During March in the studio I have been using limited oil colour palettes and enjoying just playing around with different techniques using the palette knife especially for sky practice and water without worrying about final outcomes.
We have a couple of holidays booked this year, one in early summer to Tresco in the Scilly Isles and later in the year Northumberland.
With travel in mind, after much research I decided to purchase and try out a limited palette of Watermixible oils for the sole purpose of easier clean up without solvents whilst on holiday.
My brand of choice came down to cost, favourable reviews and colour choice. A mix of W&N and Cobra.
Verdict: After putting them through their paces first just mixing with water and then cobra medium to control the flow I was pleasantly surprised by how well the two brands performed. Using water does mean any thinned paint on the palette dries out quicker from evaporation but as I only usually thin paint for the initial mapping out/tonal under painting I didn’t think this would be a problem.
Time to try a painting. Although the weather was against a Plein air session, I set up in the studio as I would outside and set the clock for ninety minutes. My subject was Hardy’s Cottage a NT property near Dorchester we visited on Mother’s Day. Throughout the resulting painting I was able to use the paint as I would my usual oil paints, note; these are still oil paints and the same rules apply fat over lean etc. The medium helped when I needed to improve flow but for the most part I used the paint straight from tube.
The finished painting ‘Hardy’s Cottage’ Oil on Wood Panel 8 x 8 inches
Already I feel these paints have been a good investment for any future travel home or abroad, and the easy non toxic clean up of palette and especially my brushes is a real bonus.
March has also kept me busy outside as the gardens, my own and my clients continue to spring into life. I seem to have spent most days ducking the showers but nevertheless enjoy being outside amongst the beautiful new growth and early flowers.
Within my own garden the meadow has been awash with anemone, crocus and early Narcissus. The new Clematis alpina ‘Ruby’ added last year is producing lots of pretty nodding blooms.
Elsewhere in the garden the Magnolia stellata is giving us a beautiful display as are arching sprays of rose pink, heart shaped flowers of the perennial Lamprocapnos spectabilis (formally Dicentra). In the same border the flowering currant Ribes is in full bloom.
In the veg patch erect green shoots have burst from the Onions and Garlic sets. The Hazel Poles are in place for Runner beans to go in after the last frosts in May and the chitted first early Potatoes have been planted. Broad beans will soon be hardened off and added to the plot along with salad leaf seed. Alongside the dividing path in the spring shady border Pulmonaria, Narcissus, Anemone, Leucojum, and unfurling new growth of the ferns adds a burst of colour and form.
Every day a new joy is to be had as planting and wildlife emerges from its winter slumber. Next weekend for Easter I shall have a houseful of Grandchildren, their parents and two Spaniels. Fingers crossed for a few dry days! Happy Easter!