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

North Coast 500

In 2015 the North Highland Initiative started a project to boost tourism in the northern counties of Scotland. The idea was to publicise a 500 mile route through Inverness-shire, Ross & Cromarty, Sutherland and my home county of Caithness, and promote it as a superb road trip. I don't know how successful they expected it to be, but it has quickly become very popular and has been called one of the top five coastal routes in the World. In fact its popularity is becoming a problem for the local residents: some of the roads are single-track, with bays at intervals to allow two vehicles to pass each other, but there is an etiquette for their use that strangers are not always aware of. The result is that local people going about their business find themselves held up by slow-moving tourist vehicles, so if you use the route please pull over and allow other vehicles to pass. The amount of traffic will probably also cause damage to the roads, which were not intended for heavy use. Desp…

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

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…