Monday, January 26, 2015

Halo - Sky Study

oil on card 34x22cm

Another Sky Study, adapted from photos I’d taken from the Roof Terrace at the National Museum of Scotland. It was mostly Altostratus cloud – very milky – but the Sun had just the hint of a halo around it. 

The halo was painted onto the primer with a brush taped to a compass (yes, there IS a mark at the centre of the Sun). It was partially obscured by thinly overpainting the rest of the sky with oily (walnut) paint, then lightly dabbing off over the halo with a dry, clean, soft brush (one of Madam’s old make-up brushes). The city was quite loosely done, and I should apologise to Edinburgh University’s Medical School for omitting their Italianate tower. It’s very grand, but its silhouette was way too strong for the centre skyline.

The sky was initially built in fairly cool colours, the only warm areas being slightly creamy yellow around the Sun. The present warm soft pinks and yellows were very thinly glazed on at the last session, using a Winsor Orange base, with Chrome Yellow Hue and Alizarin Crimson additions. All very transparent and thin, sort of like a watercolour wash. By the way that’s the very first time I have ever bought a tube of Orange. I was going for the Cadmium, but then realised, in the shop, that the more transparent Pyrrole was what was needed (and that it was considerably… er… cheaper…). The drawing of the foreground is, admittedly, a bit ropey, but I think I’ve done what I set out to do with sky, which was the whole point.

The Museum Roof Terrace is a recent discovery for me, and quite the thing for the city sky watcher. It’s ten minutes away from home by bike, and I can get the lift direct from street level. There’s very nearly the whole 360° far horizon panorama, some of which is sea-level towards the North Sea. A few degrees of Fife are blocked off by the Castle and some of East Lothian is behind Arthur’s Seat, but what other city has a castle on a rock and dirty great mountain in the middle?


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