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I like to paint or draw outside as much as I can, returning to my location again and again. The landscape changes all the time, by the minute, by the season. The clouds drift by like smoke in slow motion. Water is in a state of constant agitation. The sun arcs across the sky moving the shadows. The light, the weather, nothing is ever the same. The picture changes, it's not a snapshot.


Oil painting outdoors surrounded by the lovely bucolic countryside of Dorset is pretty idyllic, but it does present some practical challenges. A canvas is light, and when fixed to an easel it's like a sail, a slight gust of wind can carry it away like a kite. This makes it necessary to tether the thing to the ground with guy ropes like a tent.

Oil paint takes a very long time to dry (days), which can make painting quite slow. It also means that every bug in the atmosphere sticks itself, buzzing and wriggling, to the picture. It’s not only wildlife that causes me problems, I’ve had trouble with farmyard animals too. Cattle and sheep usually move away when you approach them, but if you stand still for a long time they like to gather round and keep you company, munching away at the guy ropes.



"A canvas is light and a slight gust of wind can carry it away like a kite."
Andrew Wood


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