I wandered around a bit with my camera yesterday, at one point along Uig Pier. Looking through my photos to pick favourite, I definitely seem to have been in an abstract/details mood.
Each season has its own beauty. Snow shows the shape of the landscape anew, stretched tight over the skeleton (until more falls, then it lies like a comforter), in a more limited palette of sepias, umbers, whites, blue-greys, and at times bright blue in the sky. Perylene green’s a useful colour too.
It happened to be low tide when I went out with my sketchbook yesterday, extra low as it’s spring tide. Even more of those enticing rocks to sketch, but which viewpoint would I choose, where would I sit? I wandered out a bit, further than ‘normal’, awkwardly as the rocks were rather slippery, getting distracted by pattern and colour.
This slab of black rock has become a favourite, and against the sun I was mesmerized once again. But beautiful as this was, I can’t sit with my back to the sea, even when I know it’s hours until high tide.
These are not fossilized dinosaur brains:
This is not where I spilt yellow paint:
Justification/evidence for adding lines of colour amongst my rock drawings:
There’s something about a pile of old rope:
Nature vs built environment. This is my favourite photo from the day but it also makes me wonder why I’ never noticed this juxtaposition before; perhaps because I usually sit on the wall rather than stand looking up at it:
Eventually I did pick a sketching spot, against a big stone that broke the breeze:
Then a rain shower snuck up behind me. Suffice to say, watercolour isn’t a wet-weather medium.
Look at this photo quickly and tell me which direction the sun was coming from when I took it. Left or right or behind?
1. The shadows cast by the trees fall to the right, so the sun must be on the left.
2. Rocks in the river have golden highlights on the right, so the sun must be on the right.
3. Reflected light on rocks wet from river spray, telling a contradictory story.
The sun was low to my left, catching the northern edge of the river gorge. This photo is looking further to the left.
A little later the sun had moved enough to shine onto some of the river rocks from the left (the red > in photo below), while the reflected light remained in the shadow.
Much as I love sunshine, diffused light (“soft northern light”) does simplify matters.
It’s only taken me 10 years to go up the path in the bit of the Uig woodland that follows the River Rha rather than the River Conon. Why I haven’t been before is hard to put into words: I knew there was a waterfall there, but I wasn’t ready for it yet, I was still busy looking at what I’d already been in. It’s not that I think I’ve finished looking at this, more that I felt able to add to it. If you’re thinking “what is she going on about”, I’ll throw in the concept of “slow looking” and stop there.
I had it all to myself. It felt so familiar, like two kloofs I grew up with, Disa Gorge and Koffie Kloof n the Hottentots Holland Mountains. Though the water was even colder.
The Woodland Trust have built a sturdy path, with steps for long-legs.
My fourth drawing, in ink. I messed up the drawn lines when I dabbed at some ink with a piece of paper towel (that “turn it to a clean piece so you don’t inadvertently stamp on ink” error) and then tried to rescue it with some darker ink on the lower waterfall rocks. I’m okay with the result, but liked the earlier version more.
When the in-house art critic first saw the drawing he was looking at it sideways, generating a cautious “uh-huh, urm, what?” response until I turned the sketchbook ninety degrees. Think I need to add a “this way up” arrow to the page!
I’m in the English Lakes for my “Expressive Skye” workshop. These are a few things that have caught my eye in the last few days. The tea bag notice feels like a short story prompt.
Photos taken on the journey to drop off my paintings for the Lochalsh Art Fair which is on until Wednesday.
First stop was the classic view towards the Cuillin. A visitor who was parked here, looking on her phone when I stopped, got out and asked me what the speed limit was because everyone seemed to be wanting to go really fast. I later saw her pull into a parking spot to let cars past.
PS: I think I’ve got my websites all moved to the new webhost, but if you see anything strange or missing, let me know! I’ve seen some quotation marks changed to question marks!
Sitting in the sunshine listening to the tinkling of the river at Sligachan today (I mean sketching), I looked left towards the Bundt-cake peak (I mean Glamaig) and noticed a triangle of cloud that you could impossibly put in a painting as it’ll just look wrong.
Line. Shape. Pattern. Repeat. Add colour. Repeat. Pause. Digest. Repeat.
Picturesque cloud stretching high above, a sea of calm grey-blue rhythms, and parts of the band of islands that is the Outer Hebrides. As paintable as it comes.
Except for one thing. And I don’t mean the patch of pines poking in on the left.
It’s that improbable bit of sun-light cloud on top of the island.
1. Leave it out if you know the shape of the island.
2. Omit the sunshine on it if you don’t.