A new exhibition went up in the Tolbooth Lanark last weekend, titled ‘Coasts and Rivers’. This is Lanark’s invitation for local artists to participate in Scotland’s 2020 celebration of:
‘Scotland’s Year of Coasts and Waters, a year that will spotlight, celebrate and promote opportunities to experience and enjoy Scotland’s unrivalled coasts and waters encouraging responsible engagement and participation from the people of Scotland and our visitors’.
It’s a step away from my usual buildings but for the past couple of years I’ve been exploring ways to express the beautiful landscape up here through attending a variety of art classes.
I’d been attending a year long drawing/mixed media course held at Paintbox School of Art in Cockenzie until lockdown threw that curve ball. Some of the classes went online so I signed up for their artist’s retreat and one of the morning meditation classes had the theme of oceans.
It involved filling a dozen or so sheets of A4 paper with a whole variety of fluid marks, the movement of ink on wet paper flowing to the sounds of the sea shore. I used three inks – Paynes grey and two blues, plenty of water for misting, sticks and feathers and the bottle dropper to make marks.
I set aside the papers to use as collage for the entry to the Oceans exhibition, thinking about the image of the Hebridean sea that I photographed on our way to St Kilda a few years ago. I wrote about it here.
Some weeks later, I prepared a surface with broad sweeping brush marks in similar colours but using acrylic paint to form a foundation layer, adding in some textured medium. I then tore a few sheets of the collage paper into narrow curved strips and layered them on to the base layer.
I then used inktense sticks to add highlights and deeper shadows.
Finally, to add the metallic sheen to the highlights, I added silver gouache using a cocktail stick held on its side to create irregular fillets of light.
Here’s the finished artwork. I did a double check on the tonal values by seeing how it looked in black and white and was happy with the result.
‘Hebridean Waters’ framed and ready for the exhibition! There’s a wide and interesting variety of work up in the Tolbooth, I think the subject has been appealing and just what we need to get us back in the flow!
Thanks for reading and if you live near Lanark, hope you can come along. The subject has generated some really beautiful and soothing art.