Monday, 19 January 2009

A Scottish Diversion

This is the picture I mentioned in my previous post, the one I began in order to divert myself from my Yorkshire picture.

Actually, it's not such a bad idea to have a few pictures on the go at once, it's useful to give yourself some distance from a piece, in order to gain the perspective necessary to judge it more accurately. The Castlerigg picture, for instance, is now looking a touch less impressive than it did last week. Too flat, too smooth, a bit clumbsy.

For the Scottish picture I printed the photograph on my inkjet printer, I had an idea that I'd like to do something that was almost black and white, perhaps to bridge my pen and ink work with the colour work I'd begun doing. So I begun by working on a white gesso base on paper, drawing in 3b pencil. The drawing was a bit lame, and the photograph, though clear, was confusing me. I wasn't doing a very good job of copying it, and this knocked my confidence somewhat. So I painted over the pencil, as had been my plan, in gesso again, made semi-transparent with white acrylic paint with a tint of blue. Then more pencil work again. Okay, but not brilliant. Another coat of gesso, just plain gesso this time, a thin coat just to stop the pencil from coming off on my sleeve and hand. I worked over the gesso and original pencil with coloured pencil, a nice set produced by Derwent, 12 Drawing Pencils, which are produced in earthy colours. They're nice to handle and the pigment feels rich when it goes on, but I'm not sure how lightfast these pencils are. I worry about the lightfastness of materials, and am trying to find out more about the archival properties of the materials I use. It's not something I used to worry about too much, but as I get older I suppose permanence is something which plays on my mind more. A few years ago I invested in a set of Signature coloured pencils, these are advertised as being superbly lightfast, but I'm not certain how coloured pencil, or oil pastel or that matter, would compare to the light fastness of say oil paint? Again, it's something I need to research.

The Scottish beach drawing has had its ups and downs so far, and as it currently stands I'm not too pleased with it. I made a tiny graphite sketch, in order to work out the tonal strengths of the image, and altered the viewpoint of my composition, as I realised that I had over estimated the amount of the photograph I could reproduce on my small piece of paper. I used a pallette knife and acrylic paint, more oil pastel and coloured pencil, as well as a little Indian ink and dip pen in an attempt to add a little crispness to those rocks, but so far I'm still a bit down in the dumps about it. I plan to have one last go at it and then call it a day.

The size of this piece by the way is approx 42cm x 33cm.

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