Thursday 29 December 2011

Lochcarron Days

I've been reading Van Gogh's Letters From Provence and two things strike me.  First that Van Gogh just went out and painted scenes in his locale that he felt moved to paint: he didn't appear to agonise over composition, medium or treatment - he just got on with it.  Second, that as he looked at the landscape, he saw it in terms of paint colours - ultramarine here and lemon yellow there.  There were lots of other interesting aspects to the book, but these are the key points for me at the moment.

I've also been reading a book entitled "Collage, Colour and Texture in Painting".  While this verges on advocating a formulaic approach, it is full of lots of ideas about mixing media, using various tools and it is also a good reminder about the importance of composition and a focal point.  On reflection, I'm thinking my pictures tend to lack a good focal point. (On further reflection, perhaps many of Van Gogh's pictures lack a focal point too).

The weather's been somewhat uninviting while we've been up here, and so sketching opportunities have been limited. Today was no exception so I thought I'd try a little painting.  Not in the studio, so had to use the materials I had brought - acrylics, watercolours, gouache and charcoal. Also subject to distractions...out for a little walk and off to the bottle bank (haha) etc.

Noticing that Prussian Blue is an important colour for landscape here at this time of year.  I had thought this before in the studio, but some of the dramatic scenes today (between sleet showers) highlighted the intense prussian blue of the hills in the middle distance contrasting with the burnt orange of Slumbay in the foreground.  Perhaps if I really want to get to grips with colour I should do this more often i.e. think about the colours I would use to paint what I see about me.  Perhaps I should be doing it all the time....

Anyway - I had a go at a couple of paintings today, based on photos of local scenes (easier when I'm in Lochcarron).  The first was a view over the bay near Slumbay that I had sketched in the snow the last time we were here.  I quite liked the composition, with the curvy bays leading to the houses down at the shore edge next to Slumbay.  So I figured that those houses and trees were my focal point.
Emerging picture of 3 Bays copyright Aileen Grant
The colour is not quite right as this pic was taken in electric light.  But it gives a good idea.  The other one I did was based on a view at Ardaneaskan - did a charcoal first then a pic.
Ardaneaskan View (Charcoal) copyright Aileen Grant
Emerging Picture Ardaneaskan View copyright Aileen Grant
I did a little more to the colour picture before I finished.  Hopefully I have managed to retain the feeling of abstraction.  Interesting to do the two compositions.  I like them both for different reasons (charcoal drawing more dramatic: colour pic more true to life with the open sea).  Anyway, a slightly different approach for me, using colour but trying to stay loosened up.

Monday 19 December 2011

Last Studio Day Before Xmas

I was keen to get cracking in the studio today - I reckon it may be my last opportunity this year. I decided I would get the oil paints out to go a bit further with the pics I started the other day.  I ended up with these two.

Far Away Trees (colour) copyright Aileen Grant

Skye View from Coral Beach copyright Aileen Grant
Both of these are in oil - palette of prussian blue, ultramarine, lemon, crimson and naples yellow (and white, of course) and some graphite stick and pencil added. Far Away Trees is a bit bigger and was on an old piece of board with various things stuck down on it: Skye View is just on board.  On reflection, I think I would be better without the bts stuck on - they are a bit distracting.  Always good to try something different, though.  It was so gloomy today, I had to work in electric light, and so I'm not sure how true the colour is in these - they look kinda interesting here, but I don't expect they'll really be finished!  I do need to do more oils, I think; I need more practice as I don't feel all that comfortable handling the paint. I think it shows.

I felt much better about doing these two, below.  I did them first (to warm up a bit), but probably spent too long on them.  Here's the first sequence.
Sequence showing development of Fearnbeg cottage copyright Aileen Grant
This is a bit curious.  The top pic was where I had left this on Friday - didn't like it this morning, thought it was boring.  So I decided to lose it a bit (added gesso) - the middle pic - and then worked back into it with graphite bar, oil crayon in limited colours, and a little ink.  I do think the final version is much better, but maybe it doesn't show up in the photograph.  I also did this one....
Sequence showing development of highland village copyright Aileen Grant
This was the same idea - the top picture with the boat was what greeted me, and I was even less happy abut this - I really liked the boat but thought the composition was overly complicated.  I thought that the boat didn't work, maybe too simplistic a treatment?  Anyway, I applied even more gesso, and then drew back into it.  The castle on the hill became a church and the boat became a clump of grass.  It's nicely dark, this picture, and now I can't decide which is the better of the two black and whites.  I will try another composition with a boat in it, as I think that could be interesting, and reflecting on these half done pictures has given me some ideas.

