Saturday, 20 October 2012

The Dee Valley in Autumn

We've just come back from ten lovely days in Scotland, staying in Kincardine O' Neil on Deeside, west of Aberdeen. The Dee Valley at this point is wide with fields running down to the river but the mountains gradually encroach on the agricultural land as you drive up towards Braemar and beyond, until the valley climbs and narrows to become moorland.

Autumn at Brig O' Feugh
We've been many, many times to this part of Scotland and I have a large bank of photographs to remind me of the beauty of the place. It's never far from my mind and images of the area seem to find their way into all my art and textile work, one way or another.

This time, we stayed close to home and revisited many of our favourite local places. The colours were working their way up to being truly spectacular, with the help of heavy overnight frosts - although we had to return home this time before the process was totally complete.

Rosebay Willowherb
near Kincardine O'Neil
Rosebay Willow Herb
colour inverted and enhanced
In the woods near the house where we stay, there is always a clump of Rosebay Willow Herb under the pine trees on the track down to the river. In autumn, it turns to a glorious, but subtle, range of yellows, oranges and pinky browns and has beautiful soft cream wispy seed heads. I took more pictures again this year - the colours always seem slightly different - and have had fun enhancing and inverting in Adobe Photoshop, giving thoughts for future stitching .....

Loch Clarack looking west
Long shadows enhanced
and colour removed in Photoshop
On another lovely sunny afternoon, we drove west to Dinnet, up the valley, and walked along the side of Loch Clarack to Loch Kinnord. The colours and especially the shadows cast by the scots pine trees in the gently slanting sun were wonderful. I've seen (and photographed - and blogged) similar before but this afternoon seemed especially beautiful and the shadows particularly crisp.

Silver Birch trees near Loch Kinord

I also love the silver birch trees around the loch and we found some twisted lichen-covered trunks, sitting in pools and casting fascinating reflections. At risk of being repetitive again, I had tree trunks like these in my mind's eye when I worked the hand-stitched piece I posted in July.

Dead Birch tree, Loch Kinnord
Further round the loch is this dead birch tree. I recently manipulated the photographs I took when we walked this path last year. The tree was silhouetted against the sky and taken from several angles. This was the inspiration for hand stitching on a transfer dyed ground. I always like to have what I regard as 'stitch doodles' on the go and this was one of my most recent. I'm not sure it's one of my best pieces and I've yet to finish it but it was great fun to do and reminded me of this lovely place.
Dead Tree - Loch Kinord
Seeding stitch on transfer dyed ground

So much of what I do seems to be inspired by memories, in one way or another. Now, perhaps, I'll begin to consolidate my photos and memories from this visit - drawing, painting and creating paper images before I stitch - I can't wait... I'll post some of the results in coming weeks....

PS At the risk of turning this blog into a travelog, if you visit north east Scotland and want to follow this walk, details can be found at It's a gentle, generally flat, wander from loch to loch and from one lovely view to another - beautiful....

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