Working in the grounds of the mill and the surrounding private nature reserve we will focus on producing a series of completed landscapes by direct observation. For those nervous of working out in the open the secluded location is ideal, at the end of a long track down into one of Suffolk’s beautiful ‘hidden valleys’ between Constable’s Stour Valley and Gainsborough’s home town.
September 2013, 10am – 5pm with the option of staying on in the evening
Where: Assington Mill, Assington, Suffolk, CO10 5LZ
What: Take a look at the pdf brochure
People often ask about the best equipment for plein air painting so here is a look at my kit and some links to suppliers.
I have two kinds of easel that I use outside: a French Easel and a panel/palette holder on a tripod.
The French easel is the one that looks most like a traditional easel. It’s made of wood, has a tray on the back to rest my brushes, brush washer/turps can etc. There is a draw at the front to store tubes of paint and the palette sits on top of this. It’s a very versatile piece of kit that can support anything from a tiny board a few inches high to large canvas four feet across.
I also have a more lightwight kit in the form of a Palette/Panel Holder from Open Box M. This sits on a tripod with a quick release plate and has a small shelf for brushes, dipper etc. A spring clamp system holds panels up to 20 inches across.
The tripod I use with my pochades and Open Box M panel holder is a Velbon Ultra Rexi L. It’s light weight, packs up small and is very sturdy. The legs are able to open out wide which is great for setting up in windy locations and when set up normally it takes up very little room – ideal for street scenes. I recommend using a tripod head with a quick release plate as that allows you to set up and dismantle your kit quickly. I have found a small Manfrotto ball head is ideal, it’s compact in size and rock solid.
Painting outside is a great way to capture a scene. You experience the changing light first hand and also get to meet people who are interested in your work – people like the guy in this short animation I created. The video is just a bit of fun but the questions are genuine, if you paint outside I’m sure you’ll recognise them…
In September I will be teaching a plein air oil painting workshop at Assington Mill in Suffolk. Based at a 17th century watermill in 70 acres of private nature reserve, it would be hard to find a more perfect location to hone your outdoor oil painting skills.Book Now
The one day course on Sunday 23rd September 2012 will cover the follow topics.
Setting up outside
Working methods and techniques
Finishing paintings on location
Getting your wet oil paintings home again
All for just £85 with the added bonus of home-made lunch, biscuits and cakes throughout the day.
For those already familiar with outdoor painting this is a great opportunity to paint at this fabulous location. We will have the freedom of this 70-acre private nature reserve with stunning views.
Above: Ken Howard, Peter Brown, Roy Connelly – click to view
This is a recent interview with Ken Howard RA in which he talks about the difficulties encountered when painting on the streets of London. The problem is not one of perspective, capturing the light or changing weather but of being moved on under the spurious excuse of ‘health and safety’.
I was pleased to get a mention in the article, along with Pete the Street – Peter Brown NEAC.
The Health and Safety Executive saw fit to respond with a letter defending common sense:
“Real health and safety is about dealing with risks that are likely to cause serious harm or even death to those in workplaces. I would urge you to challenge those jobsworths who persist in devaluing the real and important stuff by using “elf ‘n’ safety” as an easy excuse for spoiling everyone else’s enjoyment.”
Ken Howard has been in the news this week. He has been moved on twice recently while painting the streets of London. Details in The Telegraph.
Ken Howard painting in Richmond
I also paint in the streets of London. In my experience most people are very happy to see artists at work. It seems to be private security, under the direction of CCTV controllers, that try to move you.
I usually try to stand my ground. After a polite chat they will often relent and I can carry on with my work.
The South Bank however is a wonderful place to paint. I have found the management and security guards of The Southbank Centre have a friendly attitude to artists. The buskers, artists, skate boarders and the Golden Carousel all add to the wonderful atmosphere and nothing beats a walk along the river on a sunny afternoon or evening.
Above: The Golden Carousel on the South Bank by Roy Connelly.
Oil on board, 10×20 inches. Private Collection.
I often draw in the National Gallery and last week I spent some time studying figures from several different painters. These are some of the sketches I made of incidental figures. All of these figures, although not the main focus of the paintings, have a vital role to play. They add life and scale to the scene. Since the eighteenth century they have been known as staffage.
Below are some examples from my own work.
Above left: Little Boltons (detail). Above right: Pall Mall (detail)
KenHoward (b. 1932) is one of Britains best-loved painters.His cityscapes and coastal scenes reveal a deep connection with Venice, London and Cornwall; his studio interiors aremasterly evocations of space and light. In this candid autobiography he reflects on work, travel, love and loss. Recalling his early days at art school and the achievements and acclaimthat followed, national service in the RoyalMarines and the artistic commissions for the British Army that took himall over the world, Howard evokes the professional and the personal with verve and humour.