For my final offering of 2021, here is a portrait of one of my yellow roses which grows close to where we sit on our garden deck. It flowers in profusion in June. Perhaps a little dark in the petal folds and that bud could just extend a little further upwards.
I painted it to complete a small set of flower studies in acrylic. I have stopped painting watercolour flowers as they seem less popular – certainly mine do – and I thought some big, bold flowers in acrylic might prove more popular.
Here are the other two, which if you are a regular reader, you will probably recognise.
So, all that’s left to do is wish to you all a happy New Year.
It’s a subject I’ve tackled before – those fleeting moments before the land appears to be subsumed into the atmosphere – you glimpse the striking form of a field, building or tree in the corner of your eye. Then as you check the detail the view dissolves into memory.
This is one of those moments. The subject to tackle in a quiet hiatus, amid the Christmas melee. The pastel lends itself to getting a rapid image; handy as I didnt have too long before my absence was noted. At least I’m left with some accomplishment, with a painting done almost as fast as this pause in the weather.
I was in the pop up gallery yesterday, manning our final day. It was a bit busier than my previous stints, but I managed to paint this between selling and wrapping up paintings.
When we got an unexpected extra month for our exhibition in the shop, I was very enthusiastic, but my sales seem to have dropped off a cliff edge in the run up to Christmas. Up until November they had been trickling out quite well and I thought the final month, with three exhibitions, might even yield an increase in sales; how wrong I was.
So the year ends on a low. Still, I love the act of painting and without having the above painting to occupy my time yesterday, standing alone in the gallery would have been a real chore. Even though I didnt sell any of my paintings, I did sell some paintings of others and the fact that I came home with this, made the day worthwhile.
Well, I’m back to just playing around and here is a plaything that has been around for a fair while. The question in my mind is whether the outside is creeping in, or the inside is creeping out. Your decision.
In fact this painting has been creeping for a long while. Here is the original version which I was pleased with at the time ( and even now, as I look at it) and posted on this blog in 2018.
I painted this one day in our pop-up gallery, as I waited for customers, in 2018. It was a scene from a walk we had taken alongside the river Ribble as we approached Settle in Yorkshire. The light was coming in through the riverside trees and there were dog walkers in the distance. I painted it in a blocky style which carries over into the abstract.
I displayed this painting at a number of exhibitions, but there were no takers. I concluded that perhaps potential buyers might prefer to see the faces of the dog walkers – so I changed things around and came up with this which I posted in 2019.
But I didnt do myself any favours. Just look at the guy’s head – well just look at the guy. The painting got filed away. It escaped the bin as I did like the setting with the light to dark transitions and the block style with which it was constructed.
So, with time on my hands this week, it got turned around, put on the easel and the figures and dogs were evicted, and here it is for your edification today. It may not be the finished article, but it’s worth pausing with for now.
Maybe it’s the time of year; approaching winter solstice, summer so far away. I spotted some old photos of balmy days in France. Enjoying a drink, chewing the fat and watching the world go by. This was the combination of a cafe and town scene.
It took me a while to knit together. I took an outline sketch with me to the pop up gallery on Friday and with only 22 visitors was glad of the puzzle to occupy my day. I only finished it this morning, on Sunday. It’s highly probable I may make further changes, but at this moment I am happy with it. I hope it brings you all a spot of warmth and anticipation at this time of year and as it a confection of images, it truly is a Fisherman’s Tale.
Now all the planned exhibitions have either finished or are currently running I can stop painting local scenes and start playing around a bit more. This is a half imperial size (56x76cm) watercolour – so double the size of watercolour I’ve been painting of late.
I’m not sure of its commercial value, but working into light is something I love doing. In this case it was a low evening sun washing a golden glow over the subject and casting long violet shadows. Not to forget the transparent feather tips of the gulls which seemed to carry their own illumination, particularly when set against the shadows. So I got a great deal of satisfaction doing it.
