In the Yorkshire Dales recently, it came as a revelation after years of painting in the field: sketches in open air are not finished pieces. Instead, they need to contain sufficient information to complete the painting.
Sure, for some artists, the field is the studio. But this skill comes from both talent and practice. For me, standing on the edge of Hunt Pot, with the sound of tumbling water in my ears, the evening light dimming to dusk and the first specks of drizzle settling on the paper, I was liberated by the realisation that my watercolour sketch was a beginning, not an end.
The information I gathered in the field was the colour and overall composition. I could not achieve the tonal contrasts or precision of drawing that I wanted at that moment. These came later, from scraping back to white with a knife and hard eraser, and building layers of deeper colour with brush and conte crayon.
The palette is aurolean, ultramarine, phthalo blue, rose madder genuine, burnt umber and burnt sienna. Some of the deeper tones are paynes grey.