RaymondMurray_Poster_Print_Dunoon from Cloch PointThe loudest noise from outside the window, is the cry of Seagulls. Today, I am sitting in front of my PC and although chilly, I am working with the windows open – as per instructed by the HM Coast Guard this morning.

“Between the hours of 1:30pm and 3.00pm – open all windows, stay indoors near brick walls , avoid going into cars or gardens.”, the voice echoed, if not a little muffled along the streets.

There is a Police presence in the streets too and, I consider myself lucky, as residents in Kempock Street/Albert Road and areas on Bath Street have been evacuated from their homes since 8:00am this morning.The road closed and local shops and the health center are closed until around 3.00pm this afternoon too. There is even an exclusion zone on the Clyde, with the ferries postponed, and small boat owners asked not to sail.


Safety precautions are due to the discovery of an un-exploded WWII bomb, found a little off shore. It will be expertly removed and detonated today.

What effort and co-ordination to accomplish such a task.

The disruption maybe frustrating to some, but the amazing stillness of the morning and the quietness of the surrounding area brought back images from old books about the local area, with drawings and photos from the late 1800’s – the days when there was more horse than horse power.

I suppose it also made me think about change, and how all too often we take things for granted, even expected. We have the freedom to walk and travel as we please – how easily that can change due to circumstance.

Again, I hear a voice through the gulls cry, “This is a Public Announcement. All Clear, All Clear. Thank you for your co-operation”, and the whoosh of cars on the wind seem to follow straight afterwards.

Past and Present – 5 Minute Story – Inspiration

Today’s inspiration came from the incident not really a specific word, but it did make me think of Raymond Murray’s work. The River Clyde and its ship-building past are a feature in his work, hence my choice of seascape to accompany today’s story.

About the Artist.

Raymond works from his studio on the Isle of Bute. Here he is still close to his roots having been born in the shipbuilding town of Greenock, memories of which still inspire some of his work. It was there that he was taught the spectrum of painting by the renowned marine artist James Watt. He had a natural talent as a youngster and used to draw portraits of his fellow pupils in his “jotter”. He says, “As a kid at school I wondered what all the fuss was about drawing portraits; couldn’t everyone do that? I was surprised that the teacher knew so much and taught the class but couldn’t draw.”

As a young man he studied for a time at the Neo Classical Portrait School in London but eventually decided that, “there was nothing very interesting about portraits” and left. He was inspired, however, by the Impressionists, particularly Vlaminck, “I loved his deep blue skies and use of pure colour: this was for me”. In 1969 he started using a broad brush, pure colour and “artistic licence”. This very distinctive style, bold, vibrant and dynamic remains today.

“I think ‘abstract’ when I’m painting, but I don’t paint abstract. I always paint from memory too. It means you miss out things and add things, but that’s the benefit, it’s your interpretation, it’s better for composition.”

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