I’m sure this bridge has a name, but it isnt marked on any map as it is now just part of a barely used footpath crossing the Leeds to Liverpool Canal at Lydiate, north Liverpool. When I’ve walked the path I recall a sign directing you to the named bridge.
I was taken by the layers of light and shade and the shadows on the bridge as I turned to look at it whilst walking along the edge of a field alongside the canal. I painted this a while ago, and it got put into the pile only to be rediscovered a few days ago when I was having a sort out for an exhibition.
Watching the TV the other day I saw a scene which reminded me of an image I have in a book on the Algonquin National Park in Canada. I thought I might combine aspects of the images. The sense of stillness and isolation appealed to me – perhaps something I might see in our Lake District in England: maybe it’s my age or situation.
I wanted to try and further develop the ink experiments I showed in a previous blog. Keeping things simple in this new set, I didnt prepaint the paper before inking and also left the ink to dry rather than adding colour whilst it was wet which had resulted in bleeds invading the paint. Though, this time, where the ink appeared dry, when I applied the paint, I still got some bleed, giving interest, but not so that it was overwhelming.
I wanted to leave open paper and be influenced by the lines to give a stained glass effect. To emphasise this I mixed colours in some of the cells to give the impression of light shining through. This one above had a more organic feel to the lines so I limited myself to yellows, blues and greens.
I suppose in contrast this had a more urban feel with the lines in a gridded pattern and they now took on a slightly more subordinate role with the paint crossing intersections. Though, even in this busier piece, I have left a large amount of white paper.
I am thinking of transferring this to a canvas or A2 sheet when I get a design and approach that is worth scaling up.
… Memories of my daughter, in her high chair, awaiting the next spoonful.
We get a number of blackbirds nesting close to the house. This year they nested in a rosebush by the front window. They were shielded, from movement in the house, by a curtain . Pulling the curtain back you were then very close to the nest and we could monitor progress.
The adult birds always approached the nest warily and there must have been a call from them, as suddenly, the chicks` heads would shoot up and beaks would open. Then, the adult would appear by the nest and worms and insects were thrust down open throats.
This pair had two broods: as soon as the first two chicks had flown, the female was back on the nest and we went through the same thing again.
I may have spooked them a few times as I poked a camera past the curtain, but not enough to prevent them having two families. Now we have blackbirds fighting over the garden and no doubt there`ll be a few corpses in the flower beds this winter as the weaker ones succumb.
Recently I saw a documentary on the artist Maggi Hambling. In one scene she was demonstrating what she does in the studio at the beginning of the day. On a sketchbook page she drew freely in ink, using a dropper.
She was able to create a great variety of marks easily. I have done a lot of work with ink and use an italic nib to create broad and fine lines but this has limitations. Hambling’s approach seemed to offer wider options.
Naturally I gave it a go. Above are some calligraphic doodlings. But having a few watercolours around I was soon adding colour.
On this one above I also sprayed the wet ink with water to create other marks. I used acrylic paint on the one below.
Hambling explained that she might work up these quick drawings into paintings. Unfortunately she didn’t give any examples.
In this one above the brush took over and I finished up with what looks to me like birds in a bush.
I then decided to prepaint the paper and leave to dry before adding the ink. This gave another dimension to the possibilities as you can see above.
Though I must admit I was running out of ideas when I worked on another preprepared sheet.
I have used ink in many life drawing sessions, using a dip pen with an italic nib. It is quite a heady process as once the mark is made it is there for good. I took an old life drawing and copied it to see how the dropper compared to the pen when drawing in a more constrained manner – though I used a brush to add some form to the figure. I must certainly give this a go when life drawing resumes around here.
Back at the end of August I set out on my bike one morning to do some painting. The light was sublime and I settled in a field to paint this cottage. I love the way the tree hangs over the lane and the jumble of cable posts stand around like lonely drunks at the end of a party. I posted the sketch I did at the beginning of September and I’ve put it below.
When I came to move on in search of another subject I noticed the row of puddles in the broken road surface. I love puddles and their reflective quality as well as the textures of the broken road surface and the mud and stones stirred up by passing tractors. So I took a few photos.
It came to me in a dream, Your Honour. Not the green man of yore: helpfully nurturing the fresh shoots of spring and kicking off an abundant harvest. No, this was someone who sowed unease, albeit with a smile that in hindsight you might consider a sneer. Perhaps the devil’s work though in a different shade.
I havent done any life drawing of late, so I thought why not have a play when this idea occurred. I had intended an even more contorted head, but I started the work with just a palette knife and getting tied up with the technicalities of that, I drifted towards the natural – though fortunately not too natural.
Hopefully I got something a little unsettling in some beguiling colours.
As a corollary to the previous post on autumn, here’s one of spring with its clamouring surge. It started in some watercolour doodlings I posted a week ago and I liked the pose of the lower daffodil so thought I would do a quarter imperial painting and see how it came out – though I prefer my first version of the bottom daffodil – always a peril when repainting a subject. I have tackled this approach a long time ago, though it didn’t turn out as punchy as this one.
Looking at it as I write, the mass of blooms at the top remind me of a flock of hungry seagulls scrapping over scattered bread. OK, in my world seagulls can come in yellow.
Outside our house, along the road, are sycamore trees and against a bright blue sky they recently displayed a vitality I felt compelled to capture in paint. They looked good, despite the problem of all the seeds that come down with the leaves, leaving me with a year-long task of uprooting seedlings as they emerge.
Now, after a few autumn gales, the title should be Fell – but the display was good whilst it lasted, though I notice bunches of seed heads still hanging onto the otherwise bare trees, taunting me with their presence.