So rare is the opportunity for me to paint plein-air, that even though the day was cold, overcast and with heavy rain forecast, I had to seize the initiative! It was also a great chance to test out my new plein-air setup, customised from an old Winsor and Newton artist’s case. I had hoped to get some better photos of this to share but these will have to suffice while I await some brighter and warmer weather.
This view is looking across the river Adur towards Shoreham:
Crucially, I’m delighted to report that the easel held up really well in strong winds! I’ve already got a couple of refinements to make to it following this outing but, in terms of practicality and comfort for painting, this is definitely a significant step up from my previous arrangement. Having my palette so close to hand, and not having to hold it at all is just brilliant!
As for the view, my intention was to make this a big sky painting and keep the complicated mishmash of buildings and boats etc. really simple. The sky started out looking much more interesting than it eventually dried. I was a little disappointed with this outcome, and have since considered putting another wash over the top – a temptation I’ve resisted so far!
I was quite pleased with the overall sense of the buildings and boats but, if I was to do it again, I’d be looking for even more simplification of these complex elements. I think the painting does show the flatness of the light on the day, and this is something that I think I’ll need to work on – how to find the light on these flat days. The result is that the painting feels quite ‘flat’.
And here’s a rare close-up of the central boats that I thought came out ok.
This painting won’t make a mount, let alone a frame, but that was never really the point for me on this occasion. This was purely about ‘forcing’ myself to take the opportunity to paint outside from life. It’s probably the single-most pursuit that could develop my skills as a painter, yet I still find it a daunting prospect!
Fortunately, the new easel set up worked a treat which, combined with this first effort of the year, I’m hoping will be a springboard to much more plein-air painting!
This bubble of excitement was quickly punctured the following day when I received my latest ‘notification of rejection’. This time from the Jacksons’ Open Painting Prize (JOPP2018). Organised by Jacksons’ Art Supplies, the selection process was purely online. All entries were shortlisted down to a ‘longlist’ of around 350 paintings. This longlist is then scrutinised by a selected panel of experts that choose the winning entry in each category. I submitted five paintings (the submission price was only £5 per entry which, compared to many of the exhibitions I’ve entered this year, is as reasonable as I’ve come across.
Reasonable or not though, it’s still another £25 to add to my increasingly costly ‘price of failure’ blog post!