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

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

MORE ABSTRACT SKETCHES – ACRYLIC ON PAPER

I showed some acrylic sketches recently and had hoped to spend more time developing them further. But then Christmas appeared and you know how it is… So I havent progressed too far on my journey. Here are a couple I did manage to squeeze in, based on applying mixtures of acrylic from a palette knife onto damp paper. It produced some interesting textures on which I added further layers of more solid paint. When looking at the images of the two I prefer the one above.

Looking at this bottom painting in the flesh I feel that the image doesnt do it justice. In reality it has a lovely airy feeling and I cant get the colour balance to match the actual image (to be honest I cant get it right for the first one either, but the match there is a bit closer) – for a start there is far too much yellow and this image fails to show the far greater contrast between the lights and darks that there actually is. Again I used a palette knife to apply paint onto paper sprayed with water in an uneven way. Here you can see more clearly the varied textures that are achieved before I went in with acrylic ink.

When the guests eventually depart and the dust settles I’ll be setting off again. Happy New Year.

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

LAST LIFE SESSIONS OF 2022 – PASTEL AND ACRYLIC

As the year has progressed I have upped the frequency of life sessions I attend, now about once a week. It isnt up to my prepandemic level mainly because some groups have folded. This Sunday I attended my last session of the year. It was rather a rushed affair as I realised late on that it clashed with my neighbour’s Christmas party not forgetting a world cup final. In the end I managed them all, getting two paintings in before an early departure, (the pastel above and the acrylic below), which left me time for indulging in some festive cheer and watching a bit of football.

In this Sunday sessions the model adopts one pose for the day, So here is Sarah, from two different angles. Sarah is quite proactive and has ideas for relatively interesting poses. Other models just come for a sit down and you can finish up with some very stiff poses which can come out looking strange like this one from the previous week.

This last one is also in acrylic and I have recently adopted a new approach in that I just mark the positions of the main features in charcoal before going in with colour, influenced by the position of the sitter. When the paint is dry I then restate and develop the figure in charcoal before continuing with painting. This results in some surprising colour combinations and so far I am pleased with the results and think there is plenty of scope for further development and refinement.

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

ABSTRACT SKETCHES – ACRYLIC ON PAPER

Now that my exhibitions are well underway, though failing commercially, I have some time to play around. I thought I would get the acrylics out and these two appeared.

Many people just go straight in with abstracts, throw intuitive marks onto the support and out comes a coherent painting. It rarely happens for me. I need to plan a little, otherwise things go muddily awry. This painting, above, is a case in point. It started out as something completely different and has morphed into this, which has, for me, the feel of the city. It isnt very big 10×14 inches approx but the process might allow me to put it on a canvas, now that I have some vision where the end point could be. Not that I wont still experiment, but I have a visual structure to base things on and hopefully contain any mud.

With this second one there is still work to be done to get to a conclusion I will be satisfied with. However, I feel that I can see a way forward. The process has also allowed me to ponder on other potential themes which I can use in the future which is a good by product of the process. With many of the elements of the first painting, such as the inclusion of line and the predominance of the blue greys it perhaps doesnt feel very different, though I have plans which may develop it into a more organic piece, as opposed to the structural assembly of my top painting.

So back to the easel and have a bit more play and perhaps get myself a completed painting.

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

PATH AMONGST THE BIRCHES – ACRYLIC PAINTING

You would be almost correct if you thought you’d seen this before. It is another version of a watercolour I posted earlier in the month. This time I put it on a 76×50 cm canvas and used acrylics. I pushed back the thicket on the right, compressing the trunks and focussed more on the shadows they created on the path – adding a few more for good measure. Hopefully I’ve created a bit more energy on this one and it more accurately reflects the feeling I had cycling through our local woods in Ainsdale on that recent sunny Saturday.

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

MORE LIFE PAINTING – PASTEL AND ACRYLIC

My life (though, not the painting of it) has been a bit hectic of late, getting ready for 3 exhibitions, one solo and two joint. Tomorrow I am manning one of these as someone has dropped out – and it is only the second day. Anyway, it will allow me to paint all day at least. I’m not hopeful, in this present economic climate of sales or even visitors at our exhibitions. So there may be plenty of time to fill, though maybe I am being overly pessimistic as I did sell a painting this week from my website.

So without any of my landscapes or seascapes to show, here are some of the figurative sketches I’ve done recently at workshops. I have been trying to get along at least once a week to one of the sessions held in these parts.

I find I am labouring when I use acrylics – failing to get the effects I am after. The top two paintings are pastels and I am trying a direct approach with these, though I do want to introduce more colour, but not as much as I’ve done in the past. With the acrylics – these last two paintings – I still have issues with the tonal changes.

With the Eve, above, I realised late on, that her lower right arm was about to be too long and I spent the last fifteen minutes of the session, frantically reworking the legs and right arm and hand: she doesnt appear to be too happy about it.

Perhaps with this one of Arthur, above, in acrylics, I started to get a more painterly effect, but it still needs to be worked on to get further variation of hue that I am after.

But it is all practice, challenged by a ticking clock, it does make you speed up and make quicker decisions – occasionally the right one.

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

THE FISHING EXPEDITION – ACRYLIC PAINTING

I managed to slip in a little acrylic study between the demos and workshops I am currently doing. It’s like buses – nothing for ages and then they all come along at once.

I saw this scene on a visit to Ness Gardens on the Wirral peninsular in September, this year and wondered whether it would make a good painting. Grandparents providing childcare.

I particularly like the man’s pose. I prised the woman away from the child as the woman’s head obscured the view, though I liked the foil of the tumbling, ragged foliage against the solid form of the figures.

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

FIGURES IN ACRYLIC

On Wednesday I attended a local life group. They do some quicker poses and then allow an hour and a half for a longer pose. I did the one below of the female model, Sarah.

It had a pleasing sculptural quality but I was dissatisfied with the vitality. I feel I get more success with pastels, pushing colour and contrast and wondered how I could achieve this with acrylics. It’s something I’ve done before but then pushed too far, so this time I was also trying to strike a balance.

I did this one the next day from an image off the internet.

I started with some brighter colours scraped on the prepared surface and then applied my paint in a blockier way with square brushes . Perhaps I should have allowed the background colours to come through.

I then did the one at the top which pushed colour further. The only trouble was, the initial colours were done by splattering liquid acrylics on the surface which took an age to dry. Not much good for a time-restricted session which I would like to use this on.

Other life painting is available for sale on my website: grahammcquadefineart.com

PERFECT DAY – ACRYLIC PAINTING

A couple of months ago we visited friends in London. On our arrival the weather was fine and their dog needed exercise so we went off to Kenwood house – which backs onto Hampstead Heath and Parliament Hill – and walked through the grounds. Our route passed a series of lakes. One was the home of the Kenwood Ladies swimming club. Further down the hill was a lake for the men. Apparently they need to be kept apart – maybe they once had similar problems that I get with frogspawn filling my pond. Anyway…

This is another lake, with loungers in the evening’s heat. I particularly like the couple lying in the grass. I recalled that Lou Reed song: memorable for me as the record came out just as I started university. It was a juke box constant whilst I got my feet under the table in the union bar – in those heady, sunny, autumn days – days before the reality hit the fan.

I did a quick painting from a number of my photos, just to scope it out. I left out the guitarist who set up his amp nearby and regaled the whole lake with some practice pieces before the police arrived and curtailed his session; not even giving him time to pass the hat around – showbiz, eh?

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