A poor start and a good finish – Aldburgh + Dunwich


The Fish Shack, Aldburgh

The Fish Shack, Aldburgh

After the poetry we stayed in Aldburgh – scene of Britten’s overture to Peter Grimes. The music is unbearable evocative of the place. I got up early to paint something on the beach before breakfast. Well, I’ve promised myself I will upload the bad and the ugly, and this fits the bill. Small oil on board. The subject is good, but I just couldn’t get going. The boats are poorly drawn etc. My excuse is that at 7am that day the light was very flat. I have tried to inject some light from the right but it doesn’t really work. This is heading for the bin!

 

 

On the Titchmarsh bird reserve

And then, to my surprise things started to look good. Actually this was not a very exciting view, but my father-in-law is into birds and I had to make the best of this view from the hide. (There were scarcely any birds either!). So I settled down knowing I had at least an hour to paint what was set in front of me. It’s very simple, but now and again a week sun flashed across the scene, and a breeze picked up. Oil on primed MDF. Dunwich HeathI was pleased with this.
And the day got better still.
Late afternoon we stopped at Dunwich Heath – the bell and ling heather caught my eye. Again, there were flashes of sunlight brightening up the scene – and that purple! It’s not my favourite colour but this was magnificent. I have a tube of Magenta oil by Michael Harding. They are expensive but fantastic. Pure, powerful, clean.
I didn’t say that I had insufficient boards with me – I thought I  would do no more than two paintings on this trip – but I had a way round it; this painting and the previous one were fitted onto one board as shown here. And,finally, a photograph of the scene.
Two oils on one board

Two oils on one board

Photo of Dunwich Heath

Photo of Dunwich Heath

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~ by noelgarner on August 30, 2008.

3 Responses to “A poor start and a good finish – Aldburgh + Dunwich”

  1. I own a few french easels and still not used them as much as the pochade box. how do you find them?

    • Hi Antony. It’s a bit of an effort to get out a french easel isn’t it., compared with the pochade box. Also the french easel is not well designed. I’m thinking about the way they have some round instead of butterfly tighteners. The butterfly design would not slip so easily. And then there’s the way if you don’t put the tray in completely it pull the screws out when you fold the upright piece down. Know what I mean? On the other hand I paint better with the french easel. I’m standing up, I’m further away from the painting surface so I get a better look at overall progress. Just in passing, recently saw a painting of Monet painting out doors, by Singer Sargent. Monet is sitting on a stool with a low easel and a MASSIVE canvas! There couldn’t have been any wind!

  2. My pochade box does not fix to an easel so I’m always close to the painting. The main advantage of the french easel is that I can stand away from the painting. I have to say though that it is a fiddle to use, especially in the winter. It’s almost impossible in the cold to tighten up the knurled knobs sufficiently. Several times I have been pushing hard on the painting and the whole top of the easel has flopped backwards. A real pain. Also mine is quite lightweight so a big painting is out of the question. I’ve also been painting in the wind and the whole thing has gone over. Perhaps I should paint more indoors! On the plus side it makes you feel like a real painter! People approach you with a mixture of reverence and awe as if you are Cezanne re-incarnated! I have twice had people buy paintings off me on the spot. Now if that happened regularly I would use the french easel every time 🙂

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