Painting “en plein air”, or, to put it another way, outside in the open air, is a past time that goes back as far as the art of painting goes. The feeling of losing yourself in a landscape so entirely as you copy what you can see all around down onto a canvas is such an amazing experience – to be that immersed in the world around you, but it’s not something that most people, ourselves included, have tried. However, a series of events put on by the National Trust is looking to change that. For a lucky few at least.
On Wednesday 1st June, Tuesday June 7th, Saturday June 11th and Sunday June 26th, local artist Richard Grinter will be hosting a series of all-day painting workshops at the National Trust’s sweeping landscape Prior Park gardens as part of the celebrations commemorating the 300th anniversary of the birth of Capability Brown.
Richard Grinter studied Art at Amersham School of Art in 1988 and has spent many happy years in Bath capturing its many views, displaying his work in exhibitions, and teaching students from all over the country how to put brush to canvas.
Each stand-alone event (although you could attend every class if you wished to!) will give an intimate class of six students (or fewer) the opportunity to experience painting in the open air from 10:30 until 3:30. All of the materials; easels, canvas, paints - oil, watercolour or acrylic, and so on, will be provided; although the requisite old shirt to get covered in paint is not. In each event Richard will demonstrate the techniques and tips you need to know in order to create a beautiful landscape painting in your favourite medium.
As well as having a great local artist as a teacher, Prior Park is a great setting to have as a subject. It was designed in the 18th century by the poet Alexander Pope and the famous Capability Brown, who was one of the main exponents of landscape gardening, and it was owned by the then postmaster and later mayor of Bath, Ralph Allen. Prior Park was highly influential in defining the style known as the “English garden” across Europe, and the garden still retains a serpentine lake, Gothic temple, and a rare Grade I listed Palladian architecture bridge, which throughout the years has been a popular location for proposals of marriage. In more recent years it has also acquired a very nice tearoom (/shed) – something no National Trust property would be complete without!
With all this to offer, even if you don’t fancy picking up a paintbrush, Prior Park is most definitely well worth seeing. If you do want to attend then tickets are £55 and details can be found online here.
Either way, we hope to be able to welcome you to Bath soon. With such lovely weather and so many events planned throughout the coming months Bath really is a wonderful city to visit.