Photos: My Snow Day

Woke up to a world of white, to the view being transformed into almost monochrome, shades of “interesting whites”. And silence as the wind has dropped. After giving the studio cats breakfast and putting the kettle on, I went out to enjoy that crunch-crunch of snow underfoot. Friends who lives in latitudes where you sit in snow for months will have to indulge my excitement as it’s rare for me to have it at garden level.

Looking northwest towards Camus Mor
Wider angle on the same view
Looking west
These pawprints most likely belong to Buffycat, who likes to be outside in all weathers
The sea turns the most beautiful colours under snow showers; this photo doesn’t do the blues and turquoises justice. A real-life Mark Rothko colourfield in blues.
Guess it snowed from the west last night.
Bracken is such a beautiful colour this time of year.
Creeping thyme

Searching Intensively for Cauliflowers

Sign that reads this path is dangerous
Sign that reads this path is dangerous

I never delve very far into the data that my WordPress website software collects automatically (via though inedible “cookies”), because, you know, only so many hours in a day and I’d rather be painting or writing. But I do look at what words people have used on search engines that have led them to my website because I find it intriguing. (And before you jump into the search box on my site with weird search strings, these aren’t included in the stats, only those in search engines such as Google that have led to someone clicking across to my website.)

Excluding anything with my name, here’s a list from this year, starting with those that seem to be looking for homework answers:

  • ____________ is the inclusion of the same or like elements in a composition art
  • what is your first impression on the painting of van gogh impressionism
    (leading to this article)
  • list the elements of composition
  • three parts of composition in space are?
  • drawing composition odd vs even
    (see my rule of odds)

Paint manufacturers ought to take note that there are numerous about broken paint tubes and caps:

  • ways to save oil paint if it breaks
  • how to repackage broken paint tubes
  • how to perserve acrylic paint with no cap
  • cap of my oil paint broke
    (you’ll find my tips here)

Some are looking for techniques and how-tos,

Getting quite specific on occasion:

One puzzled me until I did the search myself and discovered it was a Monday Motivator:

Some I know didn’t give the person the information desired because they weren’t after the art meanings of words:

  • what is the compostion of gorse

Whatever you’re looking for, do remember that you’re welcome to email me and ask directly. It’s not bothering me, it’s not wasting my time, I’m not too busy (which isn’t to say you’ll get an instant response), and it’s not a stupid question.

I have also created a Q&A section on my new Discord forum/message board here. I know, it’s yet another thing to join and learn to navigate, but back when I wrote the forum was a friendly, safe place to ask and share, and I made many friends, so I’m going to see if 2021 is the year we rediscover the joys of a message board. At the moment I’ve just poked around at the written aspects of Discord, but there are also video and voice options. Fingers crossed that my fibre broadband connection does indeed happen in January so I can start exploring these.

Isle of Skye road sign: falling rocks

Photos: A Few Moments of Calm

This time of year, this far north (57°N), the sun sleeps in late (sunrise today 08:58), doesn’t stay for long (sunset today 15:40), and doesn’t get very high in the sky. It makes seeing sunrise/sunset easy, and for a moodiness during the day. Driving around the “north end” this morning to see a friend, I stopped a few times to snap some photos.

First the Trotternish Ridge, looking south:

Then reflections in a little loch:

And then low-tide reflections at the beach at Staffin:

Interrupted By a Caw

I was at one of my favourite, albeit rarely sketched, locations…

… absorbed by the colours and textures …

… and that blocked-up door …

… when I was startled by a loud, single “caw”, from above me. Glancing up, there was a crow sitting on the top of the wall, looking down at me.

I’ve probably watched too many programmes where birds are harbingers, but right now the photo below feels like it’s the image for the cover of a book I will one day write with the art and poetry from this year that I’m not yet ready to share.

Photos: Colours of Autumn

A stroll down the road to the postbox this morning became a stroll in the colours of autumn, of greens giving way to yellows and browns, of moss clinging to fenceposts and dead branches, and reflections in the surface water on the road. Steps taken amidst small joys.

Freezing Watercolour

frozen watercolour

It was such a beautiful, windstill morning I couldn’t resist painting outside despite the temperature struggling to get to 0°C. I don’t know that I would recommend it, but having ink and watercolour freeze as I used it was intriguing. It certainly “sparked joy” as ice crystals gathered on the tip of my brush.

Ending up with paint frozen on the surface of the paper made for something very tactile, inviting my fingers to slide across it. Of course, as soon as the painting was moved to a slightly warmer environment (i.e. indoors), it melted and the paint behaved like “normal”; the paper was cold-damp to its core across the entire sheet and took a little while to dry through.

This was my favourite painting from today, a slice of loch shore, started on location and finished indoors.

Watercolour on A2 paper 350gsm

The Three Horses of an Art Apocalypse

I put these three horse mannequins out of paint-splatter reach in the studio at Higham Hall, only for them to conjure up images of the horses of the apocalypse as I looked up at them.

There would, strictly speaking*, need to be four for it to be apocalyptic — a white, red, black, and pale symbolizing pestilence, war, famine, and death — but it still got me wondering what the three horses of an art apocalypse would be. I ended up with perspective, tone, and colour riding on an Palomino, Appaloosa and a Brindle.

What would yours be?

(* Revelations 6:2–8)

Photos: Colours of Autumn (on the Road South, to Higham Hall)

There’s a parking spot on the road next to Loch Oich (between Invergarry and the Laggan swing bridge over the Caledonian Canal) where I often stop to take photos of the trees on either side. The regimented rows of the plantation on one side, with light from behind, and relaxed gathering with dark trunks on the other.

Autumn trees Dark trunks
Autumn trees pines
Autumn trees Dark trunks
Autumn trees Dark trunks
Autumn trees Dark trunks

The next is the much-photographed stretch of road through Glen Coe, which in November wears shades of earthy greens, yellows, browns (that these photos don’t do justice to).

Glen Coe in Autumn
Glen Coe in Autumn
Glen Coe in Autumn

Heading from Carlisle to Higham Hall, I head to Upfront Gallery and Puppet Theatre for a coffee, then use random minor roads heading west knowing that at some point I’ll hit a main road again. I’ve met this determined tree before, but still don’t know how to deliberately find it.

Solitary blownover tree in Lake District
Somewhere on a road less travelled in the Lake District
Higham Hall roadsign
Autumn trees near Higham Hall
The leafy lane to Higham Hall
Higham Hall art studio notice
Art studio at Higham
Higham Hall art studio
At the end of the first session of this November’s Higham workshop, during which we painted what would become a background in the next session.