Deciding What to Sketch: Cloudy Cliffs

Faced with a landscape with many possibilities, how do I decide what to sketch? Take this example, a picnic spot a little south of Struan, where I was on Sunday. To the right there’s an inlet with boats, to the left a sequence of headlands and a lighthouse, looking down a colourful rocky shoreline.

How to decide what to sketch

I’ll look around, but most likely go back to what got my attention initially, what do I find most striking or dramatic or appealing? That’s what I’ll sketch first; other possibilities might become further sketches, depending on time and the weather, or saved as a location to revisit another day.

In this instance, it was the tall, dark cliff in the far distance (not quite as far as the wide angle of this photo makes it seem), and the splash of white that was the small lighthouse in the middle distance. As the clouds moved, the light on the distant cliff changes; sometimes darker, sometimes lighter and revealing more. I’ll definitely come back here on a sunnier day for another look.
How to decide what to sketch

Sketching View near Struan, Skye

Two Mini Minches

I’ve been painting on a small scale again, on 7×5″ canvas (about 18x12cm). These two “mini Minch” seascapes are a memory of some of the wild weather I’ve watched blow across the view, where white horses churn up deep Prussian blue. Available from Skyeworks Gallery, ?35 each.

2 Mini Minch Paintings

Sunny Summer Skye Sketching

I spent yesterday sketching in the sunshine at various locations on the north of the Trotternish Peninsula. Starting at that favourite of spots, the slipway at Camus Mor, looking westwards, towards the rocky shore and cliffs:
Skye  Sketching: Camus Mor

Then north a bit, to a viewpoint looking towards the ruins of Duntulm Castle. When the tide is out, the distant part of the shore is flat slabs of rock rather than pebbles.Skye  Sketching: Duntulm Castle

Then round to Staffin beach, sitting where I could see the river running into the sea:
Skye  Sketching: Staffin

Watched, as ever, by some munching sheep:
Skye  Sketching: Staffin Sheep

Then over the Quiraing to a viewpoint overlooking Uig/Idigrill, focusing on the sea and distant cliffs(but just look at all those variations of green!):
Skye  Sketching: Overlooking Uig

And for those interested, a photo of what I was using. My palette with Sennelier watercolours (which I love for the saturated colour but are honey-based and in the hot sunshine it’s crucial to keep the palette flat or the paint seeps out of their allocated slots making a sticky mess!), water container, pencil box with black pen, pencil, few watersoluble coloured pencils, and brushes that fit into it. Not shown: bottle with clean water for both me and rinsing my brushes. Also not shown: quite a few less satisfactory resolved sketches!
Sketching art supplies

Painting-in-Progress: Kilt Rock

I’ve been asked a few times whether the painting in my Edges Exhibition poster is of Kilt Rock. It’s not, it’s a detail from “Edge of Skye”, but it made me think it’s a subject that does belong with my edges theme, so I’ve started painting it. These four photos show my progress. Next step will be adding the waterfall. But it won’t be finished for Monday’s exhibition opening.

Painting Work in Progress: Kilt Rock

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Not the Road to My Studio

I pondered doing an April Fool’s about this being a photo of the road to my studio…

Stuck in an Artistic Rut

For the record: when taking the photo my feet were securely on a stretch of single-track, tarred road.