Categories
Blog

Rewarding Outdoor Painting Sessions in the Hampshire Countryside

Outdoor Painting in July and August 2020

Small groups of artists from Kirstin White’s existing classes have recently been getting together to paint ‘en plein air’. Students who previously met for weekly lessons in Dummer, are enjoying meeting up again and putting all those virtual lessons to good use. 🙂

An outdoor watercolour painting session in Warnford

In July 2020 we visited Warnford in the Meon Valley Having painted from the top of Old Winchester Hill the previous week, we now wanted to look back towards it from below. We were grateful for the opportunity to paint on private land, where we had just the view we had been looking for. Warnford is in the South Downs National Park and makes a rewarding painting location.

The day we visited Warnford was bright and blowy, the right conditions to be able to concentrate on aerial perspective. Finding different ways in which to create the impression of distance and depth in our paintings was fun and everyone managed to achieve the desired result. Some for the wall, I feel!


Swarraton, painted from Northington, at a rewarding outdoor painting session in August 2020

It was a case of all weathers in one day when we painted Swarraton from Northington! Arriving to fine drizzle, since it was not a cold day, the painting group doughtily settled down to work in pencil instead.

Painting in the drizzle!

Quite soon the conditions changed to a flat overcast light, just right for moody detailed watercolour paintings. By lunchtime, the day had brightened considerably, so it was out with the sun hats and in with the strong defining shadows! All in all a rewarding outdoor painting session in good company.


Artists painting together at Meon Shore in Hampshire

July 2020 saw us outdoor watercolour painting at Meon Shore, a shingle beach roughly halfway between Lee on Solent and Warsash.

On a typical day, as Cliff Road turns away inland and becomes Meon Road, the beach at Meon Shore becomes increasingly unoccupied. A good spot for a spot of socially distanced painting, we thought!

In the event, the day was gloriously hot and sunny. Consequently, the beach was considerably busier than the painting group had anticipated. Never the less, we did succeed in finding a suitably quiet spot, with just enough activity to inspire exciting ‘en plein air’ watercolour paintings!

There was a lot to record, but since the paint was drying fast so we could work quickly with time to spare for a natter!

Another popular painting destination, Titchfield Haven Nature Reserve, an area of coastal wetland, is just behind the beach and we will probably paint there later in the year. Hill Head Harbour, at the opposite end of the beach, has been a favourite painting spot in the past.

Categories
Blog

Getting the band back together!

Meeting up with a few
of my class members

*
It’s been so lovely to be able to be meeting up with a few of my class members over the past two weeks, getting the band back together! We visited Old Winchester Hill last week and Watership Down the week before. Social distancing and masks not withstanding, it seemed so much more effective teaching face to face!

At both locations, we were able to find a spot away from the main thoroughfare, keep our social distance but never-the-less chat. (Neanderthal Skull Facemask by Kirstin White, available at RedBubble!)

Meeting up with a few of my class members

Since lockdown, my beginners groups have been on hold, I am hoping that we may be able to resume again, perhaps around October (fingers crossed that there’ll be no second wave!). I have been sharing online inspiration and ideas with my more experienced students and have been so impressed with the beautiful and accomplished paintings that have been achieved.

Online, in June 2020, we took trees as our subject and discussed different way we might edit what we saw in life or in photographs. We thought about ways of developing an individual language of marks appropriate to trees. Additionally, we thought about how we were going to compose our pictures, in order that what we intended the viewer to notice, was made clear.

With these considerations in mind, everyone had a go at copying a work by Francis Towne (1739–1816). In fact, we looked for inspiration at the approaches taken by several different artists. Of these, contemporary artist, Melissa Scott- Miller was a favourite, admired both for her skilful handling of detail and her relatable subject matter.

Old Winchester Hill, Warnford.

