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Open air painting

Cloud Study: Stormy Sunset
Cloud Study Stormy Sunset 1998.20.1

Open-air painting

With a brush, some oil paint, and paper pinned to the lid of a box on my knees, I sketched the clouds in front of me. This was the way John Constable repeatedly sketched skies in the 1820s – an activity he called ‘skying’. Using paper pre-primed with a layer of colour, as Constable did, helped with sketching fast enough to keep up with the moving clouds. Nevertheless, capturing the unbounded space of changing light, colour and cloud in static, two-dimensional form was remarkably hard, and gave me an even greater appreciation for the skills of artists such as Constable who painted cloudscapes from nature.

Rowan Frame

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