TIDAL STUDIES – PASTEL AND WATERCOLOUR

I was not satisfied with an earlier version of this painting which I’d posted a while ago. The foreground of the original had some of the scoured beach, but I felt it wasnt convincing. So out came the pastels and the tide came in a bit further.

Whilst I had my watercolours and pastels out I thought I would do a sketch of another seashore scene. I liked the way that the main wave seems to be sliding shoreward and I put in a gull just to complete the picture.

It would be nice to get down to a suitable beach to have a look at some stormy waves and get some inspiration. Our beach is sandy and slopes too gently seaward to get good crashing waves like these – leastways I’ve never seen any. I’ll just have to wait until I can get to a suitable coast – perhaps a holiday is due.

Other seascapes and seashore paintings are available for sale on my website: grahammcquadefineart.com

AZALEAS IN YELLOW – WATERCOLOUR PAINTING

Following the last post with my yellow roses, I decided to keep the floral theme going. Besides, I had the yellow paint out, and so I thought that I would have a go at painting the flowers from one of my azalea bushes. In the right light they have an orange tinge and I thought I’d push that in the painting. I used a bit of masking fluid for the stamens, but that was all the masking I did. I was also concerned about all the foliage and decided to do a very loose, almost abstract, background to represent the leaves. So here is the result. Upon reflection I could have got the flowers a shade bigger and perhaps echoed the floral shades in the background with a few loose hints of orange yellow. Though I do like the way the flowers stand out – probably because of the hard edges of the flowers against the soft edges of the greenery.

I also had time to paint a version of the yellow roses for the website. As there was no time constraints I added an extra flower head and below is the result.

So if you need a floral painting or two shoot over to my website and bag yourself some bargains: grahammcquadefinert.com

SUNSHINE AND ROSES – WATERCOLOUR SKETCH

I recently had some requests to do painting demonstrations in the coming months; two of them were for watercolour and one wanted a floral painting in watercolour. I was pondering on what to do when I recalled a painting of the yellow roses that grow in my garden which I did in 2019 and posted on this blog. I was pleased with it at the time, but it has hung around unsold and I thought that it might be a good opportunity to revitalise it and also have it as a subject ready for a couple of demos.

The original one, which I have put below, had quite a lot of hard edges and was perhaps a bit stolid, so I thought that I would incorporate more soft edges and mix those edges up a bit, as well as emphasising the light source to give the image more oomph. Also, in the first one I played around with purples and blues in the foliage to complement the yellows and I thought I could increase this contrast. So here is the result.

I will do another one, with an extra rose – more like the one below – to put up for sale. The one above is just a pilot for the demos. The more complicated you get the painting, the longer it takes to do and there is a chance you’ll not finish it on the night. In any case, I think there is enough in this one to provide a good example of my working practice. For a piece for sale I think the extra rose will give it a better balance.

Other floral paintings – and the one above – are available for sale on my website: grahammcquadefineart.com

LIVERPOOL WHIRLED – ACRYLIC SKETCH

This painting started out in hope, but the layout got a bit confused as it developed. Despite this I saw it through to a conclusion and now regard it as preparatory work for the future. I have done a similar piece in the past, but wondered if this version might have possibilities.

So much in the city spins around around football, so this was the central theme, with aspects of the city spilling out of the bursting ball. The spillage just needs a bit of tidying up, one could say. I like the idea – this is the reason I’m posting it.

You may be seeing an updated version in the future with a few of the motifs shuffled about. In the meantime I’m back to watercolour, I’ll show this you next time.

Other townscapes and cityscapes are available on my website: grahammcquadefineart.com

PORTRAIT AND LIFE – PASTEL PAINTINGS

I was going to show life paintings today, but on Sunday, when I turned up for the session, I was told that the model booked had called in at around 11pm on the previous night to say he couldnt make it. With some quick thinking, Phil, the guy organising the session, had roped in a fellow drinker at the pub he was at, to sit for a portrait. Who would have that job of organising models – it’s like herding cats? Well, you do get a few reliable ones, but the flakes make the job an unnecessarily difficult one.

So Trevor strode into the studio on Sunday morning. Two things I hate when painting people are glasses and beards, so I wasnt hopeful at the beginning, but decided to give it a go. However, the lighting was good and gave some interesting shadows and the greyness of the jersey, hair and beard seemed to set off the flesh tones well. So in the end it wasnt a wasted morning.

