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

Reworking a painting

When is painting finished?

Sometimes, you just know. That’s done, I can do no more, I’m happy with that (or at least as happy as I’m ever going to get)

Sometimes, you don’t stop when you should and those rich colours become muddy and that perfect sky just doesn’t look right anymore.

Then there are those paintings that almost work, paintings that never quite feel right, but have a certain something that stop me cutting them up or painting over them.

This painting is one that I’ve gone back to and reworked

This is a view at Breakish on Skye, looking towards Broadford. The painting on the left is the original and the view on the right is the reworked painting.

I haven’t changed the background at all, except to add a little more detail to the trees on the left, so it’s interesting that the houses seem brighter and the blue hill in the distance seems much greener. I felt that the foreground lacked detail and that the fields needed simplification, so I did that, but there was still the problem of the tree on the lower right of the painting.

The tree is the one that is actually there at Breakish. I liked the shape of it, but felt that it just didn’t work in the painting. It was too close tonally to the fields in the background, it was also too small and seemed to disappear in the composition. I felt there needed to be a strong diagonal framing the houses in the distance and leading the eye to the houses. So I painted a pine tree that’s actually miles away at Garve, one that I sketched for an earlier painting. I liked the clump of rosebay willowherb that’s in front of it and the small lime green bush. I felt that the reddish pink of the willowherb helped highlight the red roof and the reddish brown seedheads help draw the viewer’s eye into the painting too.

It’s strange how much brighter the painting seems to be, without me changing the pallette at all. I think I’m happy with it, I certainly like it more than I did before.

I have an exhibition coming up at the end of October – all being well. So I’m going to leave it for now and see if my opinion changes when I’m ready to start framing.

Meanwhile, I have quite a lot of new work in various stages of completion. I’ll take my time with them and let them evolve slowly and maybe keep returning to them over the next few weeks

Putting it together

I’m feeling rather hopeful that the final exhibition that Aileen and I had planned this year at Eilean Iarmain will indeed happen, so I went to Inverness to stock up on some bits and bobs and managed to hurt my knee while loading the car. That meant that instead of spending the day in the studio I’ve been sitting with my feet up and an ice pack on my knee.

However, it’s an ill wind as they say, so I’ve spent the afternoon putting together some jigsaws from my own art via Jigsaw Explorer linked below.

The first jigsaw is 100 pieces and the second is 150, anything larger than that the pieces would be too small I think. My paintings do make good jigsaws though, even if I do say it myself. Please feel free to have a go.

Enjoy xx

Jigsaw 1 – Shore Street, Applecross: https://jigex.com/ZBfR

Jigsaw 2 – Eilean Ban Lighthouse – https://jigex.com/ZBfR

Jigsaw 3 Torridon Spring – https://jigex.com/BvUL

I found the third jigsaw to be the hardest, but do let me know what you think x

The steepness of learning curves

I’ve learnt a lot of new things during lockdown. I’m a much better grower of vegetables than I was this time last year. I’ve had more time to concentrate on the garden, read more, been more dutiful, taken more care. I’ve taken lots of cuttings and had a wee freak-out when I thought my peppers might have fusarium (they don’t). I’ve been picking strawberries by the punnet and and have now moved on to raspberries, tayberries and gooseberries. It’s been great picking lettuce and spinach and the potatoes and peas should be ready any day now. I’ve bonded with my greenhouse.

My art has been focussed on the garden to a great extent, though now, with lockdown being lifted a bit I do plan on going out and about more frequently, so there will hopefully be some plein air art coming up over the next month or so. I have several ideas for a new series of paintings, but that’s gently ‘cooking’ away in the part of my brain that seems to take care of my creative thoughts and plans.

All my real-life exhibitions have been postponed until at least the Autumn, so I hadn’t bothered renewing my membership of The SAA – a great organisation, which offers discounted art materials and (most important for me) insurance for exhibitions, open studio events and private tutoring. After all, I’m not holding exhibitions, open studios or private tutoring sessions for the forseeable future.

However, SAA are quite persistant. They sent me several emails and a number of letters – it was nice to get some post I suppose! Then they offered me the opportunity to join their sister website, which is an online selling platform called ArtGallery. As an SAA member I’ve been offered “GOLD” membership, which means I’m allowed to upload up to 150 paintings at any one time (I’d better get some more painting done) and (as a special offer) 2 weeks as a featured artist. So I’ve uploaded three original paintings so far (pictured below) each are acrylic on board, 25 cms x 30cms and are on sale for £90 (excluding p+p)

These were all painted in Applecross, one of my very favorite places, last November. The sun rises late and sets early at that time of year and often the days themselves are dark. But when the sun shines, the colours are unbelieveably bright and sharp and that’s what I tried to capture in these paintings

There is some lovely art on the site and it’s well administered from what I can see. For example images are evaluated before they go ‘live’ which I thought was good. It’s taken me a while to understand how it all works – that learning curve I mentioned. This is my page just three images uploaded so far, but I’ll be uploading more over the next few weeks.

Instagram   Facebook   Twitter   Etsy   Pinterest

Imagekind and Fine Art America