pyramid of eggs soon! Broody Brenda hasn’t gone with our usual box-within-a-box ploy in the ‘polytunnel coop’ (probably in an attempt to avoid the Nest Thief) but instead is doing her thing in the over-by coop next to the duck houses.


Today is her first day sitting and Kevin has blocked the pop-hole at half-mast so that there’s no chance of the Nest Thief muscling in! Several of the other hens were using the box-within-a-box as well as one of the musco-teers, whose egg we removed every day. Yesterday, she was exhibiting broody behaviour so I checked the nest and believe me, the Nest Thief is a mere pick-pocket compared to the violent robbery performed by a musco-teer! There had been 6 or 7 hen eggs in there when I last checked but apparently, the broody duck had performed the Highland Fling in the nest resulting in a straw and wood-shaving omelette, garnished with one perfect Muscovy egg! Of course I had to clear the crime scene (whilst being SERIOUSLY heckled by the dastardly duck), including the duck egg which was covered in solidified egg yolk and straw, put new bedding in there and a ceramic egg in the hope of encouraging further laying. But by whom?


Yup, that’s a Muscovy’s rear you can see there and she’s sat tight all day – on a ceramic egg! This afternoon however, Kevin succeeded in slipping half a dozen Muscovy eggs under her. She scolded him but didn’t move an inch!

On a less violent theme, first-time mum, BB, is doing just fine with her wee family.


And even more excitement, for me at least! Yesterday, I received the latest ‘Paint’ magazine and found that I’d had my second publication of a painting! This time it was the ‘Keys and Curly Tails’ which I completed earlier this year.

Paint magazine

I think that I’m probably pushing my luck now, but yesterday I submitted the following painting to the magazine. I’ve entitled it ‘Looking for Mischief’ and I think that quite a few of you will know where this wonderful character lives!

Looking for Mischief

Al fresco breakfasts this season?

March 10, 2014

Blue skies have finally arrived…

the view

…and so has the ‘something big’which I mentioned the other week.


As you can see, breakfast would be a fairly drafty affair at the moment but at least the view is unobstructed!


Anyway, the arrival of our new, shiny conservatory is just in the nick of time for the beginning of the new season. Its construction will be completed on Wednesday and then I just have to re-decorate. So any potential guests out there, don’t worry, your haggis won’t be in any danger of blowing of your breakfast plate should you decide to spend some time at Garybuie!

And now for something completely different! Yesterday I completed my painting of ‘On the Prowl’ and I’m contemplating something bristly rather than furry next.


Well pleased!

March 8, 2014

There’s a certain bovine lady out there on a farm in Illinois, Daisy, who’s currently being closely watched as her calving date draws near. When she was a young, carefree heifer, I did a painting of her along with her feline companion, taken from a photograph by the ever generous Cecilia from said farm. Recently I submitted the painting for publication in the ‘Members’ Gallery’ of ‘Paint’, the magazine for The Society of All Artists (SAA). The competition was entitled ‘Close to You’ and I thought that cow and cat fitted the bill perfectly! Today I received the latest magazine and look…


I am well pleased! I never even managed to get a painting on the wall at school! Thank you Cecilia!

My current painting has been a wee bit neglected lately but it’s coming along, slowly but surely and I’m pleased so far.

cat portrait

A post of wildly different images and words

February 16, 2014

The first image is the usual one but look at that; finally some blue has been added from Mother Nature’s palette!

the view

But now for the first of today’s wildly different images. I showed you the appearance of our first clump of emerging snowdrops recently, but now they are in abundance! Here in the front garden, the hens spend a lot of time scratching around – great for clearing any moss! – and they’ve helped spread the snowdrops too!


more snowdrops

On the kitchen wall I have a framed piece of our eldest son, Matt’s early artwork accompanied by a poem…

Matt's snowdrops

And now for something completely different! Going back to the Glasgow Boys, one painting which caught my eye in a gloomy kind of way was this one by E.A. Hornel entitled ‘The Brownie of Blednoch’. He looks a bit Gollum-like to me!

“The Brownie, that odd figure in the mythology of the wilderness, freakish and friendly, coming suddenly to the neighbourhood of the farm-towns and disappearing suddenly, has been traced to the Pict, the ancient inhabitant, dispossessed from the land, living in mountain retreats but seen sometimes by the conquering race or finding employment among them.”

Brownie of Blednoch

There’s a poem about this unfortunate soul too by William Nicholson, ‘The Brownie of Blednoch’, ‘the greatest piece of vernacular literature that Galloway has ever produced’. It’s a tale where we find ourselves pitying the creature rather than fearing him.

Not quite as easy as the snowdrop poem to read but certainly something to get your teeth into!

