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  • Writer's pictureDanny McShane

Painting Donmouth

Updated: Oct 19, 2023

I painted this plein air in a stiff Southerly breeze. Donmouth is where the River Don meets the sea (you'd never have guessed?) on the north edge of Aberdeen beach. Donald Trump's least favourite wind farm lies just offshore.

I swithered about setting up an easel in the wind, but there's a handy steep edge to the dunes and old sea defences that made for a bit of windbreak, if a lightly rough perch on broken concrete.

And gave just the right view...

I've tried to paint this scene three or four times now and I'm still not remotely happy with my results. The flotsam and debris are hard to capture quickly and the subtle perspective is only slowly beginning to make sense to me in paint, a little moreso each time after I make another set of mistakes with it. I really count this as one of my test pieces and love the whole process of trying.

There were people coming and going constantly, except when I picked up my camera. Look =people! Quick, take a photo... [Sorry my pictures aren't sharper -windy, remember -affects the camera as well as the paintbrush :o-].

My plein air result onBockingford 140lb CP block, 16x12"

I didn't get quite the image I wanted so at home I painted a simpler version to experiment with sand colours and try to catch that misty spray of the breakers in the distance...

And another of just sand and reflected sky.

I'll be back here soon :o) Update with a view more visits...

In among the sea defence rocks:

From the north bank of the Don looking south to the high rises

And looking upstream over to the bridge.

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I like the pictures of your setup Danny, and the reworkings of the day's image. Like you painted the impressions it made on you after painting from life. John G.

Danny McShane
Danny McShane

Thanks very much John. One of the things I get from plein air painting is a sense of how many paintings there can be in a single scene, and how many ways they could be painted. Choices present themselves constantly, and my response is often to paint several versions to explore some of these. It really doesn’t feel like painting the same subject so never gets boring or repetitive but seems to expand the more I look!

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