Amongst the many islands of the Hebrides lies one renowned for sunshine, stunning beaches and a constant breeze that keeps the midges at bay, yet beyond the kite surfing community and fans of the shipping forecast its virtually unknown. And so it was that of all the photos I took on that trip only one had people in it.
Two years later and I'm still producing new paintings from my photos. As usual I may have started with photos, but then I've incorporated the feeling of the place that can only come from first hand experience. Here is the best of what I've produced so far...
Traigh Shorobaidh is typical of Tiree - a low flat landscape barely off the beach, with a large sky behind. Its one of the larger beaches on the South Shore. My walk along it was accompanied by a local farm dog that came to see who was walking its beach barefoot.
A moody sky only served to enhance the unbelievable hues of the water - achieved here with a blend of ultramarine, viridian, naples yellow and a little titanium white. Notice how this picture has calm seas and the previous one had rolling waves - it depends in part on which way the wind blows. This beach is in the more sheltered Northeast of the island.
Here is another beach in progress - Traigh Thodhrasdail - this one is a bit more complex, with varying depth of water and varying reflectivity of the sky in the water, plus wet sand reflecting rocks, and a few ripples amongst the waves too. Completed (below) there is a layer of surf, plus some textured rocks and the odd bit of vegetation all added after this layer dried to a tacky consistency. Traigh Thordhrasdail is a less easily reached beach on the West shore.
Traigh Bhi presented a different challenge - that of the reflection in wet sand, broken on the right side by waves nudging in. Reflections in water are not just copies of the original broken up a bit - there is more subtlety than that. For a start the view point is slightly different, and then the angle of the reflection affects how much of each colour gets through. As a child playing in puddles I noticed that reflections are just light and dark until you reach a certain angle, after which you get more and more true colour coming back. In this instance the part of the reflection closest to the viewer has something of the sand showing through.
One of the last beaches I reached was this quiet corner in the Northeast of the island. The map gives it no name, and its relative shelter from the rough seas has allowed it to take on a green tinge. Besides myself there were just these three sheep crossing from one patch of grass where I disturbed them. A family on a trip to the beach perhaps?