Painting

Useful Tips For How To Have Fun AND Relax When Painting Outdoors

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Working outdoors or from life puts you in direct contact with the life force, not just the light and the landscape, but also the vitality of the world around you.
— George L. Carlson

I got a tip-off that some bluebells were flowering in the vicinity and so I decided to pursue them!  

I made my way to some woods nearby and it was all a bit of a last minute thing but I'm so glad I went.

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Painting en plein air (on-site outdoors) didn't become hugely popular with artists until the 19th century and thankfully today is still very popular even in the most challenging of weather conditions ie. the UK lol!  I'm a bit of a fair-weather outdoor painter, so this is my first venture out so far this year.

Sometimes it can feel a bit overwhelming to know what to take and then how to actually get started painting once you arrive, from a practical point of view.  Also, some people can feel ill at ease whilst painting outdoors ie. if people want to have a nosy - this too can take a bit of getting used to but don't let it put you off.

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Anyway, I want to encourage you from a practical and enjoyment point of view, so what follows are some handy tips and thoughts.  Remember, anyone can do this, you don't have to be an 'artist'. 

Here goes:

1. Make sure you'll be warm (or cool enough) - think layers ie. cardigan, jacket etc.  Wear comfy and practical shoes, after all, you never know where the muse might take you. 

2. Bring a bag that can sling over your shoulder, is not too heavy, is waterproof (preferably wipeable if mud or cow dung gets onto it (yep, it's happened) and has ample space.

3.  Of course, you need your journal/sketchbook and bulldog clips; they keep everything together.  Small travel watercolour kit (including a palette), travel brush with inbuilt reservoir, paper towel, pencil, eraser, mini water-spray, pencil sharpener.  Pop the smaller items into a make up bag or plastic sandwich bag (ziploc). 

4. Don't forget your camera, batteries and don't do what I did, which was to run out of battery - gggrrr!  Bring your 'regular' camera too.  Cameras are great, not just for the 'Instagram moment' but for inspiration and possible further experimentation and reference for when you're at home. 

5. A portable camping chair with it's own carry bag that can sling over your shoulder or, kneeling cushion (like you'd use for gardening) can be useful.  Of course, you might not need these items but for me something to sit on is vital because otherwise my back starts playing up and/or my knees - (yep, midlife thing).  

6. You need sustenance!  Bring a snack or packed lunch and a drink for afterwards. This outdoor creativity thing is thirsty and hungry work! You might also need to bring insect spray, sunglasses, tissues, a map and sun protection.  Oh, don't forget a paper bag for rubbish and/or bring it home with you -thinking leaving your environment as you found it. 

7. Perhaps bring your journal (or write in your sketchbook) if you want to jot down a little of your process (ie. colours used) or record any other thoughts that are going through your mind once you've finished.  

8. Tell someone where you'll be and a rough time you'll be back.  I didn't do this and ended up calling my husband later on because I'd stopped off to a friend's house for a chat and lunch without pre-planning!  He was 'getting concerned...', shall we say. ;) 

Home Truth

You might not be happy with your work the first few times but that's no problem - it's a process.  Make lots of thumbnail sketches and make a plan to visit again soon, so that you can 'firm up' your sketches and have another go.

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Location

Don't go somewhere too off the beaten path, that you might feel vulnerable or a bit scared and therefore not able to relax.  Find somewhere fairly comfortable, maybe near toilets and not so far away that you're shattered just getting there, before you even start painting.

Other People

Yes, it can feel a little embarrassing at first when someone goes by and wants to see what you're doing but more often than not, it's just their curiosity and a pleasant surprise for them to come across someone painting outdoors.  I find if I'm really concentrating and lost in the process, people will just walk by me and I haven't even noticed them approaching until they've walked by. 

Subject Matter

Don't try to capture a really complicated scene at first.  Try something small and beautiful.  There is so much to be said for close up and simple.  

It's also lovely to just capture a lot of smaller things that catch your eye, rather than one completed piece but go with what brings you joy. Fill up your page. 

Feel, Look Up, Listen  

Give yourself ample time to enjoy the process even if you're not happy with the end result.

If you're not sure what to capture with your brush or pencil, look up, down etc.  You might want to capture the colour of the sky, the sculptural aspects of a rock, a shell, an abstract pattern, lichen, or the rings on a tree that's fallen.  It really doesn't matter - just pick something that interests you.

When Finished

After I'd finished painting, I sat on a bench and listened to the birds, watched some ducklings swimming with their mum (14 of them!) and enjoyed the peace and tranquility of being outdoors, wash all over me.  I even closed my eyes and said a prayer of thanks for the richness and diversity of the flora and fauna around me. 

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I've said a lot here but really it's just about cobbling a few things together and making a pact with yourself to get out there and have a go.  

So, when are you ready to head out and try a little creating outdoors, you'll really love it - I guarantee!  Oh and let me know how you got on - I'd love to hear. 

