I’ve just had a weekend of wonderful contrasts: I’ve painted the Brecon Beacons from the top of Pen y Fan at 5.30am, and I’ve spent a quiet hour painting a mill wheel in the garden of the idyllic restored mill we were staying in. Wales has treated us to continuous rain every time we have visited. For the first time, this weekend the weather was absolutely perfect.
I love big landscapes. They are what started me painting in the first place. So given the fact that the weather was so good, we decided to be intrepid and hike up Pen y Fan to watch the sunrise. It wasn’t the hike that was daunting – rather the 3.00am alarms that got us out of bed to get there and walk to the top in time to see the first glimpse of the sun. You never know what you’ll find when you get to the top. There can be clear views at the bottom while the top is enveloped in cloud. This was what we discovered on our first ascent in June last year.
This time was different though. The moon was full so we could easily walk up with no torches to light our way. And then, when we reached the top – the view was just breathtaking!
My backpack contained my water bottle, a packet of biscuits in case of emergency hunger, and my sketching kit.
For the artists amongst my readers, the colours: (All Daniel Smith) Quinacridone Gold, Transparent Pyrrol Orange, Sharow Violet, Undersea Green.
If it hadn’t been so cold I would have sketched for longer, but by this stage, my fingers were numb with the cold. Time to stop.
With the Brecon sunrise safely in my sketchbook to be developed in the studio at a a future date, I looked for something new to paint.
Right there in the garden was the subject I was looking for – the old mill wheel. So I ended up painting a mill wheel. I did a few small paintings – one of which is pictured here. The rest are in progress.
It is wonderful to go and seek out grand inspirational views which will become part of your memory bank of images to draw on. But equally, there painting subjects in our environment almost all the time. It just takes practice to see them. Sometimes we don’t notice them until we stop and take a good look around us.