Skip to main content

Dawn Light

"Sheep in the Light of Dawn" - watercolour - 25 x 36 cm

I had to be out earlier than usual recently, before dawn. I wasn't expecting to be doing any artwork but I always have my sketchbook with me, just in case. It was a cold grey morning and rather uninteresting, but then the sun rose above the clouds and lit up the landscape. A group of sheep were caught in the light, making a subject which I couldn't resist sketching, despite the freezing temperature. A few pencil lines and colour notes were all that I needed to make a painting back in the warmth of my studio.


  1. Hi there Keith!... A great "capture".. that wooly mound of warmth! Another fine plein air gem Keith!

    Have sketchbook... will travel... and subjects arise and present themselves out of no where!

    Good Painting!
    Warmest regards,

    1. Thanks Bruce, a sketchbook is one of the most important tools in the box isn't it.

      All the best,

  2. Wonderful sky and foreground light Keith. What paper did you use?

    1. Thanks Ray. The paper was Fabriano Artistico 300 gsm, Cold Pressed, Extra White.

  3. What a beautiful rural scene Keith. You've captured the sky and feeling of distance so well. Marvellous.

  4. The Dawn light in this is amazing Keith and I'm always in awe that you can produce something like this from nothing more than a quick sketch and some colour notes.

    1. Thanks John. It's surprising how much we can remember from sketching a subject, if we are prepared to trust our memories. Before photography artists had to work in this way, but I think we have lost something by relying more on photographs.


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Moorland Fire

Moorland Fire Watercolour 25 x 36 cm
There is a definite feeling of approaching autumn now, with some cooler days and more unsettled weather. It hardly seems any time at all since the spring, when there was a long spell of dry weather and the moors were tinder-dry. There were a number of serious fires at the time and several nature reserves were badly damaged. I think they were mostly caused by accident or carelessness this time, but unfortunately there are people who seem to get satisfaction from starting fires deliberately.

The fire in this painting is of a different kind. Every year between, autumn and spring, shooting estates burn off small patches of moorland to leave a patchwork of heather. This encourages the breeding of grouse, with the old growth providing cover and the new shoots providing food. The operation has to be done very carefully, because fires can easily get out of control, and once the underlying peat starts to burn it can burn for days and is very difficult to p…

Christmas Wishes

A couple of my latest watercolours and -

Best Wishes to all for Christmas

"The Fuel Bowser", Watercolour, 24 x 18 cm

"View at Skelbo", Watercolour, 16 x 26 cm

Trying Out a Pochade Box

I had an old box for storing photographic transparencies that wasn't being used any more. It was just the right size to make a good pochade box, so I thought I would see what I could do with it. I fitted out the lid to hold two 8 x 10 inch panels, with the base holding the paints and brushes and a palette holding everything in place.

For its first trial I took it out to the same location as the previous post. This time it was raining, so it was an ideal opportunity to see how I would get on painting with the pochade inside my vehicle. It worked very well in the cramped conditions and was very easy to use.

When I had finished I just closed the lid and went home. Later, when I opened the box again, I found a blob of Pthalo Green right in the middle of the painting! I think the wood that I used for the palette was too flexible, so it had got pushed up into the lid. I was using acrylics, so normally it would have been easy to wash the green off. Unfortunately, I was trying out Atelie…