My previous post was painted the evening before the start of the five-day Seabird Painting Course. This next piece marks its end, painted from the English side of the border looking across the River Tweed to a Scottish woodland, the morning I set off for home.
No masterpiece I know, but it combines much that makes painting pleasurable for me. It is loose and a little abstracted. It was painted directly in under ten minutes, against the elements, with me standing only part sheltered from rain beneath a tree. The falling water kept the paper damp and moved the pigments: the trick was to stop before all turned to mud. Later, when the paper had dried, I placed a single additional layer of paint to strengthen the grass and woodland and the mud water margin.
The Seabird Painting Course is a long-running annual event, founded and led by the great wildlife artist, John Busby. I had been once before but still, this year, found it an remarkably challenging. There is fabulous guidance and support, not just from the four tutors but from the twenty or so other students, an accomplished and diverse group. However, the settings remain overwhelming – I could never decide whether to obsess over anatomical minutiae, capture movement and drama or paint the big picture.
In the next series of posts I will set out my sketches with my reflections. Though this blog is open to public consumption, this is primarily for my own benefit – to consolidate something of what I have learned.
In my notebook I have jotted the following thoughts to explore:
- Energy in landscape
- Energy on the page
- Experimenting versus making a mess
- The quality and texture of the paper
- Tonal drawing
- Mixing greens
- Secondary processing – printmaking or modelling, from field sketches