Friday, 12 August 2011

Kibworth Post Mill

If you look at Frank Bingley’s blog about painting,’ en plein air’ at Kibworth Post Mill you will realise what a great evening out for Club members it was. A little disappointing that only four of us turned up and one hopes for more next time. We were joined by two non-members that had read about the event on the website.

The last time we met, in July, the demonstrator couldn’t come because there had been a sudden family problem for him.  We were indebted to two visitors who rescued the evening by bringing a video by Tim Fisher.  He was showing how to  paint in the open air using coloured pencils, colour sticks and ink pens that bleed when touched with a water carrying brush.  Since I had all of the equipment he was using I decided I would try his technique when painting at Kibworth Post Mill.
I have added the painting here, still on my board, to show my effort in the two hours we had. And if you look carefully you can see Frank!

I'm only an amateur please don't watch me paint

The article that I have added here is one I wrote some time ago and which has stayed in my computer files. I came across it when changing computers and decided to send it to the letter page of the Artist Magazine. Imagine my delight when they e-mailed me to say they would publish it in the August edition. To my surprise it was the letter of the month! Today I received the prize of System 3 Heavy Body Acrylics, worth £34.95 courtesy of Daler-Rowney. The magazine had edited the original piece and I think it makes for a better read but you must judge for yourself.
I wrote this when we lived in the West Midlands and we have now moved to Market Harborough in the East Midlands. The Black Country accent has been muted for clarity!.
I’m only an amateur please don’t watch me paint
Earlier in June I went to paint the scene behind Stuart Crystal Cone where the canal and locks are to be found.
The first time I went it was a lovely day. A peaceful scene with an old wharf shed mirrored in the placid waters of the canal basin.  A canal boat, a rusting hulk, made a superb foreground. An ideal composition. I had a lovely two hours to sketch and make colour notes, on my own, uninterrupted
Later at home I began the process of enlargement on a prepared board and laid down colour and tone in acrylic paint ready for the next stage.
Two days later I returned with the work on the easel, my palette prepared, ready to begin working in oils. The wind, which tried to blow my easel over, was rippling the water and the reflection was but a blur. Just as I was putting out some liquin to help the drying process, a little boy with his fishing rod came by and stared at the work.
“Hey mister, that boat ‘as gone!”
I looked up in disbelief, dribbling sticky liquin down my trouser leg and, sure enough, it had been towed away.
“Yo don’t ‘av to worrit. It’s just past the nex lock”
The lock gate mechanism began to whirr by my side. A wife was dutifully labouring whilst her husband sat patiently in the boat, waiting patiently to navigate out of the lock and into my picture, whilst churning up any reflections.  At least they were too engrossed to worry about me.
Two mountain bike riders and helpfully said the old wreck had been moved,
“Yes, thank you , I know the boat has gone!”
When a man with a dog arrived, I thought I knew what he was going to say. However he didn’t but stood and looked at my picture.
“ Yo’ve copt it better ‘n the bloke who was here last week. Do ya want t’ sell it? Oi’ll buy it off ya,‘cos I only live round thay’re.”
Whilst trying to tell him that it was my course work for the Open College of the Arts  and therefore not for sale, that I noticed his dog quietly peeing on the bag containing my paints and things!
If you are painting in watercolours you can bet someone’s pet dog your water but this just about took the dog biscuit!
I did visit again and finished the painting. Perhaps the next time I am out on my own I shall follow the advice of a professional artist friend. “The best thing to do is to put cap down by the side of you. If anyone ventures near you, ask for a contribution. It works wonders!”  It’s a bit like having insect repellent when painting,’ en plein air’ or for the fleas when sketching new calves in a barn, but that leads me to another story. And this is the painting at the back of the cone Stourbridge.


Saturday, 6 August 2011

En Plien Air Event - The Kibworth Post Mill

The Post Mill in watercolour

We don’t have a meeting in August due to so many people on holiday, so I thought it would be nice if those of us left behind could get together and paint ‘en plien air’ somewhere local. I arranged for us to visit Kibworth Windmill, not far out of town, which is not open to the public.

On arrival, typically, there was a thundery shower, but we needn’t have worried, because the sun shone through and it turned into one of those lovely, warm summer evenings. It has been many years since I did a painting outdoors, and it felt great to just sit there with some friends and just paint. The only other thing that I could have wished for was a younger pair of knees, as mine didn’t half feel stiff when got up from that tiny stool upon which I sat!

Ken in action!

Landowner Janet Briggs showed me around the back of her garden, behind which were these huge gravel pits. She said that they had been used for supplying gravel for the building of the A6 trunk road many years ago, which passes through the village. Nearby, there were lots of outbuildings and barns that were just begging for someone to sketch them! Just alongside the mill was this little hen coup, which housed some small chickens with lovely fluffy heads – a marvellous subject for a quick sketch!

Looking at some of the work others were doing, I got quite a surprise to see that Ken Lilley had included me sitting at my easel in his painting! Both David and Michael amazed me at how quickly they knocked off several good sketches.

Fluffy headed chicken sketch

All in all, this was a wonderful little outing, and much enjoyed by the few of us who attended. Hopefully, we can build on this success, and arrange one or two ‘en plien air’ events to supplement our programme for 2011/2012.
Right: Linda frames the subject.