Wednesday 30 March 2016

At Last....A Little Sketching.

Been so busy with the Lochcarron Gallery set up that I haven't sketched for ages - maybe a whole month - I have missed getting out and about sketching but there's just been no time!
This afternoon I escaped for a little sketching outing. Went to Shieldaig for a walk around the aird.
It started well with an atmospheric view of Shieldaig Island.

Sheildaig Island
 There was some bright sunlight in the sea which I haven't really captured here - I wanted to try and record the sea patterns. But already there were a couple of raindrops - you might notice the smudginess....

Wet sketch!
Anyway, I walked on and found the perfect spot for sketching a long view down Loch Torridon. A nice rock to sit on. I made a start...but then the heavens opened and my paper got soaked. Look at it! But it is a good composition, isn't it? I think it has a bit of promise for a big pic. Such a shame to be rained off.  Anyway, I think I can remember where that spot is, so I'll be back.

Contorted Birch

Carried on round the aird and saw a birch tree I couldn't it is.
It's so windblown and contorted. Might be a good subject for an etching. But I would need to work out what sort of background to include. I also liked the fact that the path is right beside this tree and should somehow be included in the pic.

Finally got to the farthest point and the sun came out. It's such a beautiful spot. I could see the hills of North Harris from here today (there was a chill in the air). And I could also see Beinn Alligin and Liathach, both with snow on their tops.  I identified what I thought was a good composition - a long portrait-sized pic. But the only dry paper I had was a little lightweight so I had to use pastel and pencil only. Spent a lot of time looking at the colours of the sea.

Well, it's a start. I'm hoping to get back to painting in the studio soon too!

Tuesday 1 March 2016

Trying to keep it all going....

It's been a busy start to the year. I fear that life has been getting in the way of art. Nevertheless I have managed to get into the studio and to the Printmaking workshop a few times in January and February.

In January I was in Kishorn for a workshop with Jonathan Shearer. It was a great start to the year, very helpful for encouraging me to get down work again.  In this workshop I focused on two images I had sketched earlier.  Here are the original sketches I used.

 Strome (done the day before the workshop)

 And various Applecross sketches, done in November.
The painting exercises built on these sketches


My sketch at Strome was fresh in my head. I was thinking about that glow in the hills and that ambiguity between the sky and the hills.  I was painting in acrylic, but quite watery, almost like watercolour and on quite a large sheet of paper. It ended up looking a bit like this.I was forced out of my comfort zone to use much warmer colours on the hills - none of my usual blues.


 And  a similarly watery approach taken to the Applecross image, keeping to warm hill colours again.  This again is a large painting.

Since then I have continued with these motifs, doing a number of different paintings and studies. With the Applecross image, I have come up with these.

 I've been experimenting with the foreground, trying different treatments, based on the rocks and the grass that I observed from the shore.

And with the Strome painting, I have continued further with what I started, trying more of a layering technique.  I think this gives more interesting and richer colour. And I have tried a couple of smaller images based on the same scene.

The main development for me is that I'm now working a bit harder at my paintings. Rather than abandoning paintings that I'm dissatisfied with, I'm finding ways of working further into them to achieve richer effects and arriving at a painting that pleases me a bit more.  I feel this is progress.  What do you think?