Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Cave Cove- finished painting

I could have put the word "finished" in inverted commas, but I've reached the stage where I don't want to do any more. I've hopefully suggested the tussock grass without getting too involved in detail. In the end, I feel I've learnt quite a bit in tackling this subject, and feel a bit more confident in trying to paint more scenes with tussock grass in them. Useful, given that tussock grass is everywhere at low level on South Georgia.

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Cave Cove- painting in progress

Working from the sketch I made on site, I'm now engaged on a half-imperial( 22x15") painting using arches 300gsm rough paper. I'm delaying tackling the foreground tussock grass till last, as I haven't really worked out a way of dealing with this yet. Ideally I should have been less impetuous and sketched out some more ideas and experimented a bit before committing to paper, but I was keen to get started.
Here are a few work-in-progress shots, although this is my favourite size of paper to work in I do find it a bit large to truly adopt a wet-on-wet approach.

Sunday, 24 March 2013

Following seas

I've worked the quick sketch I did of large following seas into a finished painting. A smaller size than I usually work on, 27x40 cm, and I tried a more wet-on-wet approach with this one. I haven't concentrated on detail, but have gone for a more impressionistic approach:

Thursday, 21 March 2013

Grytviken church- finished painting

I've just finished the full imperial sized (30x22") painting of Grytviken church; I've darkened the shadows on both distant and middle distant mountains, which has brought the church out a bit.

Propeller graveyard, Stromness

I've just been working on a painting of the abandoned propellers on the beach at Stromness. These are a leftover from the time when Stromness became a ship repair base, and are much photographed- in part, I suspect, because they lie on the edge of the 200m health and safety exclusion zone.
There is a sculptural, surreal aspect to the shapes, and they make a great painting subject. This is on grey paper, with white body colour for the snow, and (very sparingly) for one or two highlights on the propellers themselves.

Friday, 15 March 2013

Grytviken church- work in progress

I've been working on a full imperial-sized (22x30") painting of Grytviken church, based on the sketch  I put on a previous blog post. To scale up the sketch, the full-sized version is around 1.8/1.9 times the sketch size. As I don't possess a pantograph, and the maths were too much for me, I opted for the simpler solution of just scaling it up x2. Whilst this doesn't sound much different from the 1.8/1.9 scaling, I was worried that the church might appear too large in the finished painting. The aim in the sketch was to show the church dwarfed by the surrounding landscape.
I did a cartoon on cartridge paper rather than drawing straight on to the arches 300gm watercolour paper, as I wanted to get the drawing of the church just right. Seeing it from a sitting position, and slightly off to one side, there is already a degree of distortion which needs careful treatment. After a bit of trial and error, I was reasonably satisfied with the proportions:


I'm part way through the finished painting, having started with the sky (not too happy), then the distant mountain (better) and the middle distance rocks behind the church. With a bit of ultramarine for shadow, it is now starting to take shape.    

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Grytviken Cinema

As I mentioned in my previous post, this was the cinema that existed close to the church until recently. I don't know who took this photo, apologies if Im infringing any copyright. It makes you wonder what it would have taken to preserve the exterior structure- presumably quite a lot given the weather down here.

Monday, 11 March 2013

Grytviken church

A quick sketch of Grytviken church, which has recently been restored. It's very atmospheric inside, and I was treated to an Impromptu organ recital whilst  sat sketching the interior. The surroundings are now clear of industrial debris, but one sad loss is the former Grytviken Cinema. I'm not sure when this finally disappeared but there are pictures of it semi-collapsed in the 1980s on the Internet. A shame, as it looked a very interesting building and gave a glimpse of another facet of life in South Georgia during the whaling heyday.
The sketch is not quite as crinkly as it seems , this is due to the glancing light when I took the iPad picture. Again, I think this might make a good large scale subject and must stretch a sheet of full imperial to tackle this.

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Random sketches, Ocean Harbour

Until I get some more finished works to show, I just thought I would upload a page from the sketchbook- various quick studies of penguins and the odd piece of rusting ironmongery that is such a feature of the place. Again, hardly finished pieces, but I always like the immediacy of field sketches however basic.

Monday, 4 March 2013

Hans the Flenser

To raise funds for the Rat Eradication Project, an auction was held on board ship. I was asked to illustrate  a poem about the largest blue whale ever recorded, which was landed at Grytviken (and hence the largest animal ever known to exist).
The Rat Eradication Project, as the name suggests, is a project to get rid of the introduced rats on South Georgia . This is a colossal undertaking involving helicopter drops of poison bait. It's also a race against time before the glaciers recede and allow the current discrete populations to merge.
due to a printer malfunction, I had to re-do the final page, I've only got a photo of the double-printed original one. It should be clear enough to read though.

Ocean Harbour- the Bayard

A quick sketch of SS Bayard, with elephant seal and whale vertebrae in the foreground. Very quickly done due to the onset of rain, and i'm not happy with how the elephant seal looks. I guess that is in the nature of elephant seals though, their facial appearance changes a lot depending on how squashed their nose is when they are lying down.
The Bayard, incidentally was built in Liverpool and wrecked here when it broke loose from its moorings on the other side of the harbour in a gale.