image #50. 8 March 2017. Mum on Skye, 1952.

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I wanted to do something that was a bit more of a stretch for drawing 50. I battled the wind to paint this outside on a bench in the back garden, feeling quite self-conscious in case the neighbours wondered what I was up to. It’s after a photograph of my mum, aged 25.  Just two colours of oil and turps, white and sienna. This was painted on the centre of a triptych of sorts, a large folded piece of cardboard that a frame came in, so I may paint a couple of more images either side.  I struggle a bit sometimes with this project, with the public/private nature of it, as I often feel I ought to apologise or flag that I am well aware of the deficiencies of this or that image. I’m not a trained artist, I didn’t go to art school, and this is the second oil painting I’ve ever done. Mum’s proportions aren’t quite right, there’s little sense of texture about the rock, and I found handling the paint, and covering large areas with diluted paint very difficult, as I only have quite medium sized brushes. I also think images from photos always betray their origins somehow. Having said that, I like some of the b&w contrasts of the scree; that swathe of loch hitting across mum’s head, and the cardboard that shows through and the overall composition. This felt very important to make today, as I struggled to hold down the cardboard in the wind, crouched awkwardly over the picnic bench, feeling a bit crazed, bracing my legs like mum in the picture. How strange that over half a century after she stood there, her daughter is examining her stance and trying to capture it. This is drawing 50 so celebrating tonight.

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2 comments

  1. There’s a lot of good points about this image. For one, it has a clear sense of depth because of how defined the the foreground is against lower detail of the distant landscape. It’s a good painting.

    Like

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