LAST OF THE SNOW
Brecon Beacons from Hay Bluff - Oil on Canvas
Tip 1 - Don't force it!
I used to paint 'en plein air' but doing the preparatory sketches for this painting taught me not to be so stupid! It took me days to thaw out. When painting outside I feel rushed to capture fleeting glimpses of infinitely changing light and movement. Now, when a view inspires me, I take plenty of photos, make a very quick pencil sketch or two and always a video if I can. This means that when I'm back in my studio, I have time to reflect on the emotion of the place and to study that snapshot in time in detail. I do also try to have the soundscape playing on loop in my earphones when I paint the final draft as this provides the atmosphere of a setting.
This approach doesn't necessarily mean that I lose spontoneity - I completed this painting in just one afternoon - because I was prepared, I know what I was looking for and didn't have to force it. It just flowed - and it's probably my favourite painting.