Saturday, 9 October 2010

Reading the weather

I asked Anne Karin to explain the satellite weather map that she sent me from the Meteorological Institute in Bergen:

'In a large view like this one there will always be patches of clouds. Of course they are nicer with these deep lows that make the snail shell pattern in the clouds. And this deep low has to the west a pattern that clearly shows a lot of cold air is coming down from Greenland towards areas west of Ireland.

But: how do I see it is cold air? Well, warm air front makes a 'frontal zone': the air is pushed upwards in the atmosphere, it cools, and water vapour becomes droplets and clouds and eventually rain starts when enough humidity. This kind of behaviour is seen as the white edge around the centre of the low in the sat picture. That is the warm front. Behind it is the 'cold front'.

Cold air does not 'climb'. It is dryer also, and there will be clear sky. But along the way over the ocean, the air will acquire water vapour and this will form 'cells' in the air flow (the dots to the left of the centre of Low). These cells are clouds (cumulus), they grow and may become large (as can be seen over Ireland/Scotland). The higher they are in the atmosphere, (and they reach the troposphere), the colder the water droplets become ice particles. These clouds will often rain, and perhaps give thunder. The whiter these cells are in the sat picture, the colder they are, and most probably the higher they are. So white cells mean 'rain or snow showers in the area'.'

So now we must look again:

Saturday 9th October

Any mist and hill fog will tend to thin and lift during the morning, giving brighter interludes by the afternoon. However, it will remain rather cloudy and hazy, with the best of any sunshine likely to be found on the west side of Shetland, sheltered from a F4-5 SE’ly breeze. Perhaps a few clearer spells at first this evening, but the night will be generally cloudy although remaining dry. SE’ly winds easing F2-3 and tending more E’ly in direction. Sea state – Mainly moderate, with a 2 metre SE’ly wind-swell. Through the day becoming moderate to slight, with a 1 to 2 metre E’ly wind-swell.

My new camera arrived yesterday, so I can re-photograph and re-upload images of small paintings (but not tonight). Today has been unbelievably still and warm in contrast to yesterday when I went to St Ninians Isle in high wind to walk and draw and watch the heavy clouds rising, falling, drifting across the far hills.

Blue pebble

A morning of drawing in the studio; the drawing progresses. The extra strip of paper along the bottom has certainly helped the image. There has been a lot of adding and taking away.


Followed by a late afternoon trip onto West Burra and a walk on Kettla Ness to clear the dust of chalk and charcoal and catch the last of the light.

Thursday, 7 October 2010

Thursday 7th October

Dry and bright with sunny spells. S’ly winds will be F4-5. Remaining dry tonight but, after a mainly clear evening, cloud will increase later. Winds backing SE’ly and freshen, F5 across Shetland, bringing some mist and hill fog along eastern hills and headlands.
Sea state – Mainly moderate, with a 2 metre S’ly wind-swell later turning SE’ly.

My day out at Eswick, with sheep, seals and gulls as company:



A series of small studies made from rocks above sea

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Wednesday 6th October

A fair amount of cloud around at first, perhaps even the odd spot of light rain. However, the day should be mainly dry with some sunny spells at times. There is the chance that during the afternoon there may be one or two showers around, these mainly in the west. F5-7 
S to SE’ly winds at first, veering F5 S to SW’ly by evening. Some clear spells this evening and overnight, but also the risk of a light shower.
Sea state – Rough, with a 3 to 4 metre S to SE’ly wind-swell, later becoming moderate to rough, with a 2 to 3 metre S to SW’ly wind-swell.

Weather map showing area over Shetland (thanks to Anne Karin in Bergen).

A morning talking to art students at Lerwick College - thank you all for making me very welcome, and for your enthusiasm. Then a long session in studio with the drawing (no pics as my camera is broken(!) - another on order)

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Tuesday 5th October

'A mainly dry and bright start although rather cloudy, especially across Shetland. Good sunny spells will develop into afternoon across Shetland. Strong southerly winds persisting. Maximum temperature 14 °C'.

A day preparing a Powerpoint for tomorrow, and working in the studio (although strongly tempted by the sound of the wind to go and watch the sea).


The white paper in progress of becoming far less white.
and below sea-washed canvases to be used later...

A seal and sea otter outside window, along with the usual diving birds (what are they called?), and the occasional fly-by gannet and noisy gulls.

Monday 4th October

MONDAY 4th: Mostly dry and bright with some sunshine this morning. However, this will gradually fade as high cloud thickens and lowers, with the afternoon then cloudy. At the same time, the F5 S’ly wind will back SE’ly and increase F6. Outbreaks of rain will reach Shetland early evening. The rain will soon become heavy, and SE’ly winds will increase further to F6-7, and locally gale F8 across the more exposed areas. Rain will move away from Shetland overnight. Strong to gale-force winds will veer F6-7 S’ly with the improvement.



Monday was this kinda day.
Late trip to Gloup meant that I had no time to walk round the area where the 1881 disaster occurred. Will have to return.


landing place for sixareens, Gloup Voe

Sunday, 3 October 2010

Sunday October 3rd

Weather forecast for SUNDAY 3rd October: Rather cloudy at first across Shetland, with the chance of some longer spells of rain. However it will also brighten, with sunny spells and scattered showers for the afternoon. F5-6 S or SE’ly winds.
Sea state – Rough, with a 3 to 4 metre SSE’ly wind-swell. Later decreasing moderate to rough, with a 2 to 3 metre SSE’ly wind-swell.

This morning I set up the studio, covering the walls with plastic - look a bit like the preparation for an episode of Dexter. There is now a large white piece of paper stapled to the wall and it's looking at me accusingly… invitingly.



Instead I drove north out to the Hill of Neap and sat in the rain drawing sea, with charcoal in one hand and sausage sandwiches in the other. Perfect, although it was a pity I'd forgotten to buy the mayonnaise, and there wasn't quite the promised 'rough' sea swell or the 'fresh to strong southeasterly winds and 'sunny spells' ' that had made drawing so good yesterday. Though there were the showers (not so much 'scattered' as persistent), which made drawing more tricky. Still, I'm certain I saw a sea otter hunting in the breaking waves.


Back for a cup and a Skype chat with my son.

And the white paper now bears some large charcoal marks, so it doesn't look so smug.