Friday, 2 May 2008

Tales of the Riverbank

Typical Scottish weather - one minute summer, and the next back to winter! Set off this morning for another session at Chatelherault Country Park with the sun spreading it's glory all over Central Scotland, but by the time I had parked my car and walked down to the river, setting up my plein-air work-station on a footpath that runs through the woods alongside the River Avon, the heavens had opened up with a heavy shower of hailstones. So one thing I've learned today is that pastels and hail don't mix too well! Sheltered for a while under some overhanging rocks until the shower passed over, then on with the work. Started with this small sketch of a tangle of trees screening the river below:
Pastels on Ingres paper, 22x15cm: "River Sketch"; working on neutral tinted paper just placed random patches of colour. I am always fascinated by the vertical tree elements standing in front of the horizontal flowing river with blue sky reflected in parts.

Pastels on Ingres paper, 22x15cm: "Weir"; another small sketch this time of a fast flowing weir and some Rhoddy foliage in the foreground. Then moving on you turn a corner and this is what you find:
Pastels on Ingres paper, 30x22cm: "Bluebell Woods"; covering the slope are swathes of purple-blue flowers on bright green stalks and leaves in amongst these slender sapling trees (with the occassional rotten, fallen, tree-trunk). Some subjects require to be painted differently. This view demanded that I paint it more impressionistically with dots and dashes. Perhaps this is what comes of looking at Vincents' paintings the other day! Another shower stops me mid-flight and I have to cover my board and take shelter under the bough of an Oak. Moving on, following the river upstream, I come to the place of my original intentions: Cadzow Castle. Set up my workstation for the fourth time and set to work: "Man at Work" (taken by a very obliging squirrel). Pastels on Ingres Paper, 43x30cm:"Cadzow Castle"; not much of it left now but the castle originally dates from the times of a "semi-fabulous prince by the name of Caw" (well that's how the Ordnance Gazetteer of Scotland describes him in their publication of 1880).The castle was a royal residence in the times of Alexander II, and III, and passed, in the time of Robert the Bruce, to the family of Hamilton. It stands on a rocky outcrop 200ft above the River Avon and even in it's decrepit state is an impressive sight on the skyline.

No comments: