DAYBREAK ALONG THE COASTAL PATH – PASTEL PAINTING

Another sunrise painting, this time in pastel.

Last week I was out on the coastal path that runs from Southport, where I live, down to Liverpool and took some photos. I thought that the scene would look good in pastel. I dont normally go outside with pastels as my hands get messy when I use them and then the painting gets contaminated. For this reason I wash my hands regularly when I am doing a painting like this. As there arent any washbasins on the walk I sketched something in watercolour.

This sketch, below, was painted feet from where the pastel looks out, but in a slightly different direction. It doesnt have the same punch as the pastel, but I thought I’d show it anyway.

For this I sat just off the path and watched as the joggers shambled by, oblivious to my presence.

Other landscapes are available for sale on my website: grahammcquadefineart.com

DAWN EDGES OVER CLIEVES’ HILLS – WATERCOLOUR PAINTING

I’ve done versions of this before, but not being satisfied with the results I decided to try again. This was stimulated by another dawn scene I’m going to work on and will hopefully put out on my next blog. As I was planning my dawn scene I recalled this early morning view of the newly mown fields at the base of the rise we have the temerity to call a hill in these parts.

I have been wondering whether to introduce a murder of crows, which I have seen at other times, gathering to snaffle the dropped grains in newly mown fields, but have been held back by the thought that they might upset the harmony. The question is whether this harmony lulls the viewer into drowsiness or is there enough going on to maintain the interest?

I shall ponder on this and fight off any drowsiness as I do.

Other sunrises and landscapes are available for sale on my website: grahammcquadefineart.com

HIGHTOWN FARMS – WATERCOLOUR SKETCHES

We’ve been on the road quite a bit recently visiting friends and currently celebrating the wife’s birthday in Dublin, but earlier in the week I managed to tear myself away and get some painting done. These are farms just north of Liverpool. The one above is Whitedge farm, the last painting, I did on my Tuesday morning trip.

Compare that to the softer effects of my first painting of the morning of another farm, Moss farm, below.

I think the effects are down to the slower drying rates you get in the cooler early morning. The top painting was done around 8-30 am, with the sun climbing in the sky, whilst the first, of Moss Farm, was done around 6-30 am. After doing this first sketch I continued along the track and painted Moss Farm again but from the right hand side as you look in the view above.

This was done contra jour and with a stiff brush I was able to remove paint to create some of the forms I could just see on the farm. This cluster of buildings isnt very pretty, but I think both paintings conceal most of the ugliness.

An enjoyable few hours on a glorious morning and the good weather continues here in Dublin. Just about to go off on a walking tour of the city.

Other landscapes are available for sale on my website: grahammcquadefineart.com

PRIMROSE HILL – WATERCOLOUR PAINTING

This painting developed from an early morning sketch I posted a few weeks ago. A row of cottages at the top of a shallow incline – which in this area of flatness is called a hill. It was originally done in landscape format but I thought that it might pack more punch in long format. Even so, I’m not sure whether it will hold much interest for anyone save, possibly, the few souls that live there. Whilst working on another sketch by the side of the road up by the far cottage you see in the painting, a local stopped by and enquired whether I could paint his house which is just off to the right – I gave him my card, though so far I’ve heard nothing more.

As for the painting – it was the colour and shapes of the cluster of cottages set against the rough, dry grassland and the difference in brushwork between the two which interested me. Couple this with a scatter of random leaning power-line poles and you get my attention, though, I suspect, no-one else’s. But in the end I enjoyed the task – so here it is.

Other landscapes are available for sale on my website: grahammcquadefineart.com

SUNSHINE IN A BLUE VASE – WATERCOLOUR PAINTING

In my last blog I was bemoaning the difficulty I had with a painting. Well here is that beast, the one I almost tamed – perhaps we’ll call it a draw.

My wife had arranged some sunflowers in our big glass vase and I walked into the room as the sun was streaming in via a side window – so I had to at least give it a go.

The shadows intrigued me almost as much as the light flecked flowers, so my initial response was to do the painting in landscape format.

This version isnt complete, but shows my initial thoughts on the subject, along with the need to compress the vase for this format. As I painted this I started to think that perhaps I should just focus on the light on the flowers, so I started to paint a new version in portrait format, but threequarters of the way through the painting I realised that I had missed out one of the flowers.

So you brush yourself off, calm yourself down and start again and the result’s at the top.

Well, I’m not doing it again. Well, not for now… Though I have already corrected the out-of-kilter rim you see on top of the vase. The top and the bottom now belong to the same vessel.

