Claire Lovell, 11-25 February 2017

My project was to focus on getting myself out and about, be decisive, painting from life without the usual constraints that hold me back when at home.  This…I did, and I felt when at my peak, which was when I exhausted myself on about day 3 or 4,  the paintings had the energy and freshness that only plain air urgent painting can bring.  I was able to really look at the colour in front of me and try to capture that. The lessons learnt are:

  1. despite the struggles and energy demands of plein air painting (i.e.: lugging easels, brushes and palette, across fields or up tricky and challenging hills, setting up so that the wind doesn’t blow everything away or into your palette, etc), these works are often the most energetic and authentic, with lots of integrity.  Plein air paintings have the edge.
  2.  spending time outside, looking, drinking in the colour, looking, composing, thinking etc, is the only way to get the true colour into a painting.  Reliance on photos alone simply does not cut it!

  3.  with time, loosening up and freeing oneself is inevitable if painting plein air, with the elements challenging you.  Basically, there is no time to ponder…to think too much.  It’s a case of just looking…really looking…mixing the colour…and getting on with it!  More so if it’s at that time year because it’s cold.