Suitable subjects are anywhere and everywhere! When they find me, I know what to do!
This is an excellent question which I have occasionally been asked! Many years ago, I found myself driving through the country lanes of west Kent – looking for a view to paint! I spent hours and used a tank of petrol, and still never found what I was looking for! I arrived back home, hungry and tired, never having found that ideal spot to paint. All that beautiful scenery, but not presented as I wished. What’s wrong, I thought, nature is supposed to be so wonderful! Why is it not good enough for me! A couple of days later, when the anger had vanished, I had a chuckle and turned the question around: Maybe the subject should choose me? I had been looking for that perfect ‘chocolate box’ setting, and not found it.
So from then on, I have allowed subjects to choose me! I learned a good lesson that day. Since then, I’ve been content with seeing a subject, wherever I am. I’ve not only saved a load of petrol, I’ve discovered many fabulous subjects to paint. Views across farm fields, an old gate, a conservatory, allotments, a rusting tractor in the corner of a field, a church interior, an industrial works, redundant cooling towers, to name a few. plus of course, many beaches and coastal scenes, because I’m lucky enough to live nearby. Even at home, interior sketches can test perspective skills, and bowls of fruit can test drawing and painting skills. In fact I’ll bet that I can find an interesting subject within 100 yards of anywhere! Another benefit of allowing subjects to choose me, is the variety of wacky ideas I get at odd moments of the day or night, by ensuring my mind is open to those ideas, however mad, I can explore them, make some sketches, write some notes, and return to them whenever convenient. Listening to the radio one day, on came Muddy Waters singing ‘I’ve got my Mojo working’ – Later, I trawled through lots of old black and white photos to get ideas, then sketched out composition ideas on some builders ‘sterling’ board, used to make shed roofs, and board up broken shop windows, it has lovely textures, so I had a go, see picture above. For more details of this painting, click here