Woodcock sketch, Seaton
In my innocence I imagined retirement to be a continuous feast of birding and painting, interspersed in appropriate weather with productive time spent in my garden. The reality has been somewhat different, a bad knee needed fixing, but the aftermath combined with a weird winter weather-wise has precluded much gardening and made birding a bit problematic as for a while I have not been able to walk far. As for painting, having lots of time to think things through I seems to have got stuck in a rut of self-doubt and produced very little really satisfactory work. It has not been all bad, as I have been going over older pieces of work and in some cases re-working some, to positive effect. Watercolour painting has suffered most from the confidence thing and I still need to plan and work out what I want for a painting in advance, possibly through trial runs as so many other really good artists have done before me.
field sketching is, however, showing some new directions. I still waver between hardback books and spiral sketchpads, and there seems no easy solution to the outdoor watercolour problem, but I am drawing more carefully and where I cannot add colour in the field ( either pencil of paint) probably re-draw the subject in a studio book (as per CFT) for further work.
I was out for the February WeBS count at Seaton last weekend and found myself sat quietly on a stump with a Woodcock crouched in the undergrowth a yard or so from my seat. I did a pencil sketch and left the bird still sitting tight. At home, in the warm and dry I added light w/c washes to produce a reasonable record of the encounter. It sets the tone for future sketchbook work, and encourages me to draw more, especially non-avian subjects and landscape.