Poet Kenneth swaps pen for paint for Oban Distillery exhibition

As well as displaying his latest art seascapes collection Kenneth read a selection of his own poetry to visitors at Oban Distillery last week.

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Poet, novelist, artist, translator and traveller. Kenneth Steven has a multitude of talents at his finger tips.

The son of writing parents, Kenneth grew up in Highland Perthshire in the heart of Scotland, and now lives on Seil; it’s the West Coast landscapes that have inspired his latest collection of oil paintings.

Exhibiting his current oil on canvas collection at Oban Distillery last week, he told The Oban Times: ‘Living here in Argyll and only a few minutes from the sea, has inspired new ideas.

‘As ever, I’m not painting specific locations (though there may often be hints of certain places evident). What I want to do is to capture the spirit of the west, so that those seeing canvases immediately realise they are Hebridean.’

Kenneth has taken up painting again following a break of several years, but states that he doesn’t have a preferred art genre.

‘I can only describe it as a woodland walk,’ he explained.

‘On your way, you come to many paths leading in different directions and you don’t really think about which one you take, you just do it. I’m a bit like that with my work, I just do it.’

Best known as a poet, Kenneth has had 14 of his collections published. Much of his poetry is inspired by the wildscape of the Highlands and from his love of the Celtic Christian story, which, for him, has its deepest roots on Iona.

As a novelist, Kenneth’s has had a number of fiction and non-fiction work published, while his picture books for children are translated into 16 languages and have won a number of literary awards.

As a translator he had the privilege of working with one of Norway’s greatest contemporary writers to bring his Nordic Prize-winning novel The Half Brother to English.

Kenneth travels widely to give readings and talks, he lectures both at home and abroad.