UKH

Picture Feature: Sam Gare, Mountain Artist

© Sam Gare

Contemporary landscape artist Sam Gare explores our personal and shared experiences of the natural world, focusing on connections with mental and physical wellbeing. Co-founder of the Wilderness Art Collective, and an ambassador for the Wilderness Foundation UK, Sam's striking mountain images include major peaks from around the world. Here she shares some of her favourites - with a heavy emphasis on Scotland.

Painting K2  © Sam Gare

Driven by a lifelong passion for nature, she frequently travels to natural environments to inform her work, which is created both in the studio and outdoors in the field. 

Through her art she aims to share the positive power of nature on the human spirit. She wants to reconnect us to nature and in turn encourage us to conserve and respect the wilderness.

Buachaille Etive Mòr, Glen Coe

1021m, 56.6440° N, 4.9145° W

Buachaille Etive Mòr is the towering gatekeeper to Glen Coe, and when this mountain comes into view I always feel like I've finally reached the highlands.

Buachaille Etive Mor from the Devil's Staircase  © Sam Gare
Buachaille Etive Mor from the Devil's Staircase
© Sam Gare

I've often imagined what it would be like to live in the white cottage at its base [a private club hut], watching many interpreted hikers and climbers tackle the rock, and head out onto the hill each day. This was one of many daydreams that inspired me to begin the path to building my own little home in Scotland. I'm always captivated by its impressive grandeur both from the road and as you walk its paths. It is one of Scotland's most recognisable mountains and if you have had the chance to summit this beauty I'm sure you will remember its views of Rannoch Moor and Glen Etive for years to come.

Suilven  © Sam Gare
Suilven
© Sam Gare

Suilven

731m, 58.1000° N, 5.1333° W

Suilven, although not much more than half the height of Ben Nevis, is very distinctive due to its unique shape. This mountain, and many others in the Assynt area, are formed of Torridonain sandstone on a bed of gneiss. Millions of years of geological processes and the properties of the rock create these iconic mountain vistas. Surprisingly I had not visited the Assynt region until a few years ago, which I now can't believe since it is one of my favourite places in Scotland. Being home to an incredible horizon that captures many impressive mountains in one view means it really is the 'Place you go to Feel Small'.  I feel like I have only touched the edges of this ancient place and I have plans to go back and spend many more days exploring.

Sail Garbh, Quinag  © Sam Gare
Sail Garbh, Quinag
© Sam Gare

Sail Gharbh, Quinag

808m, 58.2151° N, 5.0501° W

Sail Gharbh, one of three Corbett peaks of Quinag, is under the stewardship of the John Muir Trust who work to 'protect and repair wild land' - a charity I love. It's such a striking mountain from all angles but I particularly love the ridges and shape from the northern side overlooking Loch a' Chàirn Bhàin. Like Glencoe's Three Sisters, this Mountain can be viewed and appreciated from the road, alongside the Kylesku Bridge, part of the North Coast 500. You can summit all three peaks in one walk: Spidean Coinich, Sail Gorm and Sail Gharbh, a great hillwalk with dramatic ridges and stunning views, but you can also just tackle the first peak for a shorter but still beautiful walk.

Beinn Alligin

986m, 57.5908° N, 5.5728° W

Beinn Alligin is one of the trio of famous Torridon giants, the other two being Liathach and Beinn Eighe.

The Horns of Alligin from Sgurr Mhor  © Sam Gare
The Horns of Alligin from Sgurr Mhor
© Sam Gare

This mountain can be tackled in a circular route and has incredible views, like all mountains in Scotland if we're being honest! Around the route you will come across the impressive Horns, the most technically challenging part. I have not tackled these yet but one day I will.

Ben Lui

1130m, 56.3970° N, 4.8111° W

This is one of the first larger drawings I did in Scotland. It's in the Southern Highlands and is by far one of the most beautiful mountains in the area.

Ben Lui  © Sam Gare
Ben Lui
© Sam Gare

With its five well-defined ridges radiating out from the summit and the view of the Central Gully of Coire Gaothaich this mountain captured me, and I had to capture it. As well as being a classic winter climb, I've read that people sometimes ski the Gully, and I can imagine it must be an incredible place to be. I would love to hear from anyone who has done that!

Old Man of Storr, Isle of Skye

57.5071° N, 6.1831° W

Inevitably I had seen many pictures of the Old Man of Storr before casting my own eyes on it. You'll even recognise it in the backdrop in several Hollywood movies.

The Old Man of Storr  © Sam Gare
The Old Man of Storr
© Sam Gare

Rising behind the oft-photographed pinnacles, The Storr is the highest point on the Trotternish ridge which was created by an ancient geological landslip, an almost unfathomable amount of time ago. When I look at these landscapes, the rocks, views, and size, I can't help but think of time differently, and how quick our own life is in comparison. I had driven through Skye many times on my way to the Outer Hebrides before exploring the Island. On the rare occasion when I was not in a mad rush for the ferry (very rare indeed!) I finally managed to see these immense rocks. I'm ashamed to admit that I've hardly explored Skye so I'll have to make sure to dedicate some time to this gem in the future.

