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Moorland Burning

"A Hill on Fire" - watercolour -- 16 x 26 cm


When I looked out of the window the other day, I saw this plume of smoke rising from the hill across the loch. It looked dramatic and I thought it would make an interesting subject, so I decided to paint it there and then. I wasn't sure how long the effect would last, so I decided not to do any drawing; I just wet a block of paper all over and floated in various colours. As the paper dried, I gradually defined some of the forms until I had built up a soft-edged impression of the subject. Then I left it to dry and finished the harder-edged areas later.

I don't know whether this fire was accidental or deliberate. The moors are managed with controlled burning at this time of year, known locally as 'Muirburn'. The mature heather is burned off to leave tender new growth for the grouse to feed on. However we also get wildfires in dry periods, and it has been fairly dry until recently.


Comments

  1. Very dramatic painting Keith. I like it. What did you add to the blue to create the clouds? i tend to use Light Red.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Ray, it was Ultramarine and Burnt Sienna for the clouds, but I've used Light Red in the past a well.

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  2. Good Morning Keith!... yet another beautifully crafted pastoral watercolour... blended with an interesting local commentary and historical footnote!

    I so enjoy touring about with you! I'll be back to posting this next week to share my travels over the past two weeks with my brother Don... and new paintings! Excited to return to my routine!

    Happy Easter to you and your family!

    Good Painting!
    Warmest regards,
    Bruce

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    Replies
    1. Hi Bruce, I look forward to hearing your news. I hope you had a good time.

      All the best,
      Keith

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  3. A beautiful painting, Keith; it is almost possible to smell the smoke.

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    1. Thanks Diane, I hope it doesn't remind you too much of bush fires! I don't know whether you live in an area that's affected by them.

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    2. Yes, we do get bushfires where we live, though we have been lucky these last few years. On one occasion, we had to evacuate as it looked as though the fire would sweep through the entire area; on another occasion, the fire had reached the outskirts of the town (and people were preparing to evacuate) when the wind suddenly changed. Your painting does remind me of bushfires, but, when they are really bad, the whole sky is the colour of smoke, and the sun often appears like a red ball.

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    3. To have a bushfire heading your way must be a horrible experience. I'm glad you've been lucky so far, Diane.

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  4. Hi Keith, it isn't easy to paint smoke in the distance, you have managed it perfectly. The colors in your painting are really lovely.

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    1. Thanks Caroline. Yes it's tricky getting it just defined enough at the base, and then melting away into the sky above.

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  5. The hard edge of white smoke in your painting makes it look very dramatic Keith, but underneath that is a lovely sleepy highland scene painted in your lovely effortless style.

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    1. It was exactly that effect that caught my eye, Frank. I liked the way that the smoke arched over the sky and dissolved into the landscape underneath.

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