By Eilidh Whiteford
Continuing to explore his artistic pursuits and inspired by the island landscapes which surround him, photographer and artist Darren Cole is delighted to bring new venture Hebridean Ceramics to Hebscape Gallery in north Harris.
“There is nowhere quite like the Isle of Harris,” said Darren, who scooped the Scottish Landscape Photographer of the Year ‘Your Vision’ award last year.
“For anyone with a creative background, inspiration is all around you – from the Caribbean-esque beaches with white sands and blue-green waters to the majestic mountains and abundant wildlife.”
Darren moved to Harris in 2013 with partner Chris and the pair soon opened the Hebscape Gallery and Tearoom in Ardhasaig to showcase Darren’s award winning landscape photography.
Five years on and Darren was ready for a new challenge so together with Chris they created Hebridean Ceramics Ltd as a vehicle for Darren’s new body of work, as he turns from camera to pencil, creating a series of new digital painted images.
“I’m more influenced by other painters than I am other photographers,” Darren said. “And visitors to our gallery at first often mistake my photographic work for paintings.
“As a photographer you are so used to physically seeking out your subjects and reacting to environmental conditions to create your work. Starting with a blank sheet of paper and a pencil rather than a camera and a lens is a totally different creative experience.
“I’ve been exploring different digital painting techniques for several years now and ceramics seemed to be the perfect medium to use for these images as the high gloss surface provided great depth and colour saturation.”
Indeed, Darren’s ceramic tiles, mugs and coasters deliver a burst of vibrancy and colour, detailing island scenes including the Callanish Stones and Scalpay Lighthouse, the iconic wildlife such as the St Kilda puffins, and renditions of the world-famous Lewis Chessmen.
Each image begins life as a hand-drawn sketch which Darren then takes into several different digital painting packages to achieve his desired results.
“It’s a process that can take several days to complete; but creating work from scratch using nothing but your imagination is a very freeing experience; and one that I believe also influences the way I create my photographic work,” he added.
Hebridean Ceramics works, alongside Darren’s photographs, are available to view and purchase from the Hebscape Gallery and Tearoom in Ardhasaig, open Tuesdays to Saturdays, 10.30am-4.30pm.
Or you can also take a look and find out more online at www.hebrideanceramics.com