~ Experiences, Projects & Jottings of Painter Jan Clizer, Specialist Painter of Scottish & Celtic Music Subject Matter ~

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Words & Weathers in the Highlands

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Weather. I believe it to be one of the hottest topics for conversation since the world began. In our family, speaking of the weather is equivalent to asking after your health, & saying ‘I’m glad to see you,’ all in one go. I imagine this far-reaching method of indirect communication must originate from life in a harsh environment, where every syllable counted, the excess lost to the wind. Wind brings variety in weather, and there was no shortage on both counts on Skye and surrounds in October! “
Loch Duich from Kintail Hotel” sums it up for me – incredibly wild, changeable skies, full of colour and mesmerizing cloud formations, above autumn land and waterscapes to make a painter sigh with pleasure (that or go mad attempting to discern where to begin !). We enjoyed this view from the warmth of the hotel bar, sipping strong coffees and chuckling over the informative announcement by the barkeep that the “truffles & coffee” advertised on the entryway slate were not served till teatime, as the pigs had not yet returned from a successful rootle in the hinterlands that day…! I’ll never again look at a chocolate truffle quite the same way!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

City Fathers, or is That 'Mithers?'

Leave it to a painter (me) to title a painting of two old familiars in Aberdeen’s town centre “City Fathers”……I’ve just learned that the Kirk of St Nicholas is termed the “Mither Kirk” of the city………oy! Havn’t found anything on the incredibly twisted & gnarled ancient tree in the kirkyard as of this writing to give it feminine tendencies – if anyone does, well…..aye, I might want to know!! Ah well…..both fascinate me, and the strong contrast of the living thing, dark with damp bark and contorted in it’s complex growing pattern and the stark stone structure reaching up with gothic fingers to a blustery sky were an inspiration and challenge to paint. I didn’t manage to take time out to visit them this trip, as a variety of interesting things vied for my attention, including one of the Belmont Theatre’s offerings,“Stone of Destiny,” An entertaining way to absorb a bit of 20th Century Scots history!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Blogging, Guilt & Touring Scotland

For those of us born with an excessive sense of responsibility in life, I've concluded blogs were created as a special kind of torture! Yet something else to compete with precious time for living a creative life.....ah well, think more cohesively, type faster, & get on with it!!

Just returned from 20 action-packed days in the north of Scotland, it's been a great 'shot in the arm' for inspiration & good spirits. I'm now ready to dig in & finish that big Pennan harbourscape that's been getting the best of me, and pursue my pet project: market & exhibit my work in Scotland in a series of 3 exhibitions to help support TMSA, the Traditional Music & Song Association of Scotland in their work preserving and nurturing Scottish musical culture. More on that shortly.

The trip held many wonderful things for me, & a major highlight was a week of adventure exploring the Black Isle and out to the coast to Plockton, & around Skye with my entertaining companion, fellow painter & musician Ian Logan of Cults. Not nearly enough actual creating was accomplished as it WAS October with it's turbulent weather, but the breathtaking scenery, entertaining local citizenry, & interesting places made up in spades for lack of painting production! I did manage a few quick doodles here & there, & Ian actually got full drawings laid out for later watercolour paintings.

It was impossible to re-connect with all I'd hoped to see & speak with, in an effort to catch up with their interesting, busy lives since last I've been by...frustrating, yet deeply rewarding in what was accomplished. Already have a list going for a return trip.....blog or no blog.....!