Plantscapes

After all the hard work of the last few months I can’t believe that there are just four days left of the exhibition at Eilean Iarmain and a week left at Gairloch Museum.

I’ve had a lot of interest in Flora Gadelica and have decided to have some prints made of my images. I plan to sell online again later in the summer so the prints will be available here, via my website.

Flora Gadelica prints and cards

The prints are from Scotland’s Artists and look absolutely gorgeous on German Etching paper. The details and the colours have come across beautifully.

I still have some details to share about the botanicals that I painted, but I will do that later this week. Today I thought I’d share the three big “plantscapes’ that I painted for the exhibition. The first painting below is of the hazel burn, that’s just a short walk from my house. I spent a lot of time during lockdown walking past this place. It feels quite magical with the moss, ivy and twisted hazel branches. I sketched and painted it several times, starting when the ground was bare and finishing when the celandines and primroses were covering the banks of the wee burn. This painting is in oils and is 100cms x 100cms. This painting represents winter into early spring

The second piece was painted using a selection of sketches and is an attempt to record the crystal clear skies and snow caped peaks of autumn, when the deciduous trees are loosing their leaves and the bracken is turning to red and gold. For me, this painting was about the Scots Pines and their glorious sculptural shapes, emerging from the morning mist.

The final of the three plantscapes is a summer painting. This one has the hawthorn and the sea-thrift in flower. The wee cottage belongs to a friend of mine and I have painted it several times now, very much a favourite destination to sketch and paint.

I’ve four botanical paintings left to share, but more of them later this week.

The Lochcarron Trio exhibition is on until the 23rd of June, Flora Gadelica is on until the 26th June at Gairloch Museum and more news about my online shop is coming soon

Foxgloves and bluebells

As I type this blog I’m sitting in the gorgeous wee gallery An Talla Dearg at Eilean Iarmain on the Isle of Skye. I think it’s meant to rain tomorrow, but I’m just going to enjoy the sunshine and the smiley art loving visitors for now.

We’re currently into the first full week of my joint exhibition with Aileen Grant Art and Steven Proudfoot. This our third time here, but the first Summer exhibition for us, we’re here till the 23rd of this month, so lots of time to pop in if you are in the area

I really loved the experience of getting ready for the Flora Gadelica (or Lusan nan Gaidheal in Gaelic) at Gairloch Heritage Museum, but this exhibition almost came too quickly for me. I did manage to make some new art, a mixture of landscapes and botanicals, but I haven’t had time to do much else over the last couple of weeks and would ideally have liked just a wee longer to prepare.

However, I’m not complaining! It really is a wonderful space to show work and I am very blessed to be sharing the gallery with two such talented and experienced artists as Aileen and Steven.

However, I did promise that I would blog in more detai about the plants that I painted for Gairloch. so for this particular post I’m going to share some more information about Bluebells and Foxgloves.

When I painted the bluebells and foxgloves for Flora Gadelica I had to rely on my sketches and photographs, though I was able to use the leaves, which had already begun to emerge. For the An Talla Dearg exhibition the road verges and hedgerows are full of these gorgeous plants, so, of course I had to paint more!

Foxgloves are very much a part of Scots folklore and there is plenty of information about them in the reference books that I used. Scottish Plant Lore, An Illustrated Flora, by Gregory J Kenicer. and, of course Flora Celtica, Plants and People in Scotland by Willian Milliken and Sam Bridgewater, but for some reason bluebells, were not included in Scottish Plant Lore. However, The Woodland Trust https://www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/ has some great information about both plants, just in case you want to read more about them

Hyacinthoides non-scripta bluebell        bròg na cuthaig

The common bluebell, Hyacinthoides non-scripta is everywhere right now. The low lying fields near the gallery are full of them and the air nearby full of their sweet scent. Non-scripta means unmarked, these are the native bluebell and are quite distinct from their Spanish cousins. Non-scripta is smaller and has all its florets on the same side of the stem, which gives it that bent over nodding appearance. Hispanica is taller, it has florets all around the stem and stands straight and tall, but has no scent.