Happy Christmas to all my readers....I probably won't be back until the new year (unless I manage some cold sketching over the Festive period).

Monday 12 December 2011

Back in the last

Have been a bit too busy of late, not enough time to paint, not enough time to get into the studio. But I was determined to get a couple of studio days in before the madness of Christmas, and today was one. Because I hadn't been into the studio, I felt that I had lost momentum, so I was not overly ambitious for the day. I thought I would focus on the far away trees image.  I wanted to do this conposition in a square format as I thought it would work better. I started with this.
Emerging picture Far Away Trees copyright Aileen Grant
 This was just charcoal and rubbing out.  Looking at it again now, there's a lot I quite like about it.  I think the elements are carefully placed, and I may have lost some of these nice shapes later.  This is how I developed the picture, using inks and white acrylic.
Emerging picture Far Away Trees copyright Aileen Grant
I wanted to take this a little further, and I had not used any oil bar, so I thought I would try a new dark grey oil bar I had just got.  And more acrylic, etc.
Far Away Trees copright Aileen Grant
I am in two minds about whether this is better with oilbar or not.  It does make it very black, and I lose some of the interesting marks. But it also increases the drama of the picture.  I decided to have a go at the motif in colour.  Just an initial lay down of colour on a board with some textures on it.
Far Away Trees (Colour) copyright Aileen Grant.
I used a very limited palette of 2 blues, crimson allizarin, a little lemon and white.  Anyway, this needs to dry now before I put another layer of colour on.  Interesting...
I had some paint left, so I thought I'd start a colour study of another thumbnail.  It's also kinda interesting.
Skye Ridge copyright Aileen Grant
 As well as the oil paint, I used a blue oil crayon, drawing into the paint.  I really like the effect achieved on the far away hills of Skye.  It'll be a challenge to decide how to take this to the next stage and not lose the interest.

By this time the light was fading in the studio, and so I decided to finish with another black and white picture. This one was based on my recent Lochcarron sketch, using charcoal, ink and acrylic - no dark grey oilbar this time.....
Dark Hill, Lochcarron copyright Aileen Grant
I was quite pleased with some of this.  What I liked was the way the marks turned out on the distant shore, at the foot of the dark hill.  For the first time I think I have managed to use marks to convey the feeling of the landscape, without being too literal.  Progress... perhaps...

Just watching pictures of Iceland on the telly.  Looks amazing.  I want to go there!  I want to paint there!


Sunday 4 December 2011

Lochcarron in the Cold

 Up north for the weekend, and it's pretty cold.  However, we still managed to get a few walks, and I have persevered with a bit of sketching.  Brief forays for quick charcoal sketching, one at a time, then back indoors or back into the car to warm up. There's been a cold wind - always makes for difficult sketching.

Anyway, managed a few sketches in Lochcarron itself.  This first one looking west along the shore, but omitting Slumbay for a change.  I had spotted this black hill standing out against the rest of the background (mostly grey and cold-looking), so I had a go at it.

Sketch of Lochcarron shoreline looking west copyright Aileen Grant
 I had a go later on at painting it - turned out like this....
Colour sketch of Lochcarron Shoreline looking west copyright Aileen Grant
Ok - this is not a 'real' sketch as I did it in the warmth of the cottage - but it was done almost in situ.  I do feel that the triangular hill is somewhat iconic - an important element in the setting of Lochcarron - and I think that's why I was drawn to it.  And this was an attempt to capture the gloomy colour.  I did it on dark paper with acrylic paint. It's a start.
Another sketch was Seabank Cottage again.  It was too windy to sketch it from the shore, and I've already done that a few times, so I found a view looking east back towards the cottage.

Sketch of Seabank Cottage with Boat copyright Aileen Grant
I liked the position of the upturned boat in front of the cottage, providing another splash of bright(ish) white, same as the gable, and I liked the contrast with the dark stone wall.  There were actually more poles in this picture (clothes poles and washing lines) which I've left out for the moment, but I may add these in if I do another version.

I did another sketch yesterday over at Kishorn - my favourite place - but sketching was curtailed by a heavy shower of sleet.  So this one is a bit rough and ready.  Saw an otter here too - it just scooted across the road in front of me - I was amazed!  The gloomy light was somewhat strange, making the distant hills of Skye look bigger than usual and I wanted to try and capture this.

