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  • charlottegrahamspouge

Wild swimming, wild camping and the art of painting poorly

'The mountains are calling and I must go.'- Muir

I love the wild. Living in Brighton is totally the prefect combination of city amenities and culture with the wilderness of the sea crashing by its side. But, after over a year of lockdowns, the mountains were really calling me. The wild was calling me.

I started Mywildday initially as a place to allow me to write and of course, one of the things I loved most (getting out into the wild) ended up inspiring the title. Since then, it has evolved into a travel blog with occasional poetry and drawing interludes. Now, it is largely an art shop.

But I thought I'd use this particular blog to get back to my roots and combine my love of the wild with my love of art.

I took a few days to travel around the Lake District, camping on the side of fells, swimming in tarns and admiring the wildlife. I have been into wild swimming for years. I've done my tarn-bagging time. But this was my first opportunity to wild camp! I carried as little as possible (meaning a bivvy bag instead of a tent) and focussed on carrying my tiny sketchbook and travel set of watercolours.

Now, I'm not a watercolour artist. I have always considered watercolours rather drab, and far too delicate for my messy, expressionist style. I was given this set by a good friend and fellow wandering soul years prior but had only used it intermittently. My landscape pictures leave a lot to be desired. Generally, I prefer to paint people and photograph landscapes.

However, instead of criticising I decided to just lean into it and after several attempts, I found I was really enjoying painting watercolours of landscapes. I have never particularly enjoyed capturing the picturesque landscape that you may imagine when you think of the Lake District. Quaint villages and soft sunsets are not really my cup of tea. Rather, my lens and I prefer to seek out the harsh light over dramatic, steep mountainsides or the storm clouds gathering over a dark lake. My paintbrush it seems, seeks the same.

I wanted to focus on capturing the range of colours in the mountains, much like the Impressionists. Working quickly and from a direct view is so satisfying as the view is constantly in flux.

'He pointed out to me the shifting colours of the landscape and the appearances of the sky. "This is what it is to live," he cried; "how I enjoy existence!'- Mary Shelley, Frankenstein.

Several of my original paintings are for sale so head over to the shop to check them out. I think I will continue this trend so keep an eye on the shop for more coming soon!

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