Razorbills and guillemots and kittiwakes: St Abbs Head

20130620 St Abbs Head

I moved out along a narrow spine of rock with a steep drop on either side.  To either side the cliffs projected out to sea in a series of ridges.  The sun was hot and no wind disturbed the paper.  On the vertical surface facing me, kittiwake pairs were spaced out, nesting along the narrow cracks and faults in the rock.  The guillemots formed denser colonies on sloping surfaces lower down and on the tops of the more isolated stacks.  The red sandstone was mottled by lichen and guano and sunlight.

Razorbills and guillemots: pencil sketches

20130618 St Abbs

Mid June, at St Abbs Head bordering Scotland and England.

These pencil notes made in a small sketchbook were preparation for a painting. I wrote in comments on the soundscape and distribution of birds on the cliff faces.

20130618 St Abbs 00

The larger painting was done on rough paper.  But I abandoned it incomplete, despairing of capturing the light on the rocks and atmosphere of the bird colony.  Now I regret this.  Looking at this now, I can see that painting in the sky and intensifying the midground might make something of this piece.  I can still do this.

Here are an assortment of pencil sketches on loose paper and in the small pad made at that time.

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And finally a couple of graphite sketches without a home elsewhere.  The first was made on the boat leaving Bass Rock.  The second was the very simple preparatory notes for the painting at Aberlady posted previously.  I had forgotten I had made these notes.

20130615 Bass Rock

20130615 Aberlady