Monday 30 December 2013

Sketching out the Old Year

Well, the weather hasn't been great so far on this trip up North.  Here's a flavour of that recent storm that blew for two days....

December Storm, Lochcarron, Sketch
In fact it was so bad, I could hardly see out of the window.
Cottage Window Sketch

As soon as the rain stops, I rush out and try and do a little sketch before it rains again...
Lochcarron Corner Sketch

And the other day it was dry enough to get the pastels out. Briefly.
Snow on the Tops, Strathcarron
Loch Torridon Sketch

....yesterday it was a bit better - we had a walk along the shores of Loch Torridon, with great views of the Torridon hills.

Two Pines Sketch

I was determined to sketch some of the beautiful Torridon pine trees.


Slumbay View Sketch
And today I did a couple of sketches in and around Lochcarron again. It was a bit gloomy!

Defiant Cherry!

Finally, can't ignore my favourite Cherry Tree.'s to the New Year!  Hope 2014 is a good one for us all!

Saturday 21 December 2013

Urban Studies

For various reasons I've not had as much time in the studio of late. However, I did want to explore a few urban scenes before the turn of the year. I focused first on the sketches I did on our recent sketching group visit to the museum.

I focused first on Greyfriars Corner.  What I liked about this as a composition was the glimpse through the gate to the graveyard, and the gravestone sitting like a focal point. So after re-drawing it once, I started again in graphite, rubbing out and oilbar.

I was wanted to use ink to get a darker moodier look to the painting. So I worked in both diluted and undiluted black ink.

Then I added a little oil-crayon/oil bar for a little colour. I somewhat boldly decided that the double-yellow lines were important to the painting, and so it has ended up like this. So far so good.

The other view I focused on was the view from the Meadows to Argyll Place.  I particularly liked the drama of the white sheen of the light on the wet tarmac and wanted to try and recreate this. This one started to look like this after a bit of work.
But I realised when I checked it against the original sketch that the position of the trees and the proportions of the street were not quite right. And I had not really captured the drama of the light.  Again by working in ink, I tackled these shortcomings.  I think it's close to the look I'm trying to get, but this pic is a bit out of focus.

 Continuing with this urban theme, I pulled out an earlier sketch of Stockbridge Market gateway. I love this piece of townscape and wanted to try a pic. I started on an old piece of card.
But I thought this was a bit too pale - wanted a darker look.

 By this stage it was close to the textured look I was trying to achieve, but the card was disintegrating, so I realised I should do a new painting.
 I ended up with something looking like this. However at this stage I thought some of the texture effects were a bit unsubtle, so I continued to work at this aspect. I also introduced a couple of ghostly figures - can you see them?

Not sure if I've finished it or not yet. Perhaps it's just a bit too dark now. And I need to go back to my sketching spot and check the proportions against the actuality.

Anyway, I'm setting aside my urban preoccupations for the moment; hoping to do a little landscape painting. If only the wind would drop and the rain would stop raining....