This 10×8 inch painting started life as a study for a larger piece but I worked on and it has become a painting in its own right. Worked in oils, this was one of the four oils started recently. It was inspired by last week’s EPA (en plein air) walk up to the Airlie monument on Tulloch Hill and beyond to look over the glens. This particular scene was composed from a previous visit in September 2016 (own photo reference used) when the grasses were a bleached ochre, the heathers an aged mixture of sienna and umber, the sky showing a dramatic loss of summer. I am still working on the EPA piece I started last Tuesday (7th March) and I hope I can capture just as much drama as I did with this completed one.
Oh it is so good to be back painting landscapes in oils! Having said that, I am still committed to making this a year of abstract development. Hopefully I can manage to continue to do both as well as running regular workshops. At least I will never be bored.
A short blog today. I have a very messy studio that needs tidying and clearing before the end of the day. I am heading off out this evening to a private view with a friend so have a tight timescale to clean up in, especially if I want to get a bit of painting done today.
Thursday already. Thursday is my Monday, the start of another five days of working in the studio. Weekends, mid-week or otherwise always seem to rush by quicker than I expect or want. My mid-week weekend has been no different to most. I promised myself a full day out and about on Tuesday, walking and painting in the Glens of Angus.
On Monday evening I prepared my new pochade box with all the accoutrements needed to start a new landscape in oils. I packed my usual Winsor & Newton favourite colours and a couple of extras plus an assortment of brushes and a few palette knives. The box had plenty of spaces for additional materials for cleaning, thinning etc. I had even ‘primed’ the palette of the box with linseed oil (so much easier to clean up afterwards).
Tuesday morning was bright, blue and a bit on the cold side. Never mind, plenty of wrappings will keep me warm. Breakfast finished, off I set with my prepared pochade box (complete with two boards supporting a sheet of 12x9in oil painting paper each side), a lightweight folding stool and my rucksack with lunch, water and a few sundries. The large flask of hot water I decided could stay in the car until I got back to it. I knew what and where I wanted to paint, and knew that there was every likelihood of it being very much different to when I last visited in September 2016. It was indeed quite different. I forgot what a climb it was from the car park on the way to Glen Prosen. And it was much colder in March for sitting still for well over an hour on top of Tulloch Hill, where the Airlie Monument sits in memory of the 9th Earl of Airlie who was killed in the Boer War.
Well, I actually set myself up a short walk away from the monument itself and perhaps exposed myself even more to the chilling wind. My hands became so cold that I put my lovely soft leather gloves (my best ones of course!) back on to paint with. The are no longer pure black – they have the odd smudging of oil paint in a variety of colours. Not too much but enough for them to no longer be considered my best pair of gloves. My woolly pom-pom hat with the lovely fleecy lining also had to be put on. My poor ears were starting to go numb with the breeze biting at them.
I much prefer the photos I took last September and have a notion to follow up the one started EPA with one of the Autum scene. Two different scenes from a short distance apart. I will work on more than one scene from both the autumn and the spring. It will be interesting to see what comes out from both. I don’t do too much in the way of EPA painting. I suppose I did more outdoor work when I lived down in Suffolk when life was a bit more settled than it has been over these last couple of years back in my homeland. I intend to rectify that now that life events are settling into a nice routine of work and play. Scotland is such an inspirational playground for the artist. Angus and the wonderful Glens is like manna from heaven to my heathen soul. I will never have enough years to visit or paint all I want of Scotland before my ticket is called. But I will have fun and plenty of adventures along the way.
Tuesday’s EPA painting did not go so well for me, perhaps because of the cold and perhaps because I need more practice hoicking art paraphernalia and lunch up mighty steep hills (well I am into my 60’s now!). I also need to get over the reluctance of being visible to the public (hence I don’t do street scenes – but watch this space). I choose the Glens thinking that there would be a good chance of not seeing other people around. On this trip I had two couples and single walker stop to chat. Once my concentration gets distrurbed I sometimes find it difficult to settle back into the ‘mode’. After about an hour and a half of playing around with the oils I decided to pack up and walk further into the glens, heading towards Clova (and a suitable place for a ‘comfort break’). I took some photos along the way which may or may not get used for future paintings/inspirations etc.
I could have kept going but realised that I had a lot of up and down hill to retrace back to my car. And I wanted to get back to the car for a nice hot cup of tea from my flask. I made it back to the car by 15.30 and sat on a bench in the car park looking towards Glen Prosen. Enough was enough for the day. Time to head home and get back into the warm.
Next week another EPA day. Where will I get to next week?