Saturday, November 03, 2018

Episode 3 LAOTY: The Winner's Perspective - and Story

Following on from Review: Episode 3 of Landscape Artist of the Year 2018 at Loch Fyne I had a nice email chat with the winner Brian Ramsay who read my piece.

Brian Ramsay sketching at Loch Fyne
at the beginning of Episode 3 of Sky Arts Landscape Artist of the Year
He's done a great blog post Sky Arts Landscape Artist of the Year 2018 Episode #3 Loch Fyne

This is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED for all those thinking of applying for next year's competition. It covers:

  • what the experience is like from the perspective of a pod artist
  • how he prepared for his location - once he knew where he would be - IN ADVANCE
My preparation was to watch all the previous LAOTY series to focus on what the judges were looking for, a lot of en plein air drawing & painting and a lot of Google imaging of Inveraray & Loch Fyne.
Loch Fyne practice piece by Brian Ramsay
- a visual "limbering up" executed in advance of the Heat
(now listed for sale under Current Work on his website)
  • how long you are away from home
  • how long the day is in reality (a 5.30am start for Brian)
From start to finish in painting terms is about six hours with breaks from filming for camera pieces and interviews.
  • how much got left out 
  • and his sketchbook start - which is very close to his final piece but wasn't really seen in the programme apart from a tiny clip of Brian sketching.
His preliminary pen and ink and watercolour sketch in his sketchbook.
What's not in the blog post - but I've now heard from a few people - is that although it looks on film like everybody is working for the whole four hours, there are always some who know when to stop - and do in fact stop early.  Brian was one of them.

In other words, everything that is filmed happened - but after editing it's not necessarily in the order it happened - and you don't always see what is "not happening" if that makes sense!

Brian had also noticed - as I had - that some pod artists don't get a lot of coverage in the programme and very often they're the ones who don't make it to the final three. 

Given the chances of making it to the final and winning the competition are fairly remote, I absolutely endorse Brian's aim of making it to the shortlist as a really good way of raising your profile and sharing your art online/onscreen both at the time of the programme - and when everybody watches the reruns online!


Brian Ramsay used:


  • a Moleskine watercolour sketchbook 
  • "my trusty Kaweco fountain pen" (I've asked him which version and will report back!) - but does not use waterproof ink
I have several Kaweco Sports in various barrel colours. They're small, but they fit in my pocket easily and I use them posted. I use the Kaweco ink in the pens, the come in a range of fabulous colours. I'm reluctant to mess about with waterfast inks in the pens in case they block up. Besides I like the effect of water on the soluble inks, different colours react differently to the water. I have the obligatory Lamy Safaris, but I like the cachet of using a pen which is a lot less prolific.

  • Tai talked about Brian using finelines so I asked him about those too
I can't step away from my Uni Pin drawing fineliners. I go through 0.05 amd 0.1 mm pens very quickly, but I don't throw them away until they cannot make any marks at all. I also use 0.5 and 0.8mm pens for emphasis. 

Final Painting

  • Arches Watercolour paper for the final piece. He normally uses Saunders Waterford 140lb rough paper, but for Inveraray he used Arches 300lb 
rough, beautiful paper, no buckling and made my painting better than I think I am. Eyewateringly expensive though.
  • his sky was painted with a mix of Payne’s Grey and Indigo and a one inch brush
  • I asked him which watercolour paints he prefers
I use Winsor and Newton Artist Quality pans and tubes and I'm trying out some Daniel Smith colours. My absolute favourite paints at the moment are my Kremer Pigments Gray Watercolour Palette, 14 pigments ranging from Titanium White to Furnace Black. Simone Ridyard, my heroine, put me, and everyone else, on to this fantastic palette. Suffice to say, I haven't used it to the same effect as Simone.

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