Some time ago on this blog, I published a version of this mobile made up of modified beach driftwood. In high winds one of the fish crash-landed and needed replacement. Emboldened by my cycle ride last Monday, the next day I headed off to the beach to collect some more wood.
I made two more fish like forms from wood I found lying around, after an extremely high tide, and placed them on a new string so I had three ranks of fish, rather than the two I first had.
Now it looks like a menacing shoal hanging around outside – well my wife seems to think so when the wind has them knocking against the window in the night.
Anyway, a bit of fun and a chance to get down to the seashore after a month or so away.
Another view from my cycle outing on Monday morning across the Moss situated behind Southport, north of Liverpool. The single track lane shuffles across the reclaimed marshland, dodging the scattered farms. The tilled fields ready to sprout barley, cabbages, carrots and potatoes.
I thought that I would do this on a half imperial sheet, rather than the quarter sheets I’ve been using recently.
On Monday morning I decided to try and lift the lethargy I described in the previous post, by getting out on my bike and seeking out new material. Normally I would have taken my painting gear, as it was a bright, if blustery morning, but I felt that that might upset the locals, so I put a camera in my pocket instead, and headed off along Plex Moss Lane – the lane defined by the posts in the watercolour above, past the farm you can see, and across Halsall Moss. Taking pictures as I went.
The land rises as you come off the Moss and there was a line of trees.
I did this one in pastel, of the trees bursting into leaf.
And I got a few more images that I can work up during lockdown.
As well as collecting images, a trip like this also allows you to pick out some possible places to paint when life does return to normal. I can waste a lot of time finding an interesting subject when I go out. If I have a few possibilities in mind before I set out it can set me off in a much better frame of mind when I settle down to paint.
I have been lethargic of late and this was an attempt to break the cycle. I wanted to do a loose painting of a jugful of flowers my wife had gathered from the garden.
It started loose but became tighter as I played around with the lights and shadows. I think this approach works well with large blooms such as the camellias, but the daisies and other small flowers broke the rhythm and had me scratching around and tightening up.
Having completed the exercise I can see where improvements in technique can be made. Now, I just need to break the lethargy…
A few repeats here. Versions of these saplings in a sunny clearing in Ainsdale woods have been presented before. In this latest version I feel I have got the lightness of the birch leaves in the sun. I think the photograph flatters the painting, though it might look better in a mount.
This is of the grassy sand dunes close to the beach in the evening. This was a sketch, done on the back of a one of my many rejects. The glow works well, despite the yellow, and I used masking fluid to get the glistening tips of the foreground grass. I needn’t have bothered as I got far better results by scraping the damp paint with my scalpel. I’m not sure introducing the green in the foreground helps with the overall harmony. You may be seeing this one again.
And saving the worst to the last. I’ve presented this entrance to Ainsdale woods before . I thought that by introducing leafy branches across the path it might help to lift the image but these puny leaves look like an afterthought and trying to hint at forms in the dark areas remains elusive – oh well.
The main square in San Pedro de Atacama and in the afternoon heat everyone heads for the shade. We had come down from the Bolivian Altiplano descending thousands of feet onto the desert plateau and still this place is nearly 2500 metres above sea level.
The other thing I couldnt get my head around was the small river that runs through the town – in the driest place on earth. I thought it was some man-made confection designed to impress the visitors. We walked a few miles out of town, along the river valley and on the sides of a steep hill, by the river, were the remains of an Inca settlement. So it seems that it was entirely natural.
Another view from Ainsdale pine woods near to my home, where the firs and bracken have populated the old sand dunes down to the beach.
You can understand, in a more credulous age, the belief in sprites and fairies as the morning light bristles or crepuscular darks grow.
And another go at the view of the woods and path I posted a few weeks ago. The first one was quickly done on the back of an old painting and I loved the glow I achieved. Unfortunately some of the old painting had been cut down so it didnt fit my frames and mounts. Hence this second attempt on a fresh sheet.
This has been through a number of iterations and may go through a few more yet. I just cant get the saturation of colour I was after in the reds and purples. I am considering going over it in oil paint though I will leave it for a while now and reflect.
I made the frame a while ago and love the shape. I have done a number of these non-standard shapes and may make some more in the future.
I think this is the beach at Birkdale, but it could be anywhere north of Liverpool from Crosby to Southport as the morning light catches the marram grasses and the birds glisten out on the sandbanks.
I would like to get down there and get another piece of driftwood to modify my fish mobile, as with time on my hands, I have been looking at the mobile I posted a while ago and decided that an adjustment is required, but with restrictions getting tighter that can wait.