Back to list Added Apr 4, 2006
This means painting on site in the open air and the painting is done is one go, quickly. I use a pochade box and tripod and hike to my spots. The most important aspect is to be organised. I make a plan for my gardener or guide plus two very loyal fox terriers to come with me 'if the weather is good, we'll go painting tomorrow?' Unfortunately being a woman in Mauritius has its drawbacks and you can't go hiking on your own..not wise with the steep climbs down waterfalls and slippery rocks anyway! Painting like this is exhilarating and your mind tells you what colours to put down, even if they aren't there. I believe the real 'you' comes out when painting like this. In my case, I feel and see colours for a specific object or spot or area i.e. the mountain may be pink, the trees may be blue, the shadow may be red, purple or blue. I start by spending a long time warming up with charcoal, pastel, and or watercolour to become familiar with the scene, then as I feel more confident I get out the oils and it starts to come. I go back many times, sometimes as many as 10, or more to the same spot, usually when the weather is sunny or when the visibility is good. There are days when the mountains are 'clear'. There are days when I do nothing too, just turn around, frustrated not knowing what to do next. I just have to wait, then bingo, I get an idea and it starts to roll again. I must say, I spend a lot of days tossing and turning, this vacant time between starting and finishing is the 'gestation' period which goes with all creations. One day, it all comes together (if you're lucky)! Sometimes, after working in a spot for as long as 6 months on and off I crack out a huge one. Other times I abandon the studies and a year later feel like reworking the last one or I finish it off.
My inspiration is always triggered by something usually the landscape, when I am out walking in the wild, I see something I would like to paint. Other artists' work also inspires me. I am working more and more with Abstract making watercolour 'plays' then experimenting with oils on large canvas' in my studio.
I believe in using the best materials possible and paint only with Old Holland Classic Oil paints on linen canvas, primed with rabbit skin glue or board. My chassis are made by an excellent carpenter. I like to build colour up layer upon layer exploring the transparency of the paint. I start very loosely with large washes, oil and turpentine to keep the spontaneity.
Check out for details on how to build your own pochade box. Or 2008/08/17/pochade-boxes/