Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Pemaquid Point Light, Maine

Bottom Up - Pemaquid Light, Maine
10" x 7", coloured pencil on Arches HP
copyright Katherine Tyrrell

On the inside cover of the "Dorling Kindersley Eyewitness Travel Guide to New England" is a stunning photo of a lighthouse standing above a very interesting geological formation of rocks. As somebody with quite an interest in geology, I'll travel a long way for a good rock formation! It took me ages to work out where it was and, when I did, I knew I'd have to try and fit it into my recent visit to New England so I could see it for myself. Hence my visit, last month, to the lighthouse and rocks at Pemaquid Point in Maine - which is the subject of a separate post on my Travel Sketchbook blog (Friday 22 September: Pemaquid Point Light from top to bottom).

This is the sketch I did while in Maine - sat on rocks with waves crashing behind me! (You can see photos of just how close these were on my sketchbook blog post).

When I got back I fiddled around with the reference photos I took and in the end decided that I liked the portrait format best - looking straight up the outcrop of pegmatite - the light rock which stands above the platform of darker rocks. But there again I may just have another go and try it in landscape again!

This drawing has been a real challenge and I'm not sure it's one I'm yet happy with. It's been very difficult to get the rocks to look like what they are - which is quite important to me as the area has some geological significance in terms of igneous and metamorphic rocks. I wanted to make it clear that the pegmatite (the light coloured rock) had not been eroded at the same rate as the metamorphic layers of former sedimentary rocks which have been contorted so they lie on their side - and subsequently eroded by the sea - hence all the lines. I tried for a broad impression with the sketch and knew I'd need to use the ref photos for developing the sketch. A further visual twist is added through the fact that some of the rocks are still wet (and look darker or have water in them) while others are completely dry - and are quietly baking under the sun!

The sky has also been a bit of a challenge as although the sky really was the colour in the sketch it somehow doesn't look real - so I changed it a bit and I'm not sure I haven't added in a bit too much ultramarine.

So I think I might just put this one down to being a bit of a learning process and I now need to think about what to do when I try again!

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  1. I really like this drawing Katherine. The angle is unusual and really draws the eye up to the lighthouse and sky. Beautiful!

    Though I do have a vision of you risking life and limb at the water's edge to get that viewpoint.:)

  2. I was just so pleased that the tide was out so I could get down that far. I knew in advance what the rocks looked like (hence why I wanted to go) and would have been so very *!"%&* off if the tide had been in when I visited!

    Sketching gets very speedy though when you have a tide coming in right behind where you're sitting! ;)

  3. You've done a great job depicting the rocks at Pemaquid Point. I make it a priority to visit this lighthouse at least once on every trip to Maine. It's just such a beautiful spot - even when it is crawling with tourists.



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