Archie McDougall
BSc(Hons) MSc CEng MIET

Oil Paintings & Drawings
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  Plein Air (Outdoor) Painting

Painting outdoors is a very important part of my oil painting routine. It's always comfortable to stay in the studio with everything to hand and a nice stationary subject to work from, but there is no substitute for painting on location. Apart from still life arrangements and live models at my various art groups, indoor painting is mostly done from photos. Photos are okay but they never quite match the range of colour and tonal variations found in nature and they certainly don't provide a sensory environment to get a true feeling of a place.
Painting outdoors, especially in oils, does have its challenges, not least of which is the equipment that nees to be carried to location. Very often I find I have to do quite a bit of walking before finding something which inspires me to paint. This means having a carefully packed backpack with everything I need. Typically this will include a sturdy tripod and a pochade box modified to attach to the tripod. I would paint on primed MDF panels or oil paper, both of which are much more convenient than the traditional canvas when outdoors. Then , of course there is the selection of oil paints, brushes and various solvents and mediums. I used to favour painting from a standing position, but, after long walks a fold up chair became worth its weight in paint.
   In my local area I have a few favourite locations which I find I return to again and again. Particularly Foxton Locks on the grand Union Canal and Kelmarsh Hall. The Canal and Rivers Trust even made a feature of my painting using photos of my exploits for their website.