Bluebells, like snowdrops are a protected by section 7 of the Wildlife and Countryside act and neither the bulbs or the seeds can be collected.

In Gaelic the bluebell is known as Bròg na cuthaig, which means (in English) cuckoo shoe, which I think is one of my favourite translations.

Luckily I had a lot of sketches and photographs of bluebells as I taught a botanical art course on painting them, with West Highland College last year, so it was fairly easy to paint some for the Gairloch exhibition.

Right now they are abundant and indeed, it seems like a particularly good year for them, so I could resist painting another bluebell, along with ajuga and wild strawberries for the exhibition at An Talla Dearg.

Bluebells

Digitalis Foxglove      Lus nam Ban-sìth

The roadsides and verges will soon be full of foxgloves, (Digitalis purpurea)there are some around right now, but the up to 2m giants will be a familiar sight in a few weeks. They flower in Scotland from June to August. They are biennial herbs and have soft, downy, slightly grey leaves and those oh, so distictive purple-pink thimble like flowers, which have evolved to be particularly attractive to carder bees

There are various theories as to where the English name comes from, one is that the name was corrupted from “folks’ glove’, which has similarities with the ‘fairy flower’ in Gaelic. Another theory is that the name is literal and foxes do secretly where them as gloves to silence their feet when hunting. Wouldn’t that be interesting to see.

They certainly do look magical with their bright pink bell shaped flowers and their distinct markings, which some myths suggest are fairy handprints and stories about them are found throughout folklore. In the Borders, foxglove leaves were placed in a baby’s cradle to keep new-born babies from being bewitched, in England and Wales it was believed to have been a common practice to rub the juice of the leaves on the skin of ‘changeling’ children, though in Scotland one Isobel Haldane confessed to accidently poisoning a changling child, whilst trying to commune with the faery folk and the flowers were used in love charms in many places. But be sure to enjoy them outside and do not bring them indoors as they are thought to be unlucky

Foxgloves are poisonous, all parts of the plants contain compounds called cardiac glycosides, including digitoxin and digoxin. Ingesting even a small amount of these can cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea and an irregular heartbeat. In small amounts though, digoxin can be used to manage abnormal heart rhythms.

Foxgloves were amongst the Robbie Burns’ favourite flowers as evidenced by a letter he wrote to his friend Mrs Dunlop:

“I have some favourite plants in spring, among which are the mountain daisy, the harebell, the foxglove and the wild briar rose.”

Burns also uses the foxglove in his poem Elegy On Captain Matthew Henderson:

“Mourn, little harebells o’er the lea; Ye stately foxgloves fair to see.”

The foxglove was a bit of a challenge for the Gairloch exhibition as they were not in flower when I was preparing. There were leaves and stalks growing in my garden though. So I was able to use them as the basis for my painting. I had also taken lots of photos and done a number of sketches, so I did manage to paint something, which looked quite realistic I think.

EPSON MFP image

These last few weeks have been frantically busy at times,and even though I wrote the majority of this blog on Monday at the gallery, I’ve only just found time to edit it now, at 9.30 on Wednesday evening. I’ve spent today framing, making cards and getting ready for a workshop I’m running at the Plock in Kyle on Saturday afternoon for Kyle and Lochalsh Community Trust if you want to know more contact heather.beaton@lochalsh.uk / judith.bullivant@lochalsh.uk or phone 01599 534505.

Talking of cards, all of my Gairloch botanicals will soon be available as greetings cards via my Etsy shop and I’m currently investigating having A4 prints (reproductions) made of the more popular ones. I’ll keep you posted on developments. I’m at the gallery again tomorrow, I’ll be doing a mini rehang, now that my frames arrived and I’m taking my paints so that I can make some art.

Ivy, Gorse and Snowdrops

I’ve had a week now to catch up on other things that needed doing, oh yes and I also caught up on some sleep. But I’ve finally managed to sit down and write a blog post as I promised.

