Howard can often be found painting near Loch Muick or by the River Dee, truly beautiful places to be on Royal Deeside. Painting days can often involve colourful events, people and animals; Howard has a few funny anecdotes of these occasions…
On a lovely day a few years ago, after finishing painting for the day, Howard tells me that he, “…put (his).. palette on the ground and a woman came along with her golden labrador” he asked the lady to keep the dog back, but before you knew it the labrador promptly stood on his palette right in the middle of the cadmium yellow…”and got a real dollop on it! Now Cadmium yellow is the most difficult oil paint to get out of labrador’s paws, in fact carpets, coats or anything you get it on. It really is very, very persistent and even though I washed the paw…., I’m absolutely certain that the woman’s car would have (been covered in it)….and the dog would have remained (spreading cadmium yellow) for about six weeks!”……….. oh dear, let’s hope she hasn’t held it against him!
Howard’s favourite time of year to paint is the summer, when it’s warm and Deeside blooms in all it’s glory. However, this time of year painting outdoors still has it’s pitfalls, including the blight of the Scottish Midgie!
“On one occasion I stood the midges for as long as I could and then rushed into my car to get away from them, only to find that the car was more full of midges than the outside, …I had left the window open; they didn’t stop biting…..and I was at screaming point!” His children fondly recall times when Howard has been known to use his painting palette and the sticky oil paint to swipe them from above his head in an attempt to rid himself of their pestering……I think we can all have empathy with that, but I wonder if they end up on any of his canvases?
Although Howard loves all the flora and fauna to be found on his beloved Deeside and is very knowledgable when it comes to the local wild animal community they can make him exasperated at times……”I had planted a Victoria Plum tree, which had taken about five years to get to about five feet high and it had produced a Victoria Plum, a perfect plum and it had ripened beautifully…..(I thought)tomorrow that will be perfect and I will harvest it and eat it”, the following day much to Howard’s discontent there was no plum, there wasn’t even a plum tree….the Deer had eaten the whole lot!!
He must of forgiven them though as they do feature in one or two paintings … one of the most beautiful and a splendid example is Highland Territory; can you spot them!
written by H.J.K with quotes and stories by Howard.