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Why (oh why??) am I doing En Plein at Air Windsor Castle?

I am completely overwhelmed at the moment because somewhere in a stupor of the last couple of weeks I decided to enter the En Plein Air competition at Windsor Castle this Saturday. 100 artists will gather and spend 6 hours creating their own interpretation of Windsor Castle. Why I chose to do this I have no idea. I rarely paint outside, in situ, I usually work from photographs, and I rarely ( or never) do architecture so why oh why am I doing this?

I am putting it down to a new energy within my work, a new ‘opening’ up of style that works well with the adrenaline and pressure of creating time limited work. It is taking me back to the days of A’Levels and my final exam where I had so much choice and time to ‘think’ about my work that I came up with something very static and unadventurous. This time I can’t really know what I will create until I get there and this excites me as well as terrifies me. I am not concerning myself so much with the technical presentation, in fact my new style deconstructs the need for such technical accuracy. It is now about me putting me and my emotion into the image, conveying an energy always stifled at school.

I feel intimidated by those who maybe have a well established art career, and those who regularly paint En Plein Air, and feel I am betraying those who are loyal landscape and architectural artists by thinking I can just waltz in and do what they do. But then, how will I ever know if this is something I can do until I try it? I don’t have to enter the competition, it’s as much about experience as final outcome, so I see it as an amazing opportunity to be part of something very special.

I have to not allow myself to feel quashed by any negative feedback, to stay true with the way I paint and the materials I use, not to pretend to be an artist I am not. If my way doesn’t fit with the ‘rules’ of ‘proper’ painting, so be it. I am just me painting my picture, my way.

I am nervous but excited, anxious just about getting all my stuff there and ensuring I have a view that I can resonate with. Once there I shall be fine. I will feel the time pressure and this already sits with me now, 3 days away. I fear if I were to relax now I will not find this energy and motivation again, but if I start practising and preparing too early I will reach my peak and expire of energy. This energy is distracting me in my day to day living but I daren’t let it go otherwise I know I will pull out and say it is not worth it. I want it to be worth it, I want to keep pushing my boundaries. Something about this made me apply in the first place, I need to find out now why that was.

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