Sketch of Kishorn Bay copyright Aileen Grant
I have not managed to capture the mistyness of the hills in this sketch.  Very difficult this, and only possible in paint, I think.  However, I have taken a photo and I'll have a go at it back in the studio.

Anyway, it's pretty cold now and snow is forecast.  Roads already seem to be bad elsewhere, and I have to drive back to Musselburgh tomorrow.  So I'm looking forward to a bit of fun, haha....

Friday 25 November 2011

Extreme Sketching (Almost)

What a day! What a day to go sketching! Despite the atrocious weather today, we had a go at sketching in Portobello.  Well, all I can say is..."Thank goodness for the Beach House Cafe!" .....
But on the basis that the weather can add an extra dimension, the four of us who turned up for a bit of a sketch did make a go of it.......then we repaired to the cafe where we continued to sketch the sea view.

By the time we made a start, a rainstorm was already approaching.  The colour looking over the Forth was fantastic, and a couple of us tried to capture this - I tried it in pastel.  Here's my effort.
Sketch of Inchkeith from Portobello copyright Aileen Grant
I was trying to capture that strange luminous dark turquoise of the sea - the stormy colour - it's not quite as bright as this - but down came the deluge.  And it was mighty cold - a high wind chill factor.  So I packed up to find shelter.  Then I tried bits of sketches - how difficult it is to sketch in the rain!  The charcoal was blobbing, the paper was blowing about, etc etc.
In short...I gave up trying to brave the elements, went back to the cafe, and there were the pals, sketching in comfort!  So I attempted another sea view, in pencil this time as I was out of the wet.
Sketch of Largo Law with Table + Chairs copyright Aileen Grant

I'm afraid that my efforts were definitely the worst of the bunch, but I don't have the evidence to show this.  Maybe we'll start a sketching blog. Anyway, despite the awful weather it was a good attempt and we all managed to do something!  It was also great to catch up - we went on to Art'sComplex after this to eat our sandwiches and have a chat - and arrange the next sketching session.  In January!

Monday 14 November 2011

Another Attadale View

Wasn't feeling so well today but still managed a bit of painting. I almost got distracted (thinking about some recent urban sketches), but no...I knew I must stay focused on my thumbnail template.  As usual I wanted to 'draw myself in' and make a start to my session with charcoal, thinking about a black and white picture.  So I decided to focus on a view across Loch Carron to Attadale...again.  I had not tried a black and white of this picture, so I thought that doing this same view in a different medium might produce an interesting result.  I started with this.
Attadale view (scribble) copyright Aileen Grant
Now, this was virtually a scribble of a start.  However, as always, there is something so lively about this first scribble.  It feels rough and full of energy, it's got lots of looseness (which is what I am seeking to achieve) but it would be dissatisfying to try and leave it as a finished picture.  Why? Well, there is no detail underpinning it.  It would not hold the viewer's interest.  Anyway, leaving it was not an option.  So it was out with the rubber and on with the oilbar.  So a few minutes later it looked like this.
Attadale View (blurry scribble) copyright Aileen Grant
I'm nt always convinced that I do the right thing with oilbar.  Am I overdoing it?  Have I done the marks in the best way?  I'm wondering if these marks are a bit too rigid and vertical.  Really, I'm aiming for randomness, to achieve unexpected results.  Anyway, I carried on with a few marks using oil crayons, then white acrylic and inks (black, blue and red).  Finally I decided to crop the right hand end off the picture to make a more contained composition. So now it looks like this.
Attadale View (Black and White) copyright Aileen Grant
It's the white acrylic which gives the opportunity to loosen the picture up, allowing a bit of dreaminess for the sea and the sky.  This cropped composition is also much better - similar to the composition in the square coloured version.  (I only realised this with the photograph.)  I also worked hard on the shore treatment - pebbles, rocks and shoreline - to make sure there was enough interest. There is actually a bit of subtle colour in there! Of course this is larger than the coloured thumbnails, so maybe I'm nearly ready to attempt a larger picture.  But frustratingly I'm not going to be able to get time in the studio for a little while.  Can I keep the momentum going?

