Caer Bwyd Bay, West
|Caer Bwyd Bay, West|
by David A. Evans
2019. Oil on board. 7x5in. Plein Air.
One of the many pressing questions one is confronted with when painting en plein air is: how true to render the view? Some artists reposition elements to offer a 'better' composition for the eye. They might move a building or change the shape of a hill to offer a more pleasing arrangement. I am reluctant to do this. I want the viewer to know that the painting is a place on Earth that truly exists. This idea was reinforced when I explored Flatford Mill, Suffolk. Here, John Constable painted arguably his best works, amongst them, The Hay-wain (1820-1). I found it thrilling to step into his painting and experience the view across the water past Willy Lott's House (albeit, somewhat changed over time - but essentially the same). I know Constable played with composition too: the location of nearby St Mary's Church, for example, moved around a bit to suit his paintings. And so, when I found myself perched on the edge of the Pembrokeshire coastline, trying to steady the tripod in a brusk wind whilst attempting to capture the light on those rocks, I was thinking: that cloud formation is the same shape as the sea stack! Should I paint it as it is? It's been like that for some time now. Will people actually believe it was truly like that? Will they see it as a lie? A mistake even? Something added for interest? A cheesy rendition? - I was tempted to shape it into insignificance. I thought about it a bit longer. It's what I saw; it's how I experienced it! Now, when I look back through that 7x5 portal, I can't believe it either.