by Jordan Ogg
Over the past 12 years Keith Salmon has been producing art from a studio located by Irvine harbour in North Ayrshire in Scotland. A keen walker, much of his work is inspired by travels over the Scottish mountains, glens and coastlines. “I walk these places throughout the year and experience them under all sorts of conditions. The constant changes in atmosphere, light and colour are for me what make the Scottish landscape so special.” Prepared in acrylic and pastel, oil or graphite, Keith says his works, “try to capture a little of what it is like to get away from the roads and into these beautiful, quiet and sometimes isolated locations.”
The Isle of Arran has long fascinated the artist and its proximity to his studio, just across the Firth of Clyde, has seen it become a regular destination. He has made several paintings and drawings based on his experiences of being out in the environment of what he calls “this magnificent island.”
During December 2014 and January 2015, Keith's interest reached its peak with the creation of a huge graphite drawing, based on a winter walk he made across Arran’s Glen Rosa some years previously.
'Big Glen Rosa' spans 4.5m by 1.5m and is currently on display alongside a selection of the artist's other works at the Isle of Arran Distillery Visitor Centre. These works, and the stories behind them, are now the subject of an hour-long documentary currently being produced by Seattle-based filmmaker and photographer Dan Thornton. The film expands on an earlier piece recorded by Thornton, which focuses on Keith's passion for hillwalking, and the role that visual impairment has played in how he approaches his work.
Keith Salmon studied Fine Art at Shrewsbury and Falmouth Schools of Art between 1979 and 1983, before setting up a studio in Newcastle upon Tyne. In 1989 he was diagnosed as having diabetic retinopathy. His sight deteriorated very quickly and he is now registered blind. Using the very limited sight he has left, he focuses on finding new ways of making work, experimenting with painting and printing techniques, as well as sculpture through a variety of mediums. He moved to Ayrshire in 1998 and exhibits regularly.