The early part of the week had seen blazing sunshine and there were fears that we would all be burned to a crisp. But the temperature dropped a little on the day and occasional cloud cover provided perfect conditions for a light-filled day in the beautiful gardens of Fulham Palace. It was still wise to slather on the suncream (lots provided) and to look for shady spots from which to paint the glowing colours of any number of full summer scenes. I stood under the deep green leaves of a ripening cherry plum tree in the walled garden. This provided ideal cover and, naturally with the permission of the always helpful Palace gardening team, a few sweet but delightfully sharp snacks. There has been a seriously big effort to improve the planting and the beds and shrubs and swathes of wisteria in the walled garden were better than ever. Fun, too, to watch the gardeners going about their botanical business.
We dragged some (amazingly heavy) garden chairs around one of the Drawing Room Cafe’s outside tables and tucked into lunch, largely bought at the counter, and chatted away about the eternal challenges of different media, supports, priming methods, leavened with discussion about ongoing exhibitions in London. There is always something to learn from a group gathering like this and the communal break really points up the pleasure of painting together with companions in the open. Patricia introduced to us some early news of the exciting Carnwath Road Hoardings project, more of which will be shared shortly with the Society.
The sun had swung round, as it does, for the afternoon session and many of our artists started a fresh painting or drawing so there was a nice collection of work to study at the end of the day over our final cup of tea. Fulham Palace provides an ideal setting for a plein air day. A big advantage is that it is local. And the scenes are Fulham scenes. This familiarity adds interest to the works of those artists who exhibit at the SoFAP exhibitions.