Painting the weather
The constantly changing weather has long been an inspiration to artists. When I first taught myself to paint, back in the 1990s, I used the fleeting beauty of clouds to help me understand how to paint in watercolours. John Constable (1776 – 1837) is, in my view, probably the finest painter of clouds that has ever lived, and looking at his watercolours taught me a huge amount.
In 2015 I painted Attention All Shipping, a painting of the UK shipping forecast, which turned out to be my most popular painting ever. It seems I am not the only one fascinated by meteorology!
In 2018 I made a couple of paintings inspired by the weather – mostly stormy weather, with spiralling and rolling clouds, which reflected my mood that year. I’d enjoyed painting them and wanted more weather.
I had an idea to paint the changing seasons and their typical weather conditions, but all together in one painting. I wasn’t sure how I could do this, but I thought I’d give it a go. Any opportunity to lay some ideas down with colour and shape sounds like fun to me. The result is…
Read the painting from left to right starting with the arrival of spring. The bluebells appear, and the trees come into leaf, the ferns unfurl, and the roe deer fawns are born. The summer sun warms the earth, and then autumn storms roll in, scattering the leaves to the wind. Jays gather acorns, and the badgers curl up to sleep in their setts, escaping the snows and darkness of winter.
A snowdrop appears, and the seasons circle around once more.
As I was painting Out in All Weathers, I posted updates on my Facebook page. And very early on – I had hardly added any colour at all – a customer messaged me to ask for ‘first dibs’ on the finished item. Something about its vibe struck a chord with her. I promised she could have first dibs, emphasising that if the end product didn’t turn out as expected, there would be no hard feelings on my part if she didn’t finally want it. (I never know how my paintings are going to turn out!)
She did want it and it was exactly what she was looking for. She wanted something to remember her recently deceased and much-missed grandmother by, something full of life and hope, the changing seasons. It’s hard to put this into words, and that’s why I’m a painter, not a poet! But my customer understood immediately what I was trying to say in this painting, and I hope you do too.
Greetings cards and prints of this painting will be produced later in 2019. I will tell you when they’re ready on my Facebook page.