Despite its name, this semi-ruined priory is nowhere near Bolton. It's at a small place called Bolton Abbey near Skipton in Yorkshire. The priory is in the heart of the Yorkshire Dales on the banks of the River Wharfe. It is a beautiful setting that is just screaming out to be painted. A rippling river with stepping stones and small sandy inlets, meadows with cows and a sky full of wild birds. I was also fortunate enough to be there on a warm sunny day. I've never felt comfortable painting plein aire, but ever a scene could have tempted me, this one could.
Though I had two attempts with watercolour I couldn't get the 'look' I was trying to achieve. I think the strong sunlight and bold shadows has teased me into over defining the shapes and structure. I have certainly been too bold with the greens, and they detract from the main subject I think. As a result I decided to have a go without colour, and produced this pencil drawing. Though I personnally feel a subject like this needs colour to show it off at its best, the pencil sketch does seem to convey more 'mood'.