A quick birthday card for a relative who owns these male cats. We were up visiting her last week and I did a few sketches thinking it might make a birthday card she’d appreciate. The black one is 19 years old.
The post before last I showed 3 morning sketches, the first one of a single cottage. This was the view behind me, as I painted – one of the many drainage ditches that crisscross this marshy land, surrounded by flattened reeds and grasses.
I loved the myriad of warm colours picked out and accentuated by the rising sun. A new day and the crows descend to squabble over the remaining grains of cereal.
I have sold a number of beach scenes at Formby of late, so stocks of this subject were low and I wanted something not too taxing to paint as I worked on a more difficult painting.
It puzzles me why a local beach scene is such a popular subject but I suppose sunny days at the seaside are always uplifting and can hold happy memories – that is, until you have to paint masses of marram grass and footprints in the sand.
With the sun shining I got up early on Monday morning and headed to Clieves Hills on my bike. On my last painting trip I spotted this cottage at the foot of the hills from another angle and made a mental note, but returning on Monday, I was more taken with this view, with sweeps of stubble leading the eye. Comparing it to the other sketches I did on the day I feel I have captured a dose of morning freshness under the sun’s first rays.
I then headed up the hill and, from across the field, spotted this group of buildings nestling under a tree. This is the kind of light I want, crisply defining shape and form and keeping me warm as I paint.
Then I shuffled a good hundred yards along the ridge and set my stool down to paint these cottages that almost hang in the air looking out to Liverpool and the Welsh hills beyond. I have been reluctant to paint these before as it is at a well frequented viewpoint. Casting shyness aside, no-one even noticed me as I painted away.
The grasses, plants and flowers in the foreground were a picture in themselves and I might turn this into a painting in the near future.
I was looking to do an abstract inspired by the gorgeous colours of a Corsican summer and pulled out a painting I had completed a few years ago of a corsican hill-top village. I got quickly sidetracked and thought I could improve on this old painting so set about repainting much of it. The result is disappointing, no progress here, though I did get some ideas for colours and textures for the abstract. For the record the original I painted over is shown below.
This was the birthday present I made my wife. There is a long backstory to this which I wont burden you with. What pleases me – apart from that it is still working as I type – is the fact that it is made entirely from scrap materials which I have cut, soldered, brazed and tapped together. Even the ball bearings, the indicator runs on, were reclaimed. The carving is made from part of an old cherry tree. I had intented making a motif that was two dimensional, but when asked, my wife wanted someone reading a book – something she does a lot of in French and English. I couldnt work out a clear way of depicting a reader in 2D so I carved a version of Rodins Reader and fixed it to the top.
I did have a hic up when the indicator fell off soon after erection – mainly due to my poor brazing skills, but it is now up and running again and hopefully more robust.
When the nuclear fall-out decends I will now know which way to run.
Going through photos of family members I inherited from my mother I was saddened because there were many people I didnt recognise. The few remaining relatives were unable or unwilling to help and I was left with a sea of faces I couldnt fit a story to. This made me ponder on the fickleness of memory and how the solidity of the present so quickly crumbles.
I suppose this feeling was heightened by the fact that my father (my parents were divorced) had annotated most of his photos and so, when I inherited these, I had a rich narrative of the life of family members on his side of the family.
I decided to explore ways to express this feeling of loss and the attrition of memory in painting. The painting above was my first go and I do like the feeling of the palimpsest that this painting creates – the image is caged behind bars of paint – receding into obscurity.
This second painting isnt as successful, I feel.
This self portrait expressing the same idea uses a technique I have tried in life paintings before. I feel that it lacks the visual impact of the first.
I will try out further versions when I can work out how to proceed, though I wanted to show these, if nothing else, but to ponder on possible ways forward.
Other life drawings and figurative paintings are available for sale on my website: grahammcquadefineart.com
Back in June this year, I published a post where I displayed 3 paintings all done from the same spot, my sketching stool, just looking in different directions on Clieves’ Hills. This latest offering is based upon one of them. It is brassy, stretched out and made to look like an old steam train destination poster, but the essential elements have been retained, including the Church.
This is another in the graphic style I was exploring, using the local vicinity as my reference point. It may have got a bit fussy in the foreground, but I like its boldness and colour and it complements the others paintings in the series.
I may be tempted to get out and gather some more reference material for the dark winter nights ahead.
With yesterday being the last day of the month – and summer – and clear skies forecast, I packed my rucksack and headed out on the bike. This first sketch was of a cottage alongside a country lane – Small Lane South. The low light was sublime in the early morning.
Despite full sun the atmosphere was cold and it took a lot of waving to dry my paper between washes which slowed down my progress somewhat.
This second sketch was of a favourite subject of mine, Clieves Hills. I was sat on the edge of a wheat field, but the crop looked unusable. It was flattened by the wind and dampened by the rain we have suffered with of late. We might be paying more for our bread next year.
After tramping across dew wet fields, my trainers were sodden, making my feet cold and my arms were aching from flapping my wet paintings in the breeze, so I decided to call it a day. Hopefully we might get some warmer autumn days to get out and paint in a less frenetic style – anyway, at least I got out.