My normal method of beginning a painting is to create as much excitement as I can with liquid paint applied in bold strokes and splashes. Most of the time, this is then refined and painted over as the painting progresses, but I always try to retain some of the original marks as they are usually the most freely painted and full of energy.
However, in this painting I was so pleased and excited with the qualities of the early stages of the work, I determined to leave as much as I could in the finished piece. I anticipated some difficulty in resolving the completed work with a recognisable landscape element, but knew instinctively that the transition between the two areas would be a river bank.
My first thoughts were to integrate the coast at Cowie in Stonehaven, as seen from the harbour area, but then another image began to insinuate itself into my thoughts and I decided to go with that.
Several years ago, I was given the use of a cottage on the Cowal peninsula by a gallery in Glasgow, who were hoping it would inspire me to paint some west coast landscapes. We had a lovely family holiday and I did manage a few paintings from my travels round the local area.
The view in this painting is my memory of the ferry journey across to Dunoon, which we took a couple of times towards the end of the day. It is now quite a few years since I made that journey, and I am not sure why it popped into my head, when I was contemplating this canvas.
However, I have learned over the years to trust that 'wee inner voice' and so 'Winter Hills, Dunoon' was the result.