top of page

Landscape Artist of the Year | Semi Finals | Cromarty Oil Rigs

Cromarty oil rigs
my semi-finals drawing

Before d-day

Now in my last post I said I had practised the wrong view, and it wouldn't be me if I wasn't totally off the mark again. All the information we had was that we were going to be getting a plane to Inverness, so I practised some castles, Loch ness and some dramatic skies. But saying that, the practice pieces were still very useful, as even if the specifics were wrong i still ended up using some of the techniques, and it was during these sketches that i learnt of the wonders of masking fluid. So even if you don't know what location you're drawing it's definitely still worth experimenting and having fun with some different scenes.

inverness castle - study 1
Inverness castle study 2 - a slightly different way of applying masking fluid in this one as i was inspired by woodblock prints
practising cloudy skies

Urquhart Castle study 1
Urquhart Castle study 2
Urquhart Castle study 3

The Journey

The plane journey to Inverness was lots of fun as a lot of the crew and also the judges were on the plane, I was sat next to Garry who won the heat at Herstmonceux castle, and we had a lovely conversation about art and crazy plane crashes.

Lightning, dolphins and oil rigs.

In the morning the heavens had parted and the rain came down relentlessly, it was still quite dark and a bit chilly and the addition of lightning was a real cherry on top, en route to the location in the car we discussed the potential to draw a scene of rainbows, lightening and dolphins (yes there are dolphins in north Scotland, though unfortunately i didn't see any), i thought it had the potential to be a very memorable landscape painting.

The location that we were taken to was in Cromarty and was a rather mysterious set of oil rigs, I say mysterious because most of them were shrouded in a thick fog. Though by the time the actual challenge had begun a lot of the fog had thankfully cleared.

I promise i didn't make up the reeds

The Approach to the drawing

I had quite a idea in my head how i wanted to approach the artwork i would do for the semis regardless of the scene. It was important for me that the piece have elements representative of my art, so i wanted the piece to be contemporary, calling on elements of traditional printmaking like etchings whilst also looking to more modernist arts and designs to inspire composition.

Masking Fluid- water and texture

masking fluid is one of my new great friends, it's just opened a world of new effects that i can create in ink drawings and to artist who haven't used it i'd say its worth a play and is so much fun. During the show i was very conscious of how the drawing looked for 80% of the day as masking fluid isn't pretty to look at especially since i was very liberal with it. The water, though calm has a lot of visible details as the light reflects differently across all the little ripples so i used a lot of the masking fluid and speckled it across to create the mood of the water sparkling slightly, the use of lines is because i didn't want the water to look too painted as i didn't think it would otherwise sit well with the rig. Also as the oil rigs were quite 'grunge' i wanted to tie the water and the oil rigs together by carrying the rustic feel through to the water. The reason for all the scratch like marks on the rigs is to break the ink and make it feel a bit worn out and prevent it from looking clean.


again i had the pleasure to experience a most lovely day as it's so much more than doing a 4 hour drawing, there was a lot of time to talk to everyone, the judges, crew and artists, all of the conversations have really been some of the best parts of the experience.

I can talk about art and technical stuff but admittedly i struggle to express feelings, but having my name called and getting through to the finals was just amazing (for lack of a better word), but i was buzzing for quite a while after.

I think my favourite part was at the end of the day, sat down with everyone at a local bar/cafe and having a nice chat in beautiful weather in the fabulous cromarty. It wasnt very long ago but I'm getting a little nostalgic.

As i said in my last post my accounts are very much my personal experience so for a quality overall view of the day i very much recommend reading the making a mark blog, she also has written about much much more than landscape artist of the year!

1,892 views2 comments

Recent Posts

See All


Fukuoka huge congratulations on winning LAOTY with your very skill full and insightful drawings. It is such a joy to see a young female artist who has developed her own (very strong) perspective and approach. I really enjoyed watching your work develop and I hope you have an amazing time creating your commissioned piece in Venice, enjoy and we’ll done again!!!!


Massive congrats on winning LAOTY, I've just seen it on the telly. Ecstatic to see a fellow black ink painter take the win. Ha! I was in the 2017 one, hope you had a great time on it. Looking forward to seeing the Venice piece :)

All the best,


bottom of page