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.
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.
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.
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.