The exhibition at Gairloch has dominated my life for the past six months, because I painted 10 botanicals and each painting needed a lot of research. In order to paint botanicals, each plant had to be accurate for size, shape, colour and growth pattern. As part of my research I read a little about the folklore of the plants. I also wanted to use their Gaelic names as part of my compositions and I was very lucky to work with Roddy MacLean, who helped me with the translations. Gairloch Heritage Museum will be holding two events with Roddy, Lusan nan Gàidheal: Plants of bog and hill in Gaelic tradition and Lusan nan Gàidheal: Plants of croft and woodland in Gaelic tradition. Click on the link to the museum and then on “events” if you are interested in learning more about the plants of the West Highlands, from the very knowledgable Roddy.

My botanical collection, fit broadly within the seasons, but in the first selection that I’m going to share, I’ve included Gorse, which is at it’s best during May, but it’s an evergreen and there always seems to be a flower or two, somewhere on the bush (more about that in a while!). So it was easy to collect and paint, when very little else was in leaf or bloom.

some sketches

The plants that follow were the first that I painted for the exhibition, though I later redid the snowdrop painting as I wasn’t that happy with the compostition. Ivy was easy to find, it grows prolifically in my village, as does gorse, whereas snowdrops grow in profusion at the Old Kirk at the east side of the village.

For every plant I painted I did a lot of sketches, drawings and took photos too.

The first plant that I’m going to share is

Ivy, Eidheann (hedera helix)

As I mentioned earlier, there is a lot of Ivy locally. It grows in a great deal of profusion in the this village. It is especially noticable in the winter when the trees are otherwise bare. Ivies have two kinds of leaves. The oh, so familiar palmate leaves that grow on winding stems and the unlobed cordate leaves which grow on the flowering stems. The flowers are small and very rich in nectar. The flowers are replaced by berries which are usually a greenish black or dark purple.

The old Gaelic name for Ivy was Gort, which represents the eleventh letter of the Gaelic alphabet and which means sour, as the whole plant is poisonous. But the plant is also used in various remedies and is meant to clean wounds and sores, treat sunbrun and can be used to cure corns.

Ivy can be used to make baskets and was hung as a wreath to protect the household from evil. Ivy can be used as a basis for green garlands which are often used to ‘deck the halls’ at the Solstice.

Mandy Haggith has done some wonderful work collating stories and folklore on a number of trees and plants. Clicking on her name above, will take you to her site. Mandy is a poet and writer and there are some wonderful evocative pieces about the native plants of the Highlands, written by Mandy, on her site.

My next plant, which I focussed on in December and January was

Gorse/Conasg (Ulex)

Gorse was the second plant that I sketched and painted. It looks glorious at the moment, in May, growing in thick hedgerows and lighting up the hillside with bright clouds of yellow. In warmer, drier climates Gorse can be almost uncontrollable but it was always a very valuable plant in the Highlands.

It’s old Gaelic name was Onn, which represented O in the Gaelic alphabet.

The scent of the flowers are gorgeous at this time of year. They smell of vanila and coconut. The flowers are edible and can be used in salads and as a flavouring in gin. Gorse is commonly known as Whin in this part of the world. It was once used as animal fodder, it would have been ground using a ‘whinstone’, which must have been a challenge as its thorns are vicious!

Gorse is a member of the pea family and its bright yellow flowers (along with the rest of the plant) are popular with dyers. In Celtic lore the flowers are said to represent optimism, with the sun, light and fire. Gorse wood, once dried is said to burn at a very high heat and some people still line their windowsills and doorstops with the flowers at Beltane in order to celebrate the return of the sun and welcome the Celtic sun god Lugh.

Gorse is favoured by lovers as it is said that if one finds a flower one can kiss one’s sweetheart and although Grose is currently flowering in such profusion, flowers can be found on the plant at anytime of year.

