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Plein Air !!- Plain Freezing

Updated: Feb 6

It's not often that the weather beats me, but today it did. I knew before I left home I was taking a risk but my wife is away in Chesterfield, so I thought it would be a good opportunity to visit one of the National Trust locations I hadn't been to before.


View of Castle & St Michael & All Angels Church
Croft Castle Traditional Front View

Dismissed due to proximity to public and distractions
Entrance Gate View - Possible painting location

Croft Castle is just outside Yarpole near Leominster. Situated on the English-Welsh border, "Croft", according to the National Trust web site,"is a quiet, ancient place steeped in British history and politics with a picturesque castle and medieval parkland". Sounds perfect, I thought, I could do with some fresh air. Fresh air, it was bxxxxy freezing after sitting in one spot for two hours. Being the little soldier that I am though, I pushed on. Don't ne a whimper Mark you've got two layers of "Rab" jacket and a flask of Aldi Tomato & Chorizo soup. If you haven't tried it, do so, it beats Heinz tomato hands down. I was bodily warm, but eventually I just got to a point that I couldn't feel my fingers to draw, let alone paint.

Note to self, get a pair of finger less gloves for future trips into country.


Location

I have to be honest I walked around quite a bit, before choosing the location to sketch and getting the right composition was important. I wanted to pick something that wasn't the obvious front of castle image that's on every picture of Croft. I toyed with two. A composition which included the entrance gate and took a nice route through to the castle itself, inviting the viewer in, or a more traditional landscape, but from the back of Croft which takes into account the castle and St Michaels and All Angels church. Built in the Early C14th with a bell tower added in the C17th it is certainly worth a visit if you do decide to visit Croft. I haven't done a building scene for quite some time and this just looked like a challenge.


Croft Castle (Parkland View) Painting Location

No sooner had I picked my spot than the wind began to blow and the temperature really started to drop. I persevered though and managed to get the basics of the sketch down. Croft really is a stunning location if you like landscape painting. The view looking out across the valley and parkland is one to add to my painting bucket list. Sadly not today.

Sketch on Arches Cold Pressed 640gm/300lb

By the time I got the sketch to this point I was really struggling to draw a straight line. Plain Air in Wales in February !!! Mark you must be mad!

I will be back..... To be continued when it's warmer, at least I know where to pitch my equipment this time!



Unfinished business at Croft Castle
Vignette of Croft Castle Sketch to be continued


Ps. Bought the gloves ... Battery heated fingerless. I will report back once field tested :-)

I have a feeling these might be useful on the golf course as well :-)


If you are interested I've included the link to them on Amazon.



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