A Big Summer Sky at Old Winchester Hill, Warnford (watercolour and gouache)
Artists watercolour painting at Old Winchester Hill

Beautiful Hampshire Downland

We are fortunate to be in this part of the world, with beautiful Hampshire downland on the doorstep. Old Winchester Hill is a 66.2-hectare (164-acre) biological Site of Special Scientific Interest in Hampshire. It is a Nature Conservation Review site, Grade I, and a National Nature Reserve. Part of it is a Scheduled Monument.

Old Winchester Hill gave us lots of scope for painting. Looking down onto trees, trees seen from a distance, deciduous and evergreen trees and trees in groups were all considered.

Overcast in the morning and bright in the afternoon, the changing weather meant that we had to work fast to record the different moods and also gave us that wonderful feeling of being in the moment.

The ever changing big sky at Old Winchester Hill made a good painting subject.

With sweeping views across the South Downs towards The New Forest, this made a lovely spot for meeting up with a few of my class members.

Watership Down, Kingsclere.

Meeting up with a few of my class members at Watership Down was a great success. Despite the threat of rain, we stayed dry and found a comfortable location from which to make individual trees the subject of our paintings. At the spot we chose, there were many characterful tree specimens to choose between.

Members of the watercolour painting group, meeting up at Watership Down
Majestic Beech Trees on Watership Down (watercolour)

As we all knew Richards Adams book, Watership Down and it was fun reminiscing about the story while painting in the spectacular setting of the novel.

A lovely walking area, once we had completed our painting session, I enjoyed a bit of a ramble with the dog.

Looking across Watership Down, near Newbury UK.

The group will share the pictures and sketches that they made on the spot, as well as photographs taken on the day, with group members who weren’t able to join us. We will use the material to inspire more finished indoor paintings, where careful washes and planned composition can be incorporated without interference by the wild outside!

All being well, we plan to continue these limited meet ups on a weekly basis. I’ll be organising painting sessions for bigger groups as soon as its safe to do so. Keep you posted!

Categories
Blog

Watercolour Painting at Winnall Moors


Watercolour outside!

*
Kirstin White’s Winchester watercolour painting group met on a breezy spring afternoon at Winnall Moors today.

Kirstin White with the Winchester watercolour painting group who meet from one until three on a Wednesday.
Winnall Moors
Hampshire & Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust
Winnall Moors
Wildlife Reserve in Winchester.

The watercolour painting group met at
Winnall Moors in Winchester
on a chilly spring day in May 2019

So much to choose from!

Billowing white May blossom was looking abundant and beautiful against a darkened sky. The ground was covered by a green tapestry of leaves in diverse variety and pockets of bright pink ragged robin shone prettily.

May blossom at the gates
to Winnall Moors nature reserve
Red campion at Winnall Moors in Winchester

Undeterred

We were lucky with the weather, managing to avoid the threatened rain, but the changing light levels made for challenging picture composition. It was a case of knowing what had first drawn us to a particular scene and then remembering to paint it as it had looked when we chose it!

Come and learn
watercolour yourself.

There will be further painting opportunities throughout the summer of 2019. Watercolour outside, in and around Winchester and Basingstoke. If there are wet days when outdoor painting was planned, we will meet at the studio in Dummer, halfway between Winchester and Basingstoke. Everyone welcome but booking is essential.

The ground was a green tapestry when we visited
Winnall Moors, to paint in watercolour, on 8th May 2019.
The Willow Tree (Green King) in Winchester seen from Winnall Moors.
The watercolour painting group met at
Winnall Moors in Winchester
on a chilly spring day in May 2019

Choosing a subject

The view, looking across from the
river, chosen as a watercolour painting subject
by two members of the group.

Views depicting the river water as well as the wonderful spring foliage were favourite watercolour painting subjects. A scene, looking out across from the river was chosen as a by two members of the group. I painted a demonstration of a range of different spring foliage, with the picture held together by an attractive building.

A demonstration of spring foliage in watercolour, painted
by Kirstin White, at Winnall Moors in Winchester
Watercolour painting with Kirstin White at Winnall Moors in Winchester. May 2019.
Winnall Moors – An Exemplar for the Itchen Valley
Natural England
Winchester City Council
Environment Agency
The Tubney Charitable Trust.