Wednesday 6 April 2022

Where Does the Time Go?

February was a quiet month which meant I could be busy in the studio. March was very busy, mostly away from home. So I'm only just catching up with my blog now.

In January, I explained that I was doing drawings to prepare for print-making.  In February, I managed to turn my drawings into photo-polymer plates, and in the course of the month I printed off some of the two editions.  As always, before you start printing out the edition, you have to think about colour.  With 'Riverbank' I thought about adding a bit of brightness, but in the end I went for a subtle colour gradation - two different colours of black: blue-black by the river and brown-black for the trees.  It's so subtle that you can hardly notice it in this photograph.

 And here's the other print: I inked the plate with a touch of lemon ink to give the impression of light.  Haven't got a title yet....

Still on the Biosphere theme, I continued my preoccupation with woodland lochans and returned to my favourite spot near Achnashellach for more sketching. 

I liked the composition of this and worked on a few paintings in different media.... but not sure if any of these are finished yet.  But here's a small acrylic which I consider to be finished!

Woodland Lochan - Acrylic/mixed media

This was quite interesting because I painted this on top of an old painting and in the course revealed lots of interesting colours and effects which I decided to retain in the final version.

However, not all my work has been biosphere-related. It was so gloomy in February that I raided my sketchbooks for some brighter scenes. I came up with ideas about Iona and Staffa.  I'm now trying to paint in canvas more often, and this time I got the oils out.

North Beach, Iona - oil on canvas

This was based on an early morning sketch done when we first reached the north beach.

And here's one I did of Staffa, based on my sketch from the top of the hill.

Staffa Cliffs - oil on canvas

I did enjoy painting these scenes in February – it transported me back to some lovely bright days and happy memories of summer....

At the end of March, I had a great trip to Loch Coruisk in Skye.... but that's for another blog!


Sunday 23 January 2022

Watery Thinking

Last month I wrote that I thought I would start to explore a Biosphere-related theme. I'm happy to report that I've managed to develop this a little further.  I haven't been confining my work exclusively to biosphere-related ideas, but I'm trying to stick with it.  

I haven't been back to Garve, to my favourite black river, but I've looked back at my sketches and thought about progressing with the work.  And I've done further sketching in woodland.  However,  I first thought I'd try something out in oils....

Black River - Small Oil WIP

This is a very small oil pic, a study, really.  I'm not sure about this composition and if I was going to do a larger pic I think I'd need to go back and do a series of sketches.  There are some things I like about this, so I think I'll park it and resolve to return to Silverbridge.  

As a trip to Edinburgh is looming, I decided to focus on a different sketch of the river and redraw this on film in preparation for making a new photopolymer plate at Edinburgh Printmakers. The one I thought might make a good print is this one looking across the river.  Here's the final drawing I made on film. I think (hope!) it's got potential....

Black River With Trees

On Monday this week, I returned to my favourite woodland lochan at Achnashellach for more sketching. Of course, this year's mild weather means that there's no snow and ice, so no frozen lochan - I find the lochan's watery surface much more difficult to handle than an icy surface. The interplay between viewing the reflection on the top surface and seeing into the murky depths – it's hard to capture that.  I suppose that's what intrigued Monet about his waterlilies and ponds. Anyway, in this week's sketches I struggled to capture such visual effects, as you can see....



Sketch 1

Sketch 2
 Sketching was difficult enough, but what about turning these sketches into finished work? Well, all I can say is that I've made a start with this acrylic study - but there's a long way to go. 








Because I'm heading into Printmakers next week, I was thinking about other Biosphere-related images that I could use as the basis for making a new plate. This took me back to earlier sketches I had done of the river at Achnashellach.

Sketch 3

Sketch 4





I did several re-drawings from these and other are a couple of them.

And here's the final drawing on film, ready for making the new plate.

Dark Tree By The River

So this month there's a lot of work in progress and a few unresolved questions.  Will I be able to turn these new finished drawings into new plates? Will they print out well? Can I master the challenge of painting the lochan to show the dreamy interaction between reflected and refracted light? I suppose that's my challenge for next month...