I did a version of this in pastels a while ago. I regularly go through my painting portfolios in order to cull them and spotted the first version of this and thought I could improve it in watercolour. So off I went. In the end I think it came out a tie. I love the rich energetic foreground foliage illuminated by the low sunshine against the calm river below, pausing before it goes over the weir.
Perhaps it is the trees and their branches on the right which unsettle me. The actual branches did stretch out and disappeared into the sun, but in the painting they seem ungainly and clutter the place. In contrast the group of trees on the left provide a good coda and, as such, maybe I should echo them on the right and let the eye wander down the bank of trees that line the river.
Wednesday was a sunny day so I cycled out to get some more information for a painting I was planning. This park was close to my area of interest, so I stopped by and I couldnt resist this contra jour scene of the old Victorian gatehouse to the park and the people enjoying the afternoon sunshine.
A view of the Mersey Estuary under a low afternoon sun with the Wirral Peninsular in the background and just a hint of the wind turbines. Originally I painted the gulls bigger, but they dominated, as gulls do. Now they sit a little more reservedly in the landscape.
This is the third painting from a recent local walk. The two others I posted were watercolours, but I decided to do this in a stylised way with acrylics. I was taken by the illumination of the ivy on the tree trunks and thought that the potency of the saturation of the acrylic paint would better show this off and the bright reflections off the leaves had the feeling of a mosaic. The ivy clad trunks were in conflict with the bare winter branches which added more incongruity. So here it is – on our way back to the car.
The other two were the Boatyard at Banks and Afternoon Stroll. So in the end it proved a fruitful afternoon`s stroll.
Just two colours were used to paint this – a warm red and a cool blue. I wasnt sure whether it would come off, but after a lot of dry brushwork and the splattering of masking fluid, it started to take shape. I was pleased with the starkness of the image – you can almost hear the shingle being raked by the incoming waves.
And by way of contrast, a scene from the same beach, but with the tide out and the winter long forgotten.
This was an acrylic study and I used a few more colours here – but not many more.
Earlier this month I posted a painting from a recent walk. Here is another scene from that walk: the ramshackled boatyard on the banks of the River Douglas. This river flows into the River Ribble at its estuary, near Preston. Many of the boats in the yard are deposited alongside a footpath which runs at the side of the river. On the other side of the river are tall embankments and green fields. The site is rather incongruous in this rural setting and I have noticed that a growing number of people are living in boats or newly erected static caravans. No doubt there`ll be a shop and a village pub opening soon.
In the painting I wanted to show the cluttered boatyard against the open country, so the main boat occupies a space close to the centre of the painting. This design may upset some of the purists, but I wanted to present the two aspects of the site in a sort of split screen production, segregated by the tree. I placed a lead in of an upturned dinghy and cart, but hopefully I captured the flavour of the yard amid its surroundings.
Well, summer seems to be peeping around the corner around here, so why not paint another beach scene. This is a subject I tackled a long time ago, but the figures were just part of a bigger beachscape. I love this grouping and thought that it might be worth focussing in on the four of them walking along the wet sand in the morning.
And whilst I am the subject of repeats, here is another version of a painting I did post a few weeks ago. Breakout, though in that version not all the figures were breaking out – one seemed to be very occupied with their phone.
So I got rid of the texting man and added a running female. I also pushed her and the dog closer to the smaller boy and reduced the size of the painting from 52x35cm to 35x25cm and in doing so, got closer to the action. Hopefully I’ve got more of the exuberance of a summer’s day than I first had – days to come.
This is from some photos I took last year. Almost a year ago, as the field of bright yellow rapeseed testifies. Here a view of the Leeds to Liverpool canal and one of its many bridges in the village of Haskayne on the Lancashire Plain. Makes me itchy to get out on the bike and start painting in the spring sunshine.
I recalled that story of guilt-ridden dieters who, in desperation, stood, teetering awkwardly on one foot on the bathroom scales in an attempt to ameliorate the effect of their indulgences. I thought of the parallels between that and our attempts to reduce our carbon footprint. We carry the baggage of our carefree lives and old habits making it very hard to change our ways – ways that are channelled and shaped by big business who are themselves driven by the cold god of growth.
Many try hard, some succeed, others are green in parts. Perhaps there’s just too many of us. Still, on the bright side, I read that male sperm counts were decreasing.
This painting follows one I posted years ago, in 2013, entitled All the King’s Men. The first version of this finished up on a placard for the local Greenpeace Group.
We have been having some unseasonal weather of late in the UK with high pressure bringing plenty of sun and also sweeping up southerly air to warm us all. So on Sunday we went for a walk along the river in the bright warm sunshine. Returning to the car I noticed the hazy blueness of the trees and decided to set this off against oranges and yellows of the fields – exaggerating the colours and putting a toe into the surreal. It reminded me of a recent sketch I blogged of a puddle filled lane.
With great contrast coming from the strong, low sun other possibilities for paintings also offered themselves – so there may be more on the way.