If you’d like to read more about lore, stories and poems linked with gorse, Mandy Haggith has also written about it at her website (linked at her name)

Finally for this post I want to share some sketches and notes about

Snowdrop/Gealag-làir (Galanthus)

Snowdrops are a favourite plant of mine, whilst not native to the British Isles as the other plants I have painted are, they have quickly become embedded in stories and folklore. Snowdrops flower when nothing else will, even through the snow. In many countries they are symbol of hope as they bloom for candlemas or Imbloc, the name for which comes from an even older word ‘oimelc’ meaning the milk of the ewe, they are therefore associated with the pure colour white.

Galanthus means ‘milk flower’ and gealag-làir means white mare. In Scotland it is often considered unlucky to gift snowdrops or to bring them into the house. There is some speculation that this is because snowdrops are often found in cemetaries, and they were believed to have been brought over by monks. According to VC Sinden, the first reference to flowers that sound like snowdrops in print in Britain appears in 1597. There, they’re called “Timely Flowering Bulbous Violets”. You can read more about that and the folklore of snowdrops at this link.

In the right conditions snowdrops can be prolific and each February they grow as a white carpet amongst the moss at the Old Kirk graveyard at the East of Lochcarron village. I love the delicacy of snowdrops and have drawn and sketched them far more than I probably needed for this project!

In many countries snowdrops are also considered a symbol of hope, legend says that they were gifted to Adam and Eve by an angel after they had left the Garden of Eden.

The Scottish poet George Wilson concludes his poem ‘The Origin of the snowdrop’ with the lines;

“And thus the snowdrop, like the bow

That spans the cloudy sky,

Becomes a symbol whence we know

That brighter days are nigh

Definitely a symbol that warmer days are on their way.

There will be another blog post in a few days, sharing more of my sketches and research. All the posts about Flora Gadelica (lusan nan gaidheal) will be linked at the tags at the bottom of this blog post – just in case you’re interested in reading more. My exhibition will be at Gairloch Heritage Museum until the end of June. All the paintings are for sale and cards and (possibly prints) will be available shortly.

I hope you’ve enjoyed my sketches and post. If you have any stories about any of the plants I have shared I would love to hear them. Please do comment below.

More soon

Flora Gadelica

Lusan nan gaidheal

It’s just a short update today as it’s been a long few weeks and I’m very tired. I’ve been working for months on my solo exhibition at Gairloch Heritage Museum and everything is now finished, varnished, framed and hung in a gorgeous space. The exhibition is called Flora Gadelica or Lusan nan Gaidheal in Gaelic and focuses on a small selection of native plants of the North West Highlands

Thanks so much to Fiona, who helped me hang the exhibition (along with my wonderful husband and art roady, Nick) and, in fact, did most of the hard work, I really don’t know what we’d have done without her, I’d probably still be there

Working towards the exhibition as been an amazing experience, by turns challenging, interesting, stimulating and even somewhat overwhelming on occasion. I really enjoyed making the art, even if I did have times when I’d have a quiet panic attack and wonder if it would ever happen at all

I found that (unsurprisingly) organising an exhibition in a pandemic is defititely a challenge, lots of things were harder than they are in more normal times, but I have been so very lucky to have the support and help of some wonderful people. Karen, Eilidh and Fiona at the museum were great, really helpful and supportive. As was Roddy MacLean, who helped me with Gaelic translations for my botanical watercolours and the translation of the exhibition name, and last, but defititely not least, the amazing Emma Noble who did an incredible job with framing the botanicals. Thank you all.

Botanical art is not like most other kinds of art that I have made in the past. It involves a lot more research and a lot more detail. I felt that I really need to understand the plants in order to be able to paint them with sensitivity, so I read extensively and did a great number of drawings for each plant. I completed ten botanical watercolour paintings, but I also wanted to depict some plants in their habitat, so I did four “plant portraits’ of a variety of different plants and three “plantscapes”.

