Apartment verandah faces west and a great place to have ones aperitif (local pate on chunks of freshly baked baguet, big fat olives, and a cheeky little rioja blanco) looking up over Gotmar Hill with great billowing cumulus clouds banking up, perhaps bringing some overnight rain?:
Mixed media in sketchpad, A4.
I couldn't find my Carmine Red Neocolour or I would have included that one too!
Please note: I am having so much difficulty posting anything using Blogger this is the very last. I'm off to seek more fertile ground, perhaps in Wordpress?
Looming magnificently at the entrance to the cala are these ragged and rugged mountainous rock formations rising straight up from the purple sea. So first out of the pencil case is a lilac-purple felt pen and some scribbles across two landscape pages:
Mixed media in A5x2 sketchbook.
Should have left it at that but these two bikers turned up and so were added to the mix.
Obviously the sun was beating too strong on my napper and I forgot exactly where I was. This was actually Cala Molins!
It took me two days into the holiday to prise my favourite clutch pencil (the one I pinched from my brother 40 years ago and still has his initials on it) from my bulging pencil case and immortalised this billy goat standing high on a rock on Gotmar Hill as the cloud structures finally broke in the sky and him bleating down to his swooning hareem below:
Last weekend I visited the Scottish Borders town of Biggar and managed to get out to do some sketching. This time, however, I also took with me some acrylics paint:
Borders Landscape Study #1. mixed media in sketchbook, A4.
Borders Landscape Study #2. mixed media in sketchbook, A4.
Borders Landscape Study #3. mixed media in sketchbook, 2x19x25cm.
Borders Landscape Study #4. mixed media in sketchbook, A4.
Borders Landscape Study #5. mixed media in sketchbook, A4.
Borders Landscape Study #6. mixed media in sketchbook, 2x19x25cm.
Borders Landscape Study #7. mixed media in sketchbook, A4.
There were a few others that didn't quite work out but the important thing was I learned a lot about working with acrylics in the field such as: you need to carry a lot more water for brush cleaning therefore you can't stray too far from the car. Fortunately there was often small streams close-by and that tickles me to think that local water was directly used in the making of these studies.
Secondly: it's a good idea to limit your palette and not carry too many tubes of paint. They are heavy therefore, again, don't stray too far from the car.
For all they say that acrylics dry fast they don't really dry fast enough especially out in the open. The benefit of this, however, is you get to sit and ponder Lifes' cruelties and beauties - crows mobbing a buzzard, a long-legged hare loping across a field, a dead fox, rooks returning to their rookery for the evening, inquisitive lambs interested in what I was doing in their field, a fish rising. At least I didn't come home with any tics on me.
The one big issue which applies whichever medium you use is trying to find a suitable place to park your car. It is ok, I think, to park in front of a farmers gate but only if you stay there ready to move if needs be. Otherwise there aren't too many legitimate parking lay-bys or roads wide enough, and verges solid enough to take a car.
Another thing I learned (to my great embarassment and discomfort) was not ever again to lean back so hard on my wee aluminium fold-away seat with the fabric back support - it ripped and I fell back with my legs up in the air. My darling wife has sewn it back together again - with pink thread!
Ever true to my word today I am posting three sketches from my Arran sketching trip when I took to the hills and glens laden down with my usual drawing paraphenalia - a clutch of felt-pens, a poly bag of Neocolour II's, sketchpad (which is now nearing it's end), and my little aluminium fold-away chair draped around my neck for the hike up into these hills:
Ah yes, I remember - Arran, in April, just after the terrible snows that brought the island to a standstill.
But by the time we went over for one week the snow had mostly melted away although it was still bitterly cold. Not ideal for an outdoor sketching trip you might think, and you would be right and wrong all at the same time for it was as beautiful a week as we have ever had with bright blue skies and no rain. There I've said it: NO RAIN!
First day out sketching we went over to the other side of the island to Blackwaterfoot to Drumadoon Bay and this great lump of a hill which I have sketched many times before:
"The Doon", Mixed Media in Sketchbook, 2x19x25cm.
