Time to go home (nearly)
This is the last week of the art portfolio course with Bridge House Art in Ullapool. All ten of us on the course are busy finishing off artworks, cropping and curating in readiness for the end of course exhibition, which opens with a Private View this Saturday, 24th February. Thereafter it is open daily 10am till 4pm, from Sunday 25th February until Sunday 3rd March.
I feel very fortunate to have had this opportunity to develop my art practice. Learning how to work in a real studio setting has been a wonderful experience; it has stretched me in ways I could not have imagined. Being able to set aside the time to focus on being creative has been fantastic. Our tutors, Eleanor White and Kittie Jones, are excellent at keeping us on track, with a finely balanced mixture of firmness, good humour and huge helpings of support and encouragement.
I'm very much looking forward to being home again. I'll be hanging some of my new work in the cafe gallery after I've had a wee break to recover.
I've really enjoyed experimenting with acrylic paint and printmaking during the second term of the course. Below are a few examples of some of this new work. A selection of my small acrylic/mixed media works and print assemblies will be on show at the exhibition.
Bridge Cottage Art Cafe
The cafe and gallery continue to go from strength to strength, in the capable hands of Ailsa and Iain. We're getting wonderful feedback from locals and visitors alike, which is very welcome and keeps them going when things get hectic!
We'll be taking a break in March, so will be closed from Thursday 14th March until Sunday 17th March inclusive.
The cafe will reopen on Friday 22nd March, with our new spring opening hours : Friday - Tuesday, 10am - 4pm.
Looking forward to seeing you there sometime soon!
all the best
Bridge Cottage Art Cafe is open!
I hope this finds you well and that you've had a wonderful festive season.
I'm delighted to say that we opened our art cafe in Poolewe on Friday 3rd November and it's been nonstop ever since. For now, my daughter Ailsa and husband Iain are running it, with me helping out at the weekends. We've been overjoyed at the response from locals and visitors alike - everyone is very happy that we are open at this time of year. So many places closed at the end of October for the season. The homemade baking, soups and hot filled rolls have been going down a treat, and I am making progress with my barista training!
The wee gallery and gift shop space upstairs is a great space for showcasing all our work. Ailsa painted a wonderful mural, inspired by our lovely Highland scenery, on one wall of the cafe (see photo below).
Our winter opening hours are 10am to 4pm, Thursday to Sunday.
Above - Some of the work I've produced during the portfolio course - pen and ink, small oils and a monoprint (window)
Bridge House Art Portfolio course
Just before Christmas, I completed the first 8 week term of the art portfolio course in Ullapool. I've learned so much over that time, now it's time to pause and reflect. We've had a week each of a wide range of topics, using a variety of media, including charcoal, ink, oils, acrylics, collage and printing ink. Among other things. we've been taught methods of:
Next term we'll be focusing on our own individual projects. The course ends with a group exhibition at An Talla Solais (where we are based for the course) in Ullapool, from 25th Feb - 3 March 2024.
Pebbles on the Beach
I'm not planning to attend any markets next year. Now that we have the premises in Poolewe with the gallery space, all my artwork and related products are available to purchase from Bridge Cottage Art Cafe. I'll be there in person at least some of the time at weekends in January and February, and much more regularly after that. I look forward to seeing you there!
I still have some items at Loch Torridon Community Centre Gallery and also at The Button Bothy in Poolewe. For those of you further afield, my website shop remains open.
In the meantime, thanks again for your continued support.
Wishing you a joyful, healthy and happy New Year.
all the best
I hope this finds you well. It's feeling distinctly more autumnal here just now, rather windy but still quite warm.
Earlier this month I enjoyed a lovely break in Cornwall. I've never been there before and it was great to explore somewhere new. As always, lots of photos were taken. I also did some sketching. The one above was done at Poldhu beach.
Art cafe - coming soon
I can't quite believe I'm telling you this - Pebbles on the Beach is moving into Bridge Cottage Cafe in Poolewe very soon (see photo above)! Myself, husband Iain (Iain Sutherland Photography) and daughter Ailsa (artist, illustrator and textile designer at Ailsa Watson Design) are taking over the premises next month. We'll all be showing our work in the gallery space upstairs and Ailsa will run the cafe, with Iain's help. We hope to open in early November and will be open several days a week throughout the winter. Keep an eye on social media for updates.
