Valley of the Kings, a Scottish Artist Journey
A Scottish Artist Journey
Valley of the Kings at Kilmartin Glen
For any Scottish artist there are treasures to be found in the rich history across the nation, just waiting to be discovered. Here along the west coast of Kintyre and forging north into the rest of Argyll (the Coast of the Gaels) it's no exception. Incorporating a bit of northeast Ireland and reaching away to Skye in the north, the ancient kingdom of Dál Riata was jewelled with deep lochs, mountainous forests, and rich farmland. The powerful kingdom reached its zenith in the mid seventh century.
On my own trip of discovery on a September day, it takes an hour drive for me to reach the capital of the kingdom. Dunadd, the rocky crag that rises so distinctively above the land around it, is the seat of kings. Having possibly been an island at one time, it certainly was a well defended height over what had been the Mòine Mhòr, the Great Moor. Now largely pastures, the land is also home to hundreds of Neolithic and Bronze Age standing stones and other monuments spanning some 5,000 years.
Just a few miles further on you’ll find the charming village of Kilmartin. Kilmartin Museum (re-opening after renovations in 2023) is highly recommended for your future visits to dig in to some history yourself. At the south end of the village is the Kilmartin Glen Viewpoint — a perfect spot for a couple of hours to paint, to read up on history, or just to have your lunch and gaze down the long valley below.
On this late summer day, dark blue and gold laced clouds raced along in a hurry off to Jura or elsewhere beyond the reach of former kings. I found myself in a hurry to capture the feeling of those fleeting clouds and the sense of grandeur that this place, steeped in history, just vibrates with. Next trip for this Scottish artist... to try a painting of the stones themselves!
Valley of the Kings, 8x10" oil on panel, is my reflection on the beauty of Kilmartin Glen and all that history stretching into the distant hills beyond.