My intention was to continue with this style of sketching which I have become very comfortable with - starting with felt-tip pens to immediatley establish a strong colour, then working up with Neocolour II's to provide local colour notes. Hopefully this will be enough for me to develop a larger painting back home in the studio when the weather is dreich.
My second sketch of that day was this double-spread overlooking the small but perfectly formed harbour at Blackwaterfoot, just fifty metres from the Kinloch Hotel where a nice hot meal awaited me at the end of a very pleasurable day:
"The Harbour", Mixed Media in Sketchbook, 2x19x25cm.
I can see both these sketches being developed into larger paintings sometime in the future once I get some time off from all the other things in my life that demands my attention like a programme of major house refurbishment just completed and pram-pushing my new little grand-daughter, Amy.
These sketches were done a few weeks ago when the weather was positively balmy - sun shining like there was no tomorrow and dry as Scotsmans throat after two days on the wagon!
"Scots Pines on a Lonely Hillside", charcoal on paper, 40x30cm.
There I was sitting on my little fold-a-way aluminium chair with the ocassional passer-by giving me very strange looks as though I had just touched down from Pluto moments before, acres of open farmland on either side giving me no inspiration what-so-ever when this stand of lonesome pines called out "You gotta stop and draw us for pines-sake, there ain't nuthin' else for miles around!".
"Scots Pines, Contre-jour", Mixed media on paper, 30x40cm.
And so the history of 'daviddrawsandpaints' fills another day out in the wilds of Lanarkshire: Me, a wee chair, a bunch of Neocolour pastels and a blue felt pen., up a hill, near North Brackenridge Farm, chittering with cold (even tho' I still got them old long-johns on) but driven on by artistic vision. I don't do things by half.
But these sketches were only the pre-curser to the main event:
"The Meeting of the Waters", Neocolours on paper, 30x40cm.
Further on from North Brackenridge, down the glen a bit, is the subject of my loving dreams: where the Logan Water meets the River Nethan - two small burns joining together to make a beautiful flowing stream, under a canopy of trees, that runs all the way to the River Clyde and the sea.
This is where I met John Stewart and his twa dugs, but that is surely for another day.
Hope you are all well and enjoying your artmaking :o)
I can still hear the water running close beside me as I doze in the afternoon sun.
I dream of the water rising at it's source, soaking out of the peaty hills and gathering together to form small rivulets and conjoining together to make larger streams, then busy tumbling burns on their way to rivers like this, and onward, gathering like-minded fellows, to the Avon, to the Clyde, to the sea, to the oceans of the world:
"Glengarvel Water", Acrylics on canvas, 50x100cm.
Where the moisture is sucked out of the mighty floods and condensed into thunderous clouds that rush inland and burst again over the hills, and so the cycle repeats itself continously, endlessly, round and round, and round....
I know truly that painting is a lonely occupation and that unless you are partaking in a joint collaboration with one, or more artists, you is most definitely on yer own.
Or unless you have friends to keep you company in the long hours between sunrise and sunset (or vice-versa whenever you do your painting) to encourage and support you.
Here are some of mine from Subconscious that popped in to say hello during yesterday's morning Musings [sounds a bit like morning prayers, or meditation, which in a strange way it is]:
"20 February 2013", mixed media on sugar-paper, 59x86cm.
Thankfully these pals of mine are not real in a real, material sort of way, unlike my virtual friends on the internet who I believe (against all rationality) to be real people, otherwise we would all be tripping over one another in the narrow confines of my padded cell, studio.
What fun we had that morning with everyone listening to my hypotheses on Life and laughing at all my jokes.
What a fantastic yesterday - bright sunshine, if a little hazy, and a bit cool around the nether regions, (just as well I had my long-johns on!), out tramping the hills and glens and finding secret waterways to sit myself down besides and draw:
Glengavel Water, mixed media in sketchbook, 18x2x25cm.
Sitting on my little fold-away chair in the sun under the branches of a straggly tree the running water was sending me to sleep like some old cat content to simply be alive.
