The River Nith

As the weather got warmer it was possible to sit outside for longer periods. I decided to paint outside choosing a bend in the River Nith as far down the path as I could go. It was still relatively close to the studio (about two miles each way) but importantly was very quiet – no dogwalkers seemed to come this far down the river!

At this point I was contending with the logistics of painting outside, what to bring, how to carry it on my back, and how to prepare for all the weather possibilities! The first three pictures in the gallery (above) were done on paper on three separate days. The third painting was large, about A1 size. The point of the exercise was to respond to what I was seeing but also to work on gesture, colour and composition to improve my editing skills – which is what painting observationally outside is all about!

The next four paintings were smaller and on wooden panels. I started all four together using dot paper to create a pattern with florescent paint. I finished them all on the same afternoon – just in time for the midgies to come out!

The last two paintings are larger, on paper and of the ash trees on the surrounding ridge. They were completed together on one afternoon, my last day painting on the River Nith.

The walk from The Bothy where I stayed at Merz to the banks of the River Nith was one I did each day for over a week. Sometimes I walked along the river sometimes through the housing estate that led up to the Sanquhar Castle ruins – a structure that is almost 1000 years old. The contrast of landscape and the built environment along the fields and near the river was fascinating and informed the work I did observationally outdoors as well as in the studio. The images I captured in painting, photography and video will, I am sure, continue to inform my work back in Edinburgh.