Many artists gravitate to the west coast of Scotland for inspiration and I wanted to share with you some of my favourite spots here on Argyll's Secret Coast to paint. It's a pretty inspiring part of Argyll it has to be said! With truly dynamic landscapes and shorelines, you cannot turn your head without spotting a satisfying composition.
Secret Spot 1 - Glenan Bay.
When you arrive at Portavadie, you have two contrasting landscapes. The sleek contemporary architecture of Portavadie, Loch Fyne and then across the road ancient oak woodlands, private beaches and sweeping shore lines. The walk through the woodlands is inspiring in itself. You travel through time, under twisted trees straight out of Grimm's Fairy Tales, past caves and over burns. As an artist it allows me to breathe before arriving at the beach. The variety of landscapes on offer here is unreal. Being able to clamber the rocks and get the vast vista of Kintyre, Arran, Portavadie and Loch Fyne itself is breathtaking. From here you can watch the weather systems change and be relatively uninterrupted. Don't be shy to wander off the paths, you get such a diversity of views that are exceptional if you're prepared to do this.
Secret Spot 2 - Otter Ferry.
It's a beautiful part of the world and if you want that truly linear landscape that Scotland provides so well – here does it like no other. Immense skies, lustrous horizons, dark waters and vibrant coastlines. It's a fantastic shoreline with views up and down Loch Fyne. There are fantastic rock formations and clusters of shells for those artists interested in detail. The sunsets are unbelievable and I know Otter Ferry and its surrounding landscape has been an inspiration to numerous artists here at Tig Gallery. They can't seem to get enough of it. Plus, The Oystercatcher is amazing for food and booze!
Secret Spot 3 - Caladh.
This is a relatively new discovery for me. You head off down the forestry track enveloped under huge pines, ramble along the path and you will get to the shoreline. The vastness of the landscape means you get these breath taking vistas of the Kyles, from both high and low, as part of and looking on. The harbour is secluded and striking but again it is the variety here. Turn your back on the shore and you are in a deep woodland, mystical and ancient. Clamber the path up to the Lily Pond and take opportunities to look beyond the trees and out across the waters to Colintraive and Bute.
Secret Spot 4 - Ostel Bay.
Who could not fall in love with this beach? Come rain or shine, Ostel Bay sweeps you away. Arriving at the beach itself you are awestruck by the dominance of Arran and its sleeping warrior. The golden sands stretch away from you out to sea and the odd yacht or fishing boat sail gracefully upon the horizon. A fantastic place to paint, and a favourite of many. I am always fascinated by the patterns the tide leaves upon the sand.
You have the obvious viewpoints around the area – they are in their very nature, fantastic compositions. But I encourage people to experience the landscapes in an almost spiritual way. That is when it's truly inspiring. Here at Tig Gallery, we are have a selection of works of Argyll Secret Coast landscapes; they are experiences that draw from the geography itself but are not always true representations of it in likeness. It's the spirit of the place, the variety, the elements as well as the community and people. We coexist in this vast, enchanted place together and see magic in so many different things.
To quote Clive Bell (1881 – 1964) 'The Aesthetic Hypothesis'
''...there is a particular kind of emotion provoked by works of visual art. This emotion is called the aesthetic emotion. Lines and colours combined in a particular way, certain forms and relation of forms, stir our aesthetic emotions.''
Be stirred by Argyll's Secret Coast and in its aesthetically pleasing nature, be inspired. If you are ever in need, please do pop into the gallery and I will be delighted to point you in the direction of some outstanding painting locations and I would defy you not to be stirred by more than the landscape but the energy of Argylls Secret Coast.