Big sky watercolour paintings

I travelled north last week on a family visit and packed in the hope I’d be able to get some on location painting done. Unfortunately, the weather had other plans. Confined to some indoor painting, and feeling quite lacking in inspiration, I tried to whip up some enthusiasm with a couple of quick A5 sketches:

Then, after stumbling across an older reference photo, I decided to revisit a big sky painting that I first tackled a year or so ago. I didn’t refer back to the painting that I did first time round, I just dived straight in, remembering vaguely how quickly this had been to paint the first time:

Sunset on the South Downs, Nr Firle (2)

I was pretty pleased with how this turned out and again, this didn’t take very long at all to paint. I was hoping that it might be slightly lighter in both touch and tone than the first version, but here are the two side by side (or on top of one another depending on how you’re viewing this!):

When the weather did eventually break for a moment, I was primed and ready and with a location in mind. I was in the North West of England in the area of Lytham and St.Annes which is just south of the better known resort of Blackpool. The area is called the Fylde and, especially around Lytham and St.Annes, it’s pretty flat!  I headed out to some sand dunes that that gave me some elevation and, I hoped, a view that would enable me to focus on the sky.

It may look idyllic but, while there was a break in the rain, there was no such break in the chill wind blowing in from the Irish Sea!  On top of the sand dune I was completely exposed which made for quite a challenging environment for painting in.  Here’s how I got on:

Plein-air painting of the Fylde flatlands

For an on location painting in tricky conditions I was quite pleased with this, if a little underwhelmed by the view!  It really is flat with the only landmarks being the tops of three churches in the distance as I looked back towards St.Annes.

Back in a place of comfort and out of the wind, I had another go at this view.

Big sky over the Fylde flatlands

One of the main reasons for wanting to get out and paint was partly in preparation for the coming weekend. A few months ago I registered to take part in an outdoor painting even called Pintar Rapido – which is being hosted in London on Saturday 22nd and Sunday 23rd June.

I’d love to hear from anyone else that has also signed up for this event but, for anyone unfamiliar with it, here’s a quick summary of what it’s about.

Pintar Rapido is the UK’s biggest plein air painting competition and exhibition. It is a weekend celebration of art and the London city-scape and is open to professional, semi-professional and amateur artists. (Should anyone else be interested, even at this late stage, there’s still time to register!)

On Saturday morning, all artists have to register at Chelsea town hall and have their canvases or paper etc officially stamped. Once done, artists have to choose their location, complete a painting and have it back at Chelsea town hall at the end of the day ready to hang for a one day exhibition on Sunday. Really, what’s not to like about this as an adventure!?

Should anyone like the sound of this there’s still time to register via the Pinter Rapido website.

I’m really excited about the prospect of what lies in store this weekend and my fingers are crossed that the weather is kind and that I’m able to produce something worthy of exhibiting!

Thoughts on Big sky watercolour paintings

14 thoughts on “Big sky watercolour paintings”

    1. Hi Jean and thanks so much for this! Yes, I definitely need to think about setting myself somewhere a little more sheltered and protected in the future! Thanks so much Jean and apologies for not replying sooner!

  1. London forecast for Saturday is dry, light breeze, 20 degrees and sunny intervals. No excuses then!

    1. Haha – thanks for the weather update Rob – I’ve been too nervous to look these past few days! As you say, no excuses (apart of course from my own considerable limitations!)

      1. By the way, I think your new “sunset” works better than the original – perhaps because there’s more of a focus with that dark cloud blotting out the sun.

        1. Thanks Rob and yes, I think that sharp contrast between the dark cloud and the sunlight really draws the eye in (and away from the other elements in the landscape that weren’t as successful as I’d have liked!)

    1. Thanks for this David, really appreciate it. The easel set up is a bit of a home made Heath Robinson affair (made out of an old aluminium Winsor and Newton oil painters case) but it works for me!

  2. I think you make a marvellous work. I like your aquarelle Painting a lot and have tried that method of painting before and also with Gouache . That is inspiring me to go on with my own painting. Thanks a lot for your share. See you,

    1. Hi Kerstin and thanks so much for such kind and generous comments – I’m so pleased that my paintings are inspiring you to continue with your own paintings – so wonderful to hear!

I'd love to hear any thoughts you have about this

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