I saw some work on a blog by an Israeli artist painting faces in blocks of colour which was very striking and this got me thinking. I didn’t want to paint a portrait and I wanted some sense to the background so I came up with this. There is a bit more I might do to improve it, this but essentially it’s done . The work I saw used bigger blocks of colour – something I wished I had done as I got into this, although I did want to have the patches smaller and more diverse towards the bottom. Mixing diverse colours from just six base colours and white you begin to get a little stir crazy after a while.
This view is from an early morning outing I did at the end of April and from which I’ve already posted a number of paintings, around 6 I think so it was a productive morning although I paid the price as my bike got a puncture and I had to walk the last 4 miles home.
This view allowed me to play around with some textural work, something that I am experimenting with watercolour at the moment.
Some time ago I reported, after painting the plein air Downholland Farm I posted, that I had left my portable palette behind. When I came back to search for it I came in my car and had to park on some waste land and the easiest way was to cut through this small copse. I loved the evening light coming in through the trees and the branches and trunks cutting across the scene making an almost stained glass effect. When I came out of hospital last week I thought that I could do this in pastel and sat down and cracked on and produced this pastel below:
I thought that the pastel would allow me to get the criss-crossing branches easier and also allow me to work up the foliage catching the light in the shadows. I was unhappy with the results and decided to have another go in watercolour. I tried a splattering approach with the foliage on the watercolour and got some wonderful textures, but had to go over a lot of it in order to get the tonal contrast I was after. In the end the result was better but still it lacked the impact that I was after.
I decided to work up a couple of paintings I did as plein air sketches and posted a few weeks ago. I was a bit disappointed with the results and am trying to work out why I feel this way. I think this one could have been done with more textured foreground and less of the ploughed field although I do have a problem with the large amounts of green that that might produce.
This second one might do with increasing the contrasts but again I am concerned with masses of green. I will leave both in the studio and mull over them whilst I get on with something new.
Other landscape paintings are available for sale on my website: grahammcquadefineart.com
Before my hip operation I tried to get out and about and do some plein air painting whilst I still had my mobility, but the weather quickly deteriorated towards the end of May so here are my only offerings. Ironically just over the hill and trees in this painting is the hospital I had my operation in.
Actually when I came out here I thought that there were some better views, but as I walked about, what I thought could be subjects weren’t that good. This seems to be one of my problems with painting outdoors. Eventually I settled on this view, though I did enjoy painting in the late evening sun.
I walked over the bridge and came down onto the canal bank and saw this narrowboat that I thought was mooring for the night. The low sun on it against the dark background was very alluring, so I set up to paint it. I got my initial drawing done, catching the owner on the back of it. I hadn’t even finished the drawing when the guy opened up the throttle and my subject sailed away. So I had to make it up and in so doing I think I lost a lot of impact. If only I had taken my camera. Another of plein air painting’s perils.
Another view of the lane that cuts across the moss behind where I live heading inland. Many a car has finished up in this ditch due to driver inattention. I love the misty light in the mornings here, probably caused by temperature inversion on this low lying land. The road seems to roll out to infinity in the blinding light.
I have been interested in the notion of the palimpsest, intrigued what may have gone before indicated only by traces, like scraping away the soil over a historic ruin. This has been done on canvas in many ways with, notably, Lucio Fontana and many others. I did a number in this style a few years ago, but they were fairly dour when I was exploring time and landscape. This is maybe a more colourful period, a glimpse of summer perhaps.
This is the beach at Fraserburgh which is east of Inverness in Scotland. Never been there myself. The nearest I’ve got was Cawdor Castle, the reputed site of the Macbeth saga. I was asked to paint this after my recent exhibition at the Martin Mere bird sanctuary. It was the first time I’ve submitted a body of work on one subject ( Landscapes from the Mersey to the Ribble). Having just had a few unsuccessful shows I was pretty negative about it, except that I thought that it would be a good exercise to muster around 35 paintings and put it on. With the commission they were taking along with the VAT they took off I had to put prices up so that added to my despondency. In the end I sold a couple and got this commission, so all is not bad with the world.
Below are a few shots of the exhibition. Regulars might even recognise some of the paintings I’ve posted.
Some time ago I posted a version of this painting: see below. It has stood in my studio ever since and I have viewed it on a daily basis. The other day I felt that it lacked structure and tonal contrast, so I took a photo of it, printed a few copies, got the pastels out and played around. I am a lot more excited by the second version. Also with the weight of tone at one end I also decided to turn it the other way up.