By Eilidh Whiteford
After 22 years in the Western Isles, artist Anthony Barber is still inspired daily by his adopted home.
And with works previously exhibited at the National Gallery for Scotland with the RSW (Royal Scottish Society of Painters in Watercolour) and the RSA (Royal Scottish Academy); as well as at the Mall Galleries in London through the RSMA (Royal Society of Marine Artists) and Discerning Eye exhibitions, Anthony is delighted to showcase what he finds so fascinating about island landscapes to a wider audience.
Born in Stoke-on-Trent in 1962, Anthony studied architecture and design in West Yorkshire, pursuing his joy of sketching and painting both in Yorkshire and whilst holidaying in Scotland’s various west coast islands.
His love of islands took over in 1994 with a move to the Isle of Lewis, where he and his wife settled at Port of Ness.
“We’d regularly been to Skye and visited most of the islands down the west coast, but the first time we came to Lewis, as clichéd as it sounds, something just struck a chord,” he said.
“I think because it was so remote and far from the mainland compared to others that it feels like a proper island as such; and for us it wasn’t just a ‘tourist’ island, but people lived and worked here.”
Anthony continued: “It was the landscape and the light to begin with that inspired me to paint up here – and that’s never changed. Even driving through different areas of Lewis, the landscape differs so much, I’m never stuck for inspiration.”
From his small studio gallery – Harbour View Gallery – based in Ness, Anthony’s mainly acrylic creations have been sold to hang in private collections in the UK, Europe, America and Australia.
And his prints and greeting cards are stocked in shops and galleries the length and breadth of Britain.
Working from his open studio gallery however, Anthony finds interest talking to visitors and is often left considering aspects of his art that he’d never before considered.
“It is interesting the things people say to you, things you’d never think yourself,” he said.
“One lady visiting the gallery for example commented on the colours I used and asked how many different colours I’d use in a painting,” Anthony continued. “Well, that’s something I’d never thought about before, so it got me thinking and it’s generally just five or seven different colours.
“Most people are very courteous when they visit and realise you’re working; but it’s people coming in while I’m working, saying certain things that make me think more about what I’m doing.
He added: “And I think for visitors and customers, people like to buy directly from the artist. It gives people a chance to meet and see how I work as an artist.”
Only a 40-minute drive from Stornoway on the A857 Stornoway to Port of Ness road, Anthony’s Harbour View Gallery is open from Monday to Saturday from March through to October, and by appointment at other times.
And to find out more about Anthony and his works, primarily based on the Highlands and Islands of Scotland, West Coast and Hebrides in particular, visit www.abarber.co.uk