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Digital Subscriptions > The Artist > September 18 > Something else to say

Something else to say

Jenny Wheatley puts the case for returning to a favoured spot time and again to gather information in the form of notes and sketches. When you come to do your studio piece you’ll find that you have more to say than can be achieved on the spot

Iam often asked how to work up a studio piece from plein-air notes, on-the-spot paintings and/or photos. My answer to this is ‘don’t’. In my view, something painted or drawn on the spot contains the essence of that moment and there is an immediacy that is, to me, like the first introduction to a new acquaintance. You have an initial impression.

However, if you subsequently return to paint the same subject in the same or different media on subsequent occasions, you hone your reaction to the subject and you approach it differently. It also starts to answer questions about the order in which you lay the paint and compile the image.

So, in order to have something new to paint in the studio, inspired by those drawings, studies, paintings and photos requires, for me, the added element of having something more to say that cannot be achieved on the spot. This may be due to time constraints, weather variants, difficulty of location or the need to draw elements from different sites together to make an image that says more about the way I feel about a place. Working away from the subject also frees you to reconstruct the world without the onus of feeling obliged to tell the story how it is. One of the bonuses of working in the studio, so long as you have a strong plan for where the painting is heading, is that there is more time to manipulate paint while holding on to the essence of your thoughts about the place.

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About The Artist

Be inspired to get out and about with your painting kit this summer with tips and advice on sketching and painting en plein air from top watercolour artists Amanda Hyatt, Geoff Hunt and Ian Sidaway. Jenny Wheatley shows how to use your location studies to create exciting compositions back at home, while in a the first of a new series Yael Maimon explains how to select the best format for a successful composition. Aldo Balding demonstrates how to paint a full-length portrait, Robert Brindley shows how to capture the spirit of Venice in watercolour, Barry Herniman reveals how to use acrylics the watercolour way. Plus we focus on the rules of painting, how to paint figures on the beach, learn from the painting style of Christopher Wood, how to choose the best colours for different skies, and how to cope with the challenge of working from poor photos. We've included plenty to inspire you this month, as well as information about what to see and do and competitions to enter with great prizes up for grabs!