CRESCENT ROAD, BIRKDALE – WATERCOLOUR PAINTING

Most mornings I cross Crescent Road and see this view. It is close to where I live and on a sunny morning the glow of the red bricks complementing the verdant hedges and other foliage as well as the patterns of light and shade always captures my attention. So I thought I would paint it and add it to my small collection of local paintings. And here it is for you, a small snapshot of where I live.

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

A GARDEN IN LUNT – WATERCOLOUR PAINTING

With house guests and other problems I havent much to show, so here is a painting I sold in 2006. I recall spotting this scene over a wall as I was out painting. I couldnt find anywhere to perch as there was a ditch in the way, so a few photos had to suffice and I completed it back home.

The old garden lit by the low sun and the view across the field of barley. It is a simple scene done simply, perhaps something I dont do these days. We were discussing it the other day, as we packed up one of our exhibitions. We didnt sell much, but some of the few that sold were simple landscapes – many of them anonymous. Certainly food for thought in the coming months, when hopefully I will be out on my bike painting our local countryside.

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

FALLING WATER – ACRYLIC SKETCH

Another sketch for the proposed commission based on Frank Lloyd Wright buildings. Though I have a foreboding as I havent heard from them for over a week. This was one they said they liked. Silence can be a sign that something is wrong. Though I did have a commission a few years ago, where there were great spells of silence. It was only when they came to pick up the finished painting, about a year after we started the commission, that they told me the painting was a present for a family member in Canada. The other siblings were clubbing together to buy it and agreement was needed at each stage. If only they had told me at the outset, It would have spared me some anxiety. Then, I find many people assume you know what is going on in their head.

Above is another sketch I produced based on Robie House in Chicago. This one was less enthusiastically received.

This issue, when it comes on the back of an exhibition where I didnt sell anything, just chips away at your confidence. Hard times are now with us with the economic situation and paintings are first to go. I suppose I should hunker down and just enjoy my painting, painting for myself and the fun of it. Having said that I did complete a commission for a friend, but I cant show that as it is from a picture he took off a newspaper.

Still, if you are looking for a painting, check out my website: grahammcquadefineart.com

INSIDER’S VIEW – ACRYLIC SKETCH

This is a sketch for a commission I am presently working on. An artist friend of mine kindly passed on the commission opportunity to me. The clients want two 30×40 inch abstracts for their new office space.

When I first visited them they wanted a pure abstract with plenty of texture, based on Gaudi or Frank Lloyd Wright buildings. I must admit I had trouble with the concept of palette knives and Gaudi, but thought that there could be mileage in FLW buildings. Also, understanding that the two pieces would be in fairly close proximity, I felt that there needed to be some dialogue between them.

I took some initial sketches to the first meeting. I had prepared these from the brief my friend originally received. I wanted some starting point to understand their needs and how I could proceed. One thing they seemed to dislike were pieces with saturated colour. This was a bit of a blow as I do like the option of bright colour, even as a splash of counterpoint in a piece.

Anyway, I produced some sketches from that initial meeting and here are a few of them.

Here is a pair based on the waterfall house linked with a seasonal theme.

Another linked pair, again based on the waterfall building and looking at planar orientations.

There were other sketches amongst the presentation, but after deliberating, the clients decided that pure abstraction wasnt what they wanted. They now decided that they wanted more aspects of the buildings to be featured in the works, so that the viewer could get engaged in a guessing game.

Well, it always helps to know what the client actually wants. So off I went again and produced five sketches of FLW buildings. One of which – based on the NY Guggenheim Museum Interior, you see at the top of this piece. I did each sketch in a different colour scheme, to give them more options.

The one I show seems also to have been rejected. I wasnt surprised, after our initial meeting. It was a bit too colourful. Though, personally, I like it. It was one of two of my favourites from the set. I am thinking that it may be worth developing as a future painting.

Anyway, they seem to like two others, my other favourite and one based on a FLW house in Phoenix, Arizona. Hopefully I can have further discussions this week and start progressing the project.

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

CLIMBING TO THE TOP OF THE DUNE – PASTEL PAINTING

Undeterred by the sand flowing away from under your feet, you struggle on, brushing past the coarse marram grass and then glimpse sight of the sea. Now, you realise you’ve reached your objective.

