"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.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

And The Heart Grows Fonder.


By James Swanson and Traveler Jim & Maggie

24"x18" Oil on Panel

Watch the Journey of this Painting .

Curiosity killed the cat, but it did help make a nice painting. A few paintings ago I mentioned that I was looking for the village that's in the books of M.C. Beaton to paint. The Village was Loch Dubh, but there was no village to paint there at all, just rocks and Creag .

M.C. Beaton's " Death of a Witch

The Traveler at that time David told me about the Village of Plockton, and it is where the TV series was shot.

Village of Plockton, Scotland

Well, being the curious mind that I am I had to take a look see, and this is where I met our next Travelers Jim and Maggie.

Map of Plockton

We first visited Plockton years before it was immortalised by Robert Carlyle and the rest of the cast of Hamish Macbeth. One of the white houses in the left centre of our picture was used as the police station in the series.

Hamish Macbeth TV series

When we go touring in the Highlands we often take English friends with us to introduce them to the often stunningly beautiful scenery (yes, I'm biased, but if you saw it I think you would agree). As some of our compatriots say, Scotland is "God's own country".

Maggie's photo I chose to paint from

Traveler Painting “Plockton I came across Jim and Maggie when I was researching the village of Plockton. Maggie’s photo reminded me of an impressionist’s painting. Always a good sign for me that it could be a nice painting.

The Sketch: The first sketch I did from the photo was a horizontal composition and I knew it would work that way.

But after I stepped away from it I could only see it as a vertical in my mind. I had to go with what’s in my head, so it’s a vertical composition.

The painted sketch on paint toned prepared panel. You can see the Z design of the painting. The Z or S design are really good composition solutions for landscapes. These designs move the viewers eyes all around the painting.

Here I'm putting in the darkest darks of the painting.

Here it is at the blocked in stage. Just a few clouds to put in.

Now that it's blocked in it's time to defining the areas more.

Painters Tip: Painting reflections in water. Reflections can be as clear as a mirror or broken up in ripples, but either way the reflection should be darker in the water than the land image. They also should have softer edges.

Working on the wall trying to soften it so the eye can get past it and back into the painting.

Here I've decided to add to the wall in the foreground. It just wasn't strong enough and needed to be bigger in front to make the village and mountain sit back farther in the painting. The sailboats have also been added. The color also has being cleaned up.

Done. Color and a few design changes is all it took.

Deatails of the painting

Finished and Framed


By James Swanson and Taveler Jim & Maggie

24"x18" Oil on Panel

A great Thanks goes out to Travelers Jim and Maggie for letting me journey along with them in Scotland.It was nice to paint some water again, and Maggie is right about photographing and painting in Scotland, the quality of the light is excellent. You can tell they have by their web site that they have their heart in Scotland, and that they are right, Scotland is " God's own Country".

It's that time again the load up my painting gear and slip slide away. Off I go to meet up with our next Traveler, if you are interested in join this painting adventure just give me a holler here or at www.theartistandthetraveler.org. Ta ta for now.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

The Tourist of the Tourists.

"Time Traveler of Loch Ness"
By James Swanson/ Traveler Taylor
16"x 20" Oil on Linen

See how it was painted over time.

How can I've painted Scotland without seeing the main attraction? It’s like going to Disney World and not seeing Mickey. Of coarse I’m talking about Lock Ness Scotland.

The "Surgeon's photo" (1934), later revealed as a hoax

I wasn’t looking for the
Loch Ness Monster to paint, no I don’t think Nessy would have sat still for a portrait. I was looking for what the other views of Loch Ness looked like, and I found a portal into Lock Ness past with the help of our new Traveler Taylor.

All Photos by Traveler Taylor

With all the spectacular views of Loch Ness I’ve decided to do some time traveling. Great views of the loch and hills and I chose to paint from some battle re-enactment at Urquhart Caste photos from Traveler Taylor.

Urquhart Castle photos by Taylor

Traveler Taylor’s Story:
We live in Inverness about 15 miles up the road and take a trip every now and again to the beautiful setting of the castle.

Battle Re-enactment at Urquhart Castle

My son and I went to watch the re-enactment at Urquhart Castle on the shores of Loch Ness. It took place over a weekend. Held in the field at the back of the castle.

Lots of smoke and fire.

They do a couple of re-enactments per year. The castle is owned by Historic Scotland.

The photo of Taylor's that I'll be working from.

The Travelers Painting: "Time Traveler of Loch Ness"
One of the reason’s that I chose to paint a portrait of a battle re-enactor is because my son made our family become re-enactors of the American Revolution.

Picture of my son and The Kings 8th regiment.

But of coarse he chose to be on the side of the British, and since the Scots were on the British side it is only fitting to paint a re-enactor.

The Sketch: OK this isn’t the best sketch that I’ve ever done, but I was able to put down the information that I needed to go forth.

The canvas drawing: when I paint a portrait I draw with vine charcoal on the canvas. From the sketch I drew in where the man was going to be on the canvas-off center with more room on the right side.

With most of my colors mixed up on the palette I start to block in the face. Working from dark to light.
Refining of the face and color:

Painting Tip: Your darkest dark in a painting will be a warm dark, like a dark brown or red mixed with a dark blue.

Also a tip about light and shadows, a rule of thumb to use- warm light = cool shadows, and cool light= warm shadows.

Here the painting is all blocked in. I’m going to leave the background just the way it is, I always like the look of backgrounds with canvas showing threw.

How the work of refining the image. Lots of things need to big redrawn and moved.

End of day one. I only worked a few hours on this, but it has gotten to the point where I need a break and time to get a fresh eye.

There was a few things that I knew I wanted to change in this painting, and there parts that I didn’t want to touch. Most of the work was color changes and edge work. Making sure that the proper edge was soft and the right one hard.

Details of the painting.

Done and Framed

"Time Traveler of Loch Ness"
By James Swanson/ Traveler Taylor
16"x 20" Oil on Linen

I never knew about the Castle at Loch Ness, it was a good thing that I ran into Traveler Taylor. Taylor said she has never seen the monster and know no one who has- sorry I had to ask, tourist. Thanks Taylor.

About re-enactors, these fine souls volunteer their time and money to play a part in time. If you ever get a chance to see one do so they are great fun. Also talk to these people when you are there the are walking history. They know everything and tell it freely. And if you have a story to tell, you can tell it to me here or at www.TheArtistAndTheTraveler.org.

I’ve seen some wonderful country here in Scotland now it is time to visit some cities. On the road again, til next time