"Sour Milk Gill" Oil Painting by James Swanson

"Sour Milk Gill" Oil Painting by James Swanson
"Sour Milk Gill" From the award winning painting series.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Glenn Gary, Glenn Ross, Glencoe?

"Road to Glencoe"
By James Swanson/ Traveler Eric
12"x 24" Oil on Panel

Watch the journey of this painting.

"Put the coffee down! Coffee is for CLOSERS" One of my favorite movie lines, it's from the movie Glenn Gary, Glenn Ross. It has nothing to do with our next painting adventure, just a name thing.

What's in a name? There is a town near where I live named Glencoe- really a village, whats the difference between a town and a village?

Welcome to Glencoe IL.

I'm sure there are Glencoes all over the country, but the original is in Scotland. And that is where we meet up with our old friendly Traveler Eric.

Travel Eric in Scotland on vacation.

Eric has hiked in almost all the National Parks in Canada, but on this vacation to Scotland, he was walking, hillwalking that is. Hillwalking or fell walking is a national past time in the U.K. and by the photos I've been getting from these walkers I can see why. It is Gorgeous country, and worth every step they take walking it.

Eric's Story:
These pictures were my introduction to Glencoe. It was drizzling and raining and I climbed up a short trail in a car park for these views.

The "Hidden Valley" is on the left side of this picture. The valley is actually fairly high up. A blockage at the front caused a raised valley to be formed. There is a nice hike going up and to the end of the valley.

If you are good and eager you can then hike the steep scree wall at the end of the valley and then walk a trail along the ridge connecting the mountains.

Such a hike makes for a long day; 8+ hours. Typically one would come out the valley beside the hidden valley, Coire nan Lochan.

During our Scotland trip this was the only place where we experienced midges.

Eric in Scotland and wet.

It was generally always drizzling. I'd never consider camping in Scotland! Salvation is hostels with a drying room and a kitchen to cook food! The hostels were great and we found the people wonderful.

The Photo of Eric's that I painted from.

The Traveler Painting :
" Road To Glencoe" I could paint in the U.K. forever and never capture all the wonderful places that I'm seeing from our Travelers. Eric has let me be a tourist of his Scotland trip photo album. With his eyes, camera, and feet he has filled one of the voids I had in Scotland.

The Sketch: By now you should now that like a road trip a painting must have a plan or map. That is why sketches are done. This is the sketch that I ended up going with to start this painting journey.

The Darkest darks are painted in. Here the prepared panel has been toned with a warm grey. Lighter areas have been pulled out with a paper towel.

Painting in the foreground and working my way back to the mountains. A good way to feel and create the depth in a painting.

Sky is painted in last. Painting is Blocked-In. Time to start defining the color and structure of it.

Painting Tip: This painting tip is from a book that I've been reading. I've been reading it for years, not because it's long and I read slow, but because of all the excellent painting information it contains. It's "Oil Painting- The workshop experience" by Ted Goerschner, if you can find this book you should take a good long look at it. It has a lot of good thoughts about painting, art materials, and color. It has helped me out quite a few times, maybe it can help you too. And that is my tip, keep looking, searching, and learning.

The clouds coming over the hills is what drew me to this photo and I wanted to capture that and the way the sunlight was striking the hills.

Redefining the space with color. Things are taking shape areas of the painting or being adjusted for where they should be in the space.

Working on the lighting of the hills. End of day one.

Before I paint on this second day I've taken this photo of the painting and brought it into Photoshop to see what changes are needed. This is good way to take a fresh look at it and see what pops out at me. At this point I'm not looking at Eric's photo anymore, I'm looking at just the painting.

Pretty much done. There was a lot of edge work that needed to be done to finish this painting. By edge work I mean where one color meets another color. The ridges of the hills is a good example. The closer hills have a much harder edge than the ones farther back.

Done, the only difference between this photo and the one before it, is this has been sprayed with Demar Retouching Varnish. See how the darks have come back to life.

Details from the painting
Framed and ready to go."Road to Glencoe"
By James Swanson/ Traveler Eric
12"x 24" Oil on Panel

That was a nice painting trip. Thanks go out to Traveler Eric, for the use of his photos and for sharing his trip to Scotland with us. This project wouldn't get very far without friends like him. If you would like to join in on this painting journey you can contact me here or at www.theartistandthetraveler.org

Well, it's that time again, another Traveler Painting finished, brushes and palette cleaned and ready for another adventure. I'm off to meet up with another Scottish Traveler, until then keep your kilts dry.


  1. Jim,
    Linda and i where just talking about your paintings...this is really nice...I think I like it best when it's just blocked in...that fresh sketh look...hope you are staying warm up north

  2. Thanks Carol, good to hear from you again. Many a time I wish I had stop sooner on a painting. I like the rough bare bones look too, but after you commit there's no going back.
    It 's getting cold here, snow on Monday,Brrrr.


Have a good travel story and some fun and interesting pictures and we can get started on a painting journey.E mail me here with
name, place, and a few pics of the spot,and I'll get back to you.