St James’s Park, Thursday 8th June, 2017

 

For the past few years we have been ludicrously lucky with the conditions but this time the threatening weather reports discouraged many of our members. However. wrapped up warm, a hardy half-dozen of us met up at our usual Birdcage Walk entrance to the park. Coats and hats seemed a little strange on a late spring day but we were to need them.

Normally our painters scamper off in different directions in an effort to find an enticing view. Perhaps it was the cold and windy air that tempted us to stick closely together this time and most of us set up our easels within shouting distance of each other, facing Buckingham Palace across the lake. It is a marvellous vista and, as is their wont, the ducks and geese posed on the banks hoping to be made immortal in some of the paintings and drawings. Tony Herbert was the only one to find an alternative subject, a lovely water scene with rocks and, yes, he was also the only artist to reward the wildfowl by including them (and the popular pelican) beautifully on his canvas.

We huddled together on a bench for a late lunch and chatted away about our art as torrents of tourists swept by. By the time we had finished we were chilled enough to call it a day and head happily home. Although the long morning session had been quite testing, this is really what plein air painting is all about, trying to capture our surroundings in all conditions. How many shades and tones can a stormy sky contain? It was a fun challenge.

Report by Martin Burrough

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