Monday 7 November 2011

In the Studio....Continuing

Had a busy weekend with the Morningside Artkist exhibition  - was up there on Friday and Saturday and looked in on Sunday too.  It was busy and I got some good feedback on my pictures, and a few sales. (Not many pictures sold overall). People mostly liked my black and white pictures and my drawings - can't say I'm surprised.  Anyway, I found it a little bit difficult to settle back into painting today but I decided to keep focused on my thumbnails.  As usual, I started doing a black and white exercise to get into the mood for painting.  I had a painting on the wall of Fisherrow Harbour and thought I would try it in black and white. I got so absorbed that I forgot to take a photo until I got beyond the charcoal stage.
Emerging Fisherrow Harbour B+W copyright Aileen Grant
I carried on with more ink and white acrylic, remembering that the floor of the harbour was much darker than the harbour walls.  I took it as far as this.
Fisherrow Harbour B+W copyright Aileen Grant
I wasn't pleased with this at the time, but looking at it now, it looks quite interesting.  I was having a bit of fun with the muddy harbour, spraying lots of water as well as mixing the ink and acrylic.  It's helping me to create a dark and interesting space which is really my aim.
I got the oil paint out in the afternoon and returned to the applecross pictures. I had already painted this small  (A5) version of the view over to Attadale.
Attadale oil colour study copyright Aileen Grant
I quite liked the colour treatment in this, and the brushwork (it is just a small picture), but I thought the composition could be improved. I had already made a start to a small square picture which I had prepared with an orange acrylic ground.  I added some pencil marks in a similar treatment to my big pictures.
Attadale oil colour study copyright Aileen Grant
Actually, I quite like this now, this light treatment which allows the orange underneath to shine through.  It has a delicacy which may have been lost now, with this.
Attadale oil colour study copyright Aileen Grant
Apart from the difference in composition, in this new version I have used Prussian Blue in the mix (not used in the earlier verion).  It gives a richer colour.  So I think this composition has some potential and I may take it further in a larger square picture.

Monday 31 October 2011

Back in the Studio Again

I was glad to get back into the studio and back to my thumbnails today.  Trying to keep the momentum going.  Basically it's more of the same, so not very exciting.  I've decided it is a good idea to 'warm up' by doing a charcoal study, so I had a go at yet another version of Lochcarron View.
Emerging Slumbay View With Trees copyright Aileen Grant
I do think this view of Slumbay has potential, but I'm just not sure where to place the trees.  So as I progressed with it, I added some extra trees in.  So by the time I finished, it looked like this.
Slumbay View With Trees copyright Aileen Grant
I don't think this picture works.  I think the composition is too jumbled with the extra trees.  The question is - would it work in colour?.  Is it worth trying?  Not sure.  What I do like is the curve of the shore.  It's got a nice dynamic, a nice feeling of movement.  So I may revisit it in a different version.

After this, I did another colour study using oils.  I wanted to have a go at the one of the blue blue sea. It turned out like this.
Shingle Spit and Blue Sea (small study) Copyright Aileen Grant
This turned out better than I thought.  I think it benefits from a resticted palette.  And I like the dark shoreline. My biggest decision was where to position the white boat.  I gave this a lot of thought, but I don't think it is in quite the right position yet.  Ah well, for another day.

Saturday 29 October 2011

A little success

Have had a couple of days running around and organising things, so no work done on my precious non-working day.  However, today I was in Paisley to view the results of the Scottish Drawing Competition.  I'm pleased to report that my two drawings were on the wall, and just to prove it, here I am with my big drawing.
The picture (Edinburgh's Disgrace (No. 1) is the drawing I did at the end of term at Leith School of Art when we had the trip up Calton Hill (see my blog for 24th June 2011)  The colonnade is of course known as Edinburgh's Disgrace - a big project started but never finished....does this sound familiar in current times?...that's why I called it No. 1..haha.

Anyway, I'm very pleased to have this and my little drawing of the Harbourwall at Fisherrow selected for the competition.  It's good to have a little success!  There were a few works by other artists with LSA connections - Jacqueline Watt, Kitty Jones, Jane Couroussopoulos, Ruth Nichol - so I am in good company.  What's more, it's a great show and it goes on until 26 November.

