Sunday, 27 April 2008

Loudon Hillside

OK, I said I wasn't going to talk about it, but just to show that I have moved on from that frightful day I am posting about the devilish mount that nearly done me in - Loudon Hill! Below is the beast in person, a big lump of rock standing out from the surrounding landscape like some great ominous carbuncle. Now I can't claim to have mastered this hill (yet) because there is no easy way up to the top (tho' I have seen a distant figure there once). The last time I tried it defeated me largely because I am nothing but a big feartie! It gets steeper and steeper towards the top and I knew for a wee guy of my advancing years it was too much. I could just imagine having to call out the Royal Navy helicopter to rescue me having climbed my way to the top but scared stiff about climbing back down again!

Loudon Hill: When I look at the photo again it doesn't scare me one bit but what you don't see is the steep hill down from where I stand, down, down, to the burn which I've got to leap across, then up, up, over the dyke, past the sheep, and up further to the tree line, legs screaming out in pain, and gasping for breath (I must be very unfit!) It's definitely not easy but I climb to a spot within the trees on the extreme right and set up my easel and start to draw while hanging on to an oak tree for stability and to stop myself from falling back down the slope! At this point I know you are thinking: "He's mad!" So what - I'd rather be mad and alive than sane and letting my life slip by without experiences like this. It would have been better if my drawings had been worth the effort, but then you can't have everything in this life! Here is my chosen view:

Hillside Trees: Looks a bit un-prepossessing in this photo but believe me if it wasn't for the screen of trees you would think you were falling off the edge of the world!

Now, I am still not going to show the drawings I did from this precarious position, for they are a complete embarassment, but I am happy to report that their bare bones led me to this pastel painting:
Neocolours on paper, 43x30cm: "Loudon Hillside"; I have made many attempts at this painting using watercolours and dry pastels but every time I have failed. It occurred to me today that the reason was in trying to paint it naturalistically when my heart was crying out for something else, something with MORE life in it. Art is surely about being selective and expressing something from the heart rather than dully re-stating what's already there. For me, a camera can do that. I want to go further, into the realms of the imagination expressing how I FEEL about the view. I try but don't know what I achieve. All I can say is this image satisfies me more, and that is enough.

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