Jane x

 

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FREE Expressive Art Video Tutorial - Releasing Emotions

Lost and Found - mixed media art demo.

Our feelings are our most genuine paths to knowledge.
— Audre Lorde

Today, I'm sharing with you a speeded up art video tutorial with voiceover.  The piece of artwork is called Lost and Found and really this video is my way of encouraging you if you have some emotions that you'd like to express on paper but perhaps this is a new idea for you and you've not tried this way of painting before.  

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Yes, I know that sometimes the last thing we want to do is to feel our pain but stay with me and give it a go.  This technique is great when you have emotions to express and release.  This is not about creating a 'pretty' piece of artwork necessarily but instead allowing your intuition to take over and make marks, scribble, move your body and reduce tension.

The other night, I was feeling a little sad with one thing and another and decided to do some expressive sketching using my Lyra pencil.  I hadn't set out thinking I would share this at all but I found the process, the supplies and method I used to be cathartic and thought it might help you.

Below are the supplies I used:

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  • Lyra Pencil 6b
  • Daler & Rowney A3 220g Smooth Paper
  • Sennelier Cobalt Blue and Walnut Ink
  • Brown Stabillo
  • XL Charcoal stick in - beige
  • Conte pastel pencils
  • Paintbrush and water
  • Golden Fluid Acrylic - hot pink

Thanks for reading and watching...

Jane x

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Brand New Mini Class - Flower Crown Girls - Registration Open

The Perfect Combination - Painting Portraits and Flowers!

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I'm excited to share my new online class with you: Flower Crown Girls.  

This mini class is open for registration now, for all levels of experience and the classroom will open the end of February and as this class is self-paced, meaning that even if you are short on time at the moment, you'll know it's there for you when you have a little snippet of time and you're itching to do some painting, or want to try something different. 

Click for more info.

The cost is nice and affordable at just £20 - remember, this class has lifetime access and is self-paced. 

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Some of what you will learn in this class:

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  • Enjoy three full portrait projects
  • Experiment using alternative colour palettes
  • Learn how to mix colour effectively
  • Paint one project using just the primary colours
  • Adopt an illustrative feel for one of the portraits
  • Add your own motifs and bring your painting to life
  • Paint loose and also paint 'realistic'
  • 'Adorn' your portraits with earrings, bows or jewellery
  • Learn tips for drawing and some useful aids
  • Enjoy an upcoming BONUS project
  • + so much more!

Thanks for being here and thank you to all who have purchased this class, I'm most appreciative of your support.  

Jane x

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Grace - She's You and Me

Being A Woman

Image Credit: http://mademoiselle-rose-things.tumblr.com/post/12450685789

 Grace -  Etsy Shop

Grace - Etsy Shop

I'm thinking of you and me today...

... the roles we juggle, the tasks we tackle and how we care for those in our lives.  The smile we give to the harried sales assistant, the bunch of cheerful flowers we give to a good friend going through a hard time, the meal we cook for a family in crisis.  

It's exhausting at times...  It seems like it will never end and yet, somehow, we find the strength and will to do it all again tomorrow.  We might not get it right all of the time but we endeavour to try with 'Grace'.

I'm sending you grace-filled hugs Dearest - thanks for being you... 

Jane x

 

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Three Art Books I'd Recommend

Everyone loves a great art book, so today, I'd like to share three that I'd wholeheartedly recommend.

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Bold Expressive Mixed Media Painting: Painting Techniques for Still Lifes, Florals and Landscapes In Mixed Media by Annie O'Brien Gonzales.

Lots of beautiful and colourful projects in this book which are set out in a clear and easy to read format.  Annie includes lots of additional info including colour theory, 'Painting Notes' and 'Learning From Our [artist] Ancestors'.  

Various techniques and projects are included featuring collage, abstract, florals and landscape using acrylic, oil and mixed media. 

A great book for helping you create work that is personal, expressive and colourful - you'll love it!

 

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Pastel Innovations: 60+ Techniques and Exercises for Painting With Pastel by Dawn Emerson.

Lots of interesting ideas in this book make it suitable for beginners or the seasoned artist alike.  So much variety here and the opportunity to build on each task.  

This book goes through some 'basics' and then shares 20 exercises that help build confidence.  There are also 40+ innovative techniques that are also shared.  Lastly, a useful section on self critique.  

All in all, a great book for exploration and using pastels in exciting new ways!

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The Confident Creative by Cat Bennett.

Cat beautifully shares her belief that we are all creative beings who can readily tap into a never-ending supply of inspiration that lives inside us.  

This book will help you relax whilst giving you 'permission' to create from a rich well of personal expression and experimentation - there are no mistakes.

Included are various examples and illustrations that complement the book nicely.  

Overall, a very easy read that you'll want to pick up time and time again.  A keeper!

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Please note, this post contains affiliate links should you purchase the book.  I only include products on my site that I genuinely endorse. 

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