I spent most of a week recently on holiday in the Trossachs in Scotland. Lucky enough not to be rained on, nor bitten by midges (timed it just right) and well able to enjoy the lush countryside, the watery brooks, lochs and dam, and also the broad and mighty mountainsides from the steam ship The Walter Scott on Loch Katrine. Loving the natural world here, seeing horned Highland Cows, watching scatty curly horned sheep and a rather domineering greater spotted woodpecker, and desperately trying to spot a golden eagle (like I was ever going to LOL). One highlight for us was a squirrel hide, set up so that visitors to the David Marshall Lodge (a natural park) could witness the antics of the pesky red squirrel, and even four at once at one time!
Castlerigg Stone Circle in the Lake District
Red Squirrels in Scotland
Loch Katrine in the Trossachs
Service Station Crow
Only I could be found taking multiple pictures by the car of a ragged crow at a service station car park for more art reference!
So the perfect location to stay as we did is The Ridings at Brig O Turk, which is in the middle of everything you need whilst in the middle of the lush countryside, with the Ben Venue mountain as a backdrop. Beautiful walks, the local pub (The Byre) and the Brig O Turk Cafe with legendary cream cakes!
Locally cows are an easy subject for drawing as they roam far and wide on natural commons near where I live. The only issue with these cows was unless they were walking on the roads and holding up the traffic you do not get to see their feet!
I took on a walk this morning and came across the….
The Singular Lesser Legged Lama,
and a seemingly one legged Mallard Duck with the sleeping legless female. Note the angle of the supporting leg allowing that rather bulbous body sit centrally on one foot. And what glorious colours in that blue green head.
You hear of artists taking months or even year or years to paint a picture. Obviously they are not painting at it all the time, just as a writer may not be physically writing a novel over that sort of period either. I have just finished the painting below, but alongside this one I have four other paintings on the go at the moment. One of these has taken four months or more since its inception before Christmas. It is now loitering on a table in my studio sometimes becoming buried in paper and sketches, resurfacing to remind me that it still exists and that I need to pursue the finishing touches. Initially the painting had a lot of momentum, and I have recognised that areas that go slow or even grind to a halt are where there are areas where I was not thorough in my pre-planning. It is not the painting but the decision making that can take time. As an artist I might hope that I will find resolve with time almost as if the painting might just fix itself, but ultimately the decision may have to be forced.
The Duck In a Jug Painting
The Duck In The Jug below was kind of easy. I had produced an ACEO some time ago along these lines and so I already knew what I was going to do but then I wanted to do a much bigger painting which was a bit more sophisticated and to throw in the tulips as an extra feature.
And so now I need to get back to some decision making…