There cam a strange wight to our town-en’, And the fient a body bid him ken; He tirled na land, but he glided ben Wi’ a dreary, dreary hum.
His face did glare like the glow o’ the west When the drumlie clud has it half o’ercast; Or the struggling moon when she’s sair distrest- O sirs! ’twas Aiken-drum.
I trow the bauldest stood aback, Wi’ a gape and a glower till their lugs did crack, As the shapeless phantom mum’ling spak’, “Ha’e ye wark for Aiken-drum?”
O had ye seen the bairns’ fright As they stared at this wild and unyirthly wight As he stauket in ‘tween the dark and the light And graned out, “Aiken-drum!”
“Sauf us!” quoth Jock, “d’ye see sic een;” Cries Kate, “there’s a hole where a nose should h’ae been, And the mouth’s like a gash which a horn had ri’en; Wow! keep’s frae Aiken-drum!”
The black dog growling cowered his tail, The lassie swarfed, loot fa’ the pail; Rob’s lingle brak as he men’t the flail At the sight o’ Aiken-drum.
His matted head on his breast did rest, A lang blue beard wan’ered down like a vest; But the glare o’ his e’e nae bard hath exprest, Nor the skimes o’ Aiken-drum
Roun’ his hairy form there was naething seen But a philabeg o’ rashes green, And his knotted knees played aye knoit between; What a sight was Aiken-drum!
On his wauchie arms three claws did meet As they trailed on the grun’ by his taeless feet; E’en the auld gudeman himsel’ did sweat To look at Aiken-drum.
But he drew a score, himsel did sain; The auld wife tried, but her tongue was gane; While the younger ane closer clasped her wean And turned frae Aiken-drum.
But the canny auld wife cam’ till her breath, And she deemed the Bible might ward aff scaith, Be it benshee, bogle, ghaist or wraith- But it fear’t na Aiken-drum.
“His presence protect us!” quoth the auld gudeman’; “What wad ye, where won ye-by see or by lan’? I conjure ye-speak-by the Beuk in my han’!” What a grane ga’e Aiken-drum!
“I lived in a lan’ where we saw nae sky, I dwalt in a spot where a burn rins na by; But I’se dwall now wi’ you if ye like to try- Ha’e ye wark for Aiken-drum?
“I’ll shiel a’ your sheep i’ the morning sune, I’ll bury your crap by the light o’ the moon, And baa the bairns wi’ an unken’d tune If ye’ll keep puir Aiken-drum.
“I’ll loup the linn when ye canna wade, I’ll kirn the kirn, and I’ll turn the bread, And the wildest fillie that ever ran rede I’se tame’t,” quoth Aiken-drum
“To wear the tod frae the flock on the fell- To gather the dew frae the heather bell- And to look at my face in your clear crystal well Might gi’e pleasure to Aiken-drum.”
“I’se seek nae guids, gear, bond nor mark; I use nae beddin’, shoon nor sark; But a cogfu’ o’ brose ‘tween the light and dark Is the wage o’ Aiken-drum.”
Quoth the wylie auld wife, “The thing speaks weel; Our workers are scant-we ha’e routh o’ meal; Gif he’ll do as he says-be he man, be he de’il, Wow! we’ll try this Aiken-drum.”
But the wenches skirled, “He’s no be here! His eldritch look gars us swarf wi’ fear, And the fient a ane will the house come near If they think but o’ Aiken-drum.”
“For a foul and a stalwart ghaist is he, Despair sits brooding aboon his e’e bree, And unchancie to light o’ a maiden’s e’e Is the grim glower o’ Aiken-drum.”
“Puir slipmalabors! ye ha’e little wit; Is’t na hallowmas now, and the crap out yet?” Sae she silenced them a wi’ a stamp o’ her fit; “Sit yer wa’s down, Aiken-drum.”
Roun’ a’ that side what wark was dune By the streamer’s gleam or the glance o’ the moon; A word or a wish-and the brownie cam’ sune, Sae helpfu’ was Aiken-drum.
But he slade aye awa’ ere the sun was up; He ne’er could look straught on Macmillan’s cup; They watched-but nane saw him his brose ever sup Nor a spune sought Aiken-drum
On Blednoch banks and on crystal Cree For mony a day a toiled wight was he; While the bairns played harmless roun’ his knee, Sae social was Aiken-drum.
But a new-made wife, fu’ o’ rippish freaks, Fond o’ a’ things feat for the first five weeks Laid a mouldy pair o’ her ain man’s breeks By the brose o’ Aiken-drum.
Let the learned decide when they convene What spell was him and the breeks between; For frae that day forth he was nae mair seen, And sair missed was Aiken-drum.
He was heard by a herd gaun by the Thrieve, Crying, “Lang, lang now may I greet and grieve; For alas! I ha’e gotten baith fee and leave, O luckless Aiken-drum!”
Awa’! ye wrangling sceptic tribe! Wi’ your pros and your cons wad ye decide ‘Gainst the ‘sponsible voice o’ a hale country-side On the facts ’bout Aiken-drum?
Though the “Brownie o’ Blednoch” lang be gane, The mark o’ his feet’s left mony a stane; And mony a wife and mony a wean Tell the feats o’ Aiken-drum.
E’en now light loons that jibe and sneer At spiritual guests and a’ sic gear At the Glasnoch mill ha’e swat wi’ fear And looked roun’ for Aiken-drum.
And guidly folks ha’e gotten a fright When the moon was set and the stars gi’ed nae light At the roaring linn in the howe o’ the night Wi’ sughs like Aiken-drum.


