In 2003 Susan and I went to a wedding in Southwold, Suffolk. We enjoyed a day wandering around this picturesque seaside town. It was always in the back of our minds to return one day. When we had to cancel our painting holiday in Italy this June because of COVID we decided that it may be prudent to start checking out possible venues in the UK.
We had spent a couple of very fruitful holidays in Norfolk in 2009/10. We stayed at Burnham Overy Staithe. There’s so much to paint around this area, so we thought we would re-visit Southwold. Snape Maltings came highly recommended, so we went there armed with plenty of painting materials. I didn’t realise that Snape Maltings was such a popular tourist attraction. Before long, the place was filling up. Whist Susan checked out the shops, I went off to the river to paint the sailing barge berthed nearby.
I positioned myself on the bridge, looking into the morning sunlight sparkling on the water. I’d brought a box for oil painting and an easel. Although I’m experienced in using oil paints, I’d never actually painted “en plein air” using oils. I have of course, painted portraits and figure studies from life in oils, but this was a quite different experience.
The board was only 8″ x 6″ so there was little room for detail. I was encouraged by my efforts when the owner of a gallery in Snape Maltings came out to see my efforts. She was very complimentary, particularly as she is an accomplished painter in her own right. Lesley Dabson had her own paintings on display at the gallery.
As soon as I’d finished the oil, I made a start on a 10″ x 7″ watercolour. The light had changed during the course of the morning, so the look and feel of the watercolour was quite different from the oil. I was pleased with both paintings and I intend to develop these into larger works at some point.