The weather has been unpredictable here in Dorset over the last few weeks.
Readers of my earlier posts here will know that I am not put off by 'bad' weather. But when conditions are so changeable that painting becomes impossible with little warning, then the effort of getting to an isolated spot can be wasted. It is disheartening to have to just turn round and come back because of, for example, torrential rain.
So earlier this week I identified a spot very near my home where I could easily manage a large canvas. I am out of the wind, and there is shelter nearby if I need it. This view of the fields of sheep is one which I've been wanting to paint since I moved here. It's years since I last painted sheep.
Painting on this scale is something I really enjoy. In fact I feel that I need to do it. A canvas of this size seems to suit the scale of my marks. It seems natural to me that a big landscape should be painted on a big canvas. It is only the practicalities that stop me from painting even larger - but I'm determined to find ways around this in the future.
My friend Ben took these photographs of me starting work on this canvas.
I began to explain to him what I intended to do. I picked up a stick on the ground, from the remnants of a bonfire, using it to demonstrate how useful it would be to me to have a paintbrush with a l o n g handle so that I could stand back and make marks at arms length.
I didn't mean to start drawing on the canvas at that moment. But once I realised that the burnt wood provided me with a piece of superb quality charcoal it was too good an opportunity to waste. I continued to work out my placing while Ben took more photos.
Normally I don't use charcoal or pencil in the preliminary stages of a painting. I do the sketching using paint, brush and rag.
I'll post more later this week to show how the painting progresses.