The previous week, at a different session, the model – Sarah, who is very reliable, did turn up. Though for her efforts it seems that I turned her into the ice maiden for reasons even unknown to me.

Though Roy, the organiser, had turned the heating full on so, rest assured, no model suffered unduly in the making of this picture.

Other figurative work is available for sale on my website: grahammcquadefineart.com

THE CANAL AT DOWNHOLLAND CROSS – WATERCOLOUR PAINTING

Before Christmas, when the cold was raw, I went on a walk along the Leeds to Liverpool Canal on a day when the sun shone bright. I have recently shown 3 paintings taken from that walk on this blog ( St Thomas’ Church, Canal at Pygon Hill Lane and Up the Hill) Here is another one from that day. With the blue of the sky and its reflection in the water, pitted against the ochres of the reed beds and birches it made a pleasing combination. I also liked the snaking of the canal as it lines up to go under the roadbridge just ahead.

Now things have warmed up I have stated the big garden clear-up and shrub moving and walks like this will have to wait for a while – still, it was a productive day.

Other canal scenes are available for sale on my website: grahammcquadefineart.com

ABSTRACT SKETCHES – ACRYLICS

When I get the time I am still playing around with abstract acrylics. Here is another experiment which I am calling Pandora’s Box. It was painted over an old acrylic life painting which can still be seen in places if you know where to look. Building up over a previously painted surface allows for shapes and textures to appear quickly and opens up some happenstance. Though it may be a bugger to scale up on a canvas.

The second one is a painting I posted a few weeks ago but have now made further small adjustments and added text. I am calling it Between the Cracks. The original orientation of the dark lines do not really fit with my new direction. All I was doing was seeing what it might look like. So just a warning: there may be yet more of this to come. This is one of the reasons I do these sketches as it takes me a while to fully formulate the final piece.

In this sketch I strode for simplicity, overworking the first marks with a roller of tinted titanium white in order to reduce the visual image. I have an unease with any simple pieces I make. I feel a drive to add complexity (as with the additions to the second painting above). I dont know why, as I like many such spartan pieces produced by other artists. Probably shows a lack of confidence on my part.

Other abstracts are available for sale on my website: grahammcquadefineart.com

HOPE STREET, LIVERPOOL – WATERCOLOUR PAINTING

On the subject of Liverpool – following on from my last blog of Sefton Park – here is my old painting of Hope Street and Liverpool Anglican Cathedral. I have posted a view of this street before, but from a lower level. This particular view is from a more elevated vantage point, at the top of the steps of the Catholic Cathedral looking along the street, towards the Anglican Cathedral which lours over the city. The cathedral is set on a hill which looks down at the Mersey and can be seen from many parts of the city.

Hope Street connects the edifices of these two faiths. The Anglican Cathedral is big – the biggest in Britain – and was only completed in the 70s, despite its gothic appearance.The Catholic Cathedral was completed slightly earlier but is a modernist, circular building which the wags have nicknamed Paddy’s Wigwam. The Catholic Cathedral’s construction was delayed as the original design would have made it the second biggest in the world and perhaps was seen as too competitive for the Vatican. So the Anglicans won on size, leastways, in this city.

Other cityscapes are available for sale on my website: grahammcquadefineart.com

SEFTON PARK LAKE – WATERCOLOUR PAINTING

Sefton Park is a well used park in south Liverpool. It has a renovated glass house filled with tropical plants and is worth a visit for that alone. At the southern end is a long lake with ducks, geese, swans and cormorants, amongst the birds I recognised, all jostling for food thrown at them by the locals. We popped down to the park after Christmas for some exercise and a look at the glasshouse, before stopping off for some lunch in one of the many restaurants down Lark Lane, which joins the park at one edge.

Walking around the lake, I was taken by the light with a low diffuse sun breaking through the thin cloud. It gave some interesting effects.

Other townscapes and park paintings are available for sale on my website: grahammcquadefineart.com

THE CANAL AT PYGONS HILL LANE – WATERCOLOUR PAINTING

I recently put two posts out – Up the Hill and St Thomas’s Church – which were taken from a recent walk I did. This is another scene from that walk. Here I am back to the Leed to Liverpool Canal having taken a concealed footpath that emerges past these two cottages and meets with Pygons Hill Lane. As I walked towards the lane I looked back to the cottages, into the afternoon sun, and was struck by the sunlight on the canal-side vegetation which seemed to glow against the water of the canal. I thought that it might make an interesting painting.

Other paintings of canal scenes are available for sale on my website: grahammcquadefineart.com