February 10, 2014

A very different view for you on this occasion…

Buchanan Street

This was taken on Saturday and there’s not a ridge in sight! This is Buchanan street in Glasgow’s city centre and I swear, there must have been as many people on that street as there are on the whole of Skye! I had been whisked away by Kevin for a city break as a birthday treat and this was the view which greeted us as we emerged from Glasgow’s underground, known locally as the ‘clockwork orange’! It’s smaller than other underground trains we’ve travelled on. Personally I think that it was built by hobbits and look; here it is, disappearing down a hobbit hole!

clockwork orange

Also, the noise in the street was difficult for our countryside ears to adapt to! There was a contemporary pipe and drum ensemble giving it their all just outside the station…

street band

Earlier in the day however, we’d enjoyed some quieter culture in the Kelvin Grove Art Gallery and Museum.

Kelvingrove museum

Nouveau handles


Nouveau lighting

We spent some time in the museum part, but the art gallery was where we spent most of our time. One of the most significant paintings there is Salvador Dali’s ‘Christ of St. John of the Cross’. Spectacular it certainly is but I found it a wee bit unsettling for some reason.


My favourite exhibition was that of The Glasgow Boys…

Glasgow Boys

…and the painting which took my breath away was, ‘The Druids, Bringing in The Mistletoe’ by George Henry and E.A. Hornel in 1890. The two different styles of each artist were quite clear within the painting. I could have looked at it all day!

Druids, mistletoe

cattle, mistletoe

Here’s a small selection of other paintings which I particularly enjoyed…

'A Funeral Service in the Highlands' James Guthrie, 1881-82

‘A Funeral Service in the Highlands’
James Guthrie, 1881-82

'Massacre of Glencoe' James Hamilton 1883-86

‘Massacre of Glencoe’
James Hamilton 1883-86

'Bannockburn' John Hassal 1914-15 (the one WITHOUT Mel Gibson!)

John Hassal 1914-15
(the one WITHOUT Mel Gibson!)

One of Kevin’s favourites…

'Homewards' William Kennedy approx. 1891

William Kennedy approx. 1891

After the Kelvin Grove, we visited the (replica) house of Charles Rennie Mackintosh and his wife Margaret MacDonald Mackintosh. I’d been really looking forward to this, having the chance to get up close to some of his uniquely styled furniture. However, for me it would seem that less is more where Mackintosh furniture is concerned. One or two pieces and I can appreciate the simple, stylish lines of his designs, but a whole houseful was way to architectural, rigid and contrived for my taste. Here is a small selection of his furniture designs if you’re not familiar with them.

Some furniture designs by C.R. MacIntosh

Some furniture designs by C.R. MacIntosh

The soft, Art Nouveau accessories by his wife however were beautiful. Several of her husband’s furniture pieces were adorned with her beaten, silver-plated brass panels such as this one…

A piece by Margaret MacDonald MacIntosh

A piece by Margaret MacDonald MacIntosh

Should we ever return to Glasgow, I think that I would probably like to tour the city and enjoy the architecture of buildings designed by Charles Rennie Mackintosh.

Settling in

January 22, 2014

As you can see, not much change in THE VIEW, yesterday, still grey with some heavy clouds. Still, it was mostly dry yesterday which was good although it was a fairly strong wind which made it unpleasantly chilly. I had intended to post this yesterday but accessing the internet at a reasonable speed was like pulling teeth, so here we are, a day late!

The view

I mainly wanted to give you an update on our New Girls who seem to be settling in just fine. To be fair, they did set off over the hills and far away on their first day, but they were easy to guide back and have remained reasonably close since. At least being white means that they’re easy enough to spot as they trundle back and forth in the field behind Garybuie. Making friends is a different matter; they seem to be content enough to be around the other ducks with no apparent aggravation – at least not that we’ve seen!

