Painting en plein-air; Covid year

Last year was a strange one, with exhibitions and teaching cancelled. Sometimes it was hard to find the motivation to paint. Because of covid restrictions it was complicated to work from models in the studio or to join my friends for our life drawing sessions. In some ways though, it was a relief to step back from all the usual engagements and to spend time outside, enjoying and observing nature.

The department of the Lot, where I live, is rich in changing landscape, the valleys and the woods, the small medieval villages with stone buildings which harmonise in the surrounding countryside. I was stunned by all this when I first moved here from England thirty years ago.

painting at dawn.

Spring evening at Berthoumieux
Spring evening at Berthoumieux. pastel. 40 x 30cm

sunset from Sophie’s garden

Le retour. Pastel. 43x34cm

A pause in the covid restrictions in September gave me the chance to go and do some work in Montbrun-Lauragais, with my friend Sophie Amauger, the excellent landscape artist. We both decided to use the time to create small scale oil paintings. The energy and enthusiasm of being out painting with another artist was enriching.

It seems that more and more artists are returning to plein-air painting. The anxieties thrown up by the coronavirus pandemic and concerns for the environment, are perhaps leading us towards a new appreciation of nature.

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