Marigolds on the patio

It was almost too hot to paint in the 30 degree temperature today unless one could find a patch of shade to stay in. For one thing I did not want to dehydrate or have heatstroke or be barbecued, but more importantly, I needed to think about my materials. It is not always a good idea to paint in full sunshine and intense heat with watercolours. Firstly, the sun’s reflection on the white paper can really dazzle if looked at through unprotected eyes. You also have to wonder at which point the sizing on the paper is likely to melt. So keeping the paper out of the direct sunlight is a good idea.

Then there are the pigments. Remember this is water-colour and water evaporates quickly the more the temperature rises. So if you are used to a more controlled set of circumstances, you might be shocked to find how quickly the paint dries – almost before it reaches the paper. I remember one year, the wash I was mixing was actually sizzling on the metal palette I was using! Try painting a lot wetter than usual or resign yourself to painting much smaller so you can try and keep a degree of control on what happens on the paper.

One other thing – make sure the patch of shade you choose is likely to stay in shade for as long as you need to complete your sketch.

‘Marigolds on the patio’ was painted quickly before the sun hit them directly and also changed my shady refuge.

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