Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Cheddar Gorge with the UK Plein Air Society.

A day out painting at the Cheddar Gorge was scheduled for the UK Plein Air Society - we arrange to meet on the last Sunday of the Month, all plein air painters are welcome. Fellow painter Valerie Pirlot  and I travelled there together and  if you read her blog too you’ll  hear more of  the story of how we determinedly encouraged and cajoled  each other up the heights of the gorge  - it was very steep with heavy equipment, and the hottest day of the year.  After much climbing and  meeting decending walkers and being told it was another 15 mins to the very top, at 450ft above sea level, we went on ..... but suddenly got to a point (I guess about 350ft)where we sensibly realised any more walking in that heat and there’d be no energy to paint,  so we set up easels and got painting.

Above is my rendering of the view, over the town with the river Severn in the distance,  and a round reservoir spotted with tiny sails of people boating (they miraculously all disappeared at lunchtime - home for roast dinner - or BBQ -  then were suddenly back again in the afternoon). To our left we could see Glastonbury Tor about 9 miles away, no sound from the Festival though we listened  out for it.
Below, a photo of Valerie enjoying a well earned rest after her first painting, showing  the effect of the climb too ....
and one of me, still  hard at work, wishing I had a sun-umbrella too. 

On the way back down, with gravity on our side, we stopped for a shorter time to do another smaller painting. I settled to do an old dry stone wall falling down under a background of trees. it looked very 'Pyranese' and felt it in the heat.
We didn't manage to meet any of the other painters who may have turned up (Glynis Dray was one), so perhaps should be more proactive and exchange mobile numbers with those intending to come in the future.


  1. Hi Andrew - great post and lovely pics. I have more pics to send you and will do so when I get back from holiday. Really loved your second painting!

  2. It looks like you had a great day. If I lived closer I'd definitely join you on the society meets.
    I think you're right about the shade umbrella; I can't manage without my cheapo golf umbrella when it's sunny. It's really battered now from being blown inside out repeatedly. I don't know if I want to spend the money on an expensive one like Valeries given the treatment it's going to get. I strap mine to a pointed stick which I push into the ground. It works reasonably well unless on stoney ground. Do you think the Julian one's worth the money? Paul.

  3. Thanks Valerie, It was a very fast painting and those trees and rocks were a wonderful subject in the strong sunlight. I wish I could get back here to do a few more and larger size – shall have to find an equivalent subject nearer here, and one needs the sunlight to cast strong shadows of course. Have a great holiday and I’ll look forward to those pictures of yours.

    Paul, thanks for visiting. You’ll have to quiz Valerie about the usefulness of the umbrella, I've never used one though it was pretty essential in that light and heat. It felt like I needed one up there so will probably get one soon. but if you manage with an old one as you describe that is pretty OK and enterprising. Better put it on your wish list.