A few fellow bloggers have shamed me by getting out and doing some plein air painting, even in the chill depths of February. So, this week, when the sun shone and the temperatures rose I got on my bike and tried to find some suitable subjects.

So here they are; the first of this year, from around the lanes close to where I live – even managing to get a March date on my sketchbook page. Above is one of the many drainage ditches which run along the lanes and keep this old marsh area suitable for agriculture. This one might be worth working up into a painting.

This second one I have done before, but with the trees in full leaf. The shape of the trees reveal the prevailing winds.

As I work fairly fast I need sun and warmth to get the washes to dry, otherwise shapes just become amorphous and the paint too thick as you put one wet wash on top of another – even tricks like painting the sky, then the foreground and dodging from one dry area to the next waiting for the first wash to dry dont work – and then there was the day that the washes froze on the palette; that`s when I took a vow to stay indoors on cold days. But Wednesday was a very pleasant day to be out in the open.

Other landscapes are available for sale on my website: https://grahammcquadefineart.com


    • Thanks Chris. The painting you reference is well resolved and has the attention to detail you would expect in studio work. An excellent plein air work.
      The ones I show here were done in 30 -45 minutes with interruptions from curious passers by. I know of artists who go back to the same scene at the same time of day- but you are still vulnerable to the effects of cloud and the variability of light levels.
      So apart from the mindfulness-contemplative aspects of painting outdoors, I use these exercises as material gathering trips and I always take my camera.
      I have three brushes, big medium and small and a coarse, sharp edged brush for scrubbing out and I use a limited palette in any case.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Thanks, Graham. As you probably picked up, I went back to that painting many times, and, at the end, mostly in my (garage) studio. It was far from a one-time effort. 😆

        I found the changing light and all the detail overwhelming, but it was a great challenge. I’ll definitely do it again. I often sketch outside, but painting outside is quite a bit more effort. 🙂

        Thanks for sharing your experience and approach. It’s helpful to know how others do it. I listen to the Plein Air Podcast quite often, and your approach sounds like what most pros do—go out and make studies and gather information that they can then use to make a studio painting.

        I can imagine you have some funny (and distracting) experiences with passers by.

        Liked by 2 people

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