A PAINTING by a Highland artist of a Scottish castle flying the Saltire on a snowy night has been chosen as the official Christmas card from former First Minister Alex Salmond and his wife.
The work by Aviemore-based Ann Vastano depicts Harthill Castle, near Oynes in Aberdeenshire.
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The former SNP leader asked Ms Vastano to design the card after being impressed by an exhibition in the Scottish Parliament of her paintings of the Cairngorms.
She follows in the footsteps of artists Jack Vettriano and Alasdair Gray who have previously created cards for Mr Salmond and his wife, Moira.
The card draws inspiration from Robert Burns’ “Ca’ the Yowes”.
Ms Vastano said: “The Salmonds were able to see my work at the parliament, though I didn’t get the chance to see them viewing it.
“It was a huge surprise when they got in touch to ask if I wanted to design the card. It was all very last minute, but it was an honour to be asked.
“I basically had a week to put a few designs over and then they chose the one they liked best.”
Mr Salmond said: “I was greatly impressed when I saw Ann Vastano’s artwork at an exhibition marking the 10th anniversary of the Cairngorm National Park and so was delighted when she agreed to create an image for my 2014 Christmas card.
“Moira and I are thrilled with this festive image, inspired by Robert Burns, and depicting Harthill Castle in the shadow on Bennachie.
“As a scene from my own constituency in Aberdeenshire, it has a particular meaning and I think is a wonderful piece of work. The original artwork and a series of limited edition prints will be auctioned to raise money for charity and I am certain this year’s image will prove a big success in raising funds.”
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