I recently watched a TV program where magician and pseudo mind reader Derren Bown predicted the lottery numbers correctly…perhaps he should get a job working for BBC weather! Despite investing quadrillions in sophisticated computer systems that can sense a butterfly’s wing flapping in Outer Mongolia and having much more attractive presenters, forecasting seems to be getting worse!
My concern for inclement weather usually begins just after Patchings, though it was a little earlier this year with visitors being issued with lifejackets on the last day.
It is at this time of the year, I run painting breaks which involve working out of doors, so I start to worry about the weather, which usually justifies my worries by turning very black over Bill’s mothers.
My first ever painting holiday in Snowdonia was greeted with continuous Welsh rain, that horrible wet stuff that just seems to fall vertically and lifelessly from the sky. After a few days trapped in the studio, my students were starting to get cabin fever. “Come on!” I said “I’ll do a wet into wet demonstration at Cragennon lakes.” So we all climbed into our gumboots, galoshes and oilskins (I can’t afford the Northface stuff that all outdoor TV weather presenters seem to wear) and set off in the dense misty rain which epitomises the Welsh countryside in summer. Having found the carpark which was no mean achievement, we stumbled through the fog (it had got worse!) to the water’s edge. “I’m going to paint that mountain with the boathouse at the foot of it” I said confidently pointing into the grey, murky swirling mist. The students screwed their eyes up and cupped their hands to their foreheads trying to see the scene that I claimed I could see and wondering if I had some sort of magical Derren Brown type x-ray vision.
As the rain lashed against the paper, the paint ran onto the floor faster than I could load the brush. Resorting to watercolour pencils, magically, the colour started to stick, “Gosh” I thought, “I could even paint with these underwater!”
I did a half decent painting and we returned to the studio where upon seeing the painting, the studio owners agreed that it was a pretty good likeness, which elicited a round of applause from my amazed audience. This just shows, it’s a good idea to reconnoitre the venue in good weather beforehand!