pillars of hercules painting

Pillars of Hercules

Painted this the other day. Oil on 10″ x 8″ canvas covered board. A lovely spring day albeit still a bit cold out of the sun. This May has been one of the coldest I remember – more like March or April weather. Anyway, “The Pillars of Hercules” Organic Farm Shop and Cafe – the subject of this painting – is a well known local rendezvous where you can get a delicious morning coffee or lunch. Many folks walk from The Falkland Estate through the woods, stop here for a rest and a bite to eat and then walk back. Falkland Estate is a great place to refresh the spirit and “recharge the batteries”.  Norma and I once had a delicious plate of “Borsch” (Beetroot Soup) at the Pillars; we’ve been back a few times but have never seen it on the menu since! (P.S. the village of Falkland is one of Fife’s hidden treasures with its ancient Palace, now administered by the National Trust for Scotland, erstwhile home of the Stuart kings, notably James V, father of Mary Queen of Scots, who died at Falkland Palace and on hearing of her birth six days before his death, is reported to have said “”it came wi a lass and it will gang wi a lass”, predicting the demise of the Stuart dynasty).

I have tried to capture the freshness of the spring sunshine through the trees which are just beginning to burst into leaf. I feel as if I’m on a journey of rediscovery of my artistic development. A journey that’s challenging yet rewarding. Challenging because I am painfully aware of the distance I still have to travel before I reach the standards of skill that I’m aiming for, and rewarding in so many ways, especially in the rediscovery of the sheer pleasure and satisfaction of working direct from the motif “en Plein Air”. There really is very little to compare with a painting session in a quiet corner of the countryside, interacting with a subject that gets the artistic juices flowing. I feel very privileged to be able to do this even though I still have a long way to go in the development of my technique.

a Note about the unusual name on THE SOIL ASSOCIATION WEBSITE says:
“Why ‘Pillars of Hercules’  
The name goes back a long time. It seems to refer to stones that were next to the house where they used to rest coffins on the way up to an old burial ground at Kilgour Farm further up the road. According to Greek mythology, the Pillars of Hercules were the limits of the known world. This could explain why the farm’s salads are described as being ‘out of this world’.”                                                          
and It’s also the name of a pub in london!
photo of tree painting

Country lane, near Charlottetown, Fife

Managed to get out and do a bit of painting today. At last!

I had in mind to paint one of the farm buildings near this lane but came across this rustic corner and decided to paint it instead! It was a beautiful day, sunny, birds singing, so peaceful – until out of the blue came an RAF jet screaming past directly overhead. Thankfully it was gone just about as soon as it appeared! This was my first painting excursion outdoors this year, so it was good to get started again and be reminded of how much I enjoy painting “on the spot”.


Cottage, Isle of Lewis

Cottage, Isle of Lewis

I saw this cottage when Norma and I were on holiday in the Outer Hebrides a few years ago. The rusty red corrugated iron roof on the shed caught my eye, as did the light glinting off the dry-stane dykes. The washing flapping in the breeze tells us that this was “a good drying day!” Fortunately the weather was kind to us and we have very happy memories of our stay in the hamlet of Ness, away up on the Northernmost tip of Lewis. The people are so friendly and the landscape is quite unique. Well worth the ferry trips necessary in order to get there!

big cat-x00

My Social Media Dilemma

I was about to paste the previous post to this one as a url link on my Facebook page to let folks have a look at my latest paintings. However, since I had just listed two paintings as an experiment on eBay, I then thought, “I’ll just double check whether eBay have any advice about sharing listings on Facebook”. To my consternation, I discovered that eBay have a somewhat confusing and also rather intimidating policy on sharing auction listing links on any social media sites. I reluctantly decided to stay within what at first sight seemed to me to be an excessive and obstructive rule.

Apparently, you can only share a link to a “Fixed Price/Buy it Now” listing, because if you dare to share an auction listing on FB, you will then according to eBay, have to block all your friends on Facebook from bidding – otherwise you will be deemed guilty of the very serious crime of “Shill Bidding” and could be struck off eBay! (“Oh, Help M’Boab!”) For a start, I wouldn’t even know where to begin blocking my Facebook friends from bidding on my eBay listings!

The reason eBay give for this *apparently* draconian policy, is that one’s FB friends could get an unfair advantage over eBayers who are not on one’s friends list and would thereby lose out because they didn’t see your FB post. All terribly fair and proper I must say.

Sadly then, I have had to conclude that discretion is the better part of valour. I certainly do not wish either myself or my friends to be found guilty – even inadvertently – of breaking eBay’s rules and I certainly do not want to incur the wrath of the dreaded eBay Police!!

So, here’s my dilemma – unless I only list my paintings on eBay as a static and boring “Fixed Price/Buy it Now” listing, instead of an exciting “Auction” listing – (or alternatively, sell them in a completely different marketplace) – then I’m not allowed to use social media to promote my work.

I just hope none of my Facebook friends like my paintings enough to place a bid… Yikes!! Cold shivers going down my spine at the very thought!

P.S. On a serious note, I would never ever condone Shill Bidding and would be as anxious as eBay is to prevent it. It’s just really annoying that the crooks have spoiled things for the majority of us honest folks, most of whom had never heard of Shill Bidding let alone entertained the idea of trying to cheat the system for dishonest gain.
Still life with casserole dish and jugx00
“Still Life with Casserole and Milk Jug” Oil on gesso primed board, 6″ X 6″
Still life with casserole dish and jugx00

Well, it’s a start…

At last, I’ve made a start and completed a couple of paintings.

The first one is this small still life painting of some dishes from the kitchen. I decided to choose colours that were fairly close in colour and tone to try and create a nice greyish green and muted blue colour scheme.

I enjoyed painting this little group. It finally got the creative juices flowing after a gap of too long! Hope you like it.

big cat-x00
“Easy Tiger!” Oil on gesso primed stretched canvas,                 12″ X 16″

The second painting is this oil on stretched canvas of a resting tiger which I finally finished off today. He looks as if he’s suddenly been alerted to some noise and is instantly ready to jump up and pounce on an approaching prey, or, beat a silent retreat if he decides that discretion is the better part of valour. I think tigers are awesome creatures and great subjects for painting.