Sorry it’s been a while since my last post, but time has been disappearing fast.
We had some fun on my Flatford Mill course, and as usual were spoiled there by the subjects surrounding us. The weather was cold which was a bit unfortunate, but wasn’t going to stop any of us from getting outdoors. It’s surprising how much an inspiring view can make you forget a bit of numbness.
Here’s my first demo painting, and a few other snaps. I won’t go into the cows/tent incident (not illustrated)!
I got close to Exmoor recently (where I’m teaching on a painting holiday, imminently), for a plein air visit to Kilve beach on the Somerset coast. This was en route for a demo in Exeter in the evening. Kilve is a bit out of the way from where I live, but it’s been on my list for the right opportunity to visit, and as a painting location it far exceeded my expectations. A well-kept secret, I think. It took me a while to settle on this view because the one in the opposite direction – towards the light – was every bit as appealing. The coastline here is very distinctive and the inland countryside has rolling hills, thatched buildings and high moorland in view. Always great to discover a place you know you’ll be going back to. I spent a good hour taking many photos after finishing the painting, exploring and to remind me where to head for next time I visit.
I had interesting weather on a visit to Bath. This was my first outing of the year with The Exiles (the group of plein air painting friends I meet up with when possible) but in the end I think I was the only one who painted! Weather was determined to be tricky, with strong gusts, regular showers and bright sunlight, over and over. Always makes it feel easier to be experimental in this kind of situation, so I got out the brush pen for my first go with it outdoors. One thing’s for certain with using black ink; the painting always has a full tonal range. As for the rest, I haven’t got much of a strategy yet with my ink and wash, just trying things out freely.
More luck with the weather on this occasion and although there was thin cloud all over, it was quite warm when I went for walk to a location I discovered and painted a few years ago (previous, studio version below). I plan to do it again too, in other seasons. The kind of simple composition that rests finely on not very much in terms of whether it works, or not. I was testing out a method of filming outdoor demonstrations, so this was done very quickly at just over 30 minutes including the drawing. Unfortunately the camera misted up, but the footage isn’t too terrible so I’m thinking of perhaps putting it out as a youtube video.
‘Pilgrimage’ to Knepp.
This painting was done on a recent brief camping visit to Knepp Rewilding Project. I’ve been wanting to visit this place for ages and it lived up to hopes. Unfortunately the weather was terrible apart from my arrival afternoon, meaning that having walked around for a couple of hours I really couldn’t paint more that this one piece in the end, so instead I located subjects for my next visit, and quietly swore a bit.
Surrounded by nature at its happiest and ecologically healthiest. Listening to Nightingales, cuckoos and way too much more to mention. A wonderful place and experience. This one a picture of not very much perhaps, but I love being in this kind of scrubland landscape and felt inspired by all my surroundings. Maybe I’ll add one of the storks I saw flying over…
You can read all about the wonder (and cause for optimism) that is Knepp here: https://knepp.co.uk/home
I have a couple of developments I’m hoping to mention soon. Meantime I’m really pleased to have organised a 2-day workshop in Cornwall for next year, May 17th & 18th at Truro Arts Company: https://www.truroartscompany.co.uk/events/
If you’re down that end of the country it’d be nice to meet you there, where over the two days we’ll touch on quite a lot of the underlying theory and techniques of my painting approach.
A couple of video reviews for “Studio Painting….”
“I find two things particularly valuable about this video. First, the focus on tone is so well done. It is such a hard thing to master, and your description of making really dark darks is so helpful. That has always been hard for me. I especially like how you put darks right next to lights, rather than making the shift in tone more gradual. It’s very dramatic and effective. The second thing is the focus on paint thickness and paper dampness. That’s another thing that is always a bit difficult to gauge. It’s very helpful, therefore, to see how you manage it. I was painting a bit yesterday and practiced what you taught; it works! All the rest, composition, color, whatever, is as good as usual. I like to watch you paint trees. How you got that tree on the far right side of one painting to become a tree is amazing. I’ve watched that several times, but it still seems like magic.
The one thing I like best about your videos is that they are so genuine. You are so honest and spontaneous–you can’t beat that, and it puts the [brand name removed] and even [ditto] videos to shame.”
“I have now watched your new video twice and I can’t praise it enough! I can’t think of another video with so much information about various techniques plus five excellent demos that really teach one how to apply the brush to the paper. I love all your choices of demos. It is quite amazing to watch your brush that dances on the paper. All the brush marks are carefully chosen and nothing is superfluous. I think I can now go back to demos that you did for Leisure Painter because I understand your way of painting much better. When I watched the video, I felt that I was invited into your studio to share watercolour painting with you. It felt very pleasant and instructive.”