Painting en plein air (outside) creates a balance between structure and looseness in my artworks. I start with by mapping out the values carefully at the start, and then allow myself total freedom with colour and brush strokes within the parameters I’ve set out in the initial planning stage. The limited time and the ever-changing light of the outdoor painting experience force me to work quickly, injecting energy and vitality into my work.
My studio work tends to be more careful and considered than my plein air studies, although I endeavour to maintain the same energetic brush work in these.
The steps of my painting process allow me to immerse myself in the landscape as I familiarise myself with the shapes and shadows of my surroundings. I begin with a value study of my chosen composition in pencil, then a paint sketch on canvas or board, focusing on the shapes and values before blocking in the general colours of the value masses. Once the basic composition is in place, I work with a large brush and big strokes to capture an impression of the scene, adding more detail and thicker paint as I refine the painting.
Ultimately, my paintings are a love poem to the land and the place that I’ve chosen to live and work.