Scotland Landscape Painting

Artist statement

Scottish Landscape Painting

I work in acrylic, ink, oil and also use paper. I enjoy experimenting with mixed media, creating surface and texture in the paintings through the use of collage, and varying the thickness of the paint from impasto to glazes. It’s a balance between the inspiration and reference point of the landscape and allowing the painting to gain its own identity.

My work has always been based on observation and drawing outdoors is fundamental to my working methods. I find more and more now that I want to retain the spontaneity of the initial impressions and sketches in the final pieces.

I try to evoke a sense of character in the landscape, to capture the feeling and essence of the landscape on a more intuitive level. I look for unusual structure in landforms and in coastal areas and often try to emphasise their ambiguous qualities. My work has sometimes been described as having an otherworldly quality to it and, in a sense this partly my objective. A slight sense of a different reality combined with more tangible and recognisable aspects of a landscape. My aim is, through the process of making work, to return to a different way of seeing my surroundings, to a time perhaps in early childhood when the world seemed full of possibilities.

I was raised initially on the island of Tiree. My first memories of exploring my surroundings and the sights and sounds of my first home at Hynish in the south of the island remain with me still. I attended high school in Kingussie before moving to Edinburgh to study at ECA. Returning to favourite childhood haunts and seeing them afresh has given my painting a new dimension allowing memories to combine with new sights and experiences.

I now live and work in Ullapool in the West Highlands of Scotland which are a rich source of inspiration for me. To the north I have Assynt, its isolated peaks and rugged coastline with bays at Achmelvich and Clachtoll often featuring in my work. Then onwards to Durness and Smoo cave which has always been a source of fascination. I also frequently make the journey south to The Isle of Skye to make studies of the waterfalls, eroded rock and deep blue crystal clear Fairy Pools in Glenbrittle.

I travel throughout the Highlands and Islands of Scotland to make drawings and collect material to work from back at the studio. Some of my favourite locations to work in at the moment are Harris for its sweeping coastlines and expansive skies, Mull and Iona for their wide variety of land and seascape and Rum for its amazing smooth rock formations on the shoreline at Harris Bay.

I was lucky enough to be able to make the journey out to the remote archipelago of St Kilda a few years ago where I spent six days camping and exploring Hirta. I'm still working on pieces based on that trip and hope to return soon. In 2014 I achieved a lifelong ambition to visit Iceland and was able to spend some time studying the south coast with its glaciers, waterfalls and dark volcanic landscape. Recently returning to favourite childhood haunts and seeing them afresh has given my paintings a new dimension allowing memories to combine with new sights and experiences.

© Beth Robertson Fiddes. All Rights Reserved.