Seattle / Oregon drawing project – a quick update

At this time of year we would normally be getting out for long summer hikes in the mountains, but this year I am so busy that I’ve been in my studio nearly every day since we got back from the United States about six weeks ago.

I’ve basically been working on the big Seattle / Oregon drawing and audio project nearly all of this time.  As you know, I’m creating three large 8’ x 4’ pastel drawings for the project, all based on the Hell’s Canyon area of Oregon.  Anyone who has been to my studio will know also that it is pretty cluttered and so finding the space to do all three drawings has meant some major rearrangements!  This would have been impossible if it wasn’t for a wee bit of luck.  When I got back to my studio from Seattle on May 24th I learnt that my colleague, photographic artist Alex Boyd, was leaving the Courtyard to take up an exciting new arts based job on the Isle of Lewis. It is a great shame he is leaving, but it freed up his studio and painter Maree Hughes who has been working in the small studio upstairs from mine, took the opportunity to move to the bigger space vacated by Alex.  This of course meant that I had the opportunity to rent this additional space upstairs which in turn has allowed me to work on all three large drawings at the same time downstairs.  Phew!!!

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The new look studio ….three big drawing boards

It has been a hectic  last week for all three of us with a mass shuffle of gear but everything is now done and with a bit of luck Alex is now on or heading for the Isle of Lewis. The very best of luck to him with his work up north.  We recently swapped a piece of work each …… he selected one of my big graphite drawings for his new wall and I selected one of his fine prints of Cir Mhor on Arran.  I have this piece hanging in my small work room at home alongside another fabulous photograph by Courtyard Studios rep Brian Craig.  The two pieces look fabulous together as Brian’s photo is also black and white and also landscape.

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Hells Canyon drawings 1 and 2, in progress

On Sunday last I moved all my painting gear upstairs where I’ll now be doing all my smaller acrylic and pastel work.  It took me most of the day to sort it all out but I now have the third wall free downstairs and on Tuesday morning I had another 8’ x 4’ drawing board delivered and Nita and I set about fixing it to the wall.  We are not the fastest of carpenters but after almost six hours not only was the new board all firmly in place but the final large piece of 200 gm white cartridge paper was all fixed to it and ready for me to start drawing.

The first two pieces are well under way and later today I’ll be starting the final drawing ….this piece to be based on a location in the bottom of Hell’s Canyon, right by the side of the river where it cut through a narrow cliff lined section.

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the new big drawing board …all ready to go

With all three pieces now on the go, I’ve turned my efforts more towards the audio side of things.  I’ve been working with Ayrshire based sound engineer Graham Byron and we are starting to sort out all the various recordings Dan and I made while in Oregon.  Graham has been ‘cleaning’ them up so that Dan and his team over in Seattle can start to fit them to the audio system they have been creating for the purpose of this project.  I’m going to be spending many many hours listening to sound files over the next couple of months and will also be heading out into the landscape soon to record extra close up material.  It’s all go but very exciting.  Must get a good relaxing walk in the Highlands soon though ….or my head will explode!

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