2014-07-14 Pettico Wick

This was painted in July 2014.  I sat on the bluff of St Abbs Head looking down on the series of inlets from the sea forming Pettico Wick.  I worked on board with charcoal and pastel, lifting and scrambling the fragments with very wet sepia ink and gouache.  Despite all my contrivance, the board whipped in the wind, striking me paint-side on my face, and flew to land paint-side down in the damp grass.  I scoured into it with hard eraser and knife, revealing the under-surface to define the crags.  It dried to muted muddied tones in the boot of the car, and has languished in a box for the last year.

2015-10 St Abbs head July 2014 (4)

Last weekend, I pulled it out again and wondered how to develop it – to experiment with its surface but keep something of the chaos of its making.  I worked back in with conte crayon to refresh the colours and refloated the pigment in water and inks.  I sought to control the wet mix by layering it with netting, restraining the fluid from covering the central highlight and holding the puddles to evaporate on the image rather than pour over the side.

2015-10 St Abbs head July 2014 (3)

I have painted in a low sky, giving definition to the distant coast and a sense of scale to the whole piece.  Here it is photographed by lamp and by day light.

2015-10 St Abbs head July 2014 (2)

It took a week to dry out and I am ready to work into it again.  I think I will next use knife and sandpaper to regain some of the earlier layer, particularly in the rocks forming the coastline.  Then I will paint successive dilute acrylic glazes over the grass and heather to bring some coherence to the higher land.

How would you develop this?  I would welcome advice and suggestions.


14 responses to “Re-purposing

  1. There are elements of both versions I like: the scratchiness, water highlights and white rocks (?) on the original and the purple tones and skyline on the second version. I had a teacher who used to say ‘Go ahead and change it. You’ll make a different picture. But it won’t be a better one’. Using the netting is a new one on me!

    • Hi Anne
      I had wet pigment leaking from the board on all sides (there’s now a new stain on the table and the carpet) and spotted the netting on a shelf behind me. I think it must have been some kind of packaging. So I put it to use and then poured more ink and flicked more paint onto the netted surface.

  2. It’s difficult to say what more to add to your amazing painting. Maybe just some highlights on the water, some dark shadows next to where the water hits the rocks. Just a suggestion though. It’s always difficult to critique a painting online. 😊 You have developed an amazing process.

  3. Lovely textures. I don’t think much more needs to be done. Perhaps lightening some of the water areas, in the foreground to give more dynamics here – maybe scratching back to white if that’s the base (I’m looking at the bottom image)
    It reminds me of work by John Blockley

    • Hi Graham
      Interesting comment on John Blockley. One of the early influences on me was a book on watercolour painting by him. I really do love the dynamism of his work, but have not the skill myself to create such tension and drama in watercolour alone – I have to build and scrape away layers with room for mistakes and adjustment.

  4. Pingback: Re-purposing II | kestrelart

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