Other floral paintings are available for sale on my website: grahammcquadefineart.com

THE EXUBERANCE OF SPRING – ACRYLIC PAINTING

Sometimes paintings almost paint themselves and at other times you have an uphill battle which sometimes you never surmount. This is one of the former. As I did this I was also working on a watercolour which is one of the latter. If I ever get to the top of that one I’ll blog it.

But for now, The Exuberance of Spring is a picture of my Bramley apple tree on a bright, spring morning earlier in the year. The colours seem to zing against the backdrop of the sky. We have had a good crop of fruit this year, from peaches to cherries to apples and pears, though a recent very dry spell has caused a second drop of apples and also their leaves, on my smaller trees. This Bramley, though is a bit too robust to be upset by a spot of dry weather and is still full of fruit and replete with leaves. I also like the dark shadow areas which frame some of the areas of interest.

Well, now back to the long uphill climb …

Other floral art is available for sale on my website: grahammcquadefineart.com

SUNSHINE ON A RUST RIVEN ROOF – WATERCOLOUR SKETCHES

On my last sketching trip, which I blogged a week or so ago, I was cycling back when I spotted this barn with it’s rusting roof glowing in the sunlight. I resolved to come back and try a painting of it. But on my return, despite my expectations, the sun wasn’t shining. At the early hour the sun was still low in the sky, so I went along the road in search of another subject to paint. Here is one below:

Behind a hedge was this newly mown field, and the view up the hill. Upon completion, the sun was still playing hide and seek behind the fair weather clouds. So on I went looking for something else.

I followed an unfamiliar footpath that quickly petered out and deposited me in a field from which I found this view. A cluster of farm buildings; ones I have painted before, but this time it was from a closer viewpoint. And, when I had completed that, the sun still wasnt playing ball but by then it was getting late and I wanted some breakfast so I decided to go back to the barn and do the best I could. And there it is. Still, the red roof works well against the greens and the distressed side panels add to its character – but it would have been so much better with some bright sunlight.

Other landscapes are available on my website: grahammcquadefineart.com

BIRTHDAYS – WATERCOLOUR SKETCHES

It seems to be birthday season around here – not mine though – so expectations are for a hand painted card. I must admit that I dont do as many as I used to, but still, for each one you have to stop what you are doing and think of a suitable subject.

And here are a selection of the present crop. A particular pitfall is doing the same subject for the same recipient, particularly when they get them on consecutive years.

Yeah, life in the fast lane – and I havent even mentioned the Christmas cards…

Floral and wildlife paintings can be purchased from my website at unbelievably reasonable prices: grahammcquadefineart.com

SUMMER’S DAY, LORD STREET – WATERCOLOUR PAINTING

Regulars may be tired of this subject, but it shows the heart of my town, Southport, and the subject is still popular at exhibitions. For me, I like the challenge of the architecture and the figures. On this one I battled with the shop windows, as on my main source photo the windows were obscured by a figure and on the other shots, with the focus on the street, they were too dark to be meaningful. I was pleased with the outcome. Abstract marks, some on damp paper, others on dry gave the reflective qualities I was after and made a good contrast to the brightness of the street. They also feel right.

I also wanted a view without much of the traffic. For me it is a busy thoroughfare and cars are part of that, but a lady who bought a painting of the street earlier in the year, made the comment, that there was too much focus on the traffic on paintings I showed her. This comment made me think that for many, the focus is really on the buildings, pavement bustle and the shops under the arcade. So, here is my attempt at redressing the balance. Hope you like it.

Other Lord Street paintings and townscape paintings are available for sale on my website: grahammcquadefineart.com

HOT SUMMER DAYS – WATERCOLOUR SKETCHES

With predicted record UK temperatures I assumed the next day was going to be cloudless and packed my painting gear in readiness for an early start. At 5-30 it was hot, but not cloudless, but, ever the optimist, I started out and hoped the light would improve.

The first painting is of a subject I’ve done before, but not from this angle, sitting on the roadside verge, looking out across the fields at the distant Aughton Church and the cottage with the reflective roof tucked in on the left.

When a Range Rover narrowly missed me as speeding commuters passed on the lane behind, I knew why I had found a different vantage point in the past. Still, I lived to tell the tale and here is the evidence.

Retreating to a safer position in the middle of a field, I was struck by the variation of colours from the different crops and the seed heads of the grasses which I achieved by scratching out with a scalpel and then adding a bit of shading.

Perhaps a bit of tiredness had crept in on this line of trees along a track, though I think some good light might have made a difference. Yep, a bad workman always blames his light.

Other landscapes are available on my website: grahammcquadefineart.com