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Bronwyn Mackenzie Commission

I was commissioned in late June by an Lanntair to paint an area of wall above the bar and restaurant, this was such an exciting and wonderful opportunity for me as a twenty one year oId local artist.

I wanted to create a painting that was strong and powerful but that had some deep set conceptual ideas behind it. I have always been fascinated by the idea of the human presence in our wild and rustic Hebridean landscape and how this has a massive effect on our local culture and intimate identity. I came up with the concept of a lighthouse in an ever changing dynamic seascape.

“Lighthouses have been: beacons of civilisation, symbols of human presence and safety, and navigational guides. They have also represented: a rugged coastal lifestyle, protection, salvation, guidance, illumination, never-ceasing watchfulness, steadfast endurance, and helpfulness” - John Lund, Photographer.

I think An Lanntair encompasses all of this in our local community and what an opportunity it was to celebrate these gifts through a painting which is approachable and understandable for all ages and cultures within our community and beyond.

I had never worked on a scale of this magnitude, in previous projects I always set out by putting structures into my work. In the beginning of this project I used chalk to mark out areas of the wall to give a sense of scale and proportion.

The first brush strokes of ultramarine blue across the white wall was not a daunting experience, but a completely entrancing one.

Working on such a large scale gave me an ability to play and be experimental in different areas of the painting. I wanted the work to be intriguing and experiential to the viewer while walking past in such close proximity, to show the delicious painterly qualities.

I played with colour, texture, luminosity and opaque consistency; layering colours together helped to create a sense of depth and the painting started to emerge. Everyday the painting seemed to grow and change into something different: I have always loved this journey painting takes you on.

The work was physically difficult because of the location on the mezzanine hall way, but the challenge of this only added to the satisfaction. I walk the hall way up and down with water and pallets of paints and grew to know the space well.

When I became happy and content with the work, I varnished the painting in a glossy illuminating finish. It was such a joy to see the colours and areas shine and poke through and reflect on the power and dominating presence the painting has. It was amazing to reflect on the work and be proud of what I had accomplished in the ten days it took. I wondered to myself if this is what Monet felt when reflecting on his Waterlilies.

I’d like to thank an Lanntair for the opportunity this commission presented and the amazing journey it has taken me on.

Bronwyn MacKenzie

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