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Showing posts from September, 2013

In the Spirit of Turner

"Fishing Boats in a Squall" - watercolour - 16 x 26 cm

Another painting inspired by the sort of subject that interested Turner, although he would have made a much better job of it of course. I painted this entirely from imagination.
This is another exhibit in the Wave North Exhibition at Caithness Horizons.

A Rough Crossing

"A Rough Crossing" - watercolour - 16 x 26 cm

This is the ferry that runs between Scrabster, in Caithness, and Stromness, in Orkney. I didn't tie myself to a ship's mast in a storm as JMW Turner is reputed to have done, but it felt a bit like it. I was at the sea-front in Thurso and the wind was so strong that I was having trouble staying on my feet. At one point I was being blown along and could only stop myself by clinging to a lamppost. I thought the ship and the stormy conditions made a dramatic subject, but all I could do in circumstances was take a blurry photograph. It was enough though, with my memory, to make this painting in more comfortable conditions.
This painting will be on show, with several others, at the Wave North Exhibition at Caithness Horizons in Thurso throughout October.

Homemade Watercolour Blocks

Here is a tip for people who like the idea of using watercolour blocks, but don't like the price of the ones that you can buy: it's not difficult to make your own.
You will need 10 to 15 sheets of watercolour paper cut to a little larger than the size you want the finished block to be; a similar-sized piece of mountboard or stiff card (it should be acid-free if possible); two more similar-sized pieces of thick card of any type; PVA adhesive; a sharp craft knife and a heavy cutting guide.
Make the watercolour paper into a stack with the piece of mountboard at the bottom, and mark out on the top sheet the exact size of the block.

Cut down through all of the sheets and the card to leave a clean edge. This needs to be done carefully as it's easy to let the angle of the knife drift and end up with a bevelled edge. It won't affect the function of the block, but it doesn't look so good. The best way is to use a light pressure and gradually cut through. From this point try no…

The Dounreay Dome

"The Dounreay Dome" - watercolour - 13 x 18 cm

I don't think a final decision has been reached yet about whether to preserve the Dounreay Dome. The nuclear reactor is being decommissioned, but the process will take another thirty years or so. The last I heard was that the dome is contaminated and will cost too much to clean up. Also, other parts of the site are contaminated as well and it is unlikely the public will be allowed access for three hundred years. I don't see why that means that the dome has to be demolished though. To me. its value is not in what may or may not be seen inside it by visitors, but in its place in the landscape. It is such an iconic symbol of the first operational nuclear power station in the UK, and as much a part of Caithness as the other natural and man-made features of the county. The main cost of preserving the dome seems to be the need to repaint it every ten years. Hopefully the money can be found for that and the decision can be put…