Let Your Light Shine

Scotland Part 2: The Paintings

After I got home from Scotland I did some minor touch-ups on the paintings.  I tried to adhere to Michael Chesley Johnsons’ guidance that any plein air piece that needs more than a half hour of touch-ups probably isn’t worth the effort.  So here are the ones I played with:IMG_3005:

This is a 5×7 I did in our studio space there from several photos of the dove coat at Duchally where we stayed. It’s my favorite from the trip.  I like combination of hard and soft edges and the composition.  Of course studio painting is easier than plein air.


This painting was done on a rainy day after we visited historic Stirling Castle. I may do a painting of the whole bridge from photos later but this one will always contain the memory of standing under a tree in the rain with a few of the other die-hard painters.  Two were painting in oil but two of us braved the pastels in that weather while the rest of the group went somewhere cozy for hot tea.  I chose to zoom in on just one arch of the bridge.  I was charmed by the wildflowers growing at the base.  I like the painting but it may be a bit too charming.


This is Loch Earn.  You’ve got to hear the Scottish pronunciation to really appreciate that name. That “ch” sounds like a “k” that you roll around in the the back of your throat and “Earn” sounds more like “Air-en.”  It was a grey day but there was a sailboat out on the water.  I focused on really simple shapes since we only had a short time to paint.  I’m sure glad I tucked the extra set of grey pastels into my pack for this trip.  They came in really handy.


This church was in the village of St. Fillans near Loch Earn.  I painted it that same grey day.  I was attracted to the shape of the doorway and the rhododendrons. It was good practice on narrowing down to one aspect of the architecture without doing the whole church.  Although it looks abandoned in this painting, the building is still in use, but not as a church.


This painting was done on the only truly sunny day of the trip.  At the spot where we stopped the cottage was the obvious choice of subject matter.  I put in the mountain because I wanted a sense of scale.  I’m not sure it worked.  It was interesting to see how several different artists handled the same subject. I have a photo that really zooms in.  That may become a painting sometime next winter.


This was the last painting of the trip – a rocky river.  When a family member looked at the painting and called it a pond instead of a river I knew it needed a good bit of work.  So, I may have spent more than 30 minutes on this one.  I basically darkened the darks and lightened the lights to get the water flowing.  The photos that I had of the site weren’t super helpful so I got a bit creative.

Now I need to get busy doing some studio paintings from the photos but the summer weather is calling me outside!


  1. Jan Benham

    Some really lovely work, Donna! Boy are you growing!!

    • dnesbitt

      Thanks, Jan. Your words are encouraging!

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