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Friday, October 30, 2015

Caledonian Waters

The mountains of Kintail. Water was retrieved
above this point.
High up in the mountain pass crossing Kintail, I paused. Not troubling to take the 40-pound pack off my back, I crouched by the trail. Sunlight glinted off spring water which funneled into the footpath and tumbled along that course down the mountain's flank. I fished out a 4-oz. plastic bottle from my pocket and filled it to the brim, secured its cap tightly, and placed it in the side pouch of my camera bag. It would be identified with a label at the campsite that night.

This action played out again and again all across Scotland as source water was collected along with sketches and many many photographs - Stirling Bridge, the River Affric, a spring on the Isle of Skye, high tide in front of St Columba's in Oban, a lakeshore in the Trossachs - and the ever-present Scottish rain, just to fill in the gaps.

It was an idea that was hatched this Spring, as I worked to improve ability in watercolor and colored
Water was obtained  from the river
under the Old Stirling Bridge.
pencil for sketchbook purposes. What if, when doing these field sketches and paintings in my travels, I find a way to collect water from these
places? What if I could bring that water home and employ it in watercolor in mixed-media creations in depicting the areas where the water came from?  It was one of those ideas that strikes in the early morning before one is fully awake, but it was an idea that stuck.  It was an idea well worth pursuing. While many use the water nearby when painting outdoors, I am not aware of anyone who has gone to the trouble of collecting such source water with great deliberation for purposes of studio work upon returning home again.

The idea immediately delighted.  One would
not know upon looking at a painting, of course, but that's where a certificate will come in. Each will have a certificate in a pocket on the back, explaining the idea and the process.

I've nine bottles in all. I do wish I'd filled more, but there was a factor of ever-growing weight involved, and as my whole world was on my back when going from one place to another, I had to be selective in what I would bottle.  All made it home safely, and now those nine filled bottles are safely tucked away in a studio drawer, awaiting image selection and the winter's work that lies ahead.

"Caledonian Waters" is one name under serious consideration for this body of work.  I look forward
Eight of my nine bottles.
to the creative process to come, and flights of memory that are sure to accompany as each dear bottle of source water is opened and applied to each geographic depiction.

Watch this blog, as these paintings will be presented here as this body of work grows and develops.

Until Monday - all the best!


Trademark Lawyer said...

What a truly breathtaking landscape! I've always wanted to visit this part of the world.

Caroline said...

I love that idea of painting with the waters of the areas. I'm obsessed with the Isle of Skye.

Julie Thompson said...

Your obsession is well placed, Caroline, I haven't seen any place that can compare! Trademark Lawyer, you should go - such a journey is not out of reach, and will definitely leave a lasting impression... one thing is for certain, one trip will not be enough.