Surprises: painting in a foreign land

Surprises! Don’t you love them?

Here is a story behind a recent outing.

This painting was created outdoors in South Shields in the north east of England.

Language difficulties

This is in the heart of Geordie territory. In other words, it is very difficult to understand what the locals are saying!

On this particular day, quite a few people nodded or stopped for a brief chat. One expressed surprise (I think he said) “I never expected to find Leonardo da Vinci at the Nook.” Neither did anyone really, but any artist is a rare sight in public in these parts. In previous years I had been cautioned about painting in public because of fears for my safety. But the natives are friendly, if a little non-plussed.

July landscapes-the Nook-outdoor painting-Philippa Robert-Adelaide South Australia

South Street, South Shields. Acrylic on canvas panel, 10x15cm

Surprise #1

My position was just opposite the pub which was once called The Nook and I was approached by one of a group of pub-goers outside for a smoke. He had realised I was painting, and suggested I talk to Charlotte, the landlady of the pub about a commission. He stood guard over my equipment while I went inside. We didn’t discuss deals, but it was a chance to meet more of the local characters. People usually have a contact or family member who is an artist and this fellow was no exception. His connection was an artist I had met in Shields years ago through my husband’s family. Smallish world this.

Surprise #2

Another surprise emerged from my outing that day. One of my visitors was a woman, herself an outdoor painter, who invited me to attend her evening group of painters in a pub about an hour away by public transport and shanks’s pony. I went with her two weeks later and it was a great night of painting with people who felt like old friends. I felt so privileged and lucky! A wonderful world this.

Weather turned all English on us before many days had passed and rain stopped play for quite a week or so.

On this month, I have plenty of landscapes to show. More soon!