Summer is for Exploring
As I prepare to head to Italy on Monday, I am thinking about my enjoyable experience painting landscapes with the Wekiva Paint Out in Florida this past March. If you recall, I had such success at the event that it’s piqued my interest for landscape painting as a whole. Louis Degni and company are diligently working on the St. Hilaire System, a plein air collage easel setup that is going to be spectacular! I’ll be working with the system in Italy, perfecting it, before it is offered for purchase.
My son Connor is currently in the UK for the first time. As you may know, I spent a semester abroad in London when I was attending Syracuse University, earning my BFA. I also attended the London School of Art and Design for a semester of film photography. I can’t tell you how excited I am that Connor is headed for London tomorrow, what a wonderful connection to have between us. These past few days he’s been exploring beautiful landscapes himself in Somerset, including the spectacular city of Bath.
Some Reference-Worthy Landscapes
for Foreign Painters Traveling to London
For painters, professionals, and hobbyists alike, finding the right reference is a matter of personal taste. All throughout history, landscapes have been one the most prevalent subjects for professional artists. In fact, even in the ancient times, the Greeks and Romans already had landscape paintings hung on the walls of their homes. Getty Museum History of the Landscape Genre.
If you are an artist travelling to London and looking for your next subject, some of its landscapes may just be what you are looking for, in order to ignite your creative spirit. You may not figure one of the largest cities in the world would present such a variety of landscape painting reference, but trust me, wonderful parks and vistas abound in London.
Located in North West London more or less 45 minutes from Heathrow Airport, Regent’s Park spans 395 acres filled with landscapes that are great for painting. The park also houses the Queen Mary’s Gardens, which has over 12,000 roses of 400 different varieties in it, it has 100 species of wild birds, and is home to Primrose Hill, which gives exhilarating views of London from various points.
We all know how much I enjoy painting little birds.
This spot is just 30 minutes away from Central London. Among other attractions, the captivating Kew Gardens features Kew’s Arboretum, a living library of trees containing more than 14,000 botanical and ornamental collections. Situated in the middle of one of the gardens is the Reclining Mother and Child, a mid-1970’s bronze sculpture by renowned English artist, Henry Moore. Also within the area is Kew’s Pagoda, an octagonal structure, which stands at more than 160-feet tall or ten stories.
An artist on the lookout for his/her next subject may not need to go far from Central London to find it, as Green Park is located just next to Buckingham Palace. It covers 40 acres, and though it has gone through more than 350 years of major changes and redesigns, the beauty of its landscape is still highly popular among visitors.
Lee Valley Regional Park
Covering an incredible 10,000 acres, Lee Valley Regional Park is home to award-winning open spaces and venues. Due to its size, it encompasses multiple counties including Hertfordshire, Essex and Greater London. The park was constructed to serve as a “green lung” to help maintain the levels of fresh air, so one can expect to see trees, rivers, birds and other natural sceneries ideal for painting.
There are many other good spots that may be used as actual references for painting landscapes in London, but the ones above are among the best places to choose from, as they are also easily accessible. All of the places I’ve listed are usually reachable in less than an hour from Heathrow Airport.
If commuting, Parking4Less recommends Heathrow Connect or the Heathrow Express, both of which takes travellers to London Paddington, which is then connected to other London Underground stations that may serve as access points to various locations across London.
Equally, Heathrow has an array of options available to visitors who decide to leave their car at the airport with Parking4Less. Additionally, if you choose to pickup a rental car from one of the terminals, transfer time to the airport is only 10-15 minutes, so it won’t take flyers long to transition from the airport to their terminal of choice where the parking lots are conveniently situated.
Stay tuned for plein air painting posts from Italy and beyond. Get your easel outdoors! Pack it in your suitcase…There’s nothing like being outside in nature, working directly from the landscape and the light. Landscape painting is enjoyable and widely available, in the city OR in the country.
You just have to know where to look.
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