Ben Hope from the North

Ben Hope from the North
25 x 36 cm

I've just realised that I haven't posted anything here for a few weeks. Preparing paintings for exhibitions has been taking all my attention recently. I've also been experimenting a bit with my painting and I'll probably have something to say about that if it leads to anything.

Meanwhile, here is a painting of the wonderful Sutherland landscape. The mountains of the far north of Scotland have a character that sets them apart from the rest of Britain. The geology of the area tends to form isolated peaks instead of the mountain ranges of other areas. They also often rise from nearly sea-level, so they look higher than they really are. Ben Hope is one of these mountains and it looks particularly impressive from the north.


  1. Lovely painting Keith. I also like your previous painting,
    Light on Marsco. I hope you do well with your Exhibition. All the best.

  2. Hi Keith I thought you were a bit quiet! good to see your latest painting here today. I was wondering what paper you were using. I was reading that Edward Wesson used Blockingford paper, I got a sheet of it the other day and the paint does stay nicely on the surface and is ideal for a single wash. Are you using a large brush for your paintings it would be interesting to hear about your painting ideas. All the best for the exhibitions when are you at Eden Court there wasn't a mention in the Eden Court magazine in their Gallery section. Really bonny painting, lovely fresh looking washes.

  3. Hi Caroline, the paper for this one was Fabriano Artistico Not Extra White. I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with Bockingford. I use it quite a lot and the colours always look nice and bright on it, but it doesn't seem to have as much 'tooth' as the cotton papers. My brush seems to move about on it too easily sometimes. I'll probably continue to use it because it's readily available and cheap.

    These painting were all done on Bockingford:-

    I've recently been comparing a size 20 synthetic brush with a one inch flat one for the big washes. I'm not sure I like the marks that a flat brush makes, but I find the 20 brush a bit big bulky and heavy. I need to try them a bit more yet. I use a size 10 synthetic for the rest of the painting and maybe an 8 or a rigger for fine details.

    I'm booked for Eden Court in September, but I haven't got the actual dates yet. I'll let you know when I know more.

  4. Lovely work and great info, on the area and technic.


  5. Hi Keith have you tried using a squirrel mop brush, Rosemary brushes are quite reasonable, I have had mine for two years now and it is still as good as new. I find the synthetic brushes have a bit too much spring or don't stroke the paper the way a squirrel mop does. Thanks for the list of materials you use and interesting to hear your thoughts on bockingford paper, you are right it could do with more of a tooth to it. Why do you like the Fabriano paper, how does it handle washes? Some papers can soak up the paint while others let it lie on the surface. Your latest painting looks very much in the style of a Edward Wesson as he used only one wash on the paper. You have got some really fresh looking washes there and the white of the paper comes through very well. Thanks about Eden Court.

  6. Yes I have tried squirrel mops, Caroline, but I don't like them very much. I find them too soft and it's the spring of the synthetics that I like. I press quite hard with the brush sometimes to lift off paint.

    I like the Fabriano paper because it isn't heavily sized. I'm not sure whether it has any surface sizing at all and it may be just internally sized like the Bockinford. In any case it takes washes well. I find that the heavily sized papers, like Arches and Saunders, seem to suck the strength out of washes and need a heavier application of paint.

  7. A lovely 'light' painting Keith and I like it very much. ;-)

    I was interested in your discussion with Caroline about papers and it prompts me to ask a question. I'm considering buying some new brushes (it's time I stepped up from my beginners grade). Do you have a brand of choice that you can recommend?

  8. Well, John, I wouldn't rush into buying sable brushes. The good ones are expensive and the cheaper ones don't always live up to expectations. Some of the mixed-hair brushes can be very good and harder wearing. The best ones I have found are DaVinci Cosmotop Mix B brushes. They are made from a mixture of various hairs and synthetic fibres. I like their full belly and long tapering point. They are also reasonably priced.

    For my own painting I use synthetic brushes most of the time now. I find I can do all that I want to with them. I've recently discovered Artica brushes, from Jackson's Art Suplies, and I think they are probably the best synthetics I have used. I think they are probably the same as Escoda 1430 Series brushes, as used by Joseph Zbukvic and Greg Allen. They point so well that I could use the size 20 for almost a whole painting.

  9. Good Morning from Rockport Keith!

    Finally got our email up and running this morning. Life has consisted... as it needed to be... unpacking... setting up and grounds cleanup for me!

    My blog and painting are... and will be for the moment on the back burner for the next while.

    We have an opening date The Rockport Art and Garden Tour on May 19th- 21st for the Gallery. It's ready to be hung... but other things have to be put in place first.

    Love this painting. A spectacular landscape view... as always!Good luck with your exhibition planning!

    Good to be back in touch!

    Good Painting!
    Warmest regards,

  10. Good evening Bruce.

    I'm glad to hear that you are now in your new home. The Gallery opening should be a good way to introduce yourselves to the locals.

    I hope you can find some time to do some artwork among all the chores. If you're anything like me, too long a break will set you back for a while.

    Good luck in Rockport,

  11. A super painting with lovely tones Keith. I have to agree with you in regards to brushes and paper. I too prefer a springy synthetic brush, sables are just too soft. And for as much as I like Saunders paper I know what you mean about the sizing ... I find Arches is like painting on blotting paper. ;-)

  12. Hello Ingrid, it's good to know that I'm not alone in preferring synthetic brushes. It feels like heresy to say so sometimes. I think the very best sable brushes probably have more spring, but they are too expensive for me.

  13. I love your landscapes Keith - I do a lot of mountain walking in Snowdonia as I live in North Wales and also travel to the Lake District - I'm desperate to head up to Scotland to witness for myself the beauty of the landscape up there, thank you for sharing your art - following!

  14. Hello Sharon. Thanks for looking at my blog and joining my followers. I've joined your blog as well and I'll enjoy your rambling and art. I hope you get up to Scotland sometime, there is a real feeling of wildness and space up here that you don't get in the Lake District. I used to walk there, but I think I would find it too busy if I went back now. I'm not so familiar with North Wales.


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