We certainly had a good day for it! – sunny, with a slight breeze, so it was pleasant to be outside for the group’s first attempt at painting and drawing in the open air.
There was plenty to see, and all kinds of intricate machinery, pleasing buildings and boats, of course. The site is extensive, so the group soon dispersed to find that certain thing to get them going. I drew a series of interlocking roofs with reasonable success, then I decided on some lock gates. There are plenty of them to choose from, but like the lions at the Zoo, no sooner had I started to draw, when they moved, not of their own volition, just a narrow boat wanting to use them.
The angles are all important, and difficult to get right, but the other thing about canals and canal boats is the sheer length of pieces. Those huge timbers are twice as long as I’ve drawn them, though I am quite pleased with the angles.
Finding a comfortable painting position took time. I found standing free to paint impossible, too many things to hold at the correct angle (those pesky angles again), but those huge timbers made a good table.
I was able to make a stab at the canal bridge – again the boats moved as soon as I was settled! The painting “reads”, the colours rather subdued considering the bright sunshine. Most of my painting to date has, of necessity, been indoors where it is possible to use which ever technique works best for the image you are painting. The fast drying conditions needed extra thought – why this was a surprise, I don’t know – if the chosen method was going to be effective. I had to really slosh the water on to achieve “wet-in-wet” so the page of my sketch book curved, (memo to self – take a painting block next time) but it dried fast so wet on dry became immediately possible.
It was an interesting and educational day!