Moods of the Minch: Iridescent Sea

Moods of the Minch Seascapes: Iridescent Paint

This time of year, between the position of the sun in the sky and the long daylight hours, there’s lots of light bouncing off the sea in the afternoon as the sun heads to the horizon. Little wonder then I’ve found myself reaching for iridescent pearl not only for my current silver birch painting but also my Minch seascape paintings-in-progress. It conveys the silvery glare beautifully and works both in the top layer and lower layers. A little can be quite determined to show through layers! Depending on the light falling on the painting, and your viewing position, you may see lots of it or you may see nothing at all.

Painting-in-Progress: Minch Seascape

It’s that time of year again when the sun’s moved north and is setting past the tip of the Waternish peninsula and late (about 9pm) making for hours of enticing patterns and colours on the expanse of the Minch (sea between Skye and Harris). My fingers have been itching to paint it again (see Moods of the Minch catalogue). Here are a few work-in-progress photos, canvas size 120x60cm.

Minch Seascape painting
Yes, I am indeed mixing the sea colours directly on the canvas. I used the “sea area” as a palette and brush-wiping space while painting the rocky foreground and islands. Not only does it mean there’s no palette to clean, but also no paint wasted and a colour coherence between the sea and the rest of the painting. The “trick” is to use a biggish brush and to not overblend it into a uniform colour. It’ll get more layers of paint on top anyway.
Minch Seascape painting horizon
Painting the sea horizon with a flat brush and Prussian blue. The “trick” to this is that it has to be a really good brush, not one with errant hairs. And practice. And doing it when the islands are dry so it can be wiped off if it does go astray.
Minch Seascape painting horizon tape
The “trick” to getting the sharp edge on the outer islands is masking tape. Pulling it off for the ‘great reveal’ is always a fun moment!


Inspired by Sketching at Uig Bay

I’ve started a large (1x1m) painting inspired by the shoreline at Uig next to the woodland, where there’s a stream that runs into the bay. It’s still at the “doesn’t look like much” underpainting/blocking in stage, and the two composition questions I’m asking myself are whether to include the ferry pier in the distance and the daisies in the foreground.



uig-bay-sketch-book3 uig-bay-sketch-daisies




Being More Abstract: Intertidal Paintings

I’ve been working on a series of paintings that are decidedly more abstract that usual. The inspiration come from the intertidal zone, where what’s there is fluid, changing as the tide washes in and out, influenced by colours observed in the bay at Uig, where there’s also a river adding its variations and reflections from the cliffs/hills/clouds. These paintings will go into Skyeworks Gallery this weekend, when the changearound for Christmas happens, along with a few more feather prints created with feathers I’ve found in the intertidal zone.

Painting: Intertidal
Intertidal #6, #5, #4, #3, #2. Size: 15x15cm each. (Each was photographed standing ‘inside’ the back of a 30x30cm WIP canvas.)
Painting: Intertidal, Skye Scotland seascape
Size: 100x50cm

Waiting for the Perfect Wave Painting

Detail: Four Small Waves

I’ve been working with fluid paint creating some small wave paintings, depictions of memories of watching and waiting for the perfect wave.

Four Small Waves Paintings by Skye Scottish Artist Marion Boddy-Evans
Each of these is 15x15cm.

The enjoyment and challenge are in the dance between the deliberate (where I place each colour), the not-quite-controlled (how much paint I apply), and the mostly-beyond-my-control (how the colours intermingle). The properties of the individual pigments have an influence: their opacity, obviously, but some also tend to pull over others more strongly, and others spread more enthusiastically when you break the surface tension with a spray of water.

Like waiting on the shore for the perfect wave, each “this is it” moment leads you to anticipate the next, which is why there isn’t only one painting but a series. And why there shall be more.

Colours: Titanium white, cerulean blue, indigo, phtlalo blue and teal on a coloured ground of Prussian blue hue mixed with a little orange, which shifts it to a cool, steely blue.

Detail: Four Small Waves

Detail: Four Small Waves

Detail: Four Small Waves

Painting-in-Progress: Oystercatchers

I enjoy watching oystercatchers, and have often see them on Staffin beach: walking, hopping, pecking, then flying away when you take that one step too close. Their skinny red legs and long red beaks, the weirdly red eye. An on-going contemplation of how orange-red or pink-red that red is.

Now, finally, I’ve started working on a large painting featuring them. It’s had two rounds of “stop and leave to dry” then reassess and rework, and needs more. This photo was taken at the first “leave to dry overnight” stage, and first thing I did the next day was make the heads smaller by “adding sea”. I want to both delineate the birds more and keep a sense of movement. Whether I’ll get it working to my satisfaction I don’t know. But it’s pleasing to be trying.

Painting in Progress: Oyster Catchers by Scottish Skye artist Marion Boddy-Evans
Painting in Progress: Oyster Catchers
100x50cm (40x20cm)

New Minch Seascape: Storm Warning

Inspired by this winter’s storms and the non-arrival of spring. The paint is still drying in places where it’s particularly thick, so to remove the temptation of poking at it (“Are you dry yet…?!“) it’s now propped on the bookshelves in the in-house art critic’s office.

Minch Seascape Painting: Storm Warming
“Storm Warning”
Acrylic on canvas

Detail from Storm Warning painting

Incoming Tide: Always Stopping But Never Stops

The sea makes a tired sound
That’s always stopping though it never stops.

“Fetching Cows” by Norman MacCaig

I’ve been exploring an idea related to the incoming tide, those tentacles of water that slither up the beach reaching further and further while simultaneously always sliding back. Always stopping but never stopped. Paint that is always drying but never dry if I keep adding to a painting.

Incoming Tide paintings by Skye artist Marion Boddy-Evans
Mixed media. Mounted size: 25x25cm.

These four related studies are now at Skyeworks sold.