It’s been an absolutely amazing experience and each one of my paintings has been informed by sketches, photos, research and close study of the plants themselves. I have a really big collection of material that I collected in order to create this exhibition, so I thought it would be good to share it. Therefore I’ll be uploading clearer photos of the paintings and some sketches, photos, information and folklore about the paintings and sharing them here on my blog over the next few weeks.

But first, I might take a couple of days off, do some housework and some gardening and maybe read a book or two. I will be back soon though with some clearer images of some of my botanicals

This botanical thing

It’s been several months since I updated my blog and I’m not really selling anything online at the moment, but I have still been painting and I thought it was about time that I did an update

Anyone who follows my social media feed will have noticed that I have been sharing a lot of botanical drawings and paintings lately and I have been trying to paint in a more realistic style too. This is because of something that I have been reluctant to share until now. About 18 months ago, after I had completed the certificate in botanical illustration with Edinburgh Botanic Gardens and my solo exhibition at Inverewe Gardens, I was invited to exhibit as a solo artist at the gorgeous new Gairloch Heritage Museum in May 2021. The museum asked me to focus my paintings on indiginous plants of the area, so I started to sketch and research and prepare for the show.

Then the pandemic happened, everywhere went into lockdown and I wasn’t sure what to do. However, the date had been set, so I kept working towards it.

Then, at the end of last year, the museum contacted me to let me know that they were hoping to go ahead with the exhibition, which was planned for May and June. Currently Scotland is in lockdown, so places like Gairloch Museum are not open, but the plan is, as long as infection rates stay low, to open up more widely at the end of April. However, the fact that the exhibition will almost certainly go ahead has given me a goal and a deadline to work towards and I am now using the sketches that I’ve been doing and the photos I have taken to do 10 botanical paintings and a number of paintings in oil or acrylic that will depict indiginous plants in the landscape.

Botanical art is very detailed intricate work, and takes longer than most painting and drawing that I’m used to doing, so progress has been much slower than usual, but I’m over half way there now. I want to have finished the botanical plant portraits by the end of March in order to get them framed and then I’ll move on to the larger detailled paintings

I’ve already started painting studies, like the one below, trying to be more detailed and realistic than I have before and these will used as a basis for five botanics in the landscape paintings for the exhibition, which will be in acrylic and/or oils

Meanwhile I have four more botanicals to complete, starting tomorrow with primroses, which have just come in to flower here in Northern Scotland, and I went out today to photograph and sketch some.

The title of the exhibition will be Flora Gadelica or Lùsan na Gàidheal in Gaelic, which means the plants/flowers of the Gaels. Most of the plants in the exhibition have been a key part of Gaelic life, so I am also researching stories and botanical information to go along with the paintings

some sketches

I’m a bit torn right now, between being really excited for the exhibition and hoping that it will go ahead and slightly terrified at the same time!

I’ll post more details about it nearer the time and share details of a joint exhibition, which will be for the 3rd year running at the gorgeous wee gallery at An Talla Dearg with my friends Aileen (Aileen Grant Art) and Steven Proudfoot, and is planned for June.

Meanwhile, I’ll be in the studio, painting!

Another job done

My fellow artist and friend Aileen Grant and I had to change and cancel a lots of plans, this year, as did so many of us. But we did still manage to go ahead with our joint exhibition with our friend Steven Proudfoot at the wee gallery at An Talla Dearg and Aileen’s husband, the lovely Peter Barr was kind enough to set up an online Virtual exhibition of some of our drawings and paintings that we would have exhibited at Attadale Gardens (which I may just have forgotten to mention before!)

Attadale sketches

We have already been selling online. Both Aileen and I have Etsy shops and I have a page at Singulart too – Me at Singulart. Aileen sells via several galleries and has recently opened an Etsy shop of her own.

In my last post I wrote about uploading my art online and I’m just about getting there. It is, however a HUGE amount of work, I hadn’t realised how much. Every image has to be photographed, some of them in several different ways. Etsy suggests sellers to have at least five different images and Singulart also asks for several.

