I have always carried a tiny kit with me on trips into the backcountry, and dedicated an hour or two to documenting the natural beauty around me. This has expanded in recent years to a seasonal series of en plein air (literally, “in plain air”, or outdoors) watercolour drawings, and an ongoing group of small still life paintings. I’m entranced by the shapes of pears. Each year as winter descends, I haunt the specialty greengrocers in search of the perfect specimen.
There is a certain freedom in working quickly, completing each piece before the light changes, and focused only on getting what I see down on paper or canvas. It amazes me how much colour there is in a shadow on a white cloth, or how a series of lines come together to create depth in a freshly harvested field.
Finely honed observation is basic to art, and my studio practice is immeasurably enriched by including work from life.