Sea Painting – Progression

I’ve returned to the coast, having painted the bog for some months now. I took some pictures of the sea when photographing plants out in Candoolin recently. This is one of the images (below). It’s nothing impressive from a photographic point of view but I like this green island shape sitting on the line of the horizon and I decided to use this in a painting.

 

Photograph of the sea taken from Candoolin, Errislannan

 

 

 

 

This is how it began below. I’ve made the island the focus of the composition and I’ve just outlined where I’m going to add some rock shapes in the foreground.

 

Sea sketch by Deborah Watkins

 

 

 

 

This is the next stage. I’ve used ink and acrylic paint together to try and portray the water as it splashes against the rocks.

 

Seascape by Deborah Watkins - second stage

 

 

 

 

Here it is after some more work (below). I’m using charcoal to describe the rocks.

 

Seascape by Deborah Watkins - third stage

 

 

 

 

I allowed the paint to dry after the last stage. I then reworked the water and the rocks in the foreground and added some detail to the island (below). While the water is an improvement, I think that the rocks looked better at an earlier stage.

 

 

Seascape by Deborah Watkins

 

 

 

 

This is the painting as I have left it (below). I darkened the rocks with more charcoal and added some gold to the centre of the piece as I felt it was a bit too monochromatic. I then added some colour to the sky and tried to keep it watery to maintain a contrast with the use of heavy paint in the foreground. I also deepened the green on the island shape. I’m calling it finished at this point as I don’t think that I can take it any further. The painting process involves lots of decisions along the way – I’m always hoping that I am making the right ones although sometimes it’s better just to let my own painting instinct  take over.  Usually there is some kind of progression taking place (but not always!) – I hope so in this case but of course it is a subjective thing. What do you think?

 

Finished seascape by Deborah Watkins

Bog Cotton Painting II

I’ve just finished working on this one. I’ve been tinkering with it for several days and at times painting is like this for me. Other paintings I can finish in one or two sittings. It’s hard for me to say which method works better but generally I think that there is more energy in the work that is finished quickly. This is how this painting began (below).

 

Landscape sketch by Deborah Watkins

 

 

 

Here it is with more colour. These two stages were carried out during the same sitting.

 

Second stage of landscape painting by Deborah Watkins

 

 

 

I returned to the piece after a few days and added lots more detail. I’ve gone a little overboard with the blue ink here and it’s quite fluid so I have to wait until it dries before I continue.

 

Third stage of landscape painting

 

 

 

This is the next stage (below). I’ve attempted to ‘tighten’ it up but I think that it has become confused. I’m definitely trying too hard here and it’s not working!

 

Fourth stage of landscape painting

 

 

 

When I return to the painting, I try to de-clutter the image by redefining the strip of bog in the centre and I use more green in the foreground (below).

 

Finished Painting by Deborah Watkins

 

 

 

This is the painting as I have left it (below). I’ve softened some of the lines in the middle ground and I’ve used some red ink to add more contrast. I am happier with it now because I think that it has more of the atmosphere of the place. I’m reluctant to take it any further at this stage so I’ll leave it for a few days before I varnish it…what do you think?

 

Finished painting by Deborah Watkins

Fields of Cotton

The last time I wrote about Bog Cotton it was May and there were just a few scattered strands. I stopped to take these photographs outside Oughterard last week because the cotton is in full bloom now. It may not be a field of cotton as sung by Credence Clearwater Revival (!) but this tiny Irish plant is a beautiful sight at this time of year.

 

Bog with cotton near Oughterard

 

 

 

These fields are carefully managed and the cotton thrives on the newly cut bog surface. My feet sink slightly into the spongy top layer as I take my picutres..

 

Photograph of Bog cotton near Oughterard

 

 

 

I love the contrast between the dark chestnut colours of the bog and the soft greens and pinks of the grasses. The bog cotton enhances the scene like sprinkles of tiny sugar shapes. There is something delicate about the appearance of the bog here in Summer that is almost magical.

In a few months, this will change again. The cotton will disappear and the colours of the heath will deepen and take on a fiery quality and a completely different mood.

 

Photograph of Oughterard Bog

 

Finished Paintings

I finished these two paintings over the weekend. The first one looked like this the last time I wrote about it.

 

Bog Painting by Deborah Watkins

 

 

 

I wasn’t satisfied with it the way it was so I worked at it some more and used a tiny brush to define the water channel. This recedes in to the background now which gives a stronger sense of distance but I’ve lost the rushing water in the foreground.  I think it’s a different piece altogether now (below), whether or not it is a better painting is another question!

 

 

 

 

This is the other piece as I left it (below).

 

Bog Painting by Deborah Watkins

 

 

I felt that I needed to do very little with this one – I just altered the line of the bog on the left slightly and added some more paint to the mountains in the background. This is the finished version (below).

 

Finished Landscape by Deborah Watkins

 

Summer Bog Painting

 

I got back to some painting again this week and I’ve returned to the bog in Oughterard which is fast becoming a favourite subject/obsession!

I worked on two small paintings – here’s how the first one started (below).

 

First stage of Oughterard Painting

 

 

 

I decided to set the composition up on a portrait page because I wanted to make this long water channel in the centre the main feature. This is how the painting progressed (below) after I had used quite a bit of paint and ink. While I’m happy with some aspects of it, the water channel is more out of control than I would like.

 

Next stage of Oughterard Bog Painting

 

 

 

I removed some of the wet colour in the centre of the piece with a paper towel and attempted to re-paint the pool.  This is how I have left it (below).

 

Last photograph of Oughterard Bog Painting

 

 

 

I’m happier with it now because there is a stronger sense of direction in the pool which moves downwards and out of the painting although the area to the right of the pool has lost some of the energy it had at the earlier stage. I’ll return to it once this layer of colour has dried and make a decision on what to do with it next. This is the second painting I started (below).

 

First stage of the next bog Painting by Deborah Watkins

 

 

 

This one is on a landscape page. I want to make this large area of newly cut bog the main interest here. I worked quickly with lots of paint and ink together. This is how I have left the piece (below).

 

Next stage of Oughterard bog Painting

 

 

 

I have tried to set up a contrast between the silky darkness of the cut bog surface and the green growth that surrounds it. I feel reasonably happy with how it has turned out although I need to ‘tidy’ it up a bit when the paint is dry. There are some unwanted speckles and a little bare patch that I’ve just noticed!  I’ll also need to straighten up the ‘line’ of the bog on the left of the piece as its unevenness makes it seem a bit like a black river. What do you think?

It’s a question of just the right amount of control for me so that I allow the paint and ink to move in order that the piece has some kind of energy about it but that I pull it back when it moves too far away from where I want the painting to go..

New Heron sketch

I returned to the subject of the Heron to day. I approached this one in two stages. The first photo shows as much as I did at the first sitting – I decided to leave a white space for the Heron rather than working it over the background as I did with the last piece.

 

Painting of Heron, Stage 1

 

 

I completed the sketch when the first layer of paint and ink was completely dry. I also worked in a little more charcoal and some white chalk highlights when the second layer of paint was dry.

 

Painting of Heron, Stage 2

 

 

There is always the danger of overworking a piece that requires careful detail as with the heron in this case, but I am reasonably happy that I haven’t done that here.