Summer finally hit the Lower Great Southern this week. On Monday the thermometer settled somewhere around 35º C by midday and the wind was full of attitude. So naturally I decided this would be a good time to go outside and paint.

I plastered myself with sunscreen, donned my hat and headed about 1km down the road from home to a spot I’d noticed the day before. Something about this scene, a place I’ve driven by almost every day for over seven years, caught my eye.

I set up my easel in the ditch on the side of the road and if the gusty wind and searing sun weren’t enough of a challenge, I soon discovered that I’d left my palette knife and one of my brushes at home.

I use a palette knife for scraping excess paint from the brush during painting so not having it with me meant wasting more paint and time than usual as I struggled to keep my one main brush clean. Still, I persisted and here’s the result after about half an hour, during which my easel almost collapsed after a particularly strong gust of wind…

summer landscape in oil paint
(Hot & windy. 20x24cm oil on board. © Andy Dolphin)

Later on, I headed back to the Porongurups to have another go at a spot I painted the day before. I had much more time to work on this one and as a result, I’ve added a little more detail than usually appears in my plein air works. The downside is that the light changes considerably over an hour so it’s possible to end up with two or more paintings in one as the light on the foreground doesn’t necessarily match the light on the background which is usually finished first.

In this case, the shift in light wasn’t too dramatic and I used the extra time to capture some of the detail in the mountain range. I wouldn’t usually do this with distant objects but I couldn’t pass up the opportunity while the range was lit and not shadowed by clouds.

mountain landscape oil painting
(Summer track, Porongurup. 30x20cm oil on board. © Andy Dolphin)