Monday, July 6, 2015

Barn Red Boat Shed

We arrived on Cranberry Island yesterday and today was a hot sunny day.  One of the first things I unpack when I arrive is my box of pastels. It sits in the loft of the barn and is a series of little boxes organised by colour with lots of little pieces of pastels from unison to super hard sticks.  I also have some bigger sets which I borrow from. I brought some pads from England but for some reason when I created a few pastel/alcohol grounds before setting out, the paper buckled.  In the end I used a smooth water colour pad that I had earmarked for gouache collages instead.

It was afternoon when I had my first opportunity to do some drawing. What with the heat and the start of the mosquito season, I was not ready to step outside the confines of the garden fence. As I walked through the garden, I noticed that red barn on the shore is more visible than last year and thought it had plenty of complexity to help me switch off what Matt Khan calls, 'conscious intent or calculation'.  Today I limited myself to seven colours and then added a dark brown to get a darker value. It was slow going to begin with, in fact I was working pretty randomly at first, but once I had lots of colour down and started using my eraser I began to enjoy myself. It was that big pink woodchip path and those conifers that marked the turning point. the silver young silver birches helped me find the calligraphy.
I decided to ignore the fence. Elizabeth Mowry's advice, 'nature requires editing for the sake of clarity' is helpful to remember even when it's a fence not just a digitalis leaf. Last year the fence dominated. 

Always great to be back on Cranberry Island and to take my easel outdoors!