We haven’t got apple blossom yet, but the way things are going with the temperatures, we might have soon. Another floral painting from photos from last spring. It was a good crop, I am still munching my way through the apples.

It’s a painting of two halves. I will put it away and decide on its fate later.

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Well, the planet’s turned its tilt and summer’s on its way so I’m into flowers again. I had these images of irises in my garden which I took last year. I find them a very fussy flower and needed someway to depict them. By pushing hard light behind them I was able to focus on shapes and reduced the intricate patterns. I was pleased with the early washes which mainly remain in the background, but in order to retain these washes the arrangement of the budding flowers was a bit compromised and I needed them for linkage, so couldn’t leave them out.

Well I’m on with another floral and the sun’s come out, so let’s see what happens .

More florals and paintings for sale  are available on my website



I think on an earlier post with a painting of Bold Street, Liverpool,  I said that it wasn’t my first and probably wouldn’t my last. Well I wouldn’t want to disappoint and it follows on with another night scene. I have done a few of night-time in Liverpool, but wasn’t overly satisfied. I am more satisfied with this, focussing in on a subject and aided by the reflections of the wet pavements it has got  a bit more energy than the others, maybe enough energy for me to try another. We shall see.

A merry Christmas to all.

Other Liverpool paintings for sale can be found on my website: grahammcquadefineart




In August I put out the same picture in watercolours. I wasn’t that happy with it and I wondered if it would be better done in pastels. So here it is and now when I compare there are improvements, but I have lost the lighting I achieved with the watercolour and I also made more of a feature of the foxgloves. Maybe that’s something I might do later to this painting.

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I have painted camellias before and the flowers need such a density of colour that trying to achieve it by layering pigment gives a flat dull result. The same has happened here, although the photo is a little kind.

I started with loose washes  and built up form as you can see at the top. Perhaps the image comes in too quickly out of the background and we are straight into the flowers. I have tried to balance the reds with the greens of the leaves , dragging underpainting into them and they have the heavy glossiness you get with camellia leaves – certainly in my garden.

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I have been playing with this idea of chasing the unattainable of late. It started with an earlier post – Evening on the Beach on 16th November –


where I had some images of a family on the beach. I added some gulls for narrative  and I liked the notion of the younger sister chasing the older sister in her endeavours. The painting didn’t satisfy me and I thought of focussing in on the two children in their chase.

I began a painting in this vein but still wasn’t happy with the composition. Here is a half completed version still in a portrait format and very similar


I felt I wasn’t close enough to the action and needed to approach it differently to  get some feeling of involvement. I had to find a whole new set of images to cobble together the composition. l also decided to dispense with the blocking approach I have been using with acrylics recently as I couldn’t get the textures I wanted for this piece.

I’m still not sure if it is complete, but I need to rest it for a while and look at it later, but I think I’ve made a few steps forward, or at least sidewise, crablike.

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Perhaps its the onset of winter that drove me to consider painting some more flowers. I have tried hydrangeas in the past without success and I must admit I was after a looser effect. In the end I am not too displeased with this rather tight depiction particularly with the way the colour of the flowers got dragged into the leaves. I might have another go with some phlox and try and break a few  more of those shackles.

Other floral paintings are on my website



I have liked this scene on the Leeds Liverpool Canal when I’ve been looking for somewhere to paint. There isn’t much, but the light reflecting off the rooftops and coming through the trees and the areas in shade make it appealing to me.

I mentioned it to someone who lives in the area and does a lot of painting and they told me that they had been cycling on the path here and  had not been paying too much attention to what they were doing (looking at the scenery) and the cycle wheel got caught in a rut and they finished up in the canal. From what she told me the bike is still in the canal .

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After my relative success with the pastel painting of Mark I posted on 19th November I made a similar approach at another session. This time I drew the figure before applying the pastel but I used a light support and this shows through, particularly in the darker passages where it seems to  have an unsettling effect, although I did use this effect in the hair as light was falling onto it and it partially works in this situation. I think the dark background in the picture of Mark avoids this issue in the darker areas and lighter passages are not affected by the dark background.

Normally I would put much denser colour down in dark passages as in this earlier painting I did, below, again on a lighter support.


Here I have worked into the ground to ensure the darks are not compromised, but if I want the light touch and textured finish I got with the painting of Mark, it looks like I need a darker support.

Looking at the two pictures makes me realise the effort that  goes into the posing we have at these sessions. Maybe I need to shift my position a bit, but the contra-jour you get in this studio with a long window down one side makes me reluctant to give up my slot.

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