'If you don't like the weather', goes the Hebridean saying...'try further up the road'. What really suits the oil painter and pastel artist about the weather in the Western Isles is how quickly and dramatically it changes. With each shift in the climate new possibilities for composition, colour and light are revealed and both these media work wonderfully well as vehicles for suddenly emphasising or intensifying colour or a light effect. I've just spent 3 excellent weeks working and on holiday on Berneray and what weather we had...including the storm that cancelled the ferries. I was lucky to be able to share my time between developing drawings and paintings in the garden studio and, among other activities, swimming in the sea with my family. We also had another couple of sessions stacking our friend's peats to dry in the island breeze. Some of the smaller plein air pastel studies that I produced sitting on the dunes looking across to Harris and Pabbay will be on show together with a range of figure drawings and pastel paintings at The Christian Community, 21 Napier Road, EDINBURGH EH10 5AZ for the month of September. There is a private view on Friday 2nd September, 7 -9pm to which all are welcome. www.damiancallan.com/events
I can't imagine a more ideal studio: overlooking the bay - which is itself a favourite haunt for the local seal population - and across the garden from the house, so that I can work first thing in the morning when everyone is in bed and then whenever there's a moment during the day to develop, or just look at some work. I'm really looking forward to these three weeks when I will be building up a series of drawings and paintings of the crofter cutting and drying his peats. The studio will be open to the public at the start (9 - 10 am) and finish (5 - 6 pm) of each day - for anyone who might be interested in seeing the work in progress. I am also hoping to do a lot of plein air painting of the extraordinary surroundings and plan to use these studies in developing the peat paintings.
Damian Callan is a practising figurative artist and tutor based in Edinburgh.