"Towards Kenbane"

"Towards Kenbane"
Spectacular Irish coastline on a stormy day

Saturday 14 September 2013


Our Trip to Scotland

We have had a really great visit to Northern Scotland since my last post and, obviously, I haven't been painting for a few weeks... 

We went across for a mini-break but mainly to return our son and daughter-in-law's two dogs after a three month dog-sitting experience.  "Cody" [an adorable bouncy black Labrador] and "Rico" [a VERY large, gentle, sweet-natured black German Shepherd who we nicknamed 'Yogi Bear'] were the perfect house 'guests' and we found ourselves really sad to have to take them back home....

So, there we were, in the car with FOUR large, excited and rather talkative dogs [me, wedged into the passenger seat, practically having to sit on our luggage and our sandwiches and coffee flasks tightly packed around my knees].  As we headed towards the ferry, we hoped they wouldn't eat each other [or the car] during the 2 hour crossing!  

The car windows were constantly steamed up from our panting pooches and, initially at least, I was poised with the towel hovering beneath "Bruno's" chin - he has always had the tendency to be car-sick and, even though he was fairly 'dribbling' by the time we arrived at the ferry terminal, he wasn't actually ill [thank goodness]!  

We assume they were well-behaved below deck since there were still four [intact] dogs, no ears had been shredded, no holes chewed in seats and all seat belts appeared fully functioning.  

Let's just say, it was quite an eventful journey - taking two dogs [EACH] on their leads, to 'stretch legs' and have 'toilet breaks' along the way, is hilarious.... especially when they each head off in different directions at the same time!  Of course no one wanted any drinking water [until we were back on the road that is!]. Oh what fun we had during that 16 hour trip!

Before I start talking about the next stages in this watercolour painting, I thought I'd share a picture of my two studio companions "Mika" [our beautiful German Shepherd girl] and "Bruno" [our chocolate Labrador, now 9mths old - yes, he IS a big boy!].  

 They can be either VERY good [when they're both sleeping at my feet] OR, a real pain in the rear [when they decide it's play time] - I have had to stop several times to remove acrylic paint from various ears and noses!

... and, finally, here is a pic of "Rico" and "Cody" in the back of the car during their trip back home to Scotland:



OK, back to watercolour..... and, as you can see, I have been working on the Seascape painting 'as a whole'.  By not focusing on [and completing] one area at a time, I can ensure that the painting remains 'balanced' as it progresses.
Quite often though, and especially with still lifes and floral subjects, I do actually work each area up to completion but find that the 'overall' approach works best with seascape and landscape subjects.

I am still using Daniel Smith 'Indigo' and 'Quin.Burnt Sienna', W&N 'Sap Green', 'Winsor Blue' [green shade] and a tiny touch of 'Permanent Rose' and 'Burnt Umber' to warm up or cool off the grey tones.

As I paint, I am constantly thinking about 'directional light' and 'cast shadow' areas. This is important in order to maintain realistic tonal values and to ensure that I don't overwork the painting as a whole and, ultimately, confuse the eye of the viewer.

Today I managed to sit for quite a while [with several 'breaks' in between] and have nearly finished this piece, as shown in the next picture [which, unfortunately, was taken when the daylight had already started to fade]:

I have added drama by adding strong darks to the foreground and, by directional brush strokes, have added movement to the water.  
A glaze of cool grey has been washed over the background sea which 'pushes' that area back, leaving the foreground better focused. I can't really give you a 'recipe' of the colour used because it was just a mix of what was left on my palette!

Hard edges have also been softened here and there [clouds and main foam areas], again, to keep the most detail within the focal point.  

Tomorrow I will finally darken and add some detail to the cliffs on the left and to really 'pin down' the focal point, I will add a little warmth with a very soft glaze of "Burnt Sienna" on the lightest edges of the main rocks.

Once complete, I will post a picture of the finished piece, taken in better light.

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