But that's not why I was out here! I was here to draw, and half-a-mile down the road I spotted this huge buzzard hovering over the hillside:
"Cairnsaigh Hill", charcoal on paper, 30x40cm.
And a mile further on this big lump o' a hill sticking out of the otherwise flat landscape:
"Loudon Hill from the South", charcoal on paper, 30x40cm.
This great rock, with scrubby trees growing out from it's sides like some sort of garnish on a great plum pudding:
"Loudon Hill from the West", charcoal on paper, 30x40cm.
Just enough time to make these charcoal sketches then off home again as the sun dipped towards the horizon.
I bought these cherries, raspberries and brambles as a tasty treat for the birds to help them through this cold winter, and the oranges as a small helping of vitimin C for myself but, apart from the cherries, they were largley shunned by our ungrateful local egg-laying avians!
"Soft Fruit", acrylics on paper, 43x59cm.
The exception, however, was this one hen blackbird which devoured all of the cherries to itself.
Now, instead of buying out-of-date cherry punnets at 29p I am having to fork out in-date punnets at £2 a throw.
But I do know she appreciates it and that makes me happy!
A few days ago I started this Musing with charcoal and acrylic paint when about half-way through the wheels came off!
Well, not literally speaking, of course, but figuratively - one side was going swimmingly well but the other side was descending into a quagmire of confusion. Can one person's mind be like that? All clarity, sweetness and light on the right and utter tripe on the left?
Even though I consider these Musings be be whatever they turn out to be I still have the desire to "make something of it"...to satisfy my need for compositional structure. I ended that session by blocking out the entire left-hand side with a very tasteful grey sludge and left it alone in the dark to sort itself out.
A few days later when I got back into the studio there it was still waiting for me, accusingly, on the easel. What to do?
Take it down and start again afresh or...a wee still voice of intuition was whispering in my right ear "c'mon David, all is not lost, there is still some work to be done here, don't give up, what you have is one side partially resolved and the other a mid-tone blank waiting for inspired musing!
And it comes in the form of the blackest black I can muster, a few deft strokes and what was unsatisfactory before is now just as it should be:
Subconscious Musing: "12 February 2013". Mixed media on sugar paper, 59x86cm.
Hurrah...I can now move on to a happy days painting :o)
Not such a nice day today and feeling a bit wabbit from yesterday's exertions walking the length of Troon beach. It was so nice with the sun shining and inspired by Lisa's Seaside Studios blog a walk along the strand was just what Doctor David ordered. But today we both needed to conserve our energy before Hurricane Harry comes to visit on Monday. So it was a day for staying in and doing a bit of Life Drawing from a real live drop dead gorgeous model:
"Jacqueline #1", charcoal on paper, 59x43cm.
"Jacqueline #2", charcoal on paper, 59x43cm.
"Jacqueline #3", charcoal on paper, 59x43cm.
For number #1 J was up for it and patiently held the pose for a good fifteen minutes. Number #2 she needed a rest (and another cup of coffee!). But for number #3 she was feeling weary so we hardly spent any time on it - about five minutes. It will be enough for me to use for future painting studies.
Which is what we went on to do in the afternoon. But I'll keep that for next time.
Hope y'all had as good a weekend and are raring to go for another week's artmaking.
Ain't it just great to be an artist that can let the mind roam around whither and nither as it pleases?
And then turn those daydreams into images of remembrance of warmer days?
Today the sunshine outside (and near tropical temperatures inside [is 18.5degC too high for this time of year?]) brightens up my day that has just begun and flying thoughts of holidays in Majorca spring to mind - taking the bus from Puerta Pollensa to Cala San Vicente, lunch at Hotel Bis (tuna salad and white wine) overlooking the cove below with sunbathers on the sand and swimmers in the sea, and strolls around the headland to Cala Molins, and in the passing, a cactus growing apparently from out of the rock:
"Cactus", acrylics on paper, 43x50cm.
Cala Molins with it's purple pine treetrunks on an orange sloping hillside and bright blue sky between:
"Cala Molins", pencil and Neocolour in sketchpad, A4.