We're very excited about this new family venture and look forward to welcoming you!
Delighted to say that two of my 'Lewis Blues' photographs, printed onto aluminium, were accepted into the Members Exhibition at An Talla Solais in Ullapool (and, even better, they are going to new homes!). The show is still on - it closes on Sunday 1st October (open Wed - Sun).
Coming up are two more exhibitions, to which I'll be submitting work.
Bridge House Art Portfolio Course
As if there wasn't enough going on already - I'm delighted to say that I'll be attending the wonderful Bridge House Art portfolio course this winter! This small art school is based in Ullapool, so that's where I'll be (mainly) from late October until early March next year. Of course I will regularly be checking in with the happenings at the art cafe in Poolewe. But my main focus this winter will be on art. I can't wait!
I'll be at some of the local markets - Poolewe Tuesday market and Torridon Thursday market (fortnightly) until mid-October (last one on Thursday 19th October in Torridon).
I'm not doing any of the Christmas markets this year, as I'll be busy in Ullapool. Once we're open, you'll be able to purchase items from the gallery and gift shop at Bridge Cottage Cafe. I'll also still have some items available in my website shop. Speaking of which...
Christmas cards & calendars
This year's Christmas cards are now available to pre-order. They'll be ready to send out next week.
2024 slimline, postcard calendars are also available in my website shop. This year they include a selection of paintings, photographs and linoprints. Some of the images are shown below.
Thank you again for your continued support, it's greatly appreciated.
all the best
Luskentyre beach on Harris
I hope this finds you well and enjoying some summery weather. It was unusually hot here for a few weeks recently, but now the normal school holiday weather has resumed, with wind and rain. The garden is flourishing now that it's been watered and everywhere is looking very green. I enjoyed ten days' holiday (actually, our honeymoon) on Lewis and Harris in May; it was great to explore different landscapes and beaches. Plenty photographs were taken and a few sketches made.
I'm delighted to say that I'm now taking part in Ullapool Local Artisan Market. This event takes place fortnightly (approximately) on Mondays in Ullapool Village Hall, from 10am - 4pm. There's a great selection of local arts and crafts to browse and buy. I'll be there on Mondays 7th & 21st August and 4th & 18th September.
You can also still find me at Poolewe Tuesday market every week, Torridon Thursday Craft Market on alternate Thursdays and Gairloch Thursday Market when I'm not in Torridon! All dates are available on my website or on each market's Facebook page.
I'm still enjoying linoprinting and have had many lovely comments about the results at the local markets - thank you! I mainly print onto sketchbooks and notebooks, but I've also started mounting prints on paper. The puffin is a recent, popular addition and the three fishes design has become a favourite.
I've been taking more photographs recently, rather than painting. The result is some new mug, coaster and card designs, entitled 'Lewis Blues'. Two of the new mugs are shown below.
Members' Exhibition at An Talla Solais in Ullapool
I've submitted some work - photography this time, for a change, for the annual Members' Show at An Talla Solais in Ullapool. Here's hoping it's accepted!
Thank you so much for your continued support, it is greatly appreciated.
all the best
I hope this finds you well and enjoying some more spring-like weather. It was warm here for a while and all the leaves started appearing on the trees, at last. That lovely fresh, light green that only lasts a short while. It has turned chilly again, so work in the garden is on hold.
I signed up to NaPoWriMo (National Poetry Writing Month) this year – actually to something called Escapril, organised by a lovely poet in Aberdeen. The aim was to write a poem, based on a provided prompt, every day all through April. Only two days to go and I’m happy to say I’ve produced something every day so far! I’m one of those people who works better when given ‘homework’, so I’ve enjoyed the challenge. It also reminds me just how much I Iove playing with words. Here’s my effort from Day 4. The prompt was ‘attention’.
there are days
when every blade of grass
every stalk and stem
every lichen smothered rock
when every raindrop
that hasn’t reached the ground
is found in the leafy crevice
of a lupin
there are days
when from nowhere
sudden primroses appear
daffodils dance in drifts
when buds burst into leaf
a sheaf of green
where all was grey
when you step aside,
avoid the furry caterpillar
on the path
The local markets are now in full swing and I’m enjoying being back at them. It’s good to see familiar faces and to catch up. And having conversations about creativity is always a joy! I’m now stocking some larger sizes of sketchbooks (I’ve got my eye on them for my upcoming holiday on Lewis and Harris) and I enjoy hearing what people plan to do with them. A couple of new linoprint designs have appeared recently – a small puffin and a larger heron.
