Monday, 25 October 2010

Autumn walk in Clouts Wood - my week-end plein air session

On Saturday morning, I drove to the near-by village of Wroughton (Wiltshire - England) to paint in Clouts Wood. The trail starts at the top of the hill and leads into a nice secluded valley. There is a stream and, with the recent rain, the path was muddy.

Here is the finished painting at the end of the session.

Autumn walk in Clouts Wood - Oil on canvas panel (6" x 8") by Benoit Philippe

There is nothing like painting plein air. It is hard to recapture in the studio the atmosphere of a place, unless you sketch or make a small painting to fix your memories.

First I wanted to find the right spot. I had to cross a field where cows were eating some shrubs. One of them started to run in my direction and I had to reach the gate faster than I planned to...

After that, I stopped several times, watching in all directions: your best view may be in your back. There was an old elm with yellow and orange foliage. It was tempting, but I wanted to capture a view of the valley. I crossed the shallow stream, walking carefully on some dead branches.

The Spot below was good. The overcast weather made the colours grey and it would have been difficult just to work from a reference photograph. I shot one with my digital camera, just in case the rain would come.

I sat on my folding 3-legged stool. Not the most stable seat on soft grassy ground...

Ready to paint

I get ready to paint. Colours are laid on the palette and I have a pair of mittens (it's cold and  I need to be able to move my fingers).

Below is the initial under-painting. After that, I did not stop until the end.

I did not see any rambler. The only visitors were a couple of grey squirrels, a noisy bird and a sheep with a black head that watched me from the other side of the stream and then went away.

11:00 a.m. I have finished the painting and head back to the car. I can hear the first drops of rain hitting the leaves.

1 comment:

mmspirit said...

This is just wonderful, Philippe! ... I am leaving for Arcachon on Wednesday - wish I was adept enough to do a plein air in 3 hours. I am not, but you do inspire me.