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Blazing hot days

Geoff Hunt begins a new four-part series in which he tackles some challenging scenarios when painting en plein air

WAT ERCOLOUR – PLEIN-AIR AGAINST THE ODDS: 1ST OF 4

NEW SERIES

Painting watercolour en plein air is usually painting against the odds, but some odds are worse than others, so in these articles I’m going to concentrate on particular problems – some, as usual, entirely of my own making. I’m going to start with what at first sight might seem no problem at all: the beautiful hot day.

Painting outdoors on a blazing hot day seems like a really good idea. That’s certainly how I feel when the early morning sun comes streaming in the window – I want to get that painting kit together, quick, and get out there! But there are problems out there in the sun, one of which is simply physical exposure: you don’t want to be out in the full sun for too long, no matter how good your hat. Another is the medium: watercolour washes will probably dry far too fast for comfort, forcing you to improvise technique on the spot. Then there’s the very brilliance of that sun – you have to keep your paper out of the direct sunlight (it’s the same if you choose oils or acrylics) or you’ll be dazzled. More generally, what you see in front of you, the extreme contrast between brilliant sunlit areas and correspondingly profound shadows, can be tiring and headache-inducing if you let it. As so often when working outdoors, one of your priorities is finding shelter of one kind or another, and this time, it’s shade you’re looking for.

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About The Artist

Welcome to our August issue packed with practical, how-to articles and demonstrations to help inspire and guide your drawing and painting over the summer months. Our top team of professional artists and tutors are passionate about sharing their ideas and technical skills to help you learn from their experience. The issue is brimming over with features covering all media and subject matter, including advice from Paul Riley on the advantages and benefits of using water-mixable oils and Robert Dutton on how to incorporate the use of acrylic spray paints to great effect in your mixed-media work. Watercolourists will love the different approaches and ideas shared by Vivienne Cawson (flowers), Amanda Hyatt (tonal impressions), Geoff Hunt (working en plein air), Robert Brindley (street scenes) and Julie Collins, who offers some great ideas about colours and colour combinations for painting trees. All this and more, plus look out for the 'swipe for more images' and hand logo to see even more images from our wonderful artists. And don't forget to enter the last of our summer sketching competition challenges set by Adebanji Alade, with prizes up for grabs from GreatArt!