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Showing posts from 2009

Autumn on Wick River

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Autumn on Wick River Acrylic 8 x 10 inches (20.5 x 25.5 cm) It was a very wet day yesterday, so I went over to Wick. I painted this acrylic from the back of the van with the doors open. The river isn't dried-up like the Rhine in René's paintings . At this point it's not far from the sea so it's still tidal.

Painting Equipment

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A friend was asking today about my equipment for painting outdoors, so I thought I would show my set-up here. I use a lightweight watercolour box, into which I squeeze tube colours. I have a selection of brushes for different sizes of paintings. I usually only use one or two. I like to paint standing up, so I use a lightweight easel. This is made up from a camera tripod and a board, with a special plate for attaching it to the tripod. I often have my paper taped onto a thin piece of MDF or card, so that it is easier to handle in the wind. I then clip this watercolour board to the board on my easel. If I am walking a long way I usually leave the easel behind to save weight. In that case I sit on the ground to paint. I might even fill my paintbox before I go out and leave the tubes behind. Plate for attaching to tripod

Altnabreac

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Water Tower at Altnabreac Watercolour, 16 x 24 cm Altnabreac must be one of the most remote railway stations in the UK. It is 4 miles from the end of the nearest public road and 15 miles from the nearest village with shops etc. There are only a couple of houses and all around is a large area of forestry plantations and peat bogs. Only two or three trains pass in each direction per day, I think, and it's mostly used by hikers. Altnabreac Station The Road from Altnabreac

Mission-house at Dirlot

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Mission-house at Dirlot Watercolour, 22 x 33 cm This is the old Presbyterian chapel and mission-house at Dirlot. There seems to have been a minister here from the late 18th Century. He was known as a Missionary and his house was the Mission-house. His Mission covered a very large area of boggy moorland and he would have covered most of it on foot. They took their religion very seriously in those days!

Ben Stack

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Ben Stack Watercolour, 23 x 34 cm I've been over to Sutherland for a couple of days to do some hill-walking, mainly to climb Foinaven. What an amazing landscape it is! The rocks are 3 billion years old and the area has been designated as a Geopark. I couldn't wait to do some paintings from the sketches I made as soon as I got back. Foinaven is just out of view to the left of the painting. My route onto the mountain was up the rocky spur on the left. It was very steep and I was getting quite hot in the sun. I finally reached the summit ridge and the cloud immediately came down, completely blotting out the views. I waited for a while but it didn't look like clearing so I headed back down. No sooner had I reached the foot of the mountain than the cloud cleared! Oh well, at least I have an excuse to go back there. North West Highlands Geopark

The Ring of Brodgar

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The Ring of Brodgar Watercolour, 23 x 34 cm The Ring of Brodgar stands at the centre of a Neolithic ritual landscape in the west Mainland of Orkney. The area is considered so important that it has been given the status of a World Heritage Site. More information here I love ancient sites like this. They have the same sense of timelessness that I find in mountains and wild landscapes. There is a feeling of countless generations of people coming and going and yet, through the ages, these stones have stood here virtually unchanged.

The Town of Gold

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In Strath Kildonan Watercolour, 24 x 35 cm Strath Kildonan became the scene of a Scottish gold rush when, in 1869, significant quantities of gold were found in two tributaries of the Helmsdale River. Around 600 prospectors made their way to the remote glen and two tented camps were set up. One of them was near the bridge at Baile an Or, which means 'Town of Gold' in Gaelic. More information

The North Face of Cairn Lochan

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The North Face of Cairn Lochan Watercolour, 34 x 25 cm Here is another mountain painting. Actually, it's another cliff painting as well! I'm trying to concentrate more on shapes and values and less on texture. I think it worked well with this one.

Liathach, "The Grey One"

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Liathach, "The Grey One" Watercolour, 24 x 35 cm I felt like painting a mountain, so I did this one from a sketch I made last year. Liathach means "The Grey One" in Gaelic. It is in Torridon, an area where the rock is mainly sandstone and the mountains are weathered into dramatic shapes.

Wind Turbines at Forss

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Wind Turbines at Forss Watercolour, 16.5 x 25 cm Some windmills for my Dutch readers! It's interesting to think that just out of sight, behind the wind-turbines, is Dounreay Nuclear Power Station (which is being dismantled now). What a contrast!

Comings and Goings

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Most of the geese have flown north for the summer now. There are still a few stragglers around though, or maybe they are passing through from further south. The swans left a while ago. The lochs will be quiet now and the sea cliffs will become the noisy places, with their colonies of nesting birds - the Puffins always make me smile! Startled Geese Watercolour, 10 x 14 inches, 25 x 35 cm

Tugboat at Wick

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Sometimes a subject catches my eye, even when it isn't the sort of thing I would normally paint. In this case I think it was the saturated colours which interested me, or maybe I was inspired by René's boat paintings! Tugboat at Wick Acrylic, 8 x 10 inches, 20 x 25 cm I used my usual 'Secondary Palette', but I had to use a brighter red - Scarlet Lake (Arylamide, PR188). The basic palette is: Raw Sienna Burnt Sienna Permanent Rose French Ultramarine Pthalo Blue (green shade) Pthalo Green (yellow shade) When I need a brighter red/orange or yellow I use Scarlet Lake and Winsor Yellow.

Flagstone Wall

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Flagstone walls are a common feature of the Caithness landscape. The rocks of this area are mostly sandstones and they split easily into slabs. At one time flagstones were being exported to pave the streets of cities all over the world. The flags also make good wind-proof walls if they are set upright in the ground. Sadly, they are being replaced with modern wire fencing and many, like this one, are falling into disrepair. A Flagstone Wall Watercolour, 10 x 14 inches, 25 x 35 cm