By Roz Skinner
The lure of the Outer Hebrides has summoned artists, writers and dreamers from all four corners of the earth. One of those artists is Pam Carter, who finds inspiration in the individuality of the Hebridean islands. Through her paintings, Pam takes us on a journey.
The most northern island in the Outer Hebrides - famed for its intriguing Callanish Standing Stones. In her painting, Early Snow At The Stones, Pam highlights the permanence of stones contrasted against the fragile dwellings in the background. “The historic monuments have witnessed a lifetime of changes, but now they sit happily in the modern community,” remarks Pam.
Surf, rhythmically breaking on the rocks - you can almost hear the sound of it when you look at Pam’s painting, Niabost Surge. “Whenever I go to Harris, I seek out the beaches,” she says. “I love the mountains in the distance, as well as the wet sand and retreating seas.”
The Machair - frenzied with the buzz of ever-busy bees and vibrant with nodding flowers. “The Uists absolutely thrill me because of the machair,” Pam says. “In Island Cluster And Machair, I love the cottages and buildings clustered in an array of flowers.”
And in the Inner Hebrides…
On Pam’s initial visit to Tiree, the first sight that met her eyes was tiny houses, sparkling like sunlit jewels on a strip of land. She has immortalized those dwellings in Small Holding By The Shore. Describing Tiree as “a life-size museum to the architecture of Scotland,” Pam says: “The thatches and the rusty red roofs of the cottages are all very important to preserve and remember,” she says.
Imagine walking along the road and suddenly seeing a friend in the distance. This is how Pam feels every time she sees the Isle of Rum! “I just love the headland,” she explains. “I get very excited when I go to another island and I can see Rum.” In Back To Rum, Pam’s sweeping brushstrokes conjure up the picture of a beautiful summer’s day, where the blue of the sky is reflected on the wet sands.
Diamond Slates And Machair
A burnt-orange rusty roof, the curving shape of a small caravan and the distinctive swirls of dancing flowers in the foreground combine to make up Diamond Slates And Machair. “This is one of the first cottages I saw on Skye,” Pam says. “I love the little features in it, especially the diamond slates and the saggy, red roof of the barn.”
High Seas Elgol
Crash! In High Seas Elgol, Pam has captured the motion of the water breaking across the jagged rocks against the proud backdrop of the Cuillins. “This is my favourite view in the world,” says Pam. “I make a pilgrimage to Elgol every year to see that view - I love the shore in the foreground and the Jurassic sandstone overhanging rock, pitted like a Crunchie bar.”
Light bounces on the water, reflecting warmly on the Isle Ornsay lighthouse in Lighthouse Reflections. Pam chuckles as she relates the story behind her painting: “My work is featured on Dunoon Pottery and I have put together a series for their new mugs,” she explains. “You don’t think about what goes into producing a mug until you do it - the image gets wrapped round the mug ensuring that there is a feature for the right handed drinker to view - hence the lighthouse. However the left handed drinker ought to have a feature too - they have the boat!”