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Painting with Sound – Short Walks Along the West Coast of Scotland

Keith Salmon is a professional painter born in Essex and now resides in Irvine after being offered a space at the WASPS Courtyard Studio in 2003. Keith studied Fine Art between 1979 and 1986 before moving to Scotland in 1998. Over the last 30 years Keith has lost most of his eyesight but it hasn’t stop him from painting.

Keith was introduced to hill walking by his father when he was just ten and has spent the last 50 years or so, wandering and exploring the varied landscapes of Britain. Once moving to Scotland, he started getting out into the mountains so regularly that he decided to base all his work on these trips into the wild and sometimes remote parts of Scotland. Since then, Keith and his wife have walked many of the Scottish hills and mountains and wandered through the glens and along the shorelines. They have experienced them in all kinds of conditions from baking summer days to those when ice axes and crampons are called for.

Keith in the mountains of Sutherland
Keith in the mountains of Sutherland

“As someone who has had very poor sight for the last 30 odd years, I do tend to walk very slowly. Of course, this does mean that there are plenty of opportunities to take in the surroundings.”

While out he snaps photos, does small loose sketches and in more recent times, has made sound recordings too. Keith takes all this information back to his studio and uses it to help create paintings that try to capture something of the essence of these wild and beautiful places. More recently, the audio element of the work has become increasingly important to what he does, and he now works in close collaboration with sound engineers Graham Byron and Drew Kirkland to make finished video soundscapes that accompany many of his paintings.

Keith will be presenting an exhibition of new audio-visual works at the Scottish Maritime Museum during the winter of 2023/24. The work for this show is now almost complete, and we will be exhibiting 23 paintings, of which 17 will have accompanying soundscapes. Visitors to the exhibition will be able to see the paintings and hear excerpts from the 17 soundscapes live in the space, or alternatively access the individual full-length video soundscapes by scanning a QR code with a smartphone and listening through their earphones. The exhibition ‘Painting with Sound – Short Walks Along the West Coast of Scotland’ will include paintings and sound based on and recorded at, places as far apart as Sandwood Bay in the far NW Scotland and Garlieston and Crook of Baldoon on the Solway Firth. The exhibition opens on 15th October 2023, and it will run until 21st January 2024.

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