Must Paint Scot

Harris beach paintings – the Dazzling and the Irresistible Sands

Harris beach paintings get even more popular as the reputation of the dazzling beaches of Harris continues to spread. Time was, not so long ago, you could get a beach to yourself – literally be the first footprints after the receding tide. Probably you can still find little coves and beaches where this is true.

Traigh Sheileboist – or Seilebost Beach – (below) is a near-neighbour of the famous Luskentyre Beach – or Traigh Losgaintir. In fact, Losgaintir is just beyond the dunes on the far right of this painting. It’s also one of the many places in the west with road signs in two languages. (Vive la difference, I’d say…)

Harris beach paintings - Traigh Sheileboist
Traigh Sheileboist, (Seilebost Beach), Isle of Harris, Scotland.

Harris beach paintings

So what colour is sand? Is it yellow or kinda orangey or a bit greyish or brownish? It all depends on the local rock, the amount of shell that has been ground into it, as well as the degree of wetness, from a receding tide.

Mixing white with a hint of sepia is a good start, sometimes it’s all you need and you have to go easy on anything else you add from the orange, ochre or yellow range. And wet sand and dry sand are very different. Och, you knew that already though…

As for that unmistakable Hebridean blue (or is it green) that you get when the sands slide into the shallows of the coastal waters, then it’s one of the times when reaching for the viridian or phthalo green or phthalo blue as a base for the mix is justifiable. I mean if you’re trying to paint fairly realistically (or possibly figuratively as art-speak would have it).

Seilebost Beach, Harris

Traigh Iar, near Niosaboist, Isle of Harris.

Beaches of Harris – Traigh, traigh again. (Sorry!)

(Above) Checking for this beach’s name on Google, it is labelled as ‘Nisabost Beach’. Checking the Ordnance Survey, its name is given as Traigh Iar (traigh is Gaelic for beach – which I’m sure you knew). Nisabost beach – Traigh Niosaboist – is just a mile or so away to the east. So Iar it is then – I know who I’d rather believe.

The main trick with painting large expanses of sand seems to be keeping blue and any hint of yellow separate. I mean, where do you ever get green sand?

More information here on the Isle of Harris.