When I am visiting the forest, either going for a walk along the Poole Creek for exercise or looking for a composition, I occasionally get a fleeting inspiration – when time and the moment stands still. This occurred recently on a day painting trip to the Ferguson Tree Nursery in Kemptville. I was standing alone at the time on a forest path when the sunlight and silence were shrouded in the mist of light rain. I was inspired to paint while the moment lasted. It never does of course. By the time I had set up and painted a 11x14 sketch the midday sun had broken through, shadows were appearing and foliage was becoming opaque, losing the translucent effect.
Back in my studio, the sketch provided detail. It was also useful to me as a medium to help with my recollection. Reproducing the vibrant colour at my feet, the silence of falling mist and the intimacy of the transient moment was the artistic challenge.
I had to be there – that's the very essence of plein air painting.
The Art of Charles Spratt