Plein-air watercolour sketching

I travelled north over the weekend to visit my mum, 93 years young and a totally remarkable woman. On this occasion, I travelled solo which, once I’d done my chores, also afforded me a little time to spend painting. Sadly the weather was a little grey and the light quite flat for the duration of my trip but it was nice to get some plein-air sketching in.

I managed to find a pretty secluded spot off the beaten track and was able to tackle a couple of views.

Here’s my first effort:

Watercolour sketch by John Haywood
Plein-air watercolour sketch 1

I quite liked this but felt I’d given over too much of the page to a rather dull sky. There was also something about the perspective of the barn that troubled me too so I thought I’d have another crack at it.

Watercolour sketch by John Haywood
Plein-air watercolour sketch 2

I was quite pleased with this sketch, particularly some of the textures in the foreground.

Next up was a view in a different direction, looking towards a radar tower that serves the nearby Blackpool airport:

Watercolour sketch by John Haywood
Plein-air watercolour sketch 3

This one was done pretty briskly but I don’t think it’s any the worse off for it.

With time still on my side, I also played around a little to ‘film’ my first bit of watercolour footage!

I’ve been thinking of adding a little something else to my posts and video seems like a natural way forward.  I’ll not be filming any full-length painting demonstrations or anything, but I thought it might be a way to add a little richness and variety to my posts.

Here’s a quick peek then from my sketching trip!

[wpvideo z5wYcTWi ]

I appreciate this isn’t quite Ridley Scott standard but it’s sometimes nice to know that there’s SO much room for improvement!

I’m off to France next week so I’m hoping that I’ll have the opportunity to do some more sketching (and filming!?) – hopefully in some brighter weather! In the meantime, happy painting and à bientôt!

Thoughts on Plein-air watercolour sketching

18 thoughts on “Plein-air watercolour sketching”

    1. Hi Peter and thanks so much for your kind words, I really appreciate it. I think your portraits (and the accompanying stories!) are fabulous, superb skills, and wonderful content – a great combination!

    1. Hi Chloe and many thanks for this (and for following!). Really pleased you like some of these and your comments are much appreciated!

    1. Thanks so much for this, I really appreciated it. The video is a totally new element for me but it’s good to know it serves a purpose and I’ll be looking at how else I can incorporate it into my posts. Thanks again.

  1. Excellent example of an easily overlooked view that makes a wonderful painting. I quite like all three.

    I notice that instead of your plein air easel set-up you were using a convenient chunk of granite.

    Nice use of the Frazer-Price box.

  2. You made the most of very little, there John. Looking at your video I would have passed all that by and gone somewhere interesting. I agree with your comment on sketch 2. That foreground is intriguing. Did you run/spray water into the pigment? Looks like it’s worth developing.

    1. Thanks for this Graham, much appreciated – to be honest I think it was being able to sketch freely in a nice secluded spot that appealed as much as the landscape! As for that foreground, yes, you’re spot on, I washed in the foreground with few colour combinations and, whilst still wet, used a smalll atomiser spray and held it the paper at a steep angle so everything ran down the page. It’s one of those happy accidents really as I meant to apply the spray when the paint was closer to drying out to create more of a speckled texture rather that causing everything to run together. As you know better than most, sometimes you lead the paint, but it’s often better when the paint leads you! Thanks Graham

  3. Enjoyed the video very much. I like the first picture because the sky is so powerful and I can feel the weather and the weight of the clouds. It’s beautiful and makes me realize how small we are, in the face of nature. I love it. Have a fantastic time in France. Can’t wait to see what you will have to show us.

    1. Thansk so much for you kind comments and good wishes! So pleased you like these and I know exactly what you mean about our size in the face of nature! Just reading your comment transported me back to some time spent in South Africa when I felt totally overawed and intimidated by the vastness of the skies and the landscape. Thanks again!

    1. Hi Tom and thanks so much for this – I thought I recognised your name from Instagram and have just been through to your website to double check – I’m a big fan of your work and it’s great to be able to follow you via your site now as well! Many thanks Tom, all the best

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