I’m happy to have a couple of small pieces of work in the newly opened spring exhibition at Loch Torridon Community Centre gallery. ‘Seaweed 1’ and ‘Seaweed 2’ are gelli prints. It’s a medium I’ve not used very much, but which is great fun! A recent conversation with someone at Poolewe market reminded me of it. That’s how it goes.
The Carron Pottery gallery now has a few of my artworks on display. They’re also now fully restocked with my linoprinted sketchbooks and a selection of my small originals.
Later in the year, on Saturday 1st July, I’ll be at the Gairloch Gathering, in the field beside Sands campsite. Fingers crossed for a fine day! It was a grand day out last year.
Thanks to a chance conversation at Gairloch Thursday market, a selection of my products is now available to purchase from a new stockist. Gairloch Marine Wildlife Centre and Cruises, based on Pier Road at the harbour in Gairloch has my marine themed mugs, coasters, keyrings and cards.
As always, many thanks for your continued interest in my work - it is greatly appreciated.
all the best
Out and about
I hope this finds you safe and well.
The weather at this time of year can be a little challenging. It can rain for days on end. When the wind gets up it batters everything and can make shutting car doors a challenge. At last the days are getting a little lighter, stretching at either end. When a fine day comes along, it's a jewel to be treasured. Everyone is out in the sunshine, smiling and commenting on the fineness of the day. Even a dry day is a small triumph. On some of these rare fine days, I've been out sketching. Some new places and some familiar ones. At some point, I hope to transform these into 'proper' paintings. I'll keep you posted.
Market season starting soon
It will soon be time for the local markets to start up again. I've been missing them a lot, so I'm really looking forward to being back! This year I'm planning to be at three regular markets. Delighted to say that a new one is starting in Gairloch Community Hall. It will be on every Thursday throughout the season
The ones I plan to be at are :
Just a reminder that a number of lovely places stock selected items of my work. These include Gairloch Museum, the Carron Pottery, Loch Torridon Community Centre Gallery and Gairloch Gifts. A full list of them is on my website, along with opening times. Some of them are closed at the moment and will be reopening soon for the visitor season.
In the meantime, a wide range of items is always available from my website shop. Including greetings cards, sketchbooks, coasters, mugs and keyrings, as well as original artwork. I've just added some more small original works, which I've done over the winter.
See below - Winter Morning #1 and Winter Morning #2
If you're more interested in my photography, then please do have a look at my portfolios on the Redbubble and Photo4me websites. The former has a huge range of items available, from hardback journals to aprons, backpacks and pet bandanas. The latter specialises in canvases, framed prints, picture boards and other forms of photographic prints for hanging on your walls. Enjoy!
As always, thank you for your continued interest in my work.
If you have any queries at all, please don't hesitate to get in touch.
I look forward to seeing some of you again during the 2023 season!
all the best
With apologies to all my lovely English friends!
The Football (World Cup 2022 in Qatar)
Oh the football’s on the telly
it’s on there every night
I really can’t be bothered
to watch the very sight…
…of brightly coloured little men
on patchwork lawn of green
chase a leather ball around
and call themselves a team
It’s better with the sound off
without the pundits’ patter
they really talk a load of balls
I just can’t stand their chatter
The passion in the stands, though
is very plain to see
with every style of fancy dress
supporting their country
There’s something quite compelling
about each country’s pride
I find myself drawn in
and cheering on a side
It’s better that men fight their wars
on pitches flat and green
than in the trenches or the fields
in ways that we have seen
Attack, defence and shooting
they’re all the words of battle
but only arms and legs and pride
are injured with a tackle
I think I see the point now
of what it’s all about
the only thing that bothers me
- can France boot England out?
