Thursday, 20 August 2009

Taking a Knife to it

Continuing with my knife practice has become the latest mission and so out again at the first opportunity to try it at one of my favourite locations. The stretch of cliffs near Souter lighthouse has all sorts of interesting shapes, but as can be seeen from the photograph taken on the day we can't guarantee decent light. It was windy, so a sheltered cove it had to be, and the light conditions were flat and dull, never the best conditions for me, particularly at the moment when I'm trying to improve colour work and knife technique. The knife lends itself to making bold statements, ideal when the light provides clear tonal demarcations and easily differentiated colour. I think that my hesitancy is evident in some of the passages in this piece. It took longer than usual to paint this, over three hours, and only rarely did any light get through. The thing that takes the time is the decision making and subsequent restating of areas that need adjustment. There is a serious amount of paint on this canvas. Maybe the lesson lies in choosing subject matter more appropriate to the technique in the prevailing conditions, so for instance this subject might have better been rendered in watercolour or pen and wash. Never mind another day another lesson, but the knife felt a little more comfortable in this session. The next trip here will have to wait till there is a coincidence between domestic duties and the appearance of the sun, when hopefully the palette will shift towards a brighter range of colour.

Souter Cliffs - Photograph

Souter Cliffs - Oil on canvas board 12" x 10"


Anonymous said...

Mick, I love taking your voyage of discovery with you through your painting blog. This looks like a great place to paint, but it looks cold! It wold be interesting if you went back next week and did indeed make quick watercolour studies or thumbnails.

Btw.....I have just discovered a way of preparing light weight boards, which is much quicker than how I used to prepare them. I'll post about it on my main art blog in case you are interested.

Do you find you need a heavier weave of canvas for your knife work?

Mick Carney said...

Maggie - Thanks. Look forward to reading your new board method as I'm running out and ready to make a decision as to how to go about the re-stock. At the moment I'm using up my supply of Loxley canvas boards. Having tried a number of types I settled on these as the most consistent in quality and they are the same medium weave that I usually use. My aim is to switch over to linen having just tried a couple of stretched canvases, I like the feel but there is no supplier of linen board that I can find in this country, so do it myself beckons.

Mary Sheehan Winn said...

Great work on this and awesome scenery. Reminds me of Nova Scotia.

Mick Carney said...

Mary - We are very lucky to have this sort of thing on the doorstep. Thanks for visiting.