Anyone buying online needs to see as many different images of artworks as possible. There needs to be a good description of the art, including size, materials, subject and a little bit about each artwork. I think that anyone buying online is showing a huge amount of faith so I want to ensure that anyone looking to buy art from me has as much accurate information as possible. Uploading one or two images at a time can be really good fun. I enjoy sharing my art and telling people about it, but in future I think I’ll try not to upload 40 artworks at once!

My Etsy shop has a slection of my smaller works, sketches, studies for larger works and my “shelfie” collection. All of these works are under £200 and I’ll gift wrap them for anyone that wants me to for only £1, (it would have been for free, but Etsy doesn’t let me offer that option)

My Etsy shop

I feel really lucky to have been invited to exhibit at Singulart they offer a fabulous website to sell from, with loads of advice and support. This is a place where I feel I can sell my larger pieces with confidence because I have the support of experts, who can help with shipping, customs protocols etc

It’s great to be able to use established selling platforms as they offer so much support but we both thought that we would be good to have a base, somewhere we could link our websites, selling platforms to, where we could showcase our art and have somewhere that people would hoprfully feel comfortable enough to contact us directly and discuss our work. So we’ve curated a selection of our artworks that are now available exlusively on our Lochcarron website.

If you have the time, please do click on the link below and have a look at our exhibitions. We’d really appreciate any comments or suggestions

A curated exhibition of exclusive artworks

by Cindie Reiter and Aileen Grant

Meanwhile, I have some really exciting news, which I can’t share right now. But I am going to need some space in my studio for a really exciting upcoming project (hence all the uploading of artworks). But more about that very soon.

Please do comment or contact me if you want to know more about our projects

Or why not connect via social media

Instagram   Facebook   Twitter   Pinterest

Buy my work

Me at Singulart and Etsy

and at

Imagekind and Fine Art America 

Going online

In this strange new world, places to exhibit and sell work are few and far between, and that’s from someone who lives in the far North and has always had limited places to share her work. Living somewhere like this has made me inventive and flexible as an artist but this year so much has been postponed or cancelled that my options have been even more limited than usual

As many of you might know I’ve been selling on Etsy for a while and I just recently had my first sale on Singulart and my studio is getting rather full, so I’ve spent the last few days sorting out my online sales platforms.

I was recently very lucky to have some training from Etsy, which was really helpful, so I’ve been uploading some new images on both my main sales platforms. Etsy’s hints and tips have really helped me raise the profile of my site in that I seem to be getting a lot more hits. It was more work than I was expecting, but I think it’s beginning to come together.

Etsy suggests that the shop owner (that would be me) upload a lot of images showing the art for sale in various different ways – on a wall, with other similar artwork, in presentation packs etc and I discovered a wonderful tool called Canvy it’s an excellent site which allows the artist to upload images, sizes them and displays them in various mockup settings

Some of my work at Singulart
More of my work at Singulart

It’s really good to see my art in a (virtual) frame, to be able to change the wall colour, the frame size and colour and even the colour of the sofas and accessories.

I think they look very effective, but as to whether that will translate to online sales, we’ll have to see.

In addition to my print on demand sites Imagekind and Fine Art America and, as a wee experiment, Aileen Grant Art and I will also be having a go at selling some items that maybe don’t fit as well on Etsy or Singulart at our Lochcarron Arts site. I’ll keep you posted on how it goes.

For more information on how to buy my art online or for workshops, private lessons, exhibitions or to sign up for a regular email update please contact me here

Or why not connect via social media

Instagram   Facebook   Twitter   Pinterest

Buy my work

Me at Singulart and Etsy

and at

Imagekind and Fine Art America 

Some kind of normal

It’s a gorgeous October day and I’m at the wee gallery at An Talla Dearg, at Eilean Iarmain on Skye, it’s really rather wonderful to be here.

My fellow artists are Aileen Grant and Steven Proudfoot and this our second time at this wonderful gallery.

