Towards Lizard Lighthouse, Cornwall. A studio painting.
I did a plein air at the time I was here which was not a great success, being almost blown over by wind. This one I felt came out okay overall, despite sections which could definitely have gone much better. For an age I’ve been meaning to try using a hog hair brush to add neat paint, as ‘dry into wet’, which I did in painting and it worked well. Used for the darks of the gorse in the foreground. This might become a new part of my approach.
Portishead ‘beach’, or rocks and silt and cliff anyway. I came last year and liked it, so made a return visit and chose a similar composition. There aren’t many good ones to find, but there is this area with a view down the coast to bits of headland and the island of flat holm in the Bristol Channel. As I was arriving I was loving the sky. So, hurriedly unpacking…
As you can see, the sky was a beauty. The clouds were drifting by, forming some great compositions in my eye…. Hastily draw out a few lines, then happily plunged in, fully inspired by everything….
Hmmm. Didn’t nail it all exactly, but it was a fairly clean strike and something tells me to flow with this one, so without further pencil I continued, again really inspired by all around me. It’s an unusual place in some respects, and a different challenge for me, whilst being entirely natural landscape. These things – and a great sky – are all I could wish for.
Portishead rocks at low tide, plein air, finished painting. I quite like this one, not least because of the experience of painting it. You see, this is what really matters, and I don’t know how good the painting is. How could I? Also, this came after several plein air trips that hadn’t been great experiences or featured good painting, so it was a good feeling.
A couple of the others finishing off. I had been down by that white railing beyond them.
Another miss. Fantastic tree (I painted it last year from the other direction), but this time definitely not a worthy portrait.
And another miss….. One from a very local nature reserve. Very difficult sloped, boggy footing and a difficult subject, being all foliage. The light also was changing constantly and contrastingly, with the board glaringly bright in the sun one minute and darkly shaded the next (that’s dense cumulous clouds for you on a day where you’re lucky to avoid showers). Didn’t stand a chance and didn’t even bother to finish this one.
However long you do this thing, you can end up feeling a rank amateur some days. I reckon that’s mostly a good thing (on reflection!).
Exiles again, and exiled to a barn with rain pouring impressively the whole time we were there. It was forecast, to be fair, but we’re a game bunch so everyone turned up. One of our number had got permission to paint around an old farmyard in Wiltshire, and fortunately there was this open barn for us to take refuge in. However, the rain blew right in where I was, no matter how far I moved things backwards…
My finished all wet-in-wet effort. Not that it was really ‘finished’ except for the fact that I stopped. At no point did the paper dry out, or stop getting rained on, so it was an opportunity for a very different way of working. I was basically trying to paint without water on my brush, since there was plenty on the paper and in the air. I had been looking forward to tackling that huge pile of old pallets and rubbish, but in the end it was a bit of a joke in the circumstances.
Some recent ‘Zoom’ demos (including the very first sheep I’ve painted since I was about 11 years old):-
Bit of a different subject this one – done for a student in Israel, so a scene local to him and from his photo.
Coming up this month I’m doing a ‘plein air demo’ for an art group (in the studio) via Zoom.
An interesting request, this will involve me showing a lot of photos initially, to take the group en plein air ‘virtually’, explaining the whole process of exploring a location, homing in on a subject and composition, etc, before then painting the demo (and I thought I might put on a bird sounds CD in the background.)
I’ve recently arranged a new workshop, with two or one day options at Sandpiper Studio for March 2022. Details to follow soon-ish on my Tuiton/Workshops page, and the Sandpiper Studio website. Big Sky Art 2022 (June) now confirmed also. Looking forward very soon now to my course there this year.
NEXT TIME (?) – PLEIN AIR PAINTING COMPETITION.
Possibly next time anyway, I thought I might hope to incite some footpath blocking, cow daring, rain stopping adventures of your own. I’m not sure what the prize will be. Does there need to be one? After all, it’s the taking part that counts, isn’t it?
Hope you’ll have a good month ahead.
All the best,