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Plein Air Adventures – Salisbury Cathedral & Stratford Meadows

I’m squeezing every last drop of sunshine into my paintings this week with impulsive plain air paintings – I have my plein air kit in my boot ready to go whenever the scene and time offers.

This lunchtime between lessons I just had to get out onto the delightful meadows behind Stratford -Sub –castle, with this iconic view of Salisbury cathedral beside the river Avon.

I’m a happy bunny when I get to paint outdoors, even if I was sweltering under sensible sun/painting cover up and a hat and I only had an hour– whew it was a hot day for April!

Plein Air  Salisbury 001

‘Salisbury Cathedral from Stratford meadows’ by Angela Corben. Atelier Interactive acrylics on canvas 30cm x 40cm

Here is my photo from the scene which you can compare with my painted interpretation.

Plein Air  Salisbury 002

You can see I decided not include the foreground fence posts as they competed against the vertical of the spire. I’ve instead, simplified the ‘lead in’ of the curved path with just a few brush strokes. SIMPLIFY, SIMPLIFY, SIMPLIFY is my mantra.

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I’ve built up texture using dry brush and scumbling to suggest the light on the mid-ground grasses; I tried to observe how the colour of the light grasses changes from warm ochre in the foreground to light to ‘off’ white with the sun bleaching it, to a dusky grey lilac in the distant cooler light.

The greens are similarly keyed with more ultramarine blue in the cool areas mix and more ochre and cadmium yellow in the warm light.

I’m going to leave this painting as it is.  Plein air is such a delicate balance between capturing a likeness and keeping that feeling of immediacy, and my utmost priority is to reserve its freshness- so I will go and sit on my hands!


Next week I am teaching a 3 day’ How to Paint en plein air’ course at the Sandy Balls holiday Village, near Fordingbridge in the New Forest.

I hope to post up images of how we got on- so do tune in.

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2 thoughts on “Plein Air Adventures – Salisbury Cathedral & Stratford Meadows

  1. Hi Angela! I’ve been looking at your blog and pin interest boards for the first time – wow, you’ve put so much work into it all, it’s great!

    I’m feeling very inspired now and determined to paint more to see if I can develop my own style and loosen up a bit!

    Hope the Sandy Balls classes go well (and you stay warm enough).

    Debbie x

    1. Hello Debbie. Only just got the reply button working so sorry for delayed reply.
      It’s great to have you with us in the Monday group and looking forward to some very adventurous and authentic paintings to follow.

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