Monday 24 October 2011

Back in the Studio

After the distraction of sketching on Friday, it was back to the thumbnails today.  I suppose I felt that going out sketching had slightly interrupted my flow - and I'm determined not to get distracted from focusing on these pictures.  So I started with a black and white as a kind of 'warm-up'.  I tried to re-draw the cottage I had sketched at Fearnbeg. It turned out like this.
Fearnbeg Cottage copyright Aileen Grant
I used the ususal - charcoal, oilbar, acrylic and black ink. It's a bit messy, this, but I suppose it has a bit of liveliness, and the environment at Fearnbeg that I was trying to portray was a bit messy and unkempt.  I wasn't sure about the composition, and I struggled with the foreground. So there's a couple of things I still need to work on.  I then decided I'd had anough of acrylics and got the oils out to do some little paintings, re-working a couple I had already done.  My favourite of course is the view from the Applecross viewpoint (see post on 8th October), so I started with that.
Raasay View (Oil Study) copyright Aileen Grant
This little picture is only 18x24 cms.  I felt reasonably happy with it, but it is only small. How would it look as a larger picture? Shall I try it? Anyway, quickly on to another oil study, the one towards Attadale (see post of 15th October).
Attadale View (Oil Study) copyright Aileen Grant
There's quite a lot of sea in this, and I wasn't sure if I could make it interesting enough, but again I think it's turned out all right.  I might try this at a larger size and see how it looks.  For both these pictures I limited the palette to ulramarine, lemon yellow and crimson allizarin - I think these work well for Scottish colours.  If I do them in a larger size, I might add a little bright red to get some orange hues, but I'm not sure about this.

I also had a go at finishing off a couple of other pictures, and this one now looks satisfactory, I think.
Bass Rock from Seacliff copyright Aileen Grant
I've toned the red rocks right back to give them a more mysterious feel and added a little yellow/orange. I also made the bass rock more angular.  Anyway, I'm not sure if this works or not.  But I'm not doing any mre to this picture!

Saturday 22 October 2011

Sociable Sketching

I had a break from the studio yesterday - went sketching with a few friends (Rona, Heather and Mhairi). Surprisingly the weather stayed fair, but it was a bit windy so we had to deal with the hazard of flapping paper.  But no other excuses, really.  We met on the Mound - an excuse to go for a nice coffee in Porto & Fi - and then it was down to business.  I wanted to sketch Victoria Street, but it was really windy up on the Terrace, so I drifted round to one of the closes off Johnstone Terrace.  I had spotted these interesting gables earlier in the week, and as a fairly simple image I thought it would be a good start.
Old Town Gables (Charcoal Sketch) copyright Aileen Grant

What I liked about these gables is the way the wee small windows are scattered apparently at random. The forms look so solid, too, harled and ancient, arising out of a jumble of buildings.  I then went down to the Grassmarket and found a bench to sit on - always makes sketching a bit easier.  The townscape looked a bit complex and daunting to sketch, but I found a good view looking out of the Grassmarket towards the Cowgate.

Sketch of Cowgate from Grassmarket copyright Aileen Grant
I used a graphite stick which rather suited the grey austerity of the buildings at this time of year.  The only two bits of colour were a little turquoise on the window frames in the Cowgate, and the red frontage of Armstrong's shop so I added just a little colour in oil crayon to remind me. That church steeple (must find out what the building is!) rises out of the darkness of the Cowgate and its shiny grey roof and golden cockerel weather-vane really catch the light. They form such a contrast with the darkness around.

I then attempted a skech looking up Victoria Street, but I really needed a taller sheet of paper and I was a bit cold. So stopped for lunch shortly after this.  After we got warmed up, Heather and I carried on sketching in the afternoon.  We both sat in Lady Stairs Close which had a bit more shelter. My effort in the afternon was a bit more interesting.
Sketch of Lady Stairs Close copyright Aileen Grant
Spent a lot of time trying to get the texture of the stonework - again using graphite stick (this photo doesn't quite catch it) and I was remembering how in first year at College we had these awful "Building Sheets" to do.  One of them was on stonework - ashlar, random rubble, coursed and snecked rubble, etc.  How we slaved over those A2 building sheets to try and draw the details perfectly in pencil. And now I try not to draw the stones too exactly, not to show the coursing and the mortar joints, but (through a lot of rubbing out and re-drawing) try to achieve a lightness of touch and a mystery about the stonework and the windows.  Trying to get the essence of these austere and forbidding but beautiful facades and those narrow escape routes out of the Old Town.
So it was a good day's sketching, and lucky with the weather.  Our next session will be November in Portobello...looking forward to it.....brrrr.

