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Amy Dixon Art

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Highlands Adventure

Amy Dixon

A couple of weeks ago, Jeremy and I made a last minute decision to spend Thanksgiving weekend exploring the the Isle of Skye and the Highlands. Ideally, we would have rented a car and meandered the countryside on our own. But, we only had 3 days and both of us are more than a little nervous to drive on the other side of the road - so we booked a tour instead! 

The Scottish Highlands are truly magnificent; probably some of the most beautiful landscape I've ever seen. It reminded me a lot of Cape Breton, where I grew up. The countryside is so vast and the colours are so saturated, even in foggy or blistery weather (which we had quite a bit of). We could have spent WAY more time exploring the cool spots in the area. Another trip is definitely in order.

One of the nice things about an organized tour is the context it provides. I have a little knowledge about Scottish history, but our guide was a great storyteller and I learned SO MUCH about this beautiful part of the world. On our first day we visited Culloden Battlefield (...Outlander, anyone?), and that really set the stage for the rest of our time in the highlands and understanding the hardship the Highlands faced and the resiliency of the Scottish people. 

I REALLY wanted to do some painting on-site while we were exploring, but the nature of a tour and the weather didn't really allow for it. I did however come back to Edinburgh super excited to paint! I'm working on a series of pieces inspired by our time in the Highlands. They're not based so much on the specific landscapes we saw, but more so how they made me feel. The photos I took are quite moody and dark, but my paintings are working out to be quite colourful and bright! I'm aiming for an early November release date. :)

 

Hello from Scotland!

Amy Dixon

Week one in Scotland, down! 

This city is magical. Jeremy came to Edinburgh for three weeks about six years ago, and insists that it's the best place in the world. I knew I would probably really like it too, but it's better than I could have imagined. The people are friendly, the architecture is hauntingly beautiful and the Scottish landscape is breathtaking. 

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The East Coast is the Best Coast Part II

Amy Dixon

With Marcelle gone back to New Brunswick and Jeremy at work during the day, I knew I wanted to focus on painting during our time in Baddeck. Cheticamp and the Cabot Trail left me with so much inspiration and ideas, I could barely contain myself. I locked myself away (ok, that’s a bit dramatic, but whatever!) in our cabin and painted straight for two days. It felt great to get all of my ideas out of my head and onto a canvas! My goal for the rest of the week was to try my hand out at en plein air painting.

En Plein Air… A fancy way of saying…

“In the open air” or “outdoors”. Essentially, it’s painting outside! It’s pretty common nowadays, but it wasn’t so until the mid-18th century. Around that time, a couple of different art movements (namely, Impressionism) started putting a strong importance on natural light. They ventured outside to do their painting, instead of sticking to the studio. It became even more popular in the 1840s once paints in tubes were introduced. Prior to this, artists had to mix their paints with dry pigment powder and linseed oil (can you imagine?!).

A great tool for plein air painting is a pochade box. I picked one up at The Paint Spot before our trip after chatting about them with my friend Crystal (who is an amazing artist!). They’re basically a compact box that carries art supplies and the inside lid of the box is used as a mini easel to paint on. Super handy.

These are some of the painting spots I discovered over the week:

Smokey Mountain

Super windy, really hot - this was one of the most challenging spots. But so beautiful!

Super windy, really hot - this was one of the most challenging spots. But so beautiful!

In and around Baddeck

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North River

I drove down a random dirt road without knowing where i was heading when I found this magical place. I hiked down a steep path for about 20 minutes and spent the afternoon sitting on a comfy rock.

I drove down a random dirt road without knowing where i was heading when I found this magical place. I hiked down a steep path for about 20 minutes and spent the afternoon sitting on a comfy rock.

Big pond Beach

I had never been to Big Pond. In fact, I didn't really know much about it except that it's where Rita McNeil is from. Turns out it's a great little spot for some painting!

I had never been to Big Pond. In fact, I didn't really know much about it except that it's where Rita McNeil is from. Turns out it's a great little spot for some painting!