Saturday, 7 January 2012

Dreaming of Ardaneaskan

Yesterday was my first day in the studio for 2012.  It was lovely to open the door and be surrounded by my half-finished pictures, but difficult to pick up the threads after a break.  I was too scared to get the oils out, so I thought I'd do some thumbnails of images from Lochcarron.  I thought I might keep to black and white today - especially after our foray in the snow on Monday - but maybe reading Van Gogh's letters has lodged thoughts of colours in my head, for I found myself doing another version of the Ardaneaskan View in colour.  I wanted to re-do this in a square format, and found a nice large sheet of Langton paper and carefully trimmed it into a large square.  With my thumbnail, the previous picture and the charcoal sketch in front of me, I made a start in charcoal.
Initial sketch Ardaneaskan View copyright Aileen Grant
 A nice bold start, I thought.  What next?  I wanted a bluey palette (wintry cold) and thought I would add three shades of blue gouache as a sort of underpainting.  So keeping a loose as possible, and a wide brush, this was how it looked after the gouache stage (plus some extra charcoal and rubbings out).
Underpainting of Ardaneaskan View copyright Aileen Grant
I added some oil pastel lines and then I had meant at the next stage to limit myself to white acrylic.  However before I could stop myself, I had brought out some carmine red and ultramarine.  I carried on until I got to this stage.
Emerging picture Ardaneaskan View copyright Aileen Grant
It's got a certain moodiness about it at this stage, but foolishly I did not stop there. At this stage, there's still a degree of abstraction and the limited colour palette gives quite a wintry feel.  I like it now (at least the way it's captured in this photo), but oh no, I wanted to carry on and started to fiddle, and also made a conscious decision to add more green.  At the end of the day it looked like this.
Emerging picture Ardaneaskan View copyright Aileen Grant
Some changes I like - the cottages and the red earth and the shape of the wee island to mirror the hill - but I now think I've just been a little too tight about the shoreline and the foreground, and I don't think the green really works.  I've brought it home to look at and decide what needs to be done next. Shall I knock back the green or the orange...or just do another version? ...sigh...

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