After nearly nine months of painting regularly outdoors, I have been thinking recently about how it is going. On the whole I am still enjoying the experience and I don't think I would like to work entirely indoors now. Curiously, although it has been much easier in the better weather of the summer, I found the rougher conditions of the winter more inspiring.
One thing that I have noticed is that I am becoming a bit restricted in my way of working. Because I have been using an easel and medium-sized sheets of paper, I have needed a certain amount of bulky equipment. This has lead me to look for easily accessible locations and to keep returning to the same ones. However, when I use a very lightweight easel, or none at all, and work on a small surface I tend to go further afield and more off the beaten track.
It was brought home to me recently when I packed the minimum of materials in a rucksac and set off for a walk across the moors. I found this subject and did a small painting of it.
Soft Light on the Moor
Watercolour, 7 x 10 inches
When I looked at it later it recalled all the feeling of a quiet day in the Flow Country, with a soft light and a hint of the heather in bloom. It seemed to say more to me than any larger piece painted at one of my regular locations.