Tuesday, 27 July 2010

From the moor above Pendeen and the lighthouse

Moorland lane above Pendeen, Vivien Blackburn

Coming down the single track, twisty lanes from the moor down to the coast you get these views. Often the horizon is indistinct as it was in the close up of the lighthouse and there is a wall of blue ahead.

The earth banked stone walls are covered with bushes - mainly gorse up in the harsher conditions of the moor - and hundreds of wild flowers.

You see stone built moorland farms, built-into-the-landscape, huddled against the winter gales, old mine engines and small stone walled fields. You are totally enveloped within the banks of flowers and then suddenly turn a corner like this or see through a gateway - one painting opportunity after another!

see why I love it so much?

Sunday, 25 July 2010

Hidden rivers

River - Austin Street East - in progress
pastel 10 x 13

I've started a small series of pieces to explore the hidden rivers of the city.

Each day I pass by small rivers and larger rivers, all on their way to the ocean and I, as well as most people, take them for granted.  They become swallowed up with the concrete and buildings and traffic that surround them.

Some are highly visible, some flow underground for most of their life, some are no more than trickles over pebbles and some are like wild rapids.

 River - Austin Street West
pastel 10 x 13

In the area where I work, its very modern and urban, yet there is a touch of wildness in the little river that flows through the land, under the road, and on its way to sea.  This is a small green space in a sea of concrete and glass.  Until I decided to look more closely at the river system in the city and track its path to the sea, I didn't really pay much attention to it.

So now, here is a glimpse into the streams and rivers that flow through the City of St. John's.  These are in soft pastel about 10 x 13" on Canson paper.

I am also tracking the my viewpoints of the river on Google Street View so you can see my vantage point most of the time.

Thursday, 22 July 2010

Maritime Inversion, Big Sur

Hearing about all the very high temperatures people are experiencing keeps reminding me of the  summer of 2006.  In July, I travelled to a convention by car from San Diego to Albuquerque via Tombstone and back again!  This involved crossing two deserts in a heatwave(!) and my sketches started to record the temperature as well as the place and date (You can see the sketches in USA Sketchbook - Southwestern States)

On my return to San Diego, I flew north to San Francisco with a plan of driving down Big Sur in glorious sunshine.

What I didn't realise is that when it's very hot inland California tends to get a maritime inversion along the coastline.  This is what happens when cold marine air underlies warmer air and gets trapped.  So my memories of Northern California mainly involved grey skies and not very warm weather!  (Not very warm being relative when when you've been living with 100+ degrees Fahrenheit for quite some time!)

 Maritime Inversion, Bixby Bridge, Big Sur
8" x 12", coloured pencils on Arches HP
copyright Katherine Tyrrell

You can read the blog post behind this drawing here - Friday 28th July - "Driving down big Sur - at last" which is aboout the drive along the Pacific Coast Highway down Big Sur.  You can also see the original sketch which was done while stood at the top of some very high cliffs staring down at the very turquoise sea below.

The inversion produces fog and I think there was nearly as much moisture in the air as there was in the water in the Pacific Ocean way down below.  Trying to draw fog is a bit of a challenge!

Sunday, 18 July 2010

Pendeen Lighthouse

Pendeen Lighthouse, mixed media

It's a while since I've been able to do much painting for a variety of reasons :>(

But .... here is one of Pendeen Lighhouse. It was one of those days when the sea and sky almost blur and the horizon isn't clear - all is soft pearly blues, turning viridian in the shallows. (the black at the bottom is simply the marker ribbon in the Canson watercolour book)

The cliffs a mass of wildflowers, the lighthouse buildings tumbling down the cliffside with the foghorns silhouetted against the sea.