What is key to being a plein air painter?
Being in the right place at the right time with the right canvas, board or, more importantly, clothing!
On average, how long does it take to finish a painting?
How long is a piece of string? An alla prima (in one go) takes 2 to 3 hours. I generally come back to paintings – the same time and same place ideally on consecutive days. In the recent snow I revisited a start to a snow painting of Milsom Street, Bath which had been hanging on the studio wall since 2012. So I guess that one took six years. Big studio works, which I rarely do, can take weeks.
What sort of subjects capture you the most?
It’s hard to explain and I try not to think too much. I go somewhere and walk with my stuff until I see something that makes me go “wow”! I do love complicated and busy street scenes – fiddly architecture, interesting spaces, light and weather.
You seem to travel a lot with your work. Where have you been recently and what have been the high or lowlights?
I have just come back from Havana. What a place! Loved painting the crumbling Spanish Colonial architecture and found painting the 1950’s cars an utter joy! The people, music and dancing was amazing. Mojitos and Daiquiris were great. The only thing that got me down was that I knew I was missing the beginning of the fantastic snow at home.
Tell us a little about your new book that is coming out.
I did ‘Brown’s Bath’ in 2008 after 10 years of painting the streets. Another 10 years on and I thought it time to do another – bigger and plusher to accompany the one I did of London in 2016. It’s really a book of paintings of Bath in different weather and times of day. Bath in glorious sun – the streets and hills, in rain, fog and my favourite – lots of snow.
Which is your favourite piece of work you have done and why?
The only painting I ever really regret selling is one of our home at Christmas. A view looking in to the hallway from outside the open front door. As much for sentimental reasons really. I am painting the kids more and more these days as it means so much to me and hopefully will do to them when I’m pushing up the daisies!