at the Art Gallery’s Square Room
Ken is entirely self-taught and lives in Innerleithen in the Scottish Borders. He has been painting full time since 1990.
‘Most of my work is rooted in my love of the Highlands and Islands of Scotland. I enjoy the wide open vistas of highland beaches and lochs – and the even more spacious mountain summits. Clear days high in the mountains and on the coast are a major part of my work, but I also like to explore the post-sunset afterglow in the highlands: when the wind drops and seas and lochs become a mirror, and a serene transformation occurs.
Working on material from recent trips to northern Italy has encouraged a subtle shift in my work: slightly more (it could hardly be less!) colour and stronger value contrasts. The Italian landscape is unexpectedly liberating for the colour blind artist! This has fed back into some of my Scottish work, but don’t expect green mountains from me any time soon.
Although I work in a realistic style, I freely edit the landscape and sometimes merge multiple viewpoints, then try to present the result as though I had not done so – but my aim is always to capture the essence of what I have seen.
Because of my colour vision limitations I use a very restricted palette of cobalt blue, ultramarine, burnt sienna, burnt umber, yellow ochre and light red.
All the watercolours are painted on Arches Not paper. I use the 400lb weight for larger work – a lovely robust surface to work on. I don’t use masking fluids and most whites are reserved or lifted out, though I have recently started to use a little acrylic. Paints are Winsor & Newton. Brushes are Jackson’s sables and Isabey squirrel mops.’
Exhibition runs August 3rd – 30th