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Monday, 3 September 2012

More Plein Air

It's funny isn't it - when you find that you really enjoy doing something that you didn't think was your cup of tea?  Well, I've found this with plein air painting.  I've been toying with the idea for a while but really didn't think I'd take to it, being so used to painting in the comfort of my home and when I am outdoors I'm used to walking, not sitting!  Yet I've found I've really quite enjoyed it - I've only done a handful of plein air sketches and the results haven't been great, but it's the enjoyment of sitting there with a live subject in front of you and being out in the open.  I did a couple on Friday for Maggie Latham's small works challenge.  The challenge is to paint some postcard sized watercolours en plein air.  I've got some watercolour paper scraps from Ken Bromley's Art Supplies - they have a box that you can help yourself from and I took a handful when I was there (link to post) so they came in very handy for this challenge!  We drove to Loggerheads which is an AONB near us - I already knew what I wanted to paint, the bridge over the River Alyn, so I sat myself down on the bench near the bridge, got some water from the river and started to paint.  I use one of those pan sets that W&N do when working plein air, which is a bit alien to me as I normally use tubes and it's weird not knowing what colours you're using as well but I'm getting used to using them.

Here is the first watercolour sketch which took about half an hour.

Bridge at Loggerheads
© Sharon Whitley

and here is me in situ - there were a couple of light showers but the trees helped keep me dry


Then we had a wander through the woods and I sat at the side of the path to paint another watercolour


The finished painting and my favourite of the two

Walk through the woods
© Sharon Whitley

With two small paintings under my belt it was time to visit Caffi Florence for a delicious bowl of homemade soup, then home, a perfect end to a lovely morning.  Poor Gary though was hoping to get some wildlife shots while I was painting as we sometimes see Tree Creepers, and Dippers in this area but no such luck this morning - it's a good job he enjoys watching me paint!

We went out to Loggerheads again on Saturday night and I took my little scraps of watercolour paper with me and had another go, this time the weather was a bit more extreme and the wind was howling making it a bit difficult to keep my pot of water upright and paint straight !!! 

Extreme painting!

Needless to say the results were quite loose - good job that was the feel I was going for then!!!!  I did three small sketches but am only showing you the one I like best as the other two are howlers!  I'm out with the paints again tonight to do a bit more!

Moel Famau
© Sharon Whitley


Til next time bloggers, have a lovely day!


23 comments:

  1. They are great, Sharon! I wish I had such beautiful landscape in my neighbourhood!

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    1. Thank you Judy, it is a beautiful area around here, just love being out there !

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  2. Some great plein air paintings. Such a great reason to be in beautiful places, enjoying the outdoors. I envy you the great locations to paint.

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    1. Oh there is so much out there to paint if you look around you but yes I know I'm lucky to have such beautiful scenery around me!

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  3. Sharon, so glad you are enjoying our Small Works Challenge group. I must say you look quite the 'plein air' painter in these photos!!!! I won't comment on your work as we have all that going on in the challenge group on Facebook. I am so glad you are liking it. These places are so beautiful to paint....nothing quite like the British countryside. No wonder Constable, Turner and Cotman to name but a few were so inspired....we are treading in the footsteps of the greats ....lol.....

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    1. Hi Maggie, I've got you to thank for this, it's really given me a buzz doing these postcard sized sketches and it surely can only help me progress, and help with my confidence so thank you for giving me the inspiration!

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  4. Isn't it just the best, getting out into the fresh air with the brushes? These look like you've been doing it all your life.

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    1. It's great I think I'm getting a bit addicted although it's getting a bit cold out there in the evenings now!

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  5. Your love and affinity with the outdoors shows through in your paintings Sharon, lucky you to have such great scenery

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  6. Your love and affinity with the outdoors shows through in your paintings Sharon, lucky you to have such great scenery

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    1. I'm always saying how lucky I am to live where I do, thanks Lorraine x

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  7. Very beautiful paintings, Sharon!! I haven't done plein air, I'm a little shy, but I see everyday the tries of dear bloggers and read how good time you all have that I'm starting to change my mind!
    I like that you posted pictures of you in action. The 3rd one is very artistic :)
    Warm regards.

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    1. Oh Konstantina I hope you do, I didn't think I would like it - I hated the thought of people peering over my shoulder but that hasn't really happened, I don't put any pressure on myself to produce something great, just enjoy the experience even if you're not over impressed with the result! Happy painting!

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  8. You have a wonderful talent.. and extreme painting sounds like fun.

    re: Moore NR and Birchwood Pool. Moore is close to Daresbury a few miles away from Birchwood the place... the pool just happens to be next to a "birch wood".

    Hugs Drew.

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    1. thank you Drew, it is fun although tonight I did some more and was freezing! Next time I'll take my coat with me! Thanks for the info on Moore NR, will be taking a visit soon as it isn't that far

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  9. I like all three watercolors, but the forest is my favorite! It is great that you have the will to do plain-air painting. I don't seem to ever find the right spot, or the right subject, or the right weather... I just find excuses ;)
    Have a very nice week!

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    1. the forest is my favourite too Blaga - I was really pleased with how it turned out so pleased you like it too!

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  10. sharon these sketches are great! you inspired me! you may not believe this but I found a map in an old Degas book - I am at this very moment using it for a ballerina tutu! thanks for the inspiration!

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    1. that's brilliant look forward to seeing it - I need to get on with my mapping experiments! Really glad I inspired you it will look great!

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  11. Very nice, Sharon. I really love the photos too! It looks like it was a wonderful nature trip. :)

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    1. Thank you Heather, they are places I walk regularly so I'm planning to take my sketchpad with me everywhere I go just in case I get the inspiration!

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  12. the painted sketches are lovely - so glad that plein aire has grabbed you, it does feel good to do and I'm sure you'll reap the benefits :) xx

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  13. I've done a few plein air and didn't really enjoy it...but I must say, Sharon, you are such an inspiration and maybe I'll try again...especially that Fall is coming. I had such problems with mosquitos that it didn't make for an enjoyable day. Your sketches are beautiful!!!..especially the forest.

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I love hearing from you, thank you so much for leaving a comment - I will always try to leave a reply and pop over to visit your blog if you have one - although sometimes I may be slower than others, have a wonderful day xx