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Day 6: Artist Residency at The Hide

Day 6

Saturday 30th March




Left: Sketchbooks in the studio at sunset

Right: Easel and landscape painting on Minchinhampton Common


The studio is bright with sunshine and I open the windows to welcome some breeze into the warm space on my last full day. This morning is spent practicing yoga and adding to my concertina sketchbook - it’s starting to look like a catalogue of my collection from the week. I like the drawings folding over the edges, a stream of consciousness.


I head out to the common, not taking my winter raincoat for the first time. There’s a view of the far hills (Selsley, perhaps?) that I’ve been wanting to capture all week. I settle on a panoramic landscape and set up my easel and new/old folding chair. I try to employ techniques that Sebestian used in the demonstration earlier this week: wet in wet washes, splatters, darker focus in the foreground. I lay ultramarine shadows at the feet of miniature trees and bushes. I study the foliage in the foreground before selecting which brush will best animate their branches. 


A dog bounds towards me and a voice announces themselves as “just being nosy”. He tells me most people in his family paint and asks how long I’ve been out here. “Long enough for my fingers to get cold!” I say, but I can’t tell if it’s been an hour or two. I ask if he paints too. “I just don’t have the time,” he exhales. I nod, knowingly, grateful for my own opportunity to carve out space for practice. I lie on a bench in the sun, soaking it all up. On my walk back to the studio I pass the tree I painted on my first day and paint it again - larger, freer. 


In the evening I carry on adding to my sketchbooks as the sun dips below. I start to pack away the unfinished puzzle I laid in a corner of the studio, laughing that I only completed the outside straight edges. It feels fitting that I didn’t complete it, somehow. It looks like a windowframe, a portal to a way through. It seems to me a reminder that practice is an ongoing process of enquiry, one that will never be neatly complete.

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