Saturday 2 March 2013

A few wee sketches

Such a beautiful day today.  Dragged Peter out for a walk.  Went down to Dunbar and West Barnes.  I think it must have been on my mind after working on that residency submission to North Light Arts this week.
 In any case, with the exhibition coming up in less than a week, I thought I ought to do some island sketches.  The Bass Rock was looking pretty good, so I had a go at that in pastel.

The Bass from Belhaven Sands
Had to use pastel because the scene was so colourful.  Also attempted a sketch of the surfers who were out in force.
Surfers, Belhaven Sands
In Dunbar, it was the boats that caught my eye.  Did this charcoal sketch of a red boat in Cromwell Haven. 
Big Red Boat
Glad I remembered to sketch in a bit of context.  Sometimes I forget and it's the context that makes the picture.  I really fancy painting this and have taken a photo for colour reference.

Friday 1 March 2013


In the studio but not getting much work done.  Just a bit pre-occupied with preparing for our exhibition: it starts A WEEK TODAY!
So spent today putting mirror plates on my pictures and dropping off some posters.  Also worrying about the quality of the work, but hey-ho, I think that goes with the territory.
Anyway, it was far too sunny to be stuck in the studio.  To make up for skiving I'm hoping to go into the studio over the weekend and get some new serious focus.

In the meantime, I'm puzzling over this (unframed) picture and what to do about it.  There are bits of it I like, but it doesn't seem to work in its full size, so I've tried to crop it in these thumbnails. The picture is the view from Slumbay.
Looking back from Slumbay
This looks OK, but there's something disappointing about it.  Boring, even.  And I realised when I changed the picture on my facebook page that cropping it made quite a difference.  Look at this!
Looking back from Slumbay (letterbox)
This looks so much better than the square picture.  Perhaps it's the format that's wrong for the subject.  Although when I started out I was pre-occupied with the golden seaweed, the focus is really the landform on the far side of the loch.  
Then I was thinking that if I tear the picture up, I could maybe end up with a second picture, like this.
Seaweed shore?
It's not as interesting, but maybe it has possibilities. I might go back into the pic with some new textures...?

Continuing on this cropping theme, here's the picture that was rejected by RSW this year (I'm getting over it now!)
View from Ardaneaskan
Now, I thought that this was technically quite a good picture for me, so got it framed, but all along I've had a nagging doubt about it.  Is the space a bit leaky (to use a townscape term)?  Perhaps it would benefit from a good cropping too....How about this ruthless chop?
Ardaneaskan shore
With this crop I've kept the houses in, and they link up with the houses on the other side.  Not seeing the top of the hill is quite intriguing too.  And that little bit of light behind the hill is suddenly revealed.  It's definitely better than the big picture.  But I thought I'd try a another, different crop.
A different view of Ardaneaskan shore
This has got so much more sea (and I was very pleased with my treatment of the sea), and I thought initially that it was an even better crop, but now I'm not so sure.

Then suddenly Jacqueline's words ring in my ears - don't get precious about bits of a picture - it has to work as a whole, compositionally, tonally, treatment and colour.  How could I have forgotten that!  So now I'm in a quandry...should I take this one out of its frame and crop it.  Or will I just speculate endlessly over it next Friday when it's on the wall!

Sometimes art is so difficult, isn't it?