Thursday, April 30, 2015

Strathallan, near Braco

watercolour 22x18cm

The No.47 bus runs from Crieff to Stirling, and it drops me off directly outside Dunblane station for the train back to Edinburgh. Its route cuts across the tail end of Strathearn, threads over some higher ground to join Strathallan at Braco, and can be very picturesque. Coming back on it from last week’s visit to Crieff I managed to snap a few interesting photos through the window, one of which I based this little watercolour on.

It’s been pushed around a bit compositionally, but nothing’s been transplanted and the essential elements aren’t that far away from the original wonky snap. The actual watercolour technique is still pretty ropey, and the paper texture – the good Bockingford 300gm - shows unfortunate results in the sky where I’ve been too casual in scraping it. It’s passable from a distance though, and the composition is very sound, with scope for development into something else on a larger scale. Which was a nice surprise.

It’s my first use of Indanthrene blue – mixed in the sky, but purer in the hill line. It’s not dissimilar to Ultramarine, but is much darker, more transparent, generally richer, and has the huge advantage – in watercolour anyway – of not granulating. It’s pricey (Winsor & Newton series 4) but it’s very intense, and I can see a little going quite a long way. I haven’t tried it in oil yet, but I’m sure I’ll mention it when I do.

Just in passing, the A9 trunk road runs along Strathallan, and last month Madam and I were driving back on it to Edinburgh. We were in dire need of a cuppa, so stopped at a service station. We got our teas, and were just about to leave the counter when I suggested a Twix* each.

‘Never had one before’ she said – not knowing how these words would change her life.

We had some there and then, and she has never looked back, having laid aside her Twix virginity, with me, in the car park of the Little Chef at Balhaldie.

Ah, the romance…

* They’re very nice, but very more-ish. They seem smaller than they used to be and I often find I’ve eaten the second stick without realising it. Which is annoying.