I’m not sure of the sentiment of feeding gulls and pigeons; as all you end up doing is increasing the population and teaching them to rely on people for food. But I did like the guy struggling with his plastic bag full of breadcrumbs, perilously close to having the bag being whipped from his hands by an impatient gull.
An old painting – one sold many years ago. My output has slowed a bit of late as I’ve had storm damage, so have been busy machining wood to repair my greenhouse. Then there are a few fences to repair and the shelter over the door flew off into the blue yonder – not to mention older repairs awaiting their turn.
So, I’ve got a few other things to occupy myself with, though I’m still painting and drawing – just slower. For today’s post I trawled the archives and came up with this. About twenty years ago I went on a painting holiday with Alvaro Castagnet. I was particularly intrigued with what he could do in the Scottish Highlands as I own books of his paintings focussing on sunny climes from Venice, Southern France and Australia amongst others. In the end I shouldnt have worried as I was very impressed with what he concocted from this far-flung Scottish hamlet and its surrounding countryside.
This was the view from the village out over Loch Kishorn towards the sea. Skye is just a shadowy mark in the distance. Not in the Castagnet style, but I was proud of this at the time and put it in a local exhibition where it sold.
This is another version of a painting I posted earlier in the year. I felt that painting was too well defined for the subject and the range of colours too distracting and gaudy. I liked the concept and the array of figures, I just needed to present it differently.
So I painted this rougher version, restraining the colours and giving it the air of an exuberant jam session which is what I am trying to portray. I may have gone too far, but I’ll give it a road test at our pop-up exhibition today and see what the punters think – if anything.
Next week I am putting some local scenes, as a theme, into the window of my framer, so I need to pull back my local scenes from the pop-up and gather them for the framer’s show. This means that I will be trying out a range of styles and subjects at the pop-up. After a promising start there, things have gone a bit flat so perhaps a shake up is needed.
Get a painting for christmas – visit my website for a great choice of subjects at keen prices: click on: grahammcquadefineart.com. Go on, treat yourself!
On Saturday I attended one of my, now rare, life sessions. I did the above painting in acrylic. I wasnt firing on all cylinders having had little sleep the night before. My sleep badly disturbed by the effects of two glasses of wine – and they werent big ones at that. Another of the displeasures of getting old.
Roy, who runs the session – mainly for pupils of his – announced the day before that we were going to have two models. My heart sank. I think this format rarely works, especially when you have quite tight posing times.
So I started the session with these pencil sketches. They were all I could manage in the 12 minutes allowed for each pose. The hurry in their completion didnt help my jangling, sleep deprived nerves and set me in the opposite direction to the calm meditative state I need to to paint and draw.
The acrylic painting at the top was done after the pencil sketches, in a longer session before lunch. The fellah, Ian, disappeared and started doing some drawing himself. The reason for him posing was never explained and we were left with Emma, which was a small step in the right direction.
After lunch I decided to stick with acrylics and found myself struggling, despite the almost identical pose. Perhaps my tiredness was getting the upperhand. The pose was set purportedly to allow some of the group to try their hand at portraits.
I asked Roy to get Emma to twist a little, but, later, looking back over the poses I realised she is sat in almost the same way for all of the poses – even her legs are set identically.
Well, it was a bit of practice and having a time limit does force you into working differently and focuses your mind , though on Saturday most of my mind had taken the day off.
Another in the mad scramble to get some paintings ready for a local show. This one is of the main street in Southport where I live. I think I have mentioned this before, that the low winter evening sun ( on the rare occasions when we see it) casts a golden glow over the shopfronts and lends a dreamlike feel to the street. I think I have captured that feel down the end of the street. I also liked the long shadows cast by the pedestrian and cars. In the past I have perhaps got a little dark with the buildings but hopefully, this time, have dodged that particular pitfall.
Yesterday I put this in our pop-up gallery off this very street, but I will probably move it to my solo exhibition at my framers, if and when he lets me start. I want a body of paintings of local scenes and this really fits the bill. Normally I would have high hopes for it, but slow sales at our pop-up gallery have dented my confidence of late.