Tuesday 18 September 2012

Working hard...

In the studio again yesterday, trying to keep focused on my landscapes. I tried the Slumbay seaweed picture again first and spent all morning on it. I was working hard on the colour, trying to get a more accurate representation of the navyblue sea.
Emerging picture Seaweed Bay
I think this is better for colour than last week's version, but I'm not so sure about the composition now.  I've brought it home to think about it.  The far away shore may be on too big a scale, and maybe the sea is too wide.  Ah well, we'll see.

In the afternoon, I thought I'd then return to my black and white theme and tried these.
Slumbay with Boats sketch
I wasn't pleased about how this turned out, but when I crop it, it looks more interesting.
Slumbay with Boats Sketch
Much better, isn't it?  But technically it's a bit of a mess, so I think I'll re-do it.
The other one I tried was a scene based on a Camusteil sketch.
The Front, Camusteil Sketch
A bit of artistic licence here (that ruined cottage is not ruined).  I'm so surprised at how this looks at this scale. So maybe I'll have to keep at this one too.  I may try it on a smaller scale.

I came home exhausted from the studio, but I've cheered myself up now.  I think I've got a focus for Friday - that's the main thing for me. Just need to keep some drawing going until then.....

Monday 10 September 2012

In the Studio

I was glad to get into the studio today after a bit of a break.  There have been too many other things going on of late...so it was good to have a chance to work on some new pictures.

I decided to focus mainly on the seaweed sketch from last week and have a go at developing this.  I felt it had abstract qualities that I wanted to develop.  So I started with the sketch.
Sketch from Slumbay looking north
It's interesting to look at this again.  The foreground marks were carefully considered - I think it was a sort of stonecrop growing through the pebbles.  And I quite liked the trees on the hills.

So I started in charcoal and some rubbings out, then added some golden oilbar for the seaweed etc. I then added a bit of acrylic colour.  I was trying to limit the palette to blue at first with some black ink, focusing on getting the sea colour right - that lovely navy blue which is such a great contrast with the orange seaweed.  I thought the blue had a hint of violet in it, but not too much.

Emerging picture - Shore with seaweed, Slumbay

In the end, I added a mixture of black and blue inks to try and achieve that dark sea colour.  I also realised that there was really no getting away from adding some green.  So I mixed the cobalt with lemon and ochre to try and get something naturalistic looking.  Then I brightened up the seaweed with a mixture of Indian Yellow, Lemon Yellow and Yellow Ochre.  The result is fairly dramatic. 

Shore with Seaweed, Slumbay

Looking at it now, however, I think I could improve on the shoreline marks to give a better feel for the stonecrop (or whatever it is).  And the foreground is not quite the right green.  But the marks are quite loose, and I'm happy with that.  A good start, perhaps.  But I want to paint it again!

Sunday 9 September 2012

Revived by Lochcarron

Just had a good week in Lochcarron.  Sadly the weather was not as good as it's been all summer up there, and we had to battle through the rain for a walk up above Attadale.  But the sun came out enough to allow me opportunities for some worthwhile sketching.

Down on the shore at Slumbay, I did this pastel sketch. I spent a while trying to capture the light on the hills, and also working on the foreground - that jumble of shoreline plants.
Sketch looking west from Slumbay
I find that working in pastel makes me think about the colour more (not surprisingly) and usually makes it easier to tackle a painting back in the studio.  The light was changing a lot - dark clouds and showers coming over - giving that colour drama between the navy blue sea and the bright yellow seaweed.  That's what I was trying to capture in this sketch.
Sketch looking north from Slumbay
Again with this I was focusing on the foreground - so much colour from the plants growing through the pebbly shore.  I think the seaweed is less successful in this sketch - I need to think more carefully about the marks. I did one other sketch from Slumbay, this time in charcoal.  This might work better as two separate pictures - a diptych perhas?
Sketch looking east from Slumbay
Another favourite spot is North Strome - quiet again now that the road between Strathcarron and Kyle is open and there is no need for the ferry any more.  I did this charcoal sketch - it was a bit windy to stop too long.
Sketch looking west from North Strome
I was sitting on a rock and wanted to ensure the rock appeared in the sketch too.  Plockton is in the distance, and even further away are the hills of Skye.  It's a great view.  Wild and inviting.

We had a day on Applecross too, and the sun came out.  Went down to Camusteil where it was so warm.  Tried to capture that lazy sleepy feeling.
Camusteil Jetty
Again that lovely bright seaweed at this time of year. The other great colour in abundance was from the rowan trees.  There's an amazing crop of rowan berries this year - that means there's a hard winter coming, I think. Difficult to draw, rowan trees, especially when the midges are biting, but I had a go round at Fearnbeg.  Pastel again.
Fearnbeg Inlet
Shame about the midges as Fearnbeg is a lovely spot.  It's got good atmosphere too.

Really glad to get these and other sketches done - hopefully it will kickstart a bit of activity for me back in the studio.  But sadly that means that I'm back in Musselburgh where I shall pine for the hills and the wild countryside.