Getting along

The weird thing is that Huff seems to pay them little attention, spending most of his time wandering around the place policing MacRae, who unusually is on his best behaviour these days! We can’t work it out. The girls speak his language when all said and done so is the Daft Drake confused, thinking that they belong to MacRae because they’re white?

huff and white ducks

Anyway, in an attempt to encourage a sense of belonging, Kevin has now removed a panel from the dividing wall between the new and older muscovies, although the gap is covered by chicken wire so that they can see each other but remain be separated. Keeping them separate for a wee while longer is probably a good idea as Biggles in particular can be a grumpy madam when she chooses! When they are more integrated during daytime activities, we’ll remove the dividing wall completely so that Huff’s house will be almost double the size. Of course MacRae, Lucky and Chance weren’t particularly enamoured with their new home, but are gradually getting used to it!

huff's house

Returning indoors, I completed my kitten portrait. I found the picture here, a lovely cat blog which I often visit if I want to feel all warm and fuzzy! Next up is my still life for the SAA 2014 challenge. I’m off now to consult my collection of art books to see how I might tackle it!

white kitten


January 16, 2014

THE VIEW – 2.30p.m.

the view

I couldn’t get to the old church with a quick stride over the bridge today and had to take the long way around. For some reason there was a ducky convention/siesta on said bridge and being a softy, I didn’t like to disturb them!

Ducky convention

A bit of an art update: yesterday, I completed the ‘Whispering Donkeys’.

whispering donkeys

Now I’m back in the feline department and after that I’m going to have a go at something completely different. I subscribe to the SAA’s (Society for All Artists) magazine. ‘Paint’. Each year they hold a new challenge for readers and this year it’s entitled ‘On Reflection’, requiring that we get to grips with metallic surfaces. Now I haven’t drawn a still life since school, over forty years ago, and I actually got the best mark of my entire, scholastic art career for it! I remember being thrilled to show my granddad my effort as he was the one with the artistic genes in the family and I’m grateful to him for whatever small sequence of artistic DNA I inherited from him! Mine was a school which regarded art as a subject which had to be ‘dealt with’ because it unfortunately took up space within the curriculum. Shame really. Anyway, here’s a photo of my chosen subject…


Matt and Sarah bought this row of piggies’ bottoms for us in our pig-rearing days! I shall work from a photograph as the keys are in a really awkward alcove about 1/2 meter square, which is occupied by muddy footwear and gardening coats! However, I need to use time spent on my latest kitten portrait pondering on how to tackle the reflections and what medium to use.

The View and a rotten process

January 14, 2014

I liked Cecilia’s idea of a daily view and enjoy watching the changing seasons and weather which it depicts. It’s an anchor within all the busy goings-on on the Farmy; animals are born, animals die but the view remains constant throughout the farming year – minus the odd tree limb! Now Cecilia is a generous gal, allowing her readers to use her photographs, so I hope she doesn’t mind the copying of her Daily View idea too. Of course I don’t post every day so obviously can’t provide a daily view so what, ‘Today’s View’?, ‘View from Garybuie’? or simply ‘The View’? How about THE VIEW Today? Cecilia took a few shots and got readers to vote which should become the Daily View but I’m obviously more of a control freak than she and have chosen the view myself! We are privileged to have lovely views all around Garybuie but the one that enthrals me every day is The Ridge. Its mood changes constantly; glowering, threatening, vibrant, grand, mysterious, hidden or staggeringly beautiful.

the view

For this shot I need to step over the wee bridge, which is Puff and Biggle’s favourite perch, to just outside the old church. This morning it was dry but I’m sure that I’ll get soaked at some point!

Speaking of the old church, as well as being used for storage (boys’ toys mainly) and accommodation for Mr and Mrs Silkie/newly hatched birds, it’s also where we ‘process’ various beasties. Usually this involves standing for many hours with cold hands and feet and a sharp knife, but I thought that I’d try a more veggie-friendly version of processing; my latest painting endeavour entitled ‘Processed Lamb’. I thought I’d depict the process by which I paint an animal’s portrait within one painting. My subject was one of Cecilia’s lambs and to be honest, the carnivore-friendly version of processing is probably prettier! The end result is completely unbalanced and the whole idea was obviously far to grandiose for someone of my limited skill!

Processed Lamb

Consequently, I’ve reverted to less adventurous compositions, this time tackling ‘Whispering Donkeys’, a potrait in pencil for a change.

Donkey Whispers

Now for a wee bit of Garybuie trivia! I was having trouble with my easel. I always use it at a slight tilt, sitting to work. Recently however, it’s been having a bit of a laugh and semi-collapsing under the slightest pressure, usually when I’m making a crucial stroke! Therefore, I set out in search of a flatter, more robust working service and Kevin provided the perfect piece of equipment! Can you see what the donkeys are resting on? Well, it’s the top of an old school desk but this particular specimen wasn’t from a school but instead was the top of the pulpit in the old church! I imagine that there was many an intimidating sermon delivered from behind it in the 1950s!!

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