Vitamin D top-up: Soak up the winter sunshine for thirty minutes a day' or 5 to 10 minutes of early morning sunshine in summer.It is mid-winter in my Goulburn Valley retreat, and I'm striving to get out of doors, with bare arms, into the winter sunshine each day to do a little gardening.
I'm setting up my en plein air painting kit. In springtime, I'll not even need to leave home as the canola crop is growing well and my roses and perennials will be spectacular this spring. As per my Fitness beyond Seventy post, I'm less active these days. Just the same, I've not given up any of the creative activities I love, I've just modified them to suit my current level of fitness. Getting enough Vitamin D does not get any less important as we age. Whether it is painting out of doors, gardening, or walking, I strive to get my natural sunshine Vitamin D boost every chance I can.
I packed the thermos flask and set out with a friend down a 4WD track off the highway along the Goulburn Riverside. We found a spot wide enough to pull over and paint in the shade of trees.
There was the sound of the birds and a gentle breeze to add to the pleasure, the farmer plowing a paddock behind us and a couple of people using the road stopped to wave, and wish us a great day.
Then one gentleman returned. He was an art lover and wanted to purchase my painting. So, I took the painting to the new painting owner's home, and then I returned to my rural retreat with the memory of a lovely day and some money for art supplies.
Yes, it was a beautiful day.
I will return to that spot. My friend says that the recent floods would have been sure to have put some yellowbelly and cod in the billabong. Reg can fish while I paint.
“If you want life in your painting, you need to paint it from life.
To capture the true light and colour you need to be immersed in the scene and become part of it. That’s why I think it’s so important to paint outdoors.”
Preparing for en plein air painting
Acrylic en plein air painting
Take clothing and hats to protect from both the cold or excess sun.
• Fingerless gloves are a must for painting in cold weather.
• I take a folding stool as well as my folding easel box.
• Carry plenty of water Some water or a flask with coffee, tea or hot chocolate if it's cold.
• Loose and light coloured clothing (cream rather than white) helps minimise being bothered by mosquitoes. Get indoors before dusk in the tropics.
• Consider carrying insect repellent.
• Take paper towels and wipes to clean up and a bag to bring home your rubbish.
• A camera is useful for recording the scene, to complete it back it the studio.
I have taken Reg and Indigo down to the foreshore and set up under a shade cover to paint the view, with acrylics on to stretched canvas. I brought a comfy chair for Reg and packed our lunch. I hope to paint out most afternoons in this climate and be back in time for Reg to go fishing before dinner.
I prefer to paint on location in oils; I am making a concession to a fast drying medium due to traveling. It is very hard, working with, paint that stays wet, and travel, so I've brought the fast drying paint for this trip.
Acrylic Painted Foliage and Branch Close-Ups
Australian Rural-lit and historical fiction author and artistRyn Shell
Grampians National Park
I will be painting these scenes as art tutorial demonstrations for my patrons.
OK, where do I make a start?
Mt Duwil/Mt William Trail in Grampians National Park.
Length: 1.8 kilometres.
Walk: 45 minutes one-way, says the tourist’s map. Sure—if you want to and can walk up a steep mountain road at speed. Allow extra time for rest breaks on the uphill walk, as it is steep. You will also want to pause to enjoy the magnificent panoramas. Reg and I made a full-day outing of this walk.
Track: Good; it is a private road.
Grade: Very Steep.
Start and finish: Mt Duwil/Mt William carpark.
Mt Duwil/Mt William lies near Mafeking, which was the scene of Victoria’s last, and perhaps shortest, gold rush. The tall peak, at 1,168 metres, offers great panoramic views of the entire district as well as an insight into its fascinating local sub-alpine vegetation.
Reg and I have always loved the views from Mt Duwil/Mt William, and it is a place of special significance to both of us. Our first trip here was also our honeymoon. We succeeded, at that time, to complete all the major hikes in the area. We kept returning for the following forty-one years to prove that we could still do all of these trails.
At sixty-five years—for me, Kathryn—where I last made this climb, and seventy-one years for Reg, on our last trip to Gariwerd/Grampians, we made all the hikes easily. The rock scrambles were tougher than I had remembered them, but we made it to the top every time.
Hiking to the top of Mt Duwil/Mt William has always been a goal that I’ve set for myself after any physical setback. At the present moment, I have two years to train to repeat these walks to celebrate turning seventy. Getting to the top of Mt Duwil/Mt William, the highest mountain in the Gariwerd/Grampians, is a fantastic milestone-marking goal—if you can do it.