Ready for Spring

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With the arrival of Spring, late as it may be (here in the UK we have had a long and very wet winter and may not be entirely rid of it yet), any artist who enjoys painting outside is chomping at the bit to get going; to be out in the midst of Nature, to feel the sun on their back (remember what that feels like?).

In the meantime it is a good idea to make sure you are fully prepared for the glorious season ahead and have a good stock of materials at hand.

Enough paper. I usually like to have loose sheets of at least 140lb watercolour paper of either Hot Press or NOT (Cold Press). A watercolour Block or two – they come in different sizes and while some people do not like them, I find they are convenient and manageable and lighter than having to carry easel and drawing boards around.

A sketchbook or two, again of various sizes. Whether you use cartridge paper or watercolour paper depends on the type of sketch you propose to do and how wet you like to work. Hardbound if you are happy to keep them as a journal or personal diary, ringbound if you want to detatch them at a later date to frame them. A pocket size , A5 and A4 are my most frequent choices for taking out and about as any larger becomes unwieldly and adds to the weight.

Make sure your brushes are in good condition. Perhaps now is a good time to treat yourself to a new one. Like most people, I have LOADS, and most of them are well past their best, but like the old friends they are, I hate to abandon them. It is good though to have one with a fine point rather than one with a ragged tip looking decidedly moth-eaten.

Make sure you have good quality pigments. I favour tubes from which I can top up my palette regularly as there is nothing worse than running out of a much needed pigment when you are miles from anywhere.

So sharpen up your pencils,replenish your ink pens and as soon as the temperature rises above freezing, you’ll be ready to grab your materials and set off in the knowledge you are fully prepared!

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