We have been really busy over the last month with work and other commitments. I’ll write more fully about these in the Autumn. Over the last weekend we went back to Spurn Point for the Spurn Bird Observatory’s migration festival. It was a real festival and we had to wear wrist bands for entry – though the age group was at least 3 times that of the usual music festivals. It was mainly a field with a marquee with stalls and food and a lot of guided birding walks.
We had a fabulous weekend, learned a lot, met some lovely people and saw lots of birds.
One of the other options available was a ‘plein air’ art session, that is one where the painting is done outside. I took advantage of this and really enjoyed it. The leader/teacher/artist was Darren Woodhead, a graduate of the Royal College of Art who produces stunning paintings of birds and wildlife. He only uses water colours and very scarily doesn’t draw his subjects either – he paints straight onto the paper and always from life. So 10 of us trudged up to the beach with him and settled in a semi-circle round him. He is very engaging and encouraging and handed us all we needed, paper, brush, an ‘easel’ and 3 colours of paint. These were ultramarine, raw sienna and burnt umber. Anyone with any knowledge of paints will know that these are not your usual selections. He encouraged us to play with the colour options and also to try applying paint to wet paper. This was so far from my comfort zone and really quite daunting.
I did however create a sort of sea scape and it wasn’t too bad. I was so focused on working wet on wet, I did the whole thing that way – giving some blurred groynes and rocks. It was interesting seeing the paint move with the water and then of course dry in the sun and the wind.
I know that I need to loosen up my painting and that I also need to use larger brushes than I do. Having got very comfortable using coloured pencils, I know that I was basically doing the same thing but with paint. So large floppy round brushes have now been purchased and I am looking forward to challenging myself to be a little more loose and creative – starting this afternoon.
Just as an example of Darren’s work, he and his son stopped off at Bempton cliffs on their way home to Scotland and he produced this image of the albatross at dawn this morning. He posted this on twitter so I am presuming it is ok to use it here.
Just look at that sky!