Aperitif under a bamboo shade, olives with herbs, and the afternoon is gone. Time to get the bus home and dinner again under the stars.
Ach, there's nuthin' else for it - I'll just have a curry and watch the telly till summer returns again!
On one of my frequent walks along the farmland roads around Auldhouse, qui vicino East Kilbride, I came upon this perfect but dead specimen of Mr Reynard Fox:
"Mr Fox Bought The Farm", acrylics on paper, 43x59cm.
He was lying on a verge of dead grasses partially hidden from view and my guess is that he had been struck by a passing car. There was no sign of blood and apart from the slighly awkward turn of the neck looked as though he was asleep. When I looked in closely I was ready to run a mile if he was actually still alive.
But alas, no - dead as a doornail, and he wasn't resting. He had "kicked the bucket, shuffled off 'is mortal coil, run down the curtain and joined the bleedin' choir invisibile!!". He was a dead fox.
Every day that I go out into my studio I start with what I call a "Subconscious Musing". This gets me going. The brush is wet, the arm is moving, marks appear. It relies purely on how I feel at that moment with judgement suspended on what it might turn out like:
Subconscious Musing: Mixed media on sugar paper, 59x86cm.
There is a whole new world waiting to be explored so long as I suspend my critical faculties and just go with the flow. Most often the results are just a compost heap of confusion...a rag-bag of detrius, an adulterated mess (such are the vageries of my mind).
Occassionally some suggested structure presents itself and I see meaningful images that please me. I am contented and so the day's real work can begin.
Well, the penny finally dropped with an almighty clang!
I've been here before, of course, (many times but without proper recognition) but when this current manifestation arrived with a bang I knew in my heart completely that this is what I have been searching for - unabashed expressive painting carried out with total confidence. It's the culmination of many hours standing in front of an easel, and yet it comes so easily. Very strange, but also very satisfying.
And what better subject than humongously huge mammy and daddy pigs!
"Pyramus", Acrylics on paper,43x59cm.
"Thisby", Acrylics on paper, 43x59cm.
Mammy Pig was separated from her paramour by a brick wall but they snuffled and smooched through a gapping chink much like Pyramus and Thisby in A Midsummer Nights Dream:
THISBY: O wall, full often hast thou heard my moans,
For parting my fair Pyramus and me!
My cherry lips have often kisse'd thy stones,
Thy stones with lime and hair knit up in thee.
PYRAMUS: I see a voice; now will I to the chink,
To spy an I can hear my Thisby's face.
THISBY: My love! thou art my love, I think.
PYRAMUS: Think what thou wilt, I am thy lover's grace;
And like Limander am I trusty still....Oh, kiss me through the hole of this vile wall.
THISBY: I kiss the wall's hole, not your lips at all!
These two champions can be seen up at Wester Kittochside Farm as part of the National Trust for Scotland's Museum of Rural Life at East Kilbride, South Lanarkshire.
ps: All's well that ends well with many little piggies to testify to that!
"Three Little Piggies", Acrylics on paper, 43x59cm.
I'm not very good at imagining real settings for my figures since they are mostly created from small sketches, usually in an A6 sketchbook, without any surrounding space. I therefore tend to paint either nondescript backgrounds or invented abstract shapes. In this instance, however, my Subconscious Musing from the previous day was still fixed to the wall having just been photographed and, after a couple of painted studies of me wearing this bright canary yellow sweater and necktie I finally made the connection and decided on the Musing as background:
"Self Portrait in Yellow", acrylics on paper, 59x43cm.
I think there is great potential in this since, instead of a "manufactured" background out of thin air, what better combination than my very own images. What could be a more personal expression than that?
This is the original Subconscious Musing drawn in charcoal and pastels:
"5 October 2012", pastels on sugar-paper, 59x86cm.
And here are the two other painted studies:
"My Favourite Yellow Sweater", acrylics on paper, 59x43cm.
"Yellow-Knitted Necktie", acrylics on paper, 59x43cm.
I try to make an effort sometimes especially when we go out somewhere. It makes a change from being covered head to foot in paint-splashed zipper-jacket, dungarees, and sannies!