East Pentland Hills from Ratho – Watercolour and Ink in a Watercolour Moleskine
I am amazed at how clear the winter weather is making things look. The left hand hills are a good 15 miles away but they looked really close when I captured this scene. The same is true when I look in the opposite direction and view the Ochill Hills over in Fife. They look very close. I believe its all to do with the aerial perspective being diminished by the dense cold air.
Bridge Inn, Ratho – Ink and Watercolour in a Watercolour Moleskine
This is copied from a recent photo taken during last week’s snow. I’ve taken hundreds of local snapshots so will be able to bore you all for ages with my “Brrrr” paintings. I love the snow – especially when I don’t have to travel far in it. Most of my recent outings have been around the village as transport has ground to a halt and has caused great problems for those who need to travel. Schools were also shut. Now that the snow has begun to melt there is a sense of some relief but more is forecast for Wednesday night. What a great winter this is turning out to be.
Winter Chaos – Watercolour and Gel paints in a “NEW” A4 Watercolour Moleskine
Although it looks nice (in real life – probably not in this attempt) it gets quite difficult to get cars up this steep hill. We stay halfway up it – our house is the one on the right. As soon as it gets snowy or icy the surface becomes littered with vehicles, stuck in different positions. This means that snow ploughs and gritters have little room to work with and things grind to a halt. We have been effectively marooned for a week but things are getting back to normal – until the next snowfall that is. Its lovely and quiet here – He! He!
My favourite view – Watercolour in a Watercolour Moleskine
This attempts to show the view, from Tormain Woods in Ratho, towards Edinburgh. This area forms part of a regular walk for me but never fails to impress. The woods were formed, a long time ago, around the edges of local farms. When the fields were initially cleared lots of large boulders, like the ones shown, were pushed towards the fields’ edges and this ground became useless for farming. Later on vast amounts of beech trees were planted, probably as nursery trees to give some sort of shelter from the prevailing westerly winds. You can tell, by the way the foliage in this tree is “wind sculpted” which direction the weather normally prevails. Now that lots of these trees have reached maturity far-sighted farmers have introduced a programme of planting new trees – represented by the saplings in the foreground. Although I have only shown two of these there must be many hundreds in the woods. A promise planted for the future. You can see some photos of Tormain Woods by accessing this shot and navigating from there:
Looking further afield Edinburgh Castle is on the horizon just above the right edge of the rocks and about ten miles away. To the right of the castle is the dormant volcano, Arthur’s Seat, which dominates the skyline around the city. The rounded hill, just under the beech tree itself is Corstorphine Hill, one of the main “Seven Hills of Edinburgh”. More shots of Corstorphine Hill can be seen by navigating around this photo:
Going Home – Acrylic/Ink in a Watercolour Moleskine
This is, Dalmahoy Road, the main road into our village. It joins the busy A71 route into the west side of Edinburgh and is just over one mile in length. Most of the four access points are about one mile from Ratho so this guarantees a seasonably quiet village existence. This doesn’t mean Dalmahoy Road is quiet itself. It is often quite busy and, because it is quite twisty in parts, can appear a bit nerve-racking to visitors. This scene was inspired by the last few minutes of a video I shot from the car (I wasn’t driving). See what you think – and remember we drive on the left in Scotland.
The night I discovered Payne’s Grey – Watercolour in a small Watercolour Moleskine
This is a small painting of one of the local farms as seen during a bike run a day or so ago. It looks nice and tranquil here but, like many farms, is actually a bit of a midden, especially the surrounds. I will not name the place to avoid litigation but have used artistic license to tidy it up a bit.
There has been a bit of discussion, in a recent forum thread, about portable watercolour boxes and working “plein air”, so much so that I decided to resurrect my old set and do this with the paints inside during my bike run. It looked so much different, when I finished, compared to some of my recent stuff then I realised that the “darks” were done with Payne’s Grey – a colour in the box which I tend to avoid now. In fact, I got so fed up with Payne’s Grey destroying my early artistic attempts I wrote this (apologies to Frederick Loewe/Alan J Lerner – “The night they invented champagne)
The Night I discovered Payne’s Grey
My Indigo was “oot”, Vermilion Kaput.
The night I discovered Payne’s Grey
Well, what was I to do, needing a darker hue.
When suddenly a tube of the stuff
Landed beside me with a thud.
Now everything I paint
Becomes an awful pain
Each masterpiece transformed into a sea of blue, grey m…u…d.
Old Quarry Wall, EICA – Acrylic in a Watercolour Moleskine
The Edinburgh International climbing Arena (EICA) is built inside an old quarry which was mined for stone in years gone past. It lies about one mile to the west of Ratho and, apart from superb facilities for climbing also has, among other things, a great gym where your truly makes a spectacle of himself occasionally. This is the view as seen from the treadmill fitness machines. Part of the original quarry has been left in it “natural state” so that folks can climb outdoors. As I struggle to loose weight I can watch these people work their way upwards or just enjoy the view of the trees, left after the building work was completed. Years ago, when our boys were very young, and members of the local cub scouts, “sausage sizzles” were organised in this place. It must have been of some benefit as they are now competent cooks and, like their father, will never starve to death.
I’ve described EICA, on Skineart before, but thought you might like to see what it actually looks like. Someone has put a couple of videos on you tube and part 1 just about shows what I tried to paint here.
I did this painting after a couple of coincidences. John Stremikis and I were discussing how hard drawing stonework was. I offered to try to simplify the procedure by attempting something like this post. About the same time I was contacted, on flickr, by someone wanting to become one of my contacts. I am sure that
Now the thaw – Watercolour in a Watercolour Moleskine
After playing around with other paints I’ve decided to include a scene in watercolour – my favourite medium. I find the best thing about this stuff, when doing “Wet into Wet, is the way certain parts almost paint themselves (see the front area under the fence).
This is the reverse view of yesterday’s post looking towards Edinburgh from the top end of the village. The snow is almost gone in this scene and the grasses in the fields are beginning to poke through. We haven’t seen this since late November and the local farmer will be in a hurry to get this area ploughed so that the summer cereal crops can be sowed.
The Old Hotel Grounds – Gouache in a Watercolour Moleskine
This is my 33rd post this year, the goal being to fill an A4 Moleskine given as a Christmas present. The object was to record wintry scenes (Brrr scenes). Since six posts were in smaller Moleys I still have three more to go in this book. Its extremely hard work and I am full of admiration for those of you who do this for a living. This painting shows a similar attempt to yesterday’s post as I try to get acquainted with gouache. The scene shows the grounds of the, long gone Craigpark Hotel which stood at the west end of Ratho. Its grounds are now being developed for housing but progress is slow. It seems as if every part of our area is being developed at the moment although the recent recession has put the brakes on things. Since our house is just down the hill, past the houses on the right, we hope that there will not be too much noise and disturbance when building resumes.
This is drawn with black ink to match my mood. After almost five weeks of wonderful snowy conditions we have regressed towards the usual wet, gloomy conditions typical of an Edinburgh January. I’m already missing the wonderful colours reflected in the snow. Most of the weather is now from the Atlantic, warmed by the gulf Stream which gives us reasonably high temperatures when compared with the mainland of Europe. Snow and coldness comes when the wind is from the north or east. Never mind. There is still time for more snow and, if the mild weather continues, it means we will have an early spring – unless it rains!!!