For nearly 17 years, I have been going up to the Isle of Skye and for the last 7 visits, we have stayed at Teeny’s Cottage. The owners, Denis and Rose, are the most wonderful hosts and the cottage itself is wonderful. Teeny’s is an original 19th century croft that overlooks Loch Snizort. For an upcoming visit, I have decided to paint a picture of Teeny’s Cottage to give to Denis and Rose. I have made a start. First, I used a grid to sketch an outline drawing on to tracing paper.
In my photo of the cottage there are 4 chairs on the decking, but I have decided to reduce this to 2, symbolizing Denis and Rose. I chose a A3 piece of Bristol Board, which is smooth and bright white. It won’t take many layers of pencil but will prove a nice support I hope. I lined over the pencil outline of my sketch with a permanent fineliner, a Prismcolor one, then turned over and used a Derwent Sketching pencil (2B) to go ver my lines again. Then blu-tacking the tracing paper in place on my Bristol Board, I went over the sketch again transferring it to the support.
The Sketching pencil leaves a clear and soft transfer. Learning from my last piece, that coloured pencil doesn’t cover graphite too well, I used a blob of blu-tack, dabbing it on the graphite lines as I went, lifting them off the page enough to cover but still visible to follow.
I started the cottage walls using Prismacolours, Cream, White and a variety of greys.
The Prismas create dust very easily on this paper and, I find, are difficult to layer. So I decided to stick with them for the large areas, and move onto a finer, harder pencil for the details. Here my Caran D’Ache Pablos join the party. And that’s where we are.
18th June 2011
As we are off to Skye soon, I knew I had to get a lot done on this painting this weekend. I left off last time at the flowerpots.
I realise I have skipped a few steps but the flowers and walls were done little by little over the course of a week and the steps were too small to document. But today I have sat for a good few hours and have progressed quite a bit. I used Caran D’Ache Pablos for the flowers and just picked pencils as the colours dictated. I selected a few pencils for the wooden boxes and will stick with these choices for the decking and deck furniture: VanDyke Brown, Brownish Orange, Light Ochre, Cream and Umber.
Then I moved over to the fence and land on the left of the photo. I embossed the fence wires first so that painting the grasses, the pencils would skim and I would be left with an impression to go over in greys later. It worked surprisingly well considering how many layers of greens and olives the grass took. All the grass/land areas were a considered mix of Spruce Green, Grass Green, Yellow Green, Dark Green, Olive, Light Ochre, and Umber. I started with the lights and worked downwards to the darks.
Lastly today I lightly painted in the sky. In my reference photo, the sky is very pale with streaks of cloud. I haven’t embellished on this because everything in the middle and foreground is very busy. Simply Bluish Pale and Blue Jeans for the sky. And we leave off today.
5 July 2011
A lot to catch up on with this work. Firstly, I tackled the gravel/slate driveway by haphazardly laying down tiny scrubs of Dark Grey, Greyish Black, Grey, Slate Grey and for the sparkle, the highlights of shining slate, brief glimpses of Turquoise Blue.
Up close it doesn’t look too effective, a little scribbly and doesn’t quite overlap as much as I wanted, but if we step back from the painting, it looks good, with just the right amount of darker grey for the shadowy areas near the plant pots.
The decking was a combination of Light Ochre, Olive (for the damp areas), Brown Ochre, Cream and Umber. It was tricky getting all those lines too look accurate but I think it worked out quite well. I was especially pleased with the edge meeting the gravel.
Anyway, I went up to Skye on the 25th of June and gave the finished piece, framed, to Denis and Rose and they were very pleased with it. Dennis, amusingly, remarked that he liked the frame for which, thanks goes to Sainsbury’s. But they were pleased and I was a little embarrassed – my first work as a gift, it’s a tricky moment. Here’s the finished piece (unframed – sorry Sainsbury’s) –