Artist Nigel Grounds has been influenced over time to create vivid, evocative paintings that conjure up the shifting light, incredible landscape, dazzling colour and jagged mountains that make Scotland an artist's paradise.
1962 – Nigel Grounds is born.
1971 – Nigel moves to Eynort on Skye. It was very basic, having no television, and he spent much of his time drawing and painting.
1980 – Nigel leaves Portree High School.
1982-1986 – Nigel attends Gray's School of Art in Aberdeen and graduates with a B.A. (Hons.) in Fine Art.
1988 – Nigel is living in Plockton, entranced by the light on the waterfront and the endless opportunities for paintings. He is discovered by Aberdeen art-dealer, Duane Mead, who buys all of Nigel's available work.
1990-2007 – Nigel is living in Kyle. Surrounded by easily accessible beauty, he is moved to create “Evening Kinloch," “Waterloo” and “Eigg and Rum."
2007 – Nigel moves to Armadale and opens his own gallery in 2008.
Nigel's affection for Plockton manifests itself in his many paintings of the village. Despite spending only a year there, it remains one of Nigel's favourite places to paint. In his portrayal of Plockton Harbour, a brightly lit background fades into a moody dark foreground. Nigel says: “It was on a summer evening that I saw this – amazing light in the distance and completely black where I was standing. I did a small painting and it went into a gallery in Edinburgh, where it sold almost immediately. People are pulled in by the contrasts.”
A seemingly endless blue sky fades into the ocean, behind which rest tiny cottages atop a field of gold in Nigel's colourful picture of Waterloo. Nigel explains the story behind his work: “One of my daughters was going to university and I took her to the bus stop at the end of the road. I saw the view of all the old cottages down at Waterloo, with the sound of Raasay in the distance and loved it. This is a scene I return to often and it's always different each time!”
Eigg and Rum.
Silver sands and turquoise waves are effortlessly captured by Nigel's skilful brushstrokes. Nigel reveals: “It was only when I moved to Armadale that I realised how close Rum and Eigg are. I went over to create a painting the sand dunes and see the tremendous views.”
Nigel showcases his versatility in his painting of croft houses near the Quiraing. Light and colourful fields contrast with brooding hills, on which are dotted tiny houses. “I particularly like painting more traditional croft houses,” Nigel explains. “Sometimes I prefer them in shadow, when they are blue and grey, as opposed to dazzling white. I first saw this scene in 2004. I had been walking in the Quiraing and was going back to the car, when I turned and saw this amazing view.”
Almost the opposite is true of Nigel's image of Kinloch at dusk. The colourful house contrasts sharply with the rusty shades of the hills and the dark shadows of sea and sky. Nigel, who passes this view every week, says: “It's a brilliant composition to paint. I'm surrounded by this beauty any time I leave the gallery, so it's a favourite of mine!”
The world-famous beaches on the Isle of Harris have attracted many visitors, wowed by the pure sands and the dramatic scenery. “When I think of Luskentyre and Harris, I think of towering hills and empty beaches,” says Nigel. “For an artist, it's awe-inspiring.” Nigel has recreated the scene, capturing the dark hills, juxtaposing them with the sand and cottages, then returning to shadow in the ocean.
Dazzling colours and a wonderful sense of movement combine to make Nigel's painting of a windswept autumn day so realistic. He explains: “I visited Balmacara in November and they must have some pretty exotic trees there, as they were purple and orange and looked so beautiful and interesting!”