Monday, 9 May 2016

Urban Sketching with Watercolour in the Dedham Vale Area

This week the weather warmed up tremendously that it was at last time to get my urban sketching gear out. Once again I wanted to reduce the amount of stuff I carry around with me on sketching days.  I decided to use an old small box that used to be my son’s school watercolour tin.  Generally the colours I use are the same few.  I love colour but I love familiarity with the colours I choose more.

Me at St Mary’s Church, East Bergholt
This is the spot I chose for the first sketch of the day.    

I did a quick observational watercolour sketch to warm up the flow.  I had forgotten my eraser so the marks I added had to be the ones I wanted.   I am never too bothered about accuracy as what I do is very impressionistic.  I am a painter who paints what I feel rather than what I see.  So where I place the lines really does not matter so long as they make a bit of sense.  I know full well if I painted this scene again tomorrow at exactly the same time of day, I would take a completely different approach because my frame of mind would be in a completely different place.  

This colour sketch is my favourite of the day.  Not necessarily because of what I produced but because of the zone that this tree helped me enter.  The zone where:  life is great and I find myself at one with the subject and the medium.  The colour and light were the first things that attracted my eye.   

The final sketch of the day is completely different in mood to my sunny tree.  It was late afternoon so the light and atmosphere were not as blazingly bright as earlier.  The spot that caught my eye first was the yellow rape fields in the background.  The path is imaginary as I did not want a big expanse of uninteresting green in the foreground. 

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Sitting here now writing this post reminds me of a blog I passed through a few weeks ago.  Someone was going to start painting with watercolours and she was saying she was given good advice as a beginner to “completely avoid greens”.  I did not bother leaving a comment.  Sometimes you just have to let the world go about its own business.  Though I do question why anyone would want to limit their choices of colour when mother nature seems to be doing a wonderful job with her choices.  

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I really enjoyed my day in the Dedham Vale area.  Three sketches in one day is lots for me these days.  Health and the frame of mind I am in because of it, are always an issue.  Both impact greatly on the frequency with which I want to paint.  I am actually doing really well right now and I am quite content just taking life as it comes.  I do not have the desire to lock myself in a room to paint day after day. Though to be honest I never had that desire in the first place.  I still regard myself as being passionate about my art but life is for living and to be enjoyed.   For me that means getting out into the world so that I have a reason to want to paint when I allow myself to.  I am quite content to take the time to just smell the roses when I encounter them now, rather than rushing to get my brushes out to paint them each and every time I encounter them. Life is a matter of getting the balance right, long before time runs out.  


  1. How great that you were able to enjoy the day outside. Your joy shows especially in the sketch of the tree as it is filled with sunshine and the feel of spring!!! I think you have a great attitude about life. It should be enjoyed, and maybe that is one of the things that having health problems makes you realize more than the average person. Here's to a spring where you get to enjoy the roses often, Laura.

  2. Dearest Laura I so love the way you paint. Your soft style and gentle brushstrokes reveal what a lovely person you are my friend. So true too about enjoying life instead of always rushing to paint it. Your tree is especially outstanding because you did capture the sunshine. I hope you have a super day.


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