I managed some plein air watercolour painting this morning. It is always very rewarding to work outside in snow; it often leads to unexpected, interesting and if I’m lucky beautiful results. I don’t struggle to sit in cold conditions as I am so absorbed in the painting and landscape before me. The palette and water laden brushes freeze solid, but the trusty Stanley flask filled with warm water contends with this problem.
I painted a now familiar scene by the Holbeck near Gilling East. The last year has seen me return to same or similar views again and again. I am so inspired by snow and today’s skies were magnificent as showers rolled in from the North Sea, each delivering it’s own unique brand of snowflakes. I decided not to add any wildlife to the scene as I saw very little on this morning’s circuit. I wanted the picture to reflect the quietness of the snow covered landscape. The falling flakes left soft marks where they settled on the sky wash.
I am often asked why I don’t always include a bird or other animal in my landscapes and some people seem to expect it. But much of the time I walk I am not seeing wildlife and I like to invite the viewer to imagine what might be there; whilst sketching this morning there were the occasional calls of redwings and fieldfares hurrying across the sky in their search for food and the calls of a pair of marsh tits feeding in the beck-side trees. When I do paint an animal in a landscape I like to portray it as it might be seen while I walk, often this means it is well camouflaged. A few years ago I sold a picture of the North Norfolk Coast where the buyers only spotted the shorelarks on the strandline after they had hung the picture at home!