We’re showing a selection of art. Steven is a watercolour artist, Aileen has a variety of work in different mediums, acrylic, oils and a selection of prints.

I’m showing work from before, during and after the lockdown. As you’ll know if you’ve read this blog I struggled to be creative during the Spring and Summer so instead of spending any time in the studio I found myself turning to the outdoors. I’m glad I had my garden and I really enjoyed teaching for UHI, but I missed painting.

Once I was allowed to travel again I spent as much time as I could sketching and drawing. But as things still seemed so different and, as the local roads were so busy, I found myself staying close to home. Therefore, by necessity much of my newest work has been inspired by aspects of Lochcarron and because my 85 year-old mother lives in Skye I’ve travelled back and forth weekly as soon as I was able to so my newest art reflects places along the route.

I do realise how lucky I am to be somewhere so outstandingly beautiful and I wanted to celebrate and share where I live in my art.

Normally a lot of my landscapes are painted en plein air or are based on sketches and studies done in the landscape, but during the lockdown, I really had to narrow my focus. I found myself looking at the familiar much more closely, the washing lines on the beach outside my home, the animals that live close to my village. This work makes up a good part of this exhibition.

There are also a number of pieces painted after the lockdown was over, views from a walk with my family or a drive through to Inverness and a selection of pieces from last Autumn, Winter and Spring, before the Pandemic.

It’s lovely to get out of the studio again, to meet people and to share our art with our friends and with visitors

My favourite view from An Talla Dearg

I’d love to see you if you can get along to the exhibition, but if not why not connect via this blog or via social media below

Instagram   Facebook   Twitter   Etsy   Pinterest

Imagekind and Fine Art America 

Me at Singulart

Singulart and me

When I first went back to being a fulltime artist after ten years hiatus I decided to blog about my journey and post my art online. I did this for a number of reasons. I wasn’t really happy with my art to begin with, I maybe liked one painting in ten. My art felt stale, and I struggled to get anything finished. Posting my progress online really helped with that. It gave me a sort of deadline, I got lots of helpful feedback from folk and I made loads of online friends, artists and art lovers.

Then slowly, as time went on I began to sell my work. People contacted me becasue they liked a certain painting or because they liked my style and wanted to commission me to make work for them. It’s been really good for me. I’ve enjoyed making connections and selling my work, but it was always in a limited way.

Torridon from Annat

I’ve been selling via print on demand sites such as Imagekind and Fine Art America for some time and last year I set up an Etsy shop, through which I sold special editions of wee paintings, studies and sketches, but I kept my work small, because small paintings are easier to post.

I’ve always wanted to sell larger pieces, in a more systomatic way, but I didn’t know where to start selling, how to market myself or where to begin really. I had begun to investigate and then lockdown happened so I shelved it for a later time.

Then, about three weeks ago I was checking my spam folder and there was an email from Singulart inviting me to join their online art website. I’m no stranger to hard sell emails, people offering to help me improve my website, advise me how to sell my art or offering to pay me millions of pounds if I only give them my bank account details. We’ve all had them, right?

But the email from Singulart seemed different. So I did some research.

Singulart is a fairly new start-up, based in Paris. A recent article in EU Startups says of them:

Founded in 2017 by Véra Kempf, Brice Lecompte, and Denis Fayolle, the online art sales platform allows art collectors to discover works from the hottest artists in 80 different countries, while allowing nationally recognised painters and photographers to sell their art more easily around the world.

So my next thought was, do they really mean me! Well, yes they did.

I’ve spent the last couple of weeks in a high state of excitement, working with a wonderful advisor from Singulart (thanks so much Hong). Who has helped me with pricing, advised me on setting up my page and chivvied me along so that they could add me as one of their artists.

And here it is

Me at Singulart

I must say the whole experience so far has been really good. I’ve been encouraged to take some new photos, which I couldn’t have done without my lovely husband, who clambered over bog and heather to take the outdoor photos and put up with taking hundreds of studio shots till I finally found one I could live with! I also had to write a bio, which made me really think quite deeply about my process and my goals.

