I started making drawings on my iPad in late 2011. In April 2012 I began painting Reigate Priory Park, in the UK, en plein air on my iPad. I started with four quick sketches.
Over the course of a few weeks I drew many more. My aim was to get used to drawing in situ on my iPad screen in bright sunlight. By immersing myself in the park environment I was learning to observe, trying to capture something of what I was looking at in my iPad drawings.
After sketching I started painting with colour but my initial attempts were not what I wanted, I didn’t feel they were successful.
I decided to go back to drawing in black and white, restricting my use of colour, forcing myself to concentrate more on looking at the forms and textures in each scene. Where was the light and dark in what I was observing? Where were the patterns? What did the trees look like in the morning, noon and evening light? How did the light change the atmosphere of each place? After a few drawings I slowly began to reintroduce colour back into my painting process.
One morning I was painting in the park and a couple who frequently walked their dogs stopped for a chat. The chap asked me if he could see what I was drawing and I showed him my iPad screen.
"Wow" he said, "Where's that!"
I pointed at the wooded scene before us. He excitedly took his camera out of a bag and said "I'm going to get a shot of this"... and he took a picture of the wooded view in Reigate Priory Park.
The chap didn’t know it but I found his reaction immensely encouraging. Perhaps my painting had inspired him? Maybe he took another look at a familiar scene and saw this in a way that he had not appreciated before?
Looking is of course one aspect of making art, another is painting what is seen. What kind of marks could I make on the iPad that described what I was looking at? How could I draw trees, leaves and foliage? How could I draw the landscape?
As I become acquainted with painting the park there were a few spots that became my favourite places. One of these places is towards Priory Lake in the woods and the other two are at the East Entrance and the connecting paths nearby.
Each picture was drawn over various visits to the Park and also in my studio.