Acrylic on paper painting:‘Farne Islands and Black Point’
The Farne Islands on the horizon, seen from Black Point, are often caught by dramatic lighting.
Sitting high on a bank overlooking the ladnscape of Bamburgh beach, I settled down to paint a scene I know well: Black Point Rocks. The rocks fold, and curve in an artistically challenging way, I assume, betraying ancient upheavel.
The richness here is surprising. As an artist, the shapes and texture are enthralling. Then there's the wildlife, the light on the sea, and in the distance the various changing silhouettes of the islands.
This is an acrylic on paper, painted on location in the fresh sea air. Should I decide to make a studio painting inspired by it, I'll be sure to include the wildlife I know dwells in this special place.
Eider duck, Cormorants, Oystercatchers and Rock Pippets in the Summer, as well as other passing visitors migrating up or down the coast. The black dot in the sky is a note to myself to remember the Rock Pippet especially, but also all the others.
Though I've not called it out in this painting, the light on the Farne Islands in the distance is beguiling at times. In a larger painting, I'll have the scope to express, in their full glory, some of the effects I observed and sketched.
This painting is one of many I made while staying for a week during a so‑so June. While there seemed to be a permanent cold wind, forcing me to retreat after a while to warm up, the light was often beautifully bright.
When I found a sheltered spot, and the sun was out, I rapidly got too hot! All part of the adventure that's painting outside, of course. The week was an example of the English Summer in all its richness.
original study painting
- Artwork Size: 29.7 x 42.0 cm (11.69 x 16.53 ins)
- Paper Size: A3
- Medium: acrylic
- Paper: 300lb watercolour paper
The Summer before, when I wasn't able to visit Bamburgh Castle, had been one of the most consistently hot for a long-long time. What a contrast my week at Bamburgh was, as I alternately shivered, and then sweated.
Each trip has been very different, both in terms of the weather, and where I've been on my journey as an artist.
It had been three years since my last visit when I painted this. My outside painting confidence had had three years to develop and the difference in my confidence shows in both the amount of work I completed and the quality of it.
I was able to adapt to the changeability in the weather this time. I went for a strategy of quick set‑up painting eschewing my pochade for a sketchbook on my knees instead. It takes a while to develop the skills needed for outdoor landscape art.
The first year (my previous trip) I made lots of compositional sketches. This time I painted while thinking about how I'd approach a studio oil painting.
In another three years, when I'd like to think I'll be there again, who knows where my painting skills will be. It'll be a fabulous artistic adventure no doubt, because it always is.