Thursday, 8 May 2014

En Plein Air Trail

My lovely Dad has taken our family away for the last 4 years and this year we booked a lovely cottage in Anglesey for the bank holiday weekend. We had a bit of a disastrous start as we found we needed two new tyres as we were leaving on Friday morning. They had to be specially ordered and delayed us setting off and as they were being fitted I decided to take our little Grandpup, Archie for a walk. It was a lovely morning and there were a few fields close by where he had a wonderful time running and jumping  but as we returned, he started coughing and seemed to be having breathing difficulties, either like hayfever or an asthma attack.... obviously we were concerned and I felt as we were taking him with us we needed to get him checked out so instead of setting off to North Wales we ended up at the vets!! Thankfully they saw us very quickly and the vet suggested he had something maybe like a grass seed stuck in the back of his throat which was causing an irritation... we finally got on our way a couple of hours later than planned with some doggy anti inflammatories and painkillers. The weather had deteriorated by then so the picnic we had planned at Colwyn Bay with our smoked salmon quiche made by my own fair hands the night before had to be eaten in the car.

Still buoyed by the weekend ahead we made our way across the Brittania Bridge, onto the Island and on to the lovely cottage in Dulas Bay. My sons and partners were due to arrive later that evening so once we had dropped off our luggage we had a little recce round, hubby and Dad looking for suitable hostelries and me for painting opportunities. We returned for supper and to the rest of the family arriving at about 10.00.

The following morning I woke early and was greeted as I went downstairs by my father, dressed, holding his arm and saying he thought he had broken his wrist!! Apparently he had fallen as he went to bed trying to find the light in his room and hadn't wanted to disturb us until morning. So by 7.15 we were back on the road, back over the bridge and off to Bangor Hospital! I had stopped him having anything to eat or drink in case he needed any surgery or had to be anaesthetised to have it manipulated but thank goodness it was a compress fracture and didn't need any intervention. We were back in our accommodation with a half plaster by about 10.00 having breakfast and wondering how he was going to manage every day living!!

So.... an eventful start to the short break to say the least!! We went for a walk on one of the many beaches in Anglesey but to tell the truth it was pretty chilly and, back to the point of this blog, I only really had one opportunity to we returned from our day out I sat at the front of the cottage with a gin and tonic and painted my worst two nightmares..a plein air landscape!! This was the view.....

cropped to represent what I had in mind to paint. I had taken one of my home made sketch books and this was across the first two pages

Looks like I could add a bit more foliage in the foreground and far too much water showing, but I suppose if I hadn't shown the view none of you would be any the wiser!! I have to admit I am not too displeased with this as a sketch, and though it isn't what I would have chosen to paint, I think I would have preferred to have a building around somewhere, it really was Hobson's choice!!
We visited Beaumaris and then took a road trip around the top of the Island which, being Sunday was closed and a bit bleak and unfortunately the weather was rather dull, the best part of the day being late afternoon when we went for a walk. We got pretty lost,  nearly got caught on the rocks by the tide and ended up sneaking through some private estate and what was meant to be a short walk turned into a 2 hour trek!! Little puppy was absolutely shattered!!

We left Monday morning and back to Bangor Hospital for completion of the plaster and I have to say we had super attention from all the staff there!! As for my Dad... well, he's managing ok... it would of course have to be his right hand.... he is resourceful and finding ways of adapting but at 88 it isn't easy!!
I have been very busy with workshops this week too, 3 in the last 3 days and a fourth all day session about 2 hours away on Saturday. We go to the fracture clinic at our local hospital tomorrow then am hoping to get a bit of practice done in the afternoon in preparation for Saturday...finally out for dinner at a friend's house Saturday evening... and that's been my week!! Phew.... and still only one plein air painting!!

I'm returning to Anglesey in the summer for a 3 day painting break with Joanne Boon Thomas and some of her friends where I will be able to get a bit more painting done, will be able to watch Joanne at work... her plein air painting is fabulous and where I hope I will be able to progress a bit more!!


  1. What a challenging start to your trip, Judith. So glad it all worked out in the end and that you had a chance to paint. Lovely colours in your plein air paintings. I look forward to seeing more of your Anglesey paintings when you go back.

  2. Well what an unfortunate series of events! Thanks for sharing your adventure and your painting. En plein air painting is the hardest of all and while you don't like it, it makes a lovely painting and is a lovely memory of a bank holiday you won't forget in a hurry

  3. Good grief! Your poor Dad. What a start to your trip. But the painting you DID do is lovely. The colours where the greens meet the water are beautiful.

  4. I really like the painting you did, amid all that chaos too!


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