Scottish Artists - Hope Blamire
Hope Blamire is one of my favourite scottish artists. She specialises in scottish island landscapes and some of her paintings are so lifelike it is hard to tell the difference from a photograph. As part of my ’10 questions with’ series, I manged to catch up with Hope and ask her about her love of scottish islands.
1) What inspired you to become a full-time artist?
As much as I loved teaching art for 18 years, I always knew my obsession with painting Scottish beaches would take over! With two young boys, it felt like the right time to work from home and to do what I really loved.
2) What materials do you use for your designs?
I was very lucky to inherit a big range of oil paints from a Dutch colleague, Henk, when we worked together in Malawi. At this time, I was teaching art at an international school and was painting animals I’d see on safari. Twelve years on, I still have several of those oil paints as well as having added to them with my obvious favourites. I also like to add texture to the rocks in my paintings with scraps of paper collage.
3) How do you get inspiration for a particular design?
I travel around the west coast of Scotland as often as I can, taking as many as 50,000 photos in a year! I then pick my favourites to inspire my next painting.
4) How do you create your designs?
Like most painters, I build up my paintings in layers. I always prepare canvases and wooden panels with a reddish pink base and then block in the big areas in their appropriate colours first, before adding more and more detail.
5) Of all the designs that you have completed, whcih is your favourite and why?
I don’t think I could choose a favourite. I do favour some more than others, but the more I paint, the more my favourites change with time. I’ve only ever kept one painting and that is ‘You’ll find me here in Ardnamurchan ‘. I painted this as my mother in law was dying, as Ardnamurchan was her favourite place in Scotland and this is where I envisaged her going at the end of her life. Otherwise, I don’t have any of my own paintings hanging in our home.
6) What memorable responses have you had to your work?
As most people buy directly from me having only seen the painting online, I’m always a bit nervous that they could be disappointed when they see it in the flesh. Thankfully that hasn’t happened yet. It means a lot when I hear that several buyers have cried when seeing their painting for the first time. This emulates the emotional response I often have to Scotland’s beauty/scenery!
7) What Scottish islands have you visited? Which are your favourites and why?
I have visited many of Scotland’s islands but still have Orkney and Colonsay on my wish list. I enjoy visiting every island and every beach but my top 5 would have to include Barra, Coll, Harris, Mull and Erraid. They’re all very special to me for different reasons but they all have spectacular beaches. I love the sense of peace on Barra and the fabulous white sandy beaches on Vatersay. Coll has been one of my favourites ever since I first visited in a heatwave one July four years ago. It has some of the best hidden beaches that require a hike to get to. Harris, with its golden beaches and moonscape golden road is hard to beat. The jaw always drops no matter how many times I visit. Mull has magnificent hidden beaches, stunning scenery as well as the treasure islands of Erraid and Iona nearby.
8) Do you have any tips for travelling around the Scottish Islands?
Avon skin so soft for the midges, a camera, book ferries well in advance, and a good weather forecast! And if you can ever fly to Barra and land on the beach, then do it. One of the most magical experiences.
9) Where do you see yourself and your business in the next 10 years?
To be established in Scotland, with a studio on the west coast, with retail outlets on many of the islands.
10) Where can I find out more information and buy some of your work?
I’m always happy to receive emails as well as sharing current work and ideas on my Facebook and twitter page. My online shop can be found on my website www.hopeblamire.com