We’ve been lucky enough recently to enjoy some dry, albeit cold weather recently, which has meant that I have had the chance to throw off the shackles of studio painting and to venture forth into the landscape to observe, notice and record. The images in this post are from two separate painting adventures; the first set of images (above) were made at Yorkshire Sculpture Park, and the second set of images (below) were made at Old Pale in Delamere, Cheshire.
There are so many reasons to enjoy plein air or outdoor painting; the unequivocal connection to nature, the chance to observe directly, the shift in light from minute to minute, the wind, sunshine (or rain) on your face, the lilting melodies of singing birds, I could go on for hours exulting the many benefits of getting ‘out there’ and and doing it, but until you go and do it for yourself it really is all just words.
There are some considerations that you should make before you go out. Protect yourself from the elements; whether that means wrapping up warm on a cold day, or making sure you don’t melt on a hot one, this aspect of preparation should not be over looked. As in all aspects of life appropriate footwear is a must.
You must be comfortable, which leads me to what painting kit should you take; some of the best, most evocative locations require some trekking to get to, therefore everything that you need, you have to carry. You should aim to refine your painting kit down to what you will practically use, I have in the past (and still do sometimes!) over packed, this can result in decreased mobility and fatigue, neither of which are desirable.
As a rule of thumb, less is more, you will undoubtedly end up taking out more kit than you need, and it is through trial and error that you will be able to refine this over time.
I have a few different kits depending on the nature and size of the work that I am intending to produce. These vary from a full rucksack with self-made easel (shown above), down to 7 by 5 inch shoulder bag with sketchbook, it all depends on the situation and what you are comfortable with carrying.
I would encourage anybody to give it a go, get some fresh air and get painting.
Fingers crossed for more dry weather.