Scottish Highlands painting ‘The Wild King’ by Nick Gerrard
Nick Gerrard’s “The Wild King” is an acrylic landscape painting on a 46 x 61 cm box canvas. The artwork depicts a majestic stag against the Scottish Highlands painting of Munroe’s and a tranquil loch. Nick uses intense orange-red hues, creating a bold contrast with the subdued greys of the sky and mountain.
Having spent his childhood near Loch Ness, Gerrard draws on personal ties to infuse the artwork with nostalgia. The composition captures the magic of encountering deer on walks and finding discarded antlers. Reflecting the artist’s intimate connection with the Scottish landscape.
Nick aims to honour the majesty of animals and landscape, focusing on a grizzled veteran stag in a scene of harsh grandeur. The artwork exudes the untamed beauty of the Scottish wilderness. Nick’s style intensifies the scene with vibrancy and bold brushstrokes, creating a captivating interplay between reality and dreamscape.
Signed and ready to hang, “The Wild King” invites viewers to immerse themselves in a romanticised vision of the Highlands. The artwork serves as a testament to Nick’s ability to evoke emotion and capture the essence of a cherished landscape.
QUESTION TO THE ARTISTS
Is the scene of the loch and mountains painted from memory, photographs or real life?
I had a vision in my mind formed from childhood memories but we never used to take photos when I was young. So, it was the sense of the landscape that stayed with me. To realise my vision for this I took elements I liked from a number of photos and combined them. first as sketches, then small paintings on paper before starting the work properly.
What inspired the painting and how did your connection to the Highlands influence the composition?
The unifying theme of all my work is a pure, almost spiritual connection with nature and wilder and more unspoilt the place the better. That longing for escape into the wild began when I was young living in the Highlands (a place of wonder and adventure for a child). It was a subject I always wanted to tackle in paint but it took some years until I felt my skills were up to the task. To do it justice I felt I had to find a composition that encompassed all of the iconic elements of the landscape. Loch, mountain, valley and sky. To leave anyone out would just not do!
The colour palette is vibrant. Could you explain your choice of colours and how they shape the overall atmosphere?
The Highlands exist in my imagination as they were in Autumn. A world of vivid red, orange and umber. To me this is a place where mere survival is a battle, and the danger and drama of that is echoed in the colours.
The stag is a focal point. What message or symbolism did you aim to convey through this choice?
The landscape is beautiful yet harsh and unforgiving. You feel a connection with the stag because he not only survives there and is unbowed by the struggle. He also embodies the romance and wildness of the Highlands themselves. There’s a note of defiance too – he is old and life’s been hard, before long the harsh elements or a young challenger will bring him down …but not yet.
Were there specific challenges or interesting moments you encountered while creating the painting?
I must confess to finishing the work, living with it for a few weeks and deciding the sky was too ‘soft’. It wasn’t matching the rawness of the other elements so I painted over it and started again. I wanted a sky that made me feel cold just looking at it! I’m glad I did too. Lots more work, but worth it.