Painting outdoors at Ravenscraig

I love the controlled environment of portrait painting inside my studio, where I can manipulate the light, the pose and have all I need at hand. Yet, sketching outdoors (when the weather is good) is equally delightful and makes up for any lack of comfort.

Painting outdoors or en plein air, as artists would say, forces one to be quick, to observe and make rapid judgements about shapes, colour, value and temperature. It is a wonderful exercise which sharpens the painter’s skills and enhances the freshness of the works that will be later completed inside the studio.

Today we met with some friends at Ravenscraig Park, Kirkcaldy, Fife and while my son was playing with his friends I sneaked out for an hour and a half to a cool and shaded vantage point from which I had a superb view of the castle.

My friend Michael Ross, a photographer, accompanied me. He took photos of the flora and almost microscopic fauna with his special magnifying lens, while I concentrated on the castle. He also took some pictures of me working on the sketch... and when the lid of my tube of cadmium yellow got stuck, Michael was the one who could open it! Thanks my friend!

Here we go!