Enjoying the great outdoors; painting 'en plein air'

Teresa Sands reports on a very successful summer of Painting ‘En Plein Air’

A number of WVAS members met to enjoy the experience of painting outdoors on Wednesdays in June and July and, over time, got to know each other a little more – as well as produce some interesting work. It had been a while since such an activity had been offered to everyone but following the sad death of Roy Holly, I wanted to do something to respect him. I had learnt that Roy had been one who had organised previous ‘plein air’ sessions but, due to a myriad of reasons, they had come to a stop. It was time to revive the habit!

I was thrilled that initially 23 people expressed an interest; I planned for two groups and arranged for us to work at four different venues. Fortunately the places we worked in offered a good variety of stimulus, as the resulting images reveal. Of course 23 people did not come forth, but a secure number of 15 members managed to get to at least one session. We were lucky that, despite unsettled weather in the days either side of those Wednesdays, we had ‘dry days’ and were able to stay outside each time (with the exception of the last visit which was

Livery stables near Kings Cliffe presented many potential subjects… here Denise Wright is hard at work on a watercolour.

Livery stables near Kings Cliffe presented many potential subjects… here Denise Wright is hard at work on a watercolour.

We were able to work at Mary Fenn’s Livery Stables at West Hay Lodge Barn, King’s Cliffe, Mo Gardiner’s garden in Morcott, Sacrewell Farm, Peterborough and Launde Abbey, Leicestershire. The patience and generosity of our ‘hosts’ was greatly appreciated and our thanks have been conveyed. Perhaps the best thing that has resulted is that members who participated now want to continue and already plans are being made to meet and work in Burghley House Sculpture Park, the Nene Valley railway station, Jenny Harrison’s garden and a farm in Rutland. Of course, if you regret not having participated and would like to join in with one or more of these developing proposals, please contact me — it can be arranged! I would like to thank those members who supported this venture (you know who you are) as your enthusiasm, support and appreciation made it all worthwhile. It proved to be more fun than I had anticipated and so I have said that I would do it again next year. However, Terry Preen has proposed adopting a system he is familiar with, which could ensure that the WVAS are working ‘En Plein Air’ more often.

In the meantime, you are invited to come and see the resulting work which will be exhibited in the Ante Room at the Stamford Arts Centre next January. Well, we need time to ‘tweak’ what we have done!