The Matterhorn rides a sea of cloud  © Sam Gare
The Matterhorn rides a sea of cloud
© Sam Gare

The Matterhorn

4478m, 45.9766° N, 7.6585° E

Before I even began to draw mountains, or landscapes for that matter, I knew of the Matterhorn. Its stereotypical mountain peak is ingrained into our memories, and it's for that reason I have come back to this mountain, drawing it numerous times over the years, sometimes the view from Zermatt, and others with a dreamlike quality floating on clouds. It's another mountain that you don't need to climb to appreciate. In fact you can admire this beauty while drinking hot chocolate (or something a bit stronger) in the valley below.

The mighty K2  © Sam Gare
The mighty K2
© Sam Gare

K2, Karakoram

8,611m, 35.8800° N, 76.5151° E

I've always been intrigued by K2's seemingly nameless title. As I learnt more about its deadly nature it felt quite poetic, summing up its unforgiving, bare, and dangerous nature.

Although K2 is the second highest mountain on Earth it is my third largest drawing to date at 1.5mx1.5m – Kangchenjunga being the largest at 5mx4m and then Ama Dablam at 3mx4m. The perfectionist in me shudders that my work does not reflect the true height order of the mountains but that's creative licence for you.

Ama Dablam, mother's necklace  © Sam Gare
Ama Dablam, mother's necklace
© Sam Gare

Ama Dablam, Khumbu, Nepal

6,812 m, 27.8619° N, 86.8612° E

Not only did Ama Dablam's striking appearance catch my imagination, but it is what it symbolises that makes this wild giant stand out. Nature to me has a powerful ability to improve our health, and Ama Dablam inspired a body of work sharing the protective and healing ability of nature. Its name means "mother's necklace"; named after its long ridges on each side appearing like arms of a mother (ama) protecting her child, and the hanging glacier thought of as the dablam. I'm fascinated by the stories and symbols we create for the world around us, and this personification of the striking Ama Dablam is a great example of how we revere and respect the world's wild giants.

Roadside views don't come much better than Glen Coe's  © Sam Gare
Roadside views don't come much better than Glen Coe's
© Sam Gare

Bidean nam Bian

1150m, 56.6413° N, 5.0271° W

Backed by the higher peaks of the Bidean range, the distinctive prows of the Three Sisters get me every time I drive through Glen Coe on my way up north. In fact, I don't think I have ever driven past this amazing view without stopping. And I don't think this view will ever get old…I just love it. It's a place of sheer joy, whatever the weather, and whatever the season… dreamy sigh!

Villarrica, Chile  © Sam Gare
Villarrica, Chile
© Sam Gare

Villarrica Volcano, Southern Chile

2,847m,  39.4203° S, 71.9396° W

Villarrica is one of Chile's most active volcanoes, rising above a village and lake of the same name, and for those interested, it has a ski resort. I have many fond memories of my time in Chile, the friends I met, and hiking up, and snowboarding down this active volcano during my travels in South America back in 2009. I'm pretty sure I won't ever get to snowboard down another volcano in my life, so it's a good memory to treasure. This is also the very first mountain I drew at my now standard 1m x 1.5m, and as I find it a much freer style, it's quite a pinnacle piece for me.

The North Face of the Eiger is a moody subject  © Sam Gare
The North Face of the Eiger is a moody subject
© Sam Gare

Eiger, Bernese Alps

3,967m, 46.5776° N, 8.0054° E

The Eiger is on my list as it was the subject of the first climbing/mountain non-fiction book I read – The White Spider, sparking my continuing interest in our relationship with mountains and nature in general.

Everest  © Sam Gare
Everest
© Sam Gare

Mount Everest, Nepal/China border

8848m, 27.9881° N, 86.9250° E

Being the highest mountain in the world, how could I not draw the epic Everest? This mountain has come to symbolise so much, especially with all the harrowing or triumphant stories of the climbers that take on this peak year after year. It's also a beauty too, and when the sun hits it, it's just shouting out to be drawn, or climbed, depending on the kind of person you are.

Mount Fuji has inspired artists for centuries  © Sam Gare
Mount Fuji has inspired artists for centuries
© Sam Gare

Mount Fuji, Honshu, Japan

3776m, 35.3606° N, 138.7274° E

Mount Fuji's historic link with the arts, and artist's ongoing fascination with this natural wonder, has ensured that this mountain continues to be the subject of many drawings. Famously it's the subject of Hokusai's (1760–1849) wood block prints sharing Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji. Like many others I love his stunning prints, and he was one of my first inspirations in my work.



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3 Jan

Fantastic work Sam.

3 Jan

Lovely stuff,

Chris

4 Jan

These are amazing!

The first four Scottish ones are probably the best four mountain paintings I've ever seen. The Buachaille one is incredible.

Really, really well done here Sam.

Si.

7 Jan

These are absolutely fantastic Sam. I'd have any of them on my wall but especially the Scottish ones. Amazing talent. Do you sell your paintings?

Yeah love these!

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