Tuesday 30 April 2013

Studio Monday

Trying to settle down to some new work.  Have been looking at my sketches and at some photos and working through these in a slightly different way.

I thought I'd start in watercolour, to help me to think in colour.  So I did this little watercolour thumbnail sketch of the Coral Beach. Then I tried to think about the motif in a more abstract way.

I also tried to sketch out ideas for the Applecross sandy beach in the same way.  Here are the initial thumbnails. Starting out realistically, then becoming more abstract.

 I followed this up by trying small pictures.  The interplay of shapes is interesting and the shape of the space between the shapes.  Although I was trying to take a more abstracted approach, this one turned out to be quite realistic.

 So I tried again with more dramatic blocks of colour. Also thinking about the play of light. This is as far as I got.

 It's quite interesting, but probably not sufficiently abstract in treatment. 

It's good to play with ideas like this.  I think the sandy beach with Skye on the horizon is quite a good motif and worth exploring further.  I had intended doing this today but it was such a LOVELY day that I skived off.  Well, I ended up doing a little sketching in North Berwick, so it was not a total holiday. And my excuse is that I do want to work on some East Lothian pictures....

Saturday 20 April 2013

A few more sketches

Managed to get a few more sketches done this week, making the most of my favourite locations. Mostly black and white I'm afraid (charcoal or graphite), in view of the weather.
Arina Shed (Applecross)

The Sandy Beach, Applecross (of Monty Hall fame)
Sketch and 2 pics of view west from Coral Beach, Applecross
Shieldaig Island, picture development
Sketch between rain showers at Loch Slapin, Skye

Another sketch of the Bealach (Applecross from Kishorn)
Shame about the weather this week. But I do like the moodiness when the clouds are down and the hills are disappearing. These sketches should be enough to work on in the coming weeks. Looking forward to some sustained work.

Saturday 13 April 2013

Sketching in Shieldaig

Up north again, at last.  Happy to be here, and even happier to get a little sketching done.
Went over to Shieldaig - always drawn to the mystery of Shieldaig Island.  Thought I'd get a good view of it from the new community pontoon, so we walked down there and I lingered to do this sketch using graphite and pencil.

Sketch of Shieldaig Island from the pontoon pier.
Also did this little pencil study, focusing on the Island's rocky edge (with Diabeg, and Raasay perhaps in the distance).

Island Edge Sketch
Drove round the corner to have a quick look at Torridon.  Hills were looking splendid with a little snow on the tops.  Managed a quick charcoal sketch despite the wind tugging at the pages.  The composition looks promising....

Ben Dearg across Loch Torridon with Birch Shore
Sadly that was all I could squeeze in today. And now I hear the rain outside.  This is good news for the wildlife here - it's been very dry and the evidence of recent wildfires was clear to see.  But I'll be sorry if I can't get out for some more sketching while we're here.

Monday 8 April 2013

Getting down to it

Today was my first full day in the studio for a while. Was determined to start something new. Also thought I ought to focus on an East Lothian view (thinking about pictures for the 3 Harbours exhibition at the start of June). So I looked out this sketch that I did a couple of months ago.
Sketch of Bass Rock from Belhaven Beach.
I made a start to the picture by drawing with graphite and white conte then doing some rubbing out.
Emerging picture 1
I decided on a palette of prussian blue, ultramarine, allizarin crimson and white to start with.  Using the colours in a very restrained way it soon looked like this.
Emerging picture 2
Then added more of these colours along with some ochre (I had wanted to use naples yellow, but realised that I didn't have any in the studio...)
Emerging picture 3
Then more of the same, making up a little green
Emerging picture 4
But I wasn't happy with this (maybe it's just too colourful), so I decided to apply some white acrylic on the roller to knock it back.
Emerging picture 5
This was as far as I got - just left it like this in order to think what to do next....I think I'll need to re-think my approach.....Happy Days!

Monday 1 April 2013

A Bit Too Busy Of Late

I appear to have been a bit busy over the last month - not enough time for blogging!  The exhibition that Rona MacLean and I put on took up quite a lot of time.  It went well, and I enjoyed meeting people, but nevertheless it has disrupted the flow of work.  Bit of a challenge getting back to painting.  And then I had my birthday yesterday.  Thanks to friends and family who came along for a bit of a celebration in the Fisherrow Yacht Club.  It was a bit of fun for a Sunday afternoon.

Getting back to normal today.  Didn't manage into the studio, but I did a couple of sketches on the bus and the weather was just good enough for me to sit at the harbour and do a more detailed sketch of the boats and the tenements.
Fisherrow Harbour Pencil Sketch
Well - maybe it's a start to my new East Lothian series...watch this space....