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Quiet Day At Dysart

This one took me 3 months…

Quiet Day At Dysart took me 3 months to complete. I started it in November 2017. Then I took it part-complete to a demo at Dunfermline Art Club, so that I could show how I paint the late-stage details. They asked me to bring it back again for another session. For one reason or another, that didn’t happen till Wednesday evening this week, but now, I’m glad to say, the painting is finished at last.

The scene: Dysart Harbour

Dysart is an old harbour which still has working boats, as well as small pleasure craft. It’s an easy drive from my home and I often go there. I usually find plenty of material for a painting or two. On this occasion, it was a bitterly cold but very bright winter morning. My viewpoint is right at the back of the inner harbour, looking out at the passage into the outer harbour. There’s just a glimpse of the sea beyond.

Everything is back-lit, with strong light coming off the sea. Not many people were around, so it was also very quiet and still, the water surface barely moving at all. There wasn’t a ripple to be seen.

During the winter months, most of Dysart’s boats are stored up on the stone piers, out of harm’s way. Only a few remain moored in the water.

Incidentally, my earlier painting Still Water features another view of the inner harbour, but at a different time.


Right up till the end of the painting, my colours were blues and browns. (There was some black too, but I got that by combining the blue and brown). Keeping that kind of simple palette makes a painting look very harmonious. But all along I knew I was going to jazz it up at the end. So, as a final touch, I added reds, yellows and oranges to the ball-shaped buoys dotting the harbour. These warm colours really popped!

Unframed watercolour painting. Size 8.5 x 11.8 inches / 21.5 x 30 centimetres.


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