Sunday was a cold day, perhaps not the best day to walk along the coast of Elie in the East Neuk of Fife but the sun shone, coaxing me and my Muse outdoors. I had not set out to gather inspirations for my artwork; the trip out was meant to be just another ‘chilly picnic’ with Bob, enjoying each other’s company and countryside. Bob parked up at the harbour car park and guided me across the sands, grasses and rocks towards the east side of Elie Ness. We stepped out of the car to a severe biting wind, thinking a short walk before lunch then perhaps another short walk in the other direction after eating our picnic in the car. We stopped many times during our walk that our ‘chilly picnic’ became more like a mid-afternoon feast as we took so long to complete what should have been a short walk before lunch.
I was glad I had packed my camera as there were so many scenes of inspiration that captured my eye. Bob, as always, was patient with my need to indulge the Muse. We stopped several times to take photographs and to absorb the beauty of this delightful place. We did continue our explorations after lunch and, as before, I gathered more photographs and ‘beachcombing gifts’ that will work their way into some multi-media work at some point.
Here are some links for those who wish to know more about Elie and the Lady’s Tower:
Started yesterday at the monthly Drop In for Art session – finished this morning. I say finished but quite often after a painting has sat for a few days before signing I make a last minute amendment or addition. I may dull the ‘wee hoose’ down a tad when I come to sign the painting.
For this landscape I have used my own reference photograph taken during Sunday’s Day 1 (en plein air) of the 2-day workshop. The palette of oils I have used for this one includes titanium white, cobalt blue, indian red, cadmium yellow, yellow ochre, burnt sienna, burnt umber. The support is a board primed with gesso. I’m hoping the oils will be dry enough for me to mount the piece in a week or so. The size of this study is 14x10cm and I may decide to paint a larger version later in the year.
Wilkie’s Shelter is a red and white public shelter with seating. There is a board close to it giving information about whose life it commemorates and why it was built. I’ll have to come back and edit this post as I have very little time at present to give full details. Briefly, for now, it sits on the top of Kirrie Hill behind the Peter Pan Playground. The shelter is partitioned into four sections, two of which overlook the Angus Glens. This view looks out towards Glen Clova. Perhaps I ought to paint a view from each of the sections. Another thought to put into the Project Folder.
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.
Friday is working on my own day, apart from the occasional visitor to my studio. My desire today is to work in oils, my favourite medium. I love the sensory aspects of working with oils; the smell, the feel (yes, I sometimes do use my fingers to apply or smudge in the paint) and the overall quality of this medium. Oils are sensual. A most delightful love affair.
This morning I have been working away on three oil paintings of landscapes. All of them different, with scenes of individual beauty. The first one worked on this morning was the 30x60cm canvas of Forfar Loch I had started 11 days ago. This one I am painting from my own reference photograph using Seawhite Oils: Titanium White, Cobalt Blue, Coeruleum, Yellow Ochre, Burnt Sienna. I want to try to see if I can stick to this limited palette; so far so good. I had started this one with a brush sketch using thinned out Burnt Sienna then applied the first layer last Friday evening then leaving it for a week to let the oil paint dry out enough before applying the next layer. Today I have worked the sky and water a bit more and darkened up the background shading of the water edges, grasses and trees using a mix of Cobalt and Sienna which gives a lovely luxuriously deep, almost Phthalo, shade of blue. I am pleased, so far, how this one is developing. I may do a little more to this one later today or over the weekend then let it sit again for a week or so.
The next one I decided to work on was a 30x30cm deep edge canvas of Queen’s View in Perthshire which was started as an En Plein Air painting last summer. The wind got up whilst I was standing at the viewpoint overlooking Loch Tummel, blowing me, the easel and the canvas about a fair bit. I called it a day, brought the canvas home and settled it on a shelf for the last few months. Today I started to edge out some of the darker shapes along the loch in the same Cobalt and Burnt Sienna mixture then blended it in a bit with the lighter blue of the loch. I will work on this one more later today. I have painted this scene a few times, the largest and best example held in a private collection in Suffolk. I enjoy painting this scene but prefer to do this in the studio as trying to work EPA at the viewpoint is nigh on impossible due to the tourists. I’ve also taken a couple of overseas students to this location for a two-day workgroup last year; long, exhausting days but very enjoyable ones.
Last dabble before lunch was adding a bit more substance to the sky from this week’s EPA venture up Tulloch Hill. I had thought about ditching this one but then thought better of it. Practice makes perfect so to speak, and not only that if something is not going right first time then there is a lot more to be learnt from sticking with it than giving up. I think I was more disappointed with not being able to do a complete painting EPA on the day. I paint slowly and do so envy those who can work outdoors for a couple of hours and come up with spectacular work. I don’t think I have ever completed a piece of art fully EPA, and if I have then it still gets tampered with in the studio. Another habit of mine, I find it difficult to stop painting and oft-times overwork a piece. The View from Tulloch Hill has been salvaged to be worked on and completed another day.
So today is oil painting and there are now three oils on the go, all landscapes.