It seems to be becoming a little tradition that we go to Friston Forest for Adam’s birthday. We pack a picnic, our art materials and plenty of layers (March weather is all over the place) and set off to explore and draw in the Forest. As we’d recently been to see the Sussex Landscapes exhibition at Pallant House Gallery, I think we were both craving having a go at creating some Sussex landscapes of our own!
I’ve been trying to get back into using my watercolours, and Adam focused on his oil paints and was keen to do a big painting. The forest was looking a little sparser than we remembered, the result of Winter and some cutting back/conservation work I think. So it took us a little while to find the ideal spot, somewhere that wasn’t too far that we had to lug our heavy equipment for ages, but that also inspired us for painting.
The day had started quite grey and chilly, but not long after we started the sun came out. It was blissful to be outside in amongst the trees and the birdsong and to feel the warmth of the sun on my face. Painting wise, it made it a little more challenging as the light kept rapidly changing, but we did our best! I wanted to get down a wash of colour and shapes quickly (shown below), so that I could move onto the fun part (in my eyes!) of working back into the composition with coloured pencils to bring out detail and texture.
Adam needed a little longer for his oil painting, so I took off for a walk through the trees. It was lovely and quiet with only a few other walkers about. I enjoyed looking at different types of tree, early blossoms and interesting ferns. I was quite taken with this unfurling leaf that reminded me of Baby Yoda from the Mandalorian! When I got back, Adam still hadn’t quite finished, so I decided to make a little sketch of him until he was done. His painting turned out beautifully as you can see below.
It was great to be back in the forest! Adam recorded some footage so there might be a video at some point too. I’m eager to keep up painting and drawing outside this. It’s so therapeutic and a good way to develop my painting skills I think. Do you have a favourite forest or painting spot you like to visit? Let me know in the comments!
The first, Third and fourth images are of my watercolour, sixth photo is of Adam’s oil painting. You can see more of his work on Instagram here. My Owlstation instagram page is here.