Last week, my good friend Ingrid (Ingrid Ormestad Art) travelled down from Scotland to spend a week with my wife and I. Ingrid and I promised ourselves lots of art, and that's just what we did. In particular we agreed to get out and about with our brushes and do some plein air painting, something neither of us have done before.
We visited Castle Ashby Gardens, which is where I found the Secret Garden I painted a while ago. The sun was shining wonderfully and we sat in the shade of the Arches in the Italian Garden to sketch. It is a very formal Italian style garden with perfectly manicured hedges and bushes. Ingrid chose pencil to sketch a large Urn, and I chose my soluble ink pen to sketch the Orangery at the far end of the garden. I washed in some shadows using my Aquabrush.
After exploring more area's of the garden, including the Secret Garden which looked just as beautiful as it did the first time I saw it, we found a bench to sit on and attempted some painting. We chose this Urn which was set back in dark shadows. Although I'm happy with the Urn, I wish I hadn't tried to paint the dark background.
On the Wednesday we went to London for the day, mainly to visit the Society of Women Artists annual exhibition in The Mall Galleries. It was a great day that started with the Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace and ended at Westminster, at the foot of Big Ben. The art exhibition was all we'd expected and it was fascinating looking at so many superb works.
Many of our plein air excursions resulted in us doodling on paper as we discussed painting and drawing techniques and shared idea's. We needn't have gone out to do those things but we just did what we wanted to do at the time, and it was as much fun sharing our methods as it would have been trying to create a new masterpiece. On one occasion, having just set up all our stuff, the heavens opened and the rain fell. We sat in the car until it stopped and then set up again. Not long into our painting, it rained again. My 'masterpiece' got washed from the paper and Ingrid said it looked like a Monet. lol. I may try and finish it because I did take a reference photo before we started.
Not all of our outdoor painting involved travelling. We had several sessions painting and sketching in my garden. One item of garden furniture that received more than it's fair share of our attention was my rusting cast iron Chiminea. Not only did we both paint it and sketch it on more than one occasion, but one evening the three of us sat out until late burning logs and talking.
This was my first art experience in the company of another artist and I have to say I had the best time ever. Exchanging idea's, discussing techniques, looking over each others shoulder and allowing our own shoulder to be looked over, was a very rewarding, informative and satisfying experience. Thank you Ingrid for the best week ever. ;-)