Thursday, April 17, 2014

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.


Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Returning to Nature

"Returning to Nature" - watercolour - 35 x 25 cm



When I first saw this scene from a distance, at Achscrabster Quarry, it looked like some kind of unusual tree. It was only when I got closer that I could see that it was a chimney completely covered with foliage, and what I had thought was just a patch of woodland, was a range of old buildings which were also becoming overgrown. It always fascinates me how, over time, nature can completely obliterate the works of Man.


By Keith Tilley