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.  


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