This is the last of the short series of beach pastels I have been doing of late. All used the technique of underpainting with gouache and then overworking with pastel. I was trying to get a feeling of intimacy with this one, compared to the others which had a more panoramic detachment.

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

RUSH HOUR, BIRKDALE – WATERCOLOUR PAINTING

Here is a view of the local train station. A road crosses the track just by the station, so when the Liverpool bound train stops, as you see here, the barriers open whilst the train loads up, before it proceeds away from the crossing and the station – so what you see here is the back of the train.

Crossing the road the other day whilst the train was at he station I was struck by the contrasts. The pattern of light and shade, the warm and cool colours and the hard industrial shapes of the train and canopies against the soft, lush sunlit foliage. Because of that you have a painting.

A painting without much commercial value, but nonetheless I like the effects and the challenges it posed for me, particularly with the tracks etc.

Other scenes of Birkdale and townscapes are available on my website: grahammcquadefineart.com

EVENING ON BIRKDALE DUNES – PASTEL PAINTING

You may recall in the post before last the gloomy vista of rain clouds about to come over Birkdale beach – and I said it was part of a series, so here is the next one, a contrasting evening on the beach, with the sun hanging low and the light shimmering off the wet sands in the distance. I did this type of evening view in watercolour and it sold a year or two back, so I thought that I would try a version in pastels, placing tonal washes down in gouache first and then working over them in pastel as I had in my earlier pastel.

Mystery encroaches at this hour. The low light casts shadows and darkens ravines between marram covered dunes. Tracks of past beachgoers get highlighted by a glow on the raised edges that is then underscored by the shadow of the depression. Wisps of grass, catch the low sun and seem to glow against shadowed inclines. Soon the mystery will be complete.

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

A FEW MOMENTS AT BURSCOUGH – WATERCOLOUR PAINTING

It was the stance of the fellow by the narrowboat that caught my attention. Coupled with the shade of the tree and the haziness in the background , I thought that it might make an interesting picture. The location is the old quay at Burscough with it’s cobbled pathway at the side of the Leeds to Liverpool canal – if you are going in that direction. It is the same location where I painted the old guy with his kettle – posted on 12th April, only taken from a slightly different angle.

Perhaps it is the slow flow of the canal that creates a gentle, unhurried ambience upon its banks. Time to talk, time to pause and stare, time to sit with a hopeful eye on your fishing rod. A narrowboat glides by and walkers wave, whilst ducks unhurriedly part to the canal sides and find another place to search for their watery fare.

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

A STORM BREAKS OVER BIRKDALE BEACH – PASTEL PAINTING

I am working on a small series of local beach scenes in pastel. It gives me an opportunity to try out the use of gouache to quickly block in masses of light and shade. Darker passages can take a lot of pastel to build up and painting in a mixture of colours that can be added to with pastel seems to give a fresher result. I have done it with acrylic before, but I felt gouache will retain a better tooth to the paper.

On the beach, the marram grass covered dunes give way to lonely wet sands stretching way out to the breaking waves, almost imperceptible, in the distance. Above, dark clouds gather across the Irish sea in readiness to sweep in eastwards, lashing the country with the moisture picked up when crossing the Atlantic.

It is a good place to walk, in waterproof boots, on a windswept days past wading birds, to view what flotsam the preceding tide has deposited on the wet sand. Broken branches, like reaching limbs, festooned with flags of algae and black jewels of coal scoured from the Welsh coast dot the sand like pebbles.

Other seascapes and beach scenes are available on my website: grahammcquadefineart.com

THE GAMEKEEPER’S COTTAGES ON ALTCAR LANE -ACRYLIC PAINTING

Tomorrow I am back in the pop-up gallery to do my weekly stint. Last Friday, when I was there, I did this acrylic version of a watercolour I had previously painted on site. The gamekeepers cottages are over to the left, in case you were wondering. I remember sitting by the roadside, last year, absorbed in my painting when a lady from one of the nearby cottages came out and asked whether I wanted a cup of tea – very nice. Though, I always take some tea with me on these early morning painting trips. It helps me settle down and concentrate better.

I was hoping that the greater colour saturation of the acrylic would bring something to the party and I suppose it has, though the depiction of the cereal is a bit clunky and that was something I had hoped would have come out better with the acrylics.

Still, it productively passed the time. Now I have to find a suitable subject to paint tomorrow, particularly as it will be less busy than last Easter weekend.

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