The third and final day on St Abbs Head brought with it a set of experiments, learning from what I had tried before and also from observing other artists on the course. Before picking up a brush, I explored picking out tones more simply on coloured paper with the limited range provided by a set of conte sticks.
The guillemots on blue paper worked quite well – the blue paper provided both the highlights for the dark upper surfaces and the deper tones on the white underparts.
On the blade of rock opposite me was a shag, nesting, protecting at least two chicks. Her deep dark glossy plumage provided a greater challenge. Again, this seemed to work best on blue rather than orange paper – with white reflections, blue mid tones and black shadows.
I was not particularly satisfied with the results but still intrigued by the method. As always, I look for means of rapidly making marks and filling volumes to capture the posture and movement of these beautiful birds.