Thursday, 15 January 2009

I thought I'd ruined it

Continuing from my pencil sketch, my next step was to add some colour. I have a portfolio of vivid memories of my brief visit to the North Yorkshire Moors, of texture and the rich purple and yellow ochre hues of the heather and the bumpy, rutted pathways. The poor little digital photographs spat out by my inket printer came nowhere near recreating these, but at least my photo's gave me a something to hang my memories on. Plus, of course, short of getting on a train back up to Yorkshire, there was no way I could recover enough detail from memory alone to put pencil to paper.

So I washed in some colour, using acrylic ink and watercolour. Urgh, I thought, what a disaster!! It's too flat, the composition's too bitty, the double drift of pathway and strewn bolders split the picture in half giving me 2 focal points, neither one of which are particualarly scintilating, I may as well give up now!!!

Feeling a bit desperate, I began to work in oil pastel, referring to the little black and white sketch I'd made when consolidating my 3 photographs into a composition, I realised that I needed to get some tonal order into the painting, to draw it together by finding similar tonal areas throughout the composition in order to give it some substance, some depth, and to stop it literally floating off the page with banality!

I worked on the distant hills with coloured pencil, using coloured pencil to outline the tumble of rocks and the standing stone itself, then using oil pastel I blocked in the darker, heavier areas, largely the purple heather.

It was at this point that I actually began to like what I had produced.

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