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Constable mastered a range of techniques through which he painted outdoors and spontaneously captured the scenes in front of him.
Seated on a stool, he worked using a wooden paint box resting on his lap as a kind of portable easel. He painted quickly, to get a rapid impression of the scene before him in about an hour, painting directly onto a sheet of paper, or piece of millboard or canvas pinned to the lid of his paintbox. Constable rarely returned to the sketches to rework or retouch them, and only then to add detail to the foreground.
He prepared batches of paper sheets in advance, which were lightweight and durable and cut into convenient sizes. He covered the paper with a range of grounds – or even-toned paint layers – to give an overall background colour, to act as an absorbent interlayer between paper and paint, and increase the paper’s surface strength.
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