the vernal equinox

we are a few days on from the spring equinox now, and already our days are an hour longer than our nights here in Fife.

about half the seeds put in my propagators in the bay window have already germinated, some in less than a week, and the salad greens are beginning to appear in the greenhouse.

the pelagoniums are so big I tied them to canes yesterday

I took some cuttings too. it’s going to be nothing but salmon pink this summer.

pink is a kind of comfort colour in paintings. I am thrilled to have this one in REVERB, Visual Art Scotland’s annual open show, which is online now here

this painting started out yellow, progressed to pink, and last week I reinstated the yellow, with some metallic copper passages …

then I saw this beautiful golden painting on the BBC’s Civilisations programme – Three Aspects Of The Absolute From A Manuscript Of The Nath Charit, 1823.
perhaps I should start making less busy paintings.

I just finished this one, which is pretty determined to be a landscape, 48 x 36 “, “In the pearly morning”

the landscape is pretty busy round here

some ornamental willows have leafy buds coloured gold

and snowy blackthorn is out in scuds and clouds

young cows/bullocks are getting excited

and there are lambs in fields

the snowdrops have faded in the late March sunshine

the early morning skies are pearly

cold winds have abated for the time being

I don’t see many primroses on my walks, but this clump has tripled in size in the two weeks or so since I last walked past it. there are a few clumps planted next to the gates of the Craigsanquhar estate. I do miss the wonderful primroses in Cake’s lane and Clip street in Bale. perhaps stone walls don’t create the right woodland environment on the verges here, not being shady enough, but there must be some broadleaf woodlands with primroses in Fife, surely.

mostly we are still in waiting for real signs of growth and greenery, as the weather warms up

and the longer days bring more light

larks have been singing above fields and marram-covered dunes for more than a month now. the first chiffchaff was on time, March 16th, and now they are everywhere in woods and copses.

the pink foot geese have not yet flown back to Iceland but they must go soon.

next month there will be willow warblers in these trees

and bluebells and woodrush underfoot down along the lower edges of Kemback woods; their first green points are coming through the leaf-mould now.

my recent paintings seem to connect with the landscape, and with my drawings made outside in the pocket sketchbooks I make.

the process is slow. I liked the colours but turned it upside down, a good way of moving things on.

it’s usually the nice bits that end up not working with the rest of the painting and have to go.

here is another stage, introducing some structure

but after a few days reflection, the big pink blob in the middle seemed intrusive and purposeless, so I whited it out, and made dark passages at the sides.

then there was a page in my sketchbook ….

but in the end I separated the canvases, kept the right hand one, so it’s finished, as above, and started radical changes on the lefthand one, with palette knife and squeegee.

another day another attempt – this time I spread white on it with the knife and then went over much of it with a small wet shaggy decorating roller. veils and dribbles, lovely!

then the white in the middle was too white …

much writing into it, rollering it out again, spraying it, scratching words again, but in the end I have a deeply layered, soft spring painting.

hard to photograph though.

I fear it is not finished yet!



  1. Another lovely cascade of beautiful landscape photographs and photos of your paintings. Pink is the moment! The countryside is coming to life, springtime is so glorious. Loads of primroses down south by the way, will have to dig some up for you out of my garden 😉
    Always a joy to see your photos.

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