Weather forecast was good. I had a 4' x 2' canvas prepped. I had the time, so there was nothing to stop me going back to Father Thames and doing some more painting. As I got off the bus (yes it's a bit of a handful travelling with a shoulder bag, back pack, tripod and canvas) the first few spots of un-forecast rain fell from a seemingly raincloud free sky. As I walked down to the river I saw the culprit, a lone grey raincloud passing slowly over. so I took shelter in a bus stop and had some lunch while it passed. I looked for the viewpoint and found what I liked just in front of Battersea Bridge, looking back at Albert Bridge. A nice sweep to the river, some boats beneath the bridge and the varied skyline behind with a glimpse of Chelsea Bridge underneath.
By the time I'd set up the distant sky had a stormy blue tinge to it which looked great against the bridge and skyline. I rapidly mixed up some colour and started to cover the surface whilst studying the mood of the sky. Then blocking in the water. By now the weather was turning from being hot and sunny one moment to threatening to rain the next. As I started to mark buildings on the skyline and area under the bridge the wind started gusting. Initially not too strong - I had the two bags hanging on the tripod to steady it - but eventually I was having to mix colour, Hold the canvas with one hand whilst fighting to apply colour to a moving target! In the end the rain came back and it seemed as though it wasn't going to let-up so I blocked in the area on the right where the buildings are and started packing up.
Although I didn't get nearly as far as I had hoped, the experience of battling with the elements was a good one and looking back on it, the battle of the elements is expressed in the painting already in a way would it never would if I'd tried to paint in the studio. Plein-air painting really projects something of the scene through the artist to the viewer in a way that cannot be replicated any other way.
On the way back through the station I got a couple of un-prompted complements from station and shop staff even though I holding it low and out of the way. So that encourages me.
This is now another part of my learning curve to being an artist - do I continue the painting from memory and reference, if so, how far. Or, do I leave alone and go back another day to finish in situ.
I think a combination of both. I might just 'block in' a few areas to better establish the composition, then go back and and finish it back at the pitch.