Even though I haven’t been selling any larger paintings recently, I have still been painting them. There’s something about the majestic landscapes in the Highlands and large canvases that go so well together. I had some paintings that I have done over the past few months, but I was so inspired by being invited to join Singulart that I did two new pieces “Torridon from Annat” (above) and “The Five Sisters of Kintail” (below) both are 60 x 90 cms and they depict two local mountain ranges. If these larger pieces sell, Singulart offers professional support to help me ship them, free of charge to the purchaser, which helps me have more confidence in the process as I have someone to turn to for advice in that and lots of other areas

The Five Sisters of Kintail

I have been working on a series of smaller paintings too, (the ones that are easier to post) for a upcoming exhibition with my friend Aileen Grant Art and another local artist, Steven Proudfoot. That exhibition is planned for the 16th of October at the gallery at An Talla Dearg on Skye, fingers crossed that goes ahead.

Aileen and I are also planning to set up an online shop via our joint website at Lochcarron Arts so watch this space for more about that soon

Please do stop by my page on Singulart (linked below) and let me know what you think and meanwhile do browse some of the other amazing, talented artists that they are showing and supporting.

Me at Singulart

Singulart the main page

Or why not pop over to one of my social media platforms to say hello

Instagram   Facebook   Twitter   Etsy   Pinterest

Imagekind and Fine Art America 

Going to pieces

An artist’s life is often quiet and fairly isolated, I suppose it’s quite routine in many ways. You spend so much of your time in the studio, or, in my case out sketching my local landscapes, but sometimes you get asked to do something rather unusual, something that’s a totally new experience and a chance to use your skills for something you’ve never done before. Such as a restoration project.

A few weeks ago I was asked if I would help a friend by painting in some blank pieces of a precious handmade wooden jigsaw. The missing pieces had been replaced but were blank white. I had a go at that and really enjoyed the experience, so I was happy to do another one, when I was asked, and this time I took photos.

The jigsaw as it arrived

As you can see, three pieces had been replaced, but they do stand out, so what I needed to do was paint these to match the surrounding image.

Things seemed to progressing well. I made several swatches to blend with the colour of the three replaced pieces and I held the jigsaw tray up to the light to make sure the colours were matching okay.

Then, everything (or almost everything) exploded.

It’s amazing how far jigsaw pieces can travel and the strange places they can manage to insert themselves. But I gathered all the pieces that I could find and realised that there was only one thing for it, I was going to have to reassemble the jigsaw.

It’s a lovely jigsaw with great chunky wooden pieces, but I had no idea how many pieces there were and I couldn’t really remember what the picture looked like as I hadn’t had it for long and I’d been far too focussed on matching the colours. No two pieces were the same and some of the edge pieces weren’t really edge pieces.

Two days in to the reassembly and I was convinced that the jigsaw had been made by a sadist.

However, slowly and systematically, I got there eventually and the jigsaw was done.

Sadly though, despite my best efforts, there was one piece missing (isn’t there always!)

Luckily I know that my friend is able to replace the wooden shape, but still wanted to make a swatch for her to use to be able to complete the jigsaw.

Happily, my friend came to pick up her jigsaw today and she was delighted with the painted pieces and I am really pleased with the fact that I managed to colour match quite effectively. I think the jigsaw looks good, almost back to new and my friend is having a perspex sheet cut to fit so that it all stays together from now on (after that final piece has been fitted that is)

Meanwhile, I’ve been working on some new art and finishing off some older works, getting ready for my upcoming exhibition with Aileen Grant and Steven Proudfoot at Gallery An Talla Dearg (fingers crossed) on October 16th – I’ll keep you posted on that!

Some of my new and updated paintings, getting ready for the exhibition

Or why not connect via social media

Instagram   Facebook   Twitter   Etsy   Pinterest