Light on the water and coastline inspire Colclough to wonderful images of isles

PERHAPS the last sight you’d expect to come across in a hospital waiting room is dramatic landscape paintings full of vibrant colourful scenery and eclectic interpretations of the coast. But that’s what
painter Rob Colclough set out to achieve in this exhibition which opened this week at the Gilbert Bain.

With his latest works, the Yell-based artist has taken inspiration from his home and surroundings
at his crofthouse on the island and attempted to cast his own impression of the way in which seasons and light change through the year. This can be seen through the collection of 15 paintings on display.

The exhibition is similar to his previous exhibition in the Bonhoga Gallery that took place earlier this year, with the emphasis yet again on landscapes. Though it is the contrast in styles of his works this time round that will catch the eye, with each painting taken from a different time of the year and Colclough noting the subtle or sudden changes of his surroundings in his work.

For example, the beautifully serene and still nature of Ness of West Sandwick contrasts completely with the more dramatic and abstract South Laddie Voe Sunset.

There is something for everyone and it’s surprising how many varied forms of impressionism can come from the same area of the isles. More generic styles of landscape art are found in the three Summers Day exhibits with the type of imagery to cheer anyone up on a damp Shetland summer evening. And fans of more abstract work will appreciate Winter’s Sunrise and Colclough’s own personal favourite, Holm of West Sandwick. And Northern Lights has already become a favourite with the exhibition’s visitors with its beautiful blues capturing a Shetland sky at it most dazzling.

Explaining why he chose to paint in different ways for some of his painting, Colclough maintains it was simply a matter of avoiding boredom as an artist. “It’s not unusual for people to paint normal landscapes when they come to a place like this but I find it a bit monotonous when people use the same style all the time,” he says.

“My paintings are about the impression the scene has made on me at the time and it should reflect that in the work. I was particularly interested in the contrast of light on water and light on the coast,”
he adds, explaining the main motivation behind A Painter’s Year.

Originally from Matlock in Derbyshire, Colclough, along with his wife and two daughters, has resided in Yell for two years now. He admits to falling in love with the peace and quiet of the Isles after visiting friends in Eshaness some years ago. “As soon as we saw the place, that was it,” he says on the decision to quit his job as a chiropodist and move from England.

Yet while he did paint regularly before moving north, he feels it’s now impossible not to be inspired by where he lives. “The real difference is the sea. Especially up here, I can just look out my window now or go into my shed and I’ll see something that feels right to paint. Now I can just paint what I see.”

Let’s hope he sees more of the same then. With prolific yet varied works on a subject close to his heart, it could be another good year for this painter.

Lewie Peterson


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