I need a few floral paintings so I photographed some heleniums in the garden. I got quite low and photographed upwards into the light and decided to combine a range of views. I wanted to get the light coming through the top flowers and onto the lower ones. As I began the painting I lost some nerve, feeling that the yellows in shade weren’t that convincing, but as the painting neared completion I regained my nerve and enthusiasm and am quite pleased with the way the light works.
I was walking down by the Alt Estuary where it empties out into the Mersey Estuary. The vast expanses of sand at low tide with the Wirral in the background and the Welsh hills behind that make a subject, but it is finding an angle. Off to the right of this painting are the tide marooned boats which I have done before. I decided to get low and include the flora – dog roses and dandelions and the like. These plants cover the piles of brick and debris from the war ravaged Liverpool that was dumped around here creating a bit of a coastal defence, though coastal preservation wasn’t top of their priorities at the time.
I have noticed that there is less of an appetite for landscape these days. This has come about by observing other people’s superb work languishing in exhibitions. It seems that unless there is a connection with a particular view there is no interest. But I must say I love painting them. This is based on a view I saw looking over a fence in Berkshire the other week. I love the lush foliage and the shocks of light and shade – so I’ll go on painting them even if no one is too bothered.
Other landscapes are available for sale on my website: grahammcquadefineart.com or get one commissioned – I have very reasonable rates.
I was playing around looking at creating surfaces in abstract ways using tone and colour temperature, but drifted off when things didn’t go as planned and playing around came up with this. As it was quite small and on paper I thought about trying it on a 50x70cm canvas.
I liked the juxtaposition of the organic/formless aspects and the hard defined shapes which I then played around with, breaking up edges and working into. The canvas version is below and I think that it has some merits, although I couldn’t get the mixing I got on the paper – the weave of the canvas preventing it. What I could do is coat the canvas with gesso and sand down. I have found seven applications and sanding gets a flawless surface which might emulate paper and allow me to get the effects I got on the paper. Or I could just go with paper, but then I would need to think about the kind of support I would need.
I will be pondering on this. Meanwhile, other abstract paintings are available for sale on my website: grahammcquadefineart.com
Every time I look at this I end up adding a bit more, so it may move on a little before I exhibit it – but that’s enough for now. I wanted to get the feel of the wear and decay that I experienced when exploring the city. It uses images I have painted and posted before, as well as new ones.
These two paintings were started on a ground of grey undercoat to which I added some blue and white. They were done on different days but the grounding seems to have driven similar styles and colour choices without me being conscious of the fact. I bought a big tin of undercoat so I must try and alter my approach on the next one.
I also must try and get both feet in -I’m always trying to maximise the form and invariably miscalculate.
I must admit to losing interest in this painting midway through, though I do love the cluster of readers under the umbrella. I noticed that there were a lot of these small libraries on beaches in Normandy, France. This was in Fecamp and there was one in Etretat. The hut had the label: Lire a la Plage and people came down and read in the sunshine. It seemed amusing to see people fully clothed clustered in a group reading, ignoring the temptations of the beach.
I may have another go, focussing on the people and cutting out the bulk of beach and cliffs, though the shadow of the cliffs gives a good counterpoint.