First of all, I'd like to say a massive thank you to you for all your support! Running a small business can be a lonely thing to do (also a lovely thing, of course), so all the feedback I receive at markets and elsewhere throughout the year means the world. So, thank you if you came along in person to Poolewe Tuesday market, or Torridon Thursday craft market this year - it was great to meet you! Or if you bought things from any of my stockists, or indeed from my website - thank you. It's all greatly appreciated.
I'm missing my weekly outings to Poolewe Tuesday market (pics of my stall above), and fortnightly trips to Torridon. There may be news in the offing about a market in Gairloch next season - watch this space!
If you've not written your cards yet, (I've only sent the ones that go abroad...) I have a few packs of Christmas cards left. I've added a mixed pack into my website shop, as I realised that not everyone wants a pack that are all one colour... There are two each of red, green and blue in a pack.
There are a few 2023 calendars left - when they're gone they're gone. As in previous years, each image is printed on the back for use as a postcard. So you can send a postcard every month, or save them up till the end of the year ...
With the end of market season, I've spent the last few weeks updating my website shop (phew!). It now contains most of the items I have for sale. There are mugs, coasters, keyrings, small original artworks and bigger ones too. Also, various sizes of sketchbooks and greetings card collections.
If you'd like anything posted to you, please don't delay - the last date I plan to be posting items is Monday 12th December.
In recent times I've been going along to a lovely new event being hosted by Gairloch Museum. The Ceilidh House is a gathering of folk, every fortnight, to share songs, stories, poems and music. These can be our own compositions, or those of others. It has been so lovely to share in this way and it's prompted me to revisit my poems and writings. Perhaps the winter will see a gathering of these into some tangible form. (I do still have a few copies of my two volumes of short stories available). A writers' group is also starting up again here - it's always good to have somewhere to bounce ideas/receive feedback. As I said at the start of this newsletter. Thank you for reading this far!
In the meantime, wishing you peace, health and happiness over the festive season.
all the best
There's a distinct feel of autumn here in the northwest Highlands now. The wind has risen and is coming from the north today, so the stove has been lit.
I'm happy to have a couple of paintings in the Members' Exhibition at An Talla Solais just now. It's in their newly refurbished premises on Market Street in Ullapool (next door to the village hall). Open daily 10-4 until 14th October. There's a wonderful range of work (165 pieces!) from 60 artists. Well worth a visit.
I've just finished designing and printing this year's Christmas cards. A couple of them are shown above. They're monotypes - simple prints using simple materials. The cards have just arrived from the printers and are available now in my website shop. Also directly from me at Poolewe Tuesday market (last market is on 25th October) and Torridon Thursday market (two more to go, on 6th and 20th October)
It's good to keep on learning. I've just been to a two-day workshop at the wonderful Highland Print Studio in Inverness. I learnt what felt like a huge amount about the process of making a collagraph. It's always great to get your hands dirty and have a go at something different. I did love using the big printing presses...who knows where it might lead?
Upcoming markets - dates for your diary :
'Distant Isles I'. Delighted to see this original painting off to a new home last week.
Hello, I hope this finds you safe and well.
At long last it feels as if some sort of normailty is resuming. I'm so enjoying being at Poolewe Tuesday Market every week. And a trip to Torridon every two weeks to take part in the market there is a joy as well. Having conversations with people, untrammeled by masks, is great!
Last month I completed a commission - printing a set of notebooks destined to be gifts. The cover design was of Schiehallion, a famous Munro in Perthshire. It was a new direction for me, and fun to do. It has prompted me to look more closely at the mountains nearby - watch this space for further developments! Another new linoprint design is the croft house (image above, printed on a sketchbook).
I continue to have a stall at Poolewe Tuesday market and will be there every week until the end of October, except Tuesday 16th August.
You can also find me at Torridon Thursday market, twice a month at Loch Torridon Community Centre Hall, in Torridon. The next one is on Thursday 14th July, 10am-3pm.
In the meantime, if you're not in Wester Ross, a selection of items is always available in my website shop.
Also on the Photo4me and Redbubble websites.
Many thanks for your continued interest in my work.
all the best