Plein-Air Painting Near Crovie: The Bad, the Good, and the Ugly

A combination of low tide and mild weather (for February) saw me sitting next to the coastal path between Gardenstown and Crovie with some paper, acrylic ink, watercolour, and coloured pencils.

Go along the path and around the corner and Crovie pops into view

I think I’ve found a new favourite perch, a large flat rock with enough space for me and having my supplies within reach. Bonus is that there aren’t deep cracks for pencils and brushes to fall down never to be found again.

Ready, steady, paint!

The headland isn’t as far away in real life as it seems in the photo, and the ruggedness of the rocks caught my attention.

But I felt an obligation to first have a go at the houses in the village, because it would be rude to ignore the postcard view wouldn’t it?

So I got that out of my system with a quick sketch of the wide view, and was reminded how for me to do anything satisfying with an architectural subject I need to be in a mood where I can slow down and be a bit lot more meticulous with it. This day wasn’t such an occasion. Time for some craggy rocks instead.

I was pleased with this, which I think has feeling of the ruggedness of the rock and the gorse beginning to flower. Also because I managed to focus on a relatively small area, resisting the urge to include “everything”, and didn’t get caught up in detail.

I then shifted my attention to my left, where the tide was coming in against dark rocks, creating interesting contrasts of pattern and texture. Starting with Payne’s grey acrylic ink, my thought was to use line on the rocks and wet-into-wet for the sea. That plan got ruined by my dropping some water from my brush onto the rocks area, causing the ink there to spread. Note to self: put the water container on the right-hand side next time! It became a dark puddle, so I used a piece of paper towel to soak most of it off, followed by a wet paper towel to see if I could persuade any more to lift.

It left a grey tone to the whole area but also some interesting darker dried-ink lines. I was too irritated to continue with it, though what’s there has possibilities and I might take it back to this spot on another day. Being acrylic ink, I can overpaint it with watercolour without anything lifting and, being on paper, coloured pencil will sit on top too. Maybe I could crop in a bit too.

I sat for a bit waiting for the sheet to dry, watching the waves and oystercatches flitting about. Then there was a bit of pebble pondering, before wandering back along the patch to Gardenstown.

2 Replies to “Plein-Air Painting Near Crovie: The Bad, the Good, and the Ugly”

  1. I find the last image fascinating – can’t quite work it out. The conglomerate upper right is easily identifiable, as are the sand, pebbles and seaweed in the lower area. But what is happening with the pale triangular-ish insert on the left? Looks like very still water, can see pebbles through it, probably reflecting the sky?? Just can’t work out the angles of the surfaces

    1. It’s a close up of a large boulder that must have fallen from the hillside relatively recently, sitting in shallow water. Part boulder, part sun glare in water, part clear water. I’ll email you a wider angle photo for context

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