Well I think I have answered my own question Can I Do Both? Not very well it would seem.
Many weeks have passed since my last post and although restriction wise not much has changed – we are still in Lockdown three. The positive vaccine rollout and the welcome return to school for the nations children is providing a boost to the spirits that sooner rather than later we can start to emerge (for good this time) from this world changing pandemic.
Up until three weeks ago I was painting in the studio almost daily to fill dull, short, cold, often wet days during this current lockdown while happily upstairs in the converted bedroom – now edit suite – The Long-suffering still worked from home.
Below some sketchbook watercolours and oil paintings
This past two weeks have allowed much garden work to resume in my own and my clients. The Autumn tidy stood all the gardens in good stead as they slumbered over winter – if only the infection rates had the same idea!
My own garden has seen the remaining standing perennials and grasses in the prairie borders cut back, the adjacent meadow has been awash with purple and white crocus, new shoots from the many bulbs beneath rise up a bit taller every day.
The early spring pruning of Buddleja, Roses, Clematis, Sambucus and Cornus has been attended too followed by a thick mulch of farmyard muck on all the borders. New streamside planting of marsh marigolds, candelabra primulas and to follow shortly Primula denticulata to add renewed seasonal colour. Even the shed has had a lick of paint by Long-suffering before it disappears from view once more behind a tangle of Rose and Clematis.
Late February saw me celebrate another big birthday. Instead of worrying about my increasing years I am trying to embrace them especially as within our own family lives have been lost both younger and older than myself.
While the last three weeks have been garden productive painting has not, however I have been undertaking research by reading and watching anything to do with art. Especially regarding the landscape and painting Plein Air.
The long-suffering has to be commended on his thoughtfulness and research when it comes to the buying of gifts for his muse….. For Christmas it was a set of now out of print reproduced John Constable Sketchbooks from 1813-14. These beautiful sketchbooks are a joy and treasure to study, so authentic I could be handling the original copies
For my ‘60th’ Birthday amongst other wonderful non arty gifts, I received The elements of Landscape Oil Painting by Suzanne Brooker and an #openboxm pochade. Now this box is incredibly light and more importantly easy to set up, important features if wanting to paint plein air in oils. I will review the product and my experience with it in more detail in a few weeks.
Below is my packed rucksack including ‘The man behind the lens’ old Manfrotto tripod now in the possession of his muse to support a pochade instead of the usual camera. Also this mornings first plein air oil painting set up ‘view from the end of my garden’. It was freezing cold but I was well wrapped up with the exception of my feet, head – I forgot my hat – and the tips of my fingers not encased due to fingerless gloves!
The finished painting in just over an hour including set up, and a clearer look at my palette.
I now realise I am on an uphill struggle to learn the actual ‘alla prima’ style of painting en plein air. But I feel happy to have overcome the first hurdle of getting set up successfully and putting paint to canvas in the open air. The short painting time, limited palette, bigger brushes helped reduce the fiddling with detail but my application of paint needs work in the field!
I shall end this post with a positive painting…. a seascape completed in approximately four hours in the studio using a palette knife, just to remind myself I can paint successfully sometimes!