Monday, 5 September 2011

An Acrylic Day

I wasn't in the studio on Friday (was starting to prepare a woodblock for printing at home), but I decided to have a painting day today so went into the studio.  I had also done a few sketches down at Fisherrow Harbour over the weekend. So I thought I'd work up a sketch in acrylics.

I  used a sketch of the harbour with the tide out - nice muddy harbour bed - in fact it was this sketch

Fisherrow Harbour Sketch copyright Aileen Grant
I quite liked the sketch - the feeling of enclosure within the harbour and the escape route to Leith, and that thought of being trapped because the tide is out. So how to approach this? I started with charcoal and then added white, sky blue plus raw umber - acrylic paint. I thought raw umber might be a good base for the harbour wall. So my start to the picture was looking like this.
Emerging picture Fisherrow Harbour copyright Aileen Grant
At the time I thought this was a good start, and looking at it again now, I think it does look quite good. Not too tight, not too clearly defined, a nice darkness in the harbour corners.  However, I felt that the harbour wall needed more colour in it and I wanted to have a go at painting the mud. So I carried on, adding orange and blue and also some inks. Anyway, what I've ended with today is this....
Emerging picture Fisherrow Harbour copyright Aileen Grant
Is this better or worse than my start? I'm really not sure. I feel I've lost something in taking it further.  However, I like how Leith has turned out - it's quite dreamy - and I like the foreground - the stone slabs and the setts. But I'm wondering if there's too much colour now in the harbour wall. Is it too bright and sunny and cheerful when I was really wanting to convey a threatening feeling - that feeling of being trapped? So I may go back in with the raw umber and charcoal to get the feeling I want. But I've brought it home to look at in the meantime.  I also did a petite version of the picture on a piece of wood.  It turned out like this.
Fisherrow Harbour mini picture copyright Aileen Grant
This picture is so small (11x16 cms) that I decided that the tide had to be in. I was doing this small picture to hand into the Gallery on the Corner on Dundas Street - they're having a charity sale and I said I would do something for them. It's supposed to be on a theme of journeys, memories or dreams, and I think this kinda works.  Maybe the sky needs a little more attention. We'll see.
Overall I was not particularly happy when I left the studio today. I am doing this blog with some difficulty as I don't feel very positive. But actually now that I have reflected on my efforts, I think I can see a way forward with the pictures. Possibly....

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