Monday, 7 October 2013

Harris Paintings Emerging

Continuing to work up north despite missing my studio in Edinburgh. I managed to rearrange one of the rooms as my temporary studio so this helped to put me in the right frame of mind.
I was trying to continue the approach I had started to takewith the 'Two Beaches' painting (previous blog post), focusing hard on not overworking my pictures. I'm really aiming to try and find that freshness and looseness that I manage to capture in sketches. Much more difficult to achieve in finished pictures. I know I have to be a bit bolder about when to stop.

I also decided to focus on beach patterns. Because we had been staying so close to Luskentyre Beach, we had walked there a lot – early morning, daytime and evening – so had seen it in different lights. In the past I have shied away from attempting to paint something like an expanse of beach, but I do remember Matt tutoring us to attempt difficult things – not to avoid them – otherwise how will we ever paint these difficult subjects. So with this resolve I focused on a view looking south from Luskentyre.

I made a start with a square format and a view looking south from Luskentyre. Started in pencil and random gouache, then a little light acrylic wash.
I was thinking of early morning colours - pale blues and purples. Added more wash - sparingly.
Now I realised that I needed to get rid of some of the brighter gouache, and think about the sand patterns.
I was still a bit worried that this was too bright - lacking the subtelty which I wanted. So I had to knock it back in places without spoiling the freshness. This was the tricky bit. Here's how it has ended up.
OK I think. The yellow is interesting. I had seen a piece of yellow plastic floating in the sea the first morning - perhaps that inspired this...

I thought I'd try another scene - similar to the first picture but in landscape format and even colder colours - no yellow.  Still trying to get those subtle sand patterns.

And I had a go at a picture based on some other interesting patterns in the sand. Colours are a bit warmer in this. It's hard to get the colour of the sand at Luskentyre.

Also went back to an unfinished painting. I had left it like this a few days ago, looking a bit dead and uninteresting.  Well, it didn't excite me. This was based very closely on a sketch. Was I trying too hard to reproduce the sketch?

I decided to try and 'improve' it with my new techniques.  I added some conte to the sky and some white gouache and improved the sand colour. This is as far as I've taken it.
I think it's a bit more interesting now. More dramatic too.

But these pictures were all done using acrylic as the main medium. I have some pigments etc with me, and wanted to have a go with some of the things I'd learned with Jill at Lookand Draw. So I tried out that first picture again in encaustic. This is a very small picture. I quite like it.

Maybe it's a bit 'knobbly'. But I like the colours. Much more vibrant than the acrylic.

Then I had a go at another encaustic, a larger pic, based on a scene of the North Harris Hills. It's less successful – probably needs more work.
 What to do next? So many ideas - for printmaking and little pics. Or should I try more acrylics? Time is running out up here...Must get busy tomorrow.

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