Our day of painting at Blair Castle was wonderful with more exciting painting subjects than could be painted in a week, but we managed to choose two spots for the day. Some of us painted the beautiful little stream running through the grounds. I particularly enjoyed the challenge of portraying the underwater rocks. The technique I used was to paint the rocks that would be underwater, using colors a little brighter than I wanted for the end result. Then, I used a brush and water to wash over the pastel and “set” the shapes. Because I was working on the Richeson pastel surface on Gatorfoam, I didn’t have to worry about the surface warping from the water. After the underpainting dried, I skimmed over it with pastel to create the feeling of water pouring over the rocks (see the painting above). You’ll find other paintings of the site on my blog at my website.
One event I’ll never forget was the last of the Highland Games in the village of Pitlochry. The day began with a parade of piping bands, leading the audience to the field for the games. There were competitions of Highland dancers, pipers, foot races and cycle races, tossing the caber, tug of war, and much more. The huge field was ringed with seats, and booths offering a variety of items for sale, from souvenirs to art to clothing and food. (The fresh strawberries with clotted cream were delicious!)
A painting day at the Birks of Aberfeldy gave us a chance to work on painting trees and water in a lovely woods. Our last painting day was in our home village of Blair Atholl, where people painted window boxes of flowers, local gardens and portions of the old mill. And our final dinner was highlighted by a piper and a couple of local Highland dancers. It was with some sadness that we said our goodbyes to each other, to our wonderful hosts—Jack and Linda Richeson and Darren and Michelle Richeson—and to our temporary home in the Highlands.
But the traveling fun isn’t over. Next up? Cortona, Italy!
The Old Mill (left; pastel)
by Bill Canright