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Amidst blazing sunshine and inevitably stunning natural views, artist Ruth Bond held the official launch of her long-delayed exhibition at Talla na Mara in West Harris yesterday evening (Tuesday June 7).

Originally planned to take place two years ago, before the intervention of the global pandemic, so much time has passed that many of the art works originally intended for the event had long been sold.

But the landscape of the Western Isles continues to inspire Ruth – who first visited the islands only in 2017 – and so there’s no shortage of work on view

Ruth is based in Northumberland and well recalls the days in 2017 when she paid the first of what is now many visits to the islands and realised that the colours of the natural landscape appeared again in the colour combinations of Harris Tweed, a fabric with which was familiar from her other work in worlds of fashion and interior design.

“Colour has always been the most important element of my landscapes and seascapes, and the colours I discovered in the Outer Hebrides were astonishing almost beyond imagination. Attempting to capture these in my oil paintings has been a beautiful experience.”

During the past seven years she has held regular solo and joint exhibitions in the North East of England and has established herself as a contemporary land and seascape artist.

Ruth says that her instinctive response to the rich colours in the Hebrides, in the landscapes and echoed in the traditional island tweeds, produced a profound effect on her work. 

"Each painting in this collection is based on a particular Harris Tweed swatch, the starting point limiting the paint pallet mixed from just these colours."

As a result, her landscapes on show resemble not just the purple, peaty rivers, vibrant turquoise of the seas, blindingly white beaches, and heathery moors but also the natural ingredients that went into dyeing the yarns, themselves, of course, directly derived from lichens, herbs and flowers of the landscape.

The launch was well-attended with the vivid actuality of the landscapes outside of the gallery display vying with the paintings for vivid natural colours.

Ruth’s solo exhibition "Oil Paintings of the Outer Hebrides", runs in Talla na Mara, Pairc Niseaboist, west Harris, until the end of June.