Monday 17 October 2011


Today was another day in the studio working on the thumbnails I did on Friday.  I have decided to work through each one in turn and then review the studies to decide which to take further.  In order to make a start, I got the charcoal out, and focused on the view from Applecross over the coral beach towards Skye.  Using a large sheet of paper I made a few marks.
Emerging sketch Coral Beach and beyond copyright Aileen Grant
I carried on with oilbar, oil crayons, white acrylic and black and blue ink, and the picture ended up looking like this.
Coral Beach and Beyond copyright Aileen Grant
This looks a bit overworked, so I decided to stop. I'm considering adding a bit more texture for the sea and the beach. Maybe also a bit more work on the sky over Skye.  It could be another in the black and white series.
After this, I wanted to do a bit of colour and so I had a go at a picture of the shingle spit at Lochcarron.  I gessoed up a sheet of paper for a change and then, before I realised it, the picture was taking shape and looked like this..

Emerging colour study Shingle spit with boat copyright Aileen Grant
Actually, looking at it now, I think it looks quite good.  Maybe I should have stopped there. But, no, I ploughed on - what a fool I am!  To be honest, I was trying to get the right colour for the sea - that purply navy blue colour - and while I was painting I was thinking about a particular picture by Arthur Melville. I think it was the combination of the rich blue sea, the white boat and the orange of the seaweed.  This then became a goal for me.  This was where I took it to.
Colour study Shingle Spit copyright Aileen Grant
Have I overworked this? I'm not sure.  I think some parts of the picture look a bit overworked, and I don't think I should have added the green.  But this is just a colour study, and between the two versions I think I have enough for a further picture using oils.  I do like the richness of the colour (but I'm afraid this got the thumbs down from Peter, so maybe I should limit this to just a small oil picture).  This richness of colour is a bit different from another study I did on Friday.
Colour study Attadale View copyright Aileen Grant
This view is based on the view south over Loch Carron. In this study I used a much more resticted palette than I used today - I added a little yellow today to bring the foreground out. I don't like these colours as much as the Shingle Spit picture with the navy blue sea, but on the other hand, I quite like the trees, and there is potential to explore the atmospheric aspects if I take this picture further.  Plenty of scope for future work.

Saturday 15 October 2011

Studio Planning

Yesterday was a studio day, and I was a bit unsure about this - I've been struggling with studio work recently.  I think my sketches are not bad, but when I get into the studio and try to take something forward from a sketch, I seem to lose focus - haven't really worked out properly how to do this on my own (without help from a tutor on a course at Leith).  I've been having a real think about this and so yesterday (with my head still up in Lochcarron) I decided to use my recent photos and select some scenes which had a bit of interest - something to work on - and do thumbnails of these as a starting point.  So that's exactly what I did....

Lochcarron thumbnails copyright Aileen Grant
It was interesting doing this.  It allowed me to get a feel for these views.  Although they are so familiar to me, it's a different matter to try and paint them, and paint them in a meaningful way.  It's so much easier if I have done a sketch, and even easier if I've done a colour sketch.  Doing a sketch allows me to look at the scene with greater concentration and intensity and I can recapture some of this in the studio.  (I think I need to do more colour sketches.)
Anyway, I had to decide which thumbnails I should run with first, and I thought I would have a go at the view I did the colour sketch of - the view over to Raasay and Rhona (posted in my previous blog).
So I re-drew it in charcoal to start with.
Charcoal of Raasay View copyright Aileen Grant
I used charcoal to map out this picture as I thought this would allow me to keep loose, and hang on to the emotion of the view.  There is some oilbar in this too.  Then I got the acrylics out - first white, then some blues, purples and a little lemon yellow, and more charcoal.  I was trying to keep that intensity of light on the sea. And I felt that little bit of roadway (the route in front) was important to the picture. I finished with this.
Raasay View copyright Aileen Grant
It needs more work - another picture.  For another day. (Maybe I should call it the road to the isles..haha.)
So then I had a go at another thumbnail image - the view of Attadale.  My start to this was this
Attadale - quick sketch copyright Aileen Grnat
Again I used oilbar to keep the treatment loose. (Interesting to look at this again).
The next step was to introduce some colour and some painting i.e. using brushes.  I got as far as this.
Over to Attadale copyright Aileen Grant
I was trying to capture something of the view of the trees, the glade behind them and the mystery of the topography behind the trees. And capture the feel of the light.  And also the feel of the sea in the foreground.  This is the view from the cottage at Lochcarron and I have sketched it so often, but seldom tried to paint it.

So, a couple of thumbnails done, several more to do.  I must ty and keep focused on these. I've decided to make the end of the year a target - to come up with one big picture in oils by then - one of these images.  And work towards this with a number of smaller studies. I think setting a target like this will allow me to settle  down into the work and stop me being too impatient...hopefully....I certainly feel happier about this approach.