My local art society run various trips, demonstrations and the like. On this day a few intrepid painters and sketchers ventured down the Christchurch Harbour in Dorset. It was a lovely sunny day with some fair weather cloud and very blustery! After meeting up and chatting over tea and coffee (for far too long!), we dispersed to find sheltered spots to set up.
I thought I’d do some sketching to warm up and chose, probably, the hardest subject, the Old Mill. The old spectre of perspective in old buildings came back to haunt me but I think I got down the gist of it, plus a quick snap to refer to, should I want to try a painting.
As an antidote, I did a little people/seagull/dog watching and sketching for 20 minutes or so before I was rallied for lunch.
Generally, a few people were milling around, sitting on park benches and watching the world go by and I was pretty much unnoticed. A few early diners were congregating at the nearby cafe and generally chatting and warming up with hot drinks.
After a quick bite to eat and a warm up out of the wind, we returned to more or less the same spot (the only shelter with a good view) and I set up my oil paints. I had brought along a couple of small prepared boards with a neutral acrylic ground and decided to work no more than an hour(ish) on each. One view was down river towards Tuckton and the other was out to the headland of Hengistbury and Mudeford. Here I was trying to work on tone and atmosphere and was almost there but I made the quay side much too dominant. It also, whilst being put it to one side, took off in a gust of wind and landed in the water! Luckily, it landed face down and being oil didn’t absorb much water and just floated – it eventually made its way closer to the wall and a colleague managed to hook it with his stick. That’s working en plein air for you! (A fellow painter working in watercolour wasn’t so lucky – his work sank without trace.)
The next sketch was towards the headland with several dinghies from the sailing club in the foreground. Boats can be tricky, especially when being blown this way and that by gusts of wind – I had to choose a position and stick to it.