Tuesday 27 June 2023

Woodland Focus

Since my trip to Arnisdale, I've managed to get quite a bit of time in the studio and I've been trying to develop some pieces from the sketches (in preparation for my exhibition next year.)   I started with a couple of landscape scenes based on sketches in the previous blog....like this one.

Loch Hourn and the Small Isles

But I've been thinking more about the woodlands, the remnants of the rainforest. I must confess that over the years I've not thought much about woodlands – I've always been more of a hill person – and let's face it, native woodlands were not such a big thing in my youth. I feel as if I'm only now beginning to discover them, helped by going to meetings run by the Woodland Trust.

I made a start to working on a large painting of the woodland on the coastal path along the north side of Loch Hourn, the Herring Path, based on part of one of the sketches in the previous blog. I was thinking with this one that I didn't want to be too detailed - a slightly misty approach might work better.

Loch Hourn Woodlands 1

It's acrylic on paper - not finished yet, of course. I also tried a couple of smaller ones of the same woodland. I was focusing on how it felt sitting within the woodland, immersed in it. Not painting trees, but thinking about the patterns and textures of the woodland floor; positive and negative spaces. The calmness of trees. The fragility of these surviving trees. So much to think about – such a challenge!

Loch Hourn Woodlands 2

Loch Hourn Woodlands 3

After this, I ran out of steam a bit, and decided to go and find some oakwoods near home. I realised that a woodland would be a perfect sketching location in the relentless sunshine and heat we had earlier this month. Where to go? I decided to try the Balmacara estate and on my way back from Kyle one day, I parked in the layby where the path leads up to Loch Scalpaigh. I took the path into the oakwood there. What a place! I hadn't been there before and I was quite enchanted by it. Here are a couple of photos.


Of course, it felt a bit daunting to sketch there....how to capture the feel of such a place in a sketch? The dark majestic trees, strange positive and negative shapes, strong shadows, filtered light. And there were some surprising colours.

Oakwood Sketch

As the good weather continued, I returned to the oakwood a couple of times for more sketching and thinking.  Again, what was on my mind was how I felt so enveloped by the woodland and the beauty of the space.  Because of the robustness of the trees, it did feel quite different from the fragility of the Loch Hourn woodlands.Well, here's something that I've painted so far.....

Oakwood Summer

I have a few more unfinished woodland paintngs.  My question now is should I continue on the woodland theme, perhaps even finish a few paintings, or shall I have a change and tackle another aspect of the Biosphere?

No comments:

Post a Comment