28 Jul 2013

My kit for painting outside

I follow a number of blogs of other daily or plein air painters and often come across posts about their kit and equipment. In comparison to most mine is minimal. This was an important criteria for me, lugging bags of gear across a boggy landscape and setting up an easel in cold or windy weather was not going to encourage me to keep up my daily challenge. I also love dinky things, such as the flask, which I had to buy as soon as I saw it. I started off with a dinky pochade box and bought a bag to fit it in. The box holds my paints, brushes, canvas and pallet and everything else fits in the bag. It’s light to carry and also fits in my bicycle panniers. It is quick to set up and so far (after only 20 paintings) it works for me. My pochade box holds just one canvas, so if I want to do a few paintings before returning home I take my folding clay-pigeon stool containing my kit, my lunch and a wet canvas carrier. The other thing is deciding what to wear! I’ll save images of my fashionable painting wardrobe for another post when I brave the winter weather. But when it’s dry I just sit on a plastic bag, wear an old shirt and put a tea towel on my lap. Most of the time I manage to remain fairly clean, that is unless I forget to tie up my hair – I then get paint all over my face from pushing hair out of my eyes (hence the wetwipes!). Next month I'll share my painting process and the materials I use.

The phone is for timing, the temperature and posting an in-situ photo on facebook

This is my dinky thumb box - see my thumb inside
(the first time I opened the lid I jumped out of my skin, forgetting it was my thumb!)

21 Jul 2013

Greek Highlands

Well it’s jolly hot here and very nice it is too. The grass is beginning to smell warm and crispy, the Horny Hamishes are paddling in the loch and today I saw a couple of lizards basking in the sun. Yesterday we ate fresh langustine (the exact same ones you eat in Greece!) and the sea is as calm as can be. Whilst everywhere looks and sounds like the Islands Highlands of Greece, the sea is not quite as warm which I found out when I went for a dip in a lovely isolated and deserted sandy bay. At least I hope it was deserted, my screams will have exposed the fact that my swimming costume is 500 miles away in storage! Anyway, my Charcoal Chickens are now hanging in the Caithness Artists Show in Thurso. Next week – sheep. Baaaah.

Don't forget to check up on my Daily Painting progress......

14 Jul 2013

Learning to paint en plein air

I remember when I was learning to drive, there was so much to think about and how was I ever going to coordinate it all at once! I had a bright yellow 2CV (called Donald) in those days, with none of the luxuries found in a modern car, but great fun once I got the hang of it. Learning to paint en plein air in oils is just like learning to drive in a 2CV. I’m trying to capture a fleeting moment, whilst training my eyes to see colour, mix it and apply it before the moment passes. Having swapped my 35 year old paints for new oils, I feel I have synchromesh gears and introducing some new brushes to my kit instantly gave me powered steering. However, I have not located auto pilot - my brain is very much in analogue as I think about every step of the process. I’ve not been very far either, parking behind rocks and gorse bushes where nobody can see me. There’s a lovely little harbour below the house, with colourful fishing boats, and a steady stream of tourists (relatively speaking, this isn’t Cornwall!)  – a few too many for one with L plates on her smock, so I shall paint that scene when I have the confidence to go cabriolet!

you can see my daily paintings here

7 Jul 2013

A peasant in the garden

The last few days have been spent in Scone, Perthshire visiting the Scottish Game Fair. We bought a combined ticket including Scone Palace. However, access to the Palace from the game fair proved to be difficult. We followed two others who ignored the bold no entry signs, climbed the stile into the garden, walked towards the Palace and went out of sight - so we did the same. They were strident tweedy types who obviously looked less peasant-like than me, with my red DMs and camera. I was immediately stopped in my tracks by her ladyship who came running across the lawn waving her newspaper. I switched off the East Anglian accent and negotiated a shortcut across the private lawn to the public entrance. Exhausted from our day out we stopped in a quiet country lane for a flask of tea. I set up painting station in a field of barley, with my “clay pigeon stool” bought at the fair, whilst Henry had a doze in the van. After a short while a car pulled up alongside the field and a frowning man jumped out. I thought it was going to be another “get off my land” situation, so I jumped up from behind the gate smiled and said “helloo?”.   “Oh” he said, “I hadn’t seen you there. Are you ok? I thought he was dead!”. Looking towards Henry I agreed he didn’t look very perky!
You can see this week's daily painting efforts from the tab above.