Andrew Wooldridge

Specialising in painting plein-air around Poole Harbour and surrounding coastline mainly in watercolour and oils and experiencing first hand the different moods the harbour has to offer a painter. I prefer to paint on location throughout the year and in all weathers, often starting early before sunrise gives me a unique chance to try and capture this first Golden light burning the tops of the distant shore as the sun rises, these light effects are only visible for a short time, combined with a low tide can be really magical.

The weather can be challenging and change rapidly in the harbour, a sudden strong cloud formation can give excitement with fleeting light effects on the water which can energise the scene changing the atmosphere of the place for a short while. I try to soak up this atmosphere and hope some of this excitement and drama comes through in my work.

One of my favourite places to paint is the exposed mudflats and marshes around the harbour at low tide, looking for interesting compositions from the boats which are now lying on their sides and the gullies of shallow water left reflecting the sky and surrounding shapes. There is always plenty of activity going on at this time - bait diggers, dog walkers, people checking their moorings, which gives me an ever-changing choice of subject matter. Many times I have been caught out by the rising tide and have to finish a painting with water lapping at the top of my wellies and have to wade back to shore. You never get quite enough done, but sometimes that is good as it requires total concentration which can produce a little gem that manages to capture the scene and atmosphere of the place perfectly. Returning the next day at the same time never seems to work, so it's is a race against the tide and the changing light conditions to nail the subject down. These fleeting moments of subtle light can be so elusive and difficult to portray but I am always driven to try again the next day.

Gallery Pictures