Friday, 14 August 2015

I am doing a large watercolour as a wedding gift for a lovely couple. This is a preparatory sketch focussing on the sheep which are an integral component of the eventual painting. I wanted to work on the sheep but it always better to put them in the context of a painting so I can make sure they look right and what better location than the Yorkshire Moors in winter. Now the acknowledged master of sheep and snow paintings is one Joseph Farquharson. He was a Victorian painter who specialised in just that subject and also a bit of a character to say the least. He was a Scottish Laird who was very famous in his time and a member of the Scottish Royal Academy. But how the other half lives. He was a plein air painter but working outdoors in a Scottish winter was not going to be easy. However being a laird and money no object he soon devised a working method. He had a carriage made with a studio inside complete with stove and a copious supply of single malt to keep out the cold. He would be towed to his preferred site and could paint 'outdoors' in warmth and comfort. He even had life size models of sheep made so he could arrange them where he wanted rather than go to the bother of having to make quick sketches in case they moved! Whichever way you look at it I reckon he was a very cool customer. I haven't got a carriage or models of sheep so I will just have to make do with the single malt.