Here I am back in Devon in my studio. Last week at this time, I was sitting on the clifftop in Cornwall, painting en plein air .The fancy name for painting outside.
Wherever I am. whether it is out, on a walk in Mid Devon,
on a clifftop in Cornwall,
or in my garden. Those are the things that inspire me.
I have often talked about just painting what grabs you at that moment? I find it really difficult to paint something when my when my heart isn't in it. Don't be hard on yourself. Or try to force things. You always paint better when you are doing something that inspires you.
With all that in mind. I have now returned from the sea. Full of. Seasidey Inspiration. When I am away I take lots of photographs.
Then I can look through them and decide which ones I want to turn into paintings. Remember when you are the artist. You are in charge. So you can put what you want where you want. You can miss things out. You can move things around. You can add light, You can add dark. You can simplify things or you can complicate things.
When I am out and about I always take a sketchbook with me. Then I can drop down simple sketches.
That may or may not turn into bigger pieces when I return home. It is also useful to sit with a sketchbook and simply look. Even if the sketch doesn't turn out exactly how I wanted it to, the exercise of looking at something. (and I mean really looking at something)for an hour or two is almost meditative. It also means that when you get back home you can remember what you saw much better and try and recreate it in paint.
I also did some painting outside.
And believe me. It is a whole different ball game. It is either too hot. Or too cold. It can be too windy. Or it can be very damp so that nothing dries.
But go with it. See what the paint does. And don't always be stuck to the plan. Sometimes something happens and it really makes your painting special. Be ready to go with the flow.
Sometimes my paintings are a complete disaster. But I think time spent looking, breathing in the fresh air, being a part of your surroundings, is never wasted. And if you don't, learn anything else. You at least learn how not to do it.
So wherever you live. And whatever is outside your window. There must be something that catches your eye. A plant. The sky. An old gnarly tree.
A building. A bumble bee
I don't know. But I do know that so many of you live in amazing places. And that what is around you, could be the start of an amazing painting. Now I need to turn some of my. Inspiration into new pieces.