Here’s the second painting I did from my aborted visit to the life class I mentioned in a previous post showing the other view of Formby. As I said then it was a gloriously sunny morning and the yellowing trees gave the place even more colour. Then add the sunshades over the greengrocers and florists and you could have been in the south of France.
The regulars will realise this isn’t the first time they’ve seen this. It’s been in my studio for a while, propped up against the wall and the other day I could take it no longer and had another go at the lower half. I hope that it is a bit looser and less fastidious than the earlier versions. I’m certainly beginning to like it better.
For reference the earlier versions are below The first version is at the bottom.
Last week I went to an old life drawing group I used to belong to in Formby. It was a bright, sunny morning and I took the train and walked through town to the venue only to find the place locked up and looking like it was ready for demolition. Cutting my losses I decided to take a few photos . This is an area next to a big supermarket which is hidden by the trees on the left, but the light was great and the shadows created a liveliness and I thought that it might be worth a paint. I took a few more photos so I might be doing a few more pictures of the town.
When I got home I found out the group had been forced to move and will be resuming in a new venue which is right outside the station next month.
I was painting nearby and these guys gradually assembled one by one, they seemed to pull chairs out from the bushes, then settled down and chatted away. I tried to be subtle and take some shots, gathering some views of what I was working on at the same time but they obviously spotted me taking photos and the guy in the centre almost posed for the shot.Then I felt a few spots of rain and started to pack up. When I looked up the guys had vanished along with the chairs and bike, as if the scene was a figment of my imagination.
I started this session with a palette knife but later resorted to brushes. It was a bit of a hybrid of approaches working also on a toned background which is actually bluer than I see before me. The model was new to the group and was very good, but unfortunately the pose and lighting was as usual uninspiring. I was quite pleased with the energy of some of the painting but other areas are a bit clumpy. The trouble is I rarely go in with a clear strategy as generally you can never be sure who it will be, male or female, or what the pose will be. Still its good practice and they say practice …
We Walked along the Bexhill Beach in Sussex after an Autumn storm and had lunch at a bar in Cooden. On returning the waves still pounded the shoreline, scouring the shingle as they returned to the sea and the bright sunshine illuminated the scene. A little way further along some kite skiers made use of the stiff wind, racing over the swelling waves as if they were just flat ice.
As promised, or threatened, in my last post I said I would present another scene of the Leeds Liverpool Canal from where I was painting the other weekend. After the boats on the left and right had departed another boat came in under the bridge and I reached for my camera. It seemed like everyone was making the best of the good weather to get their narrowboat moored up for winter. I particularly liked the smoke coming from his exhaust or chimney – not sure which – which partially obscured the bridge.
With the latest spell of good weather I have been trying to get out and do some painting, although it hasn’t been too successful either in actually getting out and then choosing the time to get out. The other day I went out in the evening and found at this time of year the sun can go down very quickly changing shadows so fast it becomes almost impossible to work.
However, last weekend I was able to get out in the morning and wasn’t confronted with this problem. Instead the subjects took off. Luckily I had taken photographs and had actually drawn them in my sketchbook (see below) but first the boat on the left departed and then the boat on the right untied and came up towards me. I did complain to the man behind the wheel that he was upsetting my painting, but he didn’t put the boat back.
But it was a glorious morning and the scene was superb and even a jogger stopped by twice to see how I was getting on. The painting above was one I did from a number of photos and the painting below was my on site sketch.
As I was doing the sketch, after the boats had departed, another one came under the bridge and I was able to get a photo or two of that which will be the subject of my next painting. The morning proved very fruitful with some great scenes in the low morning sun.
With so many distractions of late this painting was doomed. I debated long and hard about whether just to focus in on the party having afternoon tea, but the setting of the architecture also had appeal. In the end I regretted my decision as the pediments, columns and cornices just became a labour although I still like the contrast of the greys and whites against the corner of colour with the tea drinkers. Maybe its something to try again when things are a little less hectic. I might even have a go at the tea drinkers without the architecture.