Back on the bike and into the morning sunshine. This is a cottage on Plex Moss Lane. Further down the lane I stopped on a grass verge and did these farm buildings across the fields,
They had an incongruousness about them – a ramshackle collection of buildings.
A few days later I ventured down another, parallel, lane that crosses the moss and here are (above) some of the same buildings I painted in the previous image: the two buildings on the right of the painting of the farm across the fields.
And finally I love this cluster of buildings, half in and half out of the shadows with posts and cables sprinkled about – although the barn on the right looks like it could be subsiding.
There might be some things worth working up into a proper painting. It’s certainly good to get out again into the morning sun and the cycle ride gives me some exercise.
I have been struggling of late, painting. In the last couple of weeks I have abandoned three paintings. One I have restarted and the other two await the gods of inspiration to call – they appear to have a number of house calls.
In situations like this I like to take a break and mess around, hence the sketch above of the shady alleyways of Villefranche Sur Mer on the Mediterranean. I loved the yellow building, the shadows and the washing and painted it in an hour and a half – trying to focus on simplicity, as if I was on the spot. It was good therapy.
Another one was a painting I had posted before of the Strand near the waterfront in Liverpool. I found it in a pile of paintings and thought that it could do with some tweaking. So here it is duly tweaked.
I liked the unsubtle juxtaposing of the warm and cool colours and the buildings disappearing into the hazy sunlight and carbon monoxide.
I did these a few days ago when the lockdown was still tight on and the sun came out. This time I ventured off the decking and into the wilds of the garden.
and another one, looking back to the decking and the house.
With the weather set for an upturn this week I will try and venture from out the garden and into the countryside where I will hopefully find something more interesting than last time. Ill post the results whatever the outcome.
I was going to display some more sketches of my garden, but on Wednesday the sun rose early and I decided to get out and do my first painting of the year.
I had decided on the location but on my way I spotted that a mist was coming off the moss and that would have made painting very difficult, so I swerved off beachward and tried to find something interesting to do on the dune belt.
The first were the pines lit by the morning light, above.
Then I spotted this pine on the edge of the woods. I liked the colour of the bark in the light against the darkness of the woods behind,
I had one more sheet on my painting pad so I decided to head towards the sea and sat on top of a sand dune and painted, the admittedly rather mundane, view to the sea.
Not an exciting bunch of sketches, due to the location being forced on me by circumstance, but it was great to get out and just have a chance to sit and meditate for two or three hours in the sun. There was also one advantage of this social distancing – no-one bothered me as I worked – not that there were many out at that hour and location.
A change of pace here. With not much life drawing going on, I had to make do with the materials I had at my disposal. Apologies to any startled horses.
Though here in the UK, the BBC presented a life session last week – a few hours of models posing on live TV, though drawing time was curtailed by presenters adding their bit and analysis of studio participants work – including the mandatory celebrity. I suppose it was trying to get people to take up life drawing, rather than pander to my needs, but it was also hindered by the small images they presented – panning back from the model to take in the surrounds. On my TV it looked like the model was in another room, which is another barrier to success. At least they tried and I got a few loose sketches.
I had a bit of trouble with this painting – well I have trouble with most of my paintings – but this time it forced me to start again.At the outset I was caught by the light through the trees illuminating the flowers and reflecting off the petals and leaves. I think I caught that with this version – though it was quite tedious painting the bluebells -because I needed to reserve a lot of the white of the paper for these reflections.
The first one below lost the effect of the illuminated flowers and became disunited – though it has some qualities which eluded me in the second version.
The venue is an old, disused, railway line coming from Maghull, in the north of Liverpool, to Southport, where I live, called the Cheshire Lines. I think around this wood was a branch line linking to the main line.
I stumbled on this during a cycle ride a couple of weeks back. The bluebells are now fading away fast around here.
Rose cottage seems a misnomer for a farm complex, but that’s what Google said it was when I checked it out. Actually, it wasnt the farm that initially attracted me – though the building acted as a superb foil – it was the gloriously yellow rape seed growing in the field in front, with the illuminated spring foliage on the trees. That was what made me take a photo or two on one of my recent cycle rides.
With Boris’ latest edict I might now get back to painting outside in the coming days – though the temperature has taken a nosedive of late which is a hindrance, as I am too impatient to wait too long for paint to dry; not advisable with watercolours.
I did a sketch of this in an earlier blog and decided to have a go as a painting. I like the ethereal feeling the light gives and I managed to get the shimmer on the foreground marram grasses by scratching out rather than using masking fluid as I did in the sketch. For me, this approach yields a more dynamic and varied result.
I also tried to enhance the diagonal sweep of the dune forms to try and inject some dynamism to an otherwise staid subject.
Tuesday dawned bright and sunny – just the day to get out to paint. Though I am reluctant to do it – despite having seen someone painting outside the other Saturday.
So I thought that I would do the next best thing and settled down on my deck and painted one of the flowerbeds. Even the blue tits came to the bird table feeder. Once to allow me to sketch the shape and then obligingly they returned to give me some colour hints later. The result isnt that clear, a shame after all the effort that they made.
I may even do another view if the sun gets out again..
The Saturday before last I got out on my bike and took some pictures in the bright morning light. This is of Sefton church which is in a hamlet at the north end of Liverpool. Sefton is also the name of an administrative area, within Liverpool, which stretches from Bootle to Southport, where I live.
I have painted this church before and submitted it to a local exhibition, which at that time was in Bootle town hall. The painting below sold and later, I got a phone call from the office of the Mayor of Sefton asking if I had another painting of the church. Though they apparently didnt like the other paintings I had, as they never bothered to get back to me.
I have resisted taking my paints with me on my recent trips, but as I was out on this day, I came across a painter at his easel. He clearly didnt want any interaction as he turned away from me as I approached. I didnt even get to see what he was painting. For me though, for a while, I will use my camera.