Last week the Laird of Balgonie came to my studio for another sitting. During three hours of painting and amiable conversation I refined features and skin tone. I also started to work on the complex pattern of his tartan plaid (the Balgonie tartan). Painting tartan is tricky and in order to prepare myself for it I had visited the Scottish National and Portrait Galleries in Edinburgh, where one can study excellent examples of portraiture of Scottish gentry in Highland attire.
It was helpful that the Laird kindly lent me his plaid for a couple of days so I could refer to it as I proceeded to work on this part of the portrait. Thus, after he left the studio I continued painting, with his plaid and brooch as my sitters. I am satisfied with the results I have achieved and I can relax now, knowing that the plaid only needs minor adjustments in value. You can visit the gallery page to view the work in progress.
Day off today. My family and I spent most of the morning and afternoon embraced by a mantle of sun and a gentle breeze by the sea in Anstruther. On our way back home we stopped at Balgonie Castle to return the tartan plaid to its rightful owner. The Laird received us with his usual warmth and showed us the work that has kept his household busy. The visitor centre is well under way and the Laird himself has done a fair bit of ornamental painting and trompe l’oeil in the ceilings and one of the walls. He is a skilful craftsman too!
Back at home now, before I prepare for a day of work tomorrow, I go to my hall and inspect some paintings as they dry. I love the smell of paint drying. Every painting has a story to tell. The Laird looks at me inquisitively. He seems to smile as if wondering what I will do next.