Plein Air at the London Wetland Centre
6 November 2018
We faced a coldish day, with lots of cloud cover and a slight threat of rain but, cannily, we all arrived bundled up in warm clothing. The place looked uncharacteristically crowded. A major London water supplier had a big corporate meeting taking place and everybody seemed to have turned up in an enormous lorry. No problem, parking space could still be found and the conference was buried away inside somewhere. For painters, ease of access to the plein air venue is really important and the centre has a lovely big, free carpark. Good buses also trundle nearby.
Our usual morning coffee was enlivened with a nice dose of extra zip as some exciting new kit was demonstrated – in particular, a beautifully designed folding easel made by Soltek in the USA. Significantly lighter and with a smaller folded profile than most French easels, it really impressed. Unfurling its integrated folding legs and opening it up for some serious work seemed effortless and its new owner was rightly proud. I hope Santa was watching!
Most of us found our pitches on the South route with the (mostly absent) sun at our backs. Some took precautionary cover in one of the many hideaways and shelters. Although the rain brilliantly held off, this is the perfect place to find a covered vantage point, with some lovely views from the specially built hides over the bird-filled wetlands.
The warm café lived up to all expectations at lunchtime and the afternoon rewarded us with some rare splashes of intense November slanting sunshine. So much easier to include it in a painting at the end of the day rather than trying to remember impressions from the morning! It was a very happy day and a suitable final outing of the year. We next meet up in one of the museums to kick off 2019 with some drawing exercises in February.