As I’ve said before I love painting contra-jour – just four colours used on this one which bestows cohesion and prevents me struggling around with detail that inevitably kills the image. And with it a whiff of summer on this cold, windswept January day – well, that makes me feel just a bit better.
Last week as I was cycling up and down Segars Lane taking some photos of the moss for the painting I put on my blog the last time, my eyes caught a flash of light as I went past a drab collection of farm buildings at White Otter Farm. The buildings close to the road were in shadow, but the farm yard bisected the cluster of buildings and the low light, from the far side, illuminated the yard, bouncing off the puddles and sending open doorways into deep shadow. I had to stop down the lane, wait for a tractor to come by and return to check it out. The tangle of shapes and tones were fascinating and I took a load of shots.
I thought that it would be a complex painting to do, but it almost painted itself. I did most of it in a morning and finished it off the next day. I suppose it is the interplay of the complementary colours in the foreground with the dash of another set of complementaries at the far end as well as the interlocking shapes.
I didn’t realise a muddy farmyard could be this beautiful.
In November I posted a couple of paintings of New Cut Lane. This lane, in the painting above, runs parallel with it across the moss, inland, to higher ground. The land is fertile and has shrunk below the road leaving a big drop for those who miss their way. Segars lane is narrower than New Cut Lane and there are passing places along it. One is visible in the mid ground in the painting.
The pictures of New Cut Lane were contre jour which bestowed mystery and dynamism. Here the day is a little older and the light is coming from the right, burning off the morning mists and bestowing a calmness.
Other landscape paintings and those of the Southport moss can be found on my website:
I did a painting of Lord Street in Southport, where I live, and posted it a week ago. This view, above, is on the other side of the street, but about six months later, although at the same time of day. In winter the sun comes low over the south end of the street in the afternoon and, on sunny days, bathes the buildings in a golden light.
I started a version of this at the weekend and as I was painting I picked up a tissue on the side of my hand and transferred it to the painting. On the underside of the tissue was a plug of winsor blue and I printed a couple of blobs on the painting. There are five colours used in the painting and winsor blue wasn’t one of them and as it is a staining colour I couldn’t get it out or disguise it enough. So I did the pastel of Windermere whilst I stretched a sheet of paper.
Walking back from Bowness to Waterhead in Ambleside along the side of Wansfell Pike recently, I could see the rain coming in off the sea and making its way towards Windermere and me. I have been thinking of doing this in oils and thought a sketch in pastels might be worthwhile first.
I love the patches of illuminated country picked out against the formless gloom and the way landforms are lost and found in the low cloud.
Lord Street is the main street in Southport where I live. I have painted the street many times before – mainly on the other side of the street where most of the shops are. In fact I am painting another one right now. This painting above was from a combination of a couple of photos I took this summer.
A little further down is a bandstand and for a couple of years we displayed our paintings around it in the summer. We didn’t make many sales, even after on the very first morning of the first day selling two. It was something I felt we should have continued with, but after so many weekends standing in the cold the collective will started to drain. Pity really.
During the day the light on Liverpool’s Anglican Cathedral changes its apparent mood. With the light behind it, it glowers over the city – an angry presence, dwarfing everything including the bombed out church that is to its left here. I’ve painted this area a few times, particularly further up in Renshaw Street ( the street that is disappearing in the distance)