LIGHT UP THE MODEL – PASTEL AND ACRYLIC PAINTING

For me how light interacts with a subject is important. Initially, faced with this pose I saw very little that gripped me. Just sitting the model on a stool like this induces a very boring pose. I walked all around the model getting more despondent as I went and it was only when I went around the rear that I saw the light on his back. It wasnt much, but enough to develop the form of the body with a few highlights.

Later, another pose was struck, but here there was no compelling light and shadow to raise any interest, so I finished up withis this rather flat rendition in acrylics.

It’s good practice – but that’s about all.

Last Saturday I revisited an old club in Liverpool ( the second oldest in the country). I hadnt been there since well before covid. I gave up as they had moved into a small, dark studio where you couldnt dispose of paint. My complaints were ignored so I voted with my feet.

I had heard that they had moved to a different room in the same building, so I decided to give it a try. The light was a bit better, contra jour, which I like, and the room bigger, though disposing of paint is still an issue. I certainly dont want to take acrylic brushes home to find them brick hard?

On this occasion I took my pastels just to keep the peace..

Around here many people do line drawings, so cast and form shadows arent that relevant, but there must come a time when they want to add shadow. It seems that this time hasn’t yet arrived.

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

FINISHING LINE – ACRYLIC PAINTING

Sometimes a painting eludes your initial vision and this one certainly has, so Finishing Line may be inappropriate as a title – there could be future versions. I wanted a triptych but thought that I could intertwine the images more, instead of just three rectilinear boxes that the subject finally dictated. I also found the greens started to dominate as the piece progressed.

Like all projects that cause consternation, this has taken longer, as the enthusiasm dwindles.

So I am pausing and taking stock.

So why show this? Well, my blog is a diary, and this is what has occupied me over the last few days, brought to some sort of conclusion. And there are a few bits I do like.

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

MERSEY MORNING – ACRYLIC PAINTING

Sitting atop of a sand dune just south of Formby, I had a good view of the mouth of the Mersey. Reflective objects sang bright in the morning sun and I painted this view in watercolour, disturbed only by distant cries of gulls and lapwings. Not a bad way to start the day.

When I got home and looked at my endeavours I thought that pastel or acrylic would be a better medium for this painting. Eventually I plumped for acrylic because of the fiddly nature of the wind turbine and ship, though other aspects would have been easier in pastel.

I did debate about putting wind turbines in at all – there are quite a few more off to the right. In the end you got a token wind turbine and anyway, it adds a bit of balance to the piece.

Other views of the Mersey are available for sale on my website: grahammcquadefineart.com

MORE LIFE SESSIONS – PASTEL AND ACRYLIC

Though still not doing as much life drawing as I did pre-covid I am beginning to attend a few more sessions of late, but on an irregular basis. Here are samples from three recent visits.

This one above was in acrylic which I felt could have been made a bit more dynamic with injections of colour and variations of brush stroke.

And above, I did push the colour a bit more here, but upon reflection it could have been brought into the figure to better effect. Especially to tone down the orange – she looks like a spray tan victim. Also, the upper left arm appears a bit on the short side – but those are the oversights you can make when working against the clock. Hopefully, next time you wont repeat those mistakes, though, in any case, they are easily corrected.

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

PAUSING AWHILE – ACRYLIC PAINTING

This is another painting from my recent visit to Dublin. Persuaded to just take hand luggage on the flight, I didnt have my usual painting kit. Instead, I took a small sketch book for quick captures of people etc. A war memorial park was just up the road from our hotel and had benches along each side of a long pond, allowing me to sketch people on the other side. One gate of that park opened up opposite an art gallery which contained Francis Bacon’s London studio, brought over to Dublin and reconstructed there, upon his death. He was a messy worker and certainly liked his champagne. Well worth a visit.

The fellow in this picture was sat in O’Connell Street. I didnt have time to sketch him as I was on the top deck of a bus, but it was such a magnificent pose – augmented by the shadows. He also reminded me of one of my grandfathers – Patrick Fitzpatrick McQuade – who also had a similar hat and stick.

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

THE EXUBERANCE OF SPRING – ACRYLIC PAINTING

Sometimes paintings almost paint themselves and at other times you have an uphill battle which sometimes you never surmount. This is one of the former. As I did this I was also working on a watercolour which is one of the latter. If I ever get to the top of that one I’ll blog it.

But for now, The Exuberance of Spring is a picture of my Bramley apple tree on a bright, spring morning earlier in the year. The colours seem to zing against the backdrop of the sky. We have had a good crop of fruit this year, from peaches to cherries to apples and pears, though a recent very dry spell has caused a second drop of apples and also their leaves, on my smaller trees. This Bramley, though is a bit too robust to be upset by a spot of dry weather and is still full of fruit and replete with leaves. I also like the dark shadow areas which frame some of the areas of interest.

Well, now back to the long uphill climb …

Other floral art is available for sale on my website: grahammcquadefineart.com

TOP OF THE HILL – ACRYLIC PAINTING

It may need a little more work, but it’s essential done. I saw these daisies on some waste ground near to where I live one sunny day and was struck by the tonal differences. Initially I painted them in watercolour, but I wanted to emphasise the transition from shade to light and decided that it would be better, and easier, to do the piece in acrylics.

I also have this canvas, which I made some time ago, and have used before. I thought that the shape was well suited to the subject and complemented the tonal transition of the piece. At the bottom of the painting are some juicy blues and purples from the previous painting, which I kept and built on. They are not very visible on this shot.

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

ARCHITECTURAL ABSTRACTS – ACRYLIC PAINTING

These images may seem familiar, but that is because I have already posted sketches to these commissioned works. A friend of mine did me a favour and passed my name on to an Interior Design company that wanted some abstracts for their new showrooms and headquarters. After producing sketches they changed their minds and decided that they wanted the paintings to reflect their favourite architectural work. We settled on Frank Lloyd Wright.

These are the paintings I delivered to site the other day. They are both 30x40inches and are quite textured – as the client requested. I mixed paints with hard moulding paste and applied it with a palette knife. Though I do use palette knives, impasto work is not a process I have used before. In that way the commission opened up new possibilities for future works.

Below are the paintings in their new home.

As you can see on the photo on the left, they sit on either side of the door to a showroom.

I have done many commissions over the years but this was the first non-figurative one. I found the process quite challenging, trying to get into the heads of the clients. Personally I would have taken both paintings further. When I delivered them, so they could see them in situ, I suggested further developments, but they liked them as they were. I hadn’t wanted to go too far away from the sketches that they had chosen, so in that way I saved myself extra work and hardship.

Expecting to do more work, I hadnt even signed them. Yesterday I took along my red paint and stuck my moniker on them. Job done.

Other abstracts and semi abstract work is available for sale on my website: grahammcquadefineart.com

BLOWING UP A STORM – ACRYLIC PAINTING

Regulars with a good memory might recall other, earlier versions of this. One of those versions has been propped on the wall of the studio, taunting me to do better. Hopefully with this I may have, but is it good enough? Another studio residency will no doubt tell me.

I tackled this with a palette knife to try and impart some of the energy I felt was lacking in earlier versions. I also rearranged the players, particularly the pianist and bassist and tried to keep the colour range tighter. Other than that, the theme remains the same: a theme I like. I might even try a companion piece, but first I have a couple of commissions to do which may take a while.

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

FRANK LLOYD WRIGHT – ACRYLIC SKETCHES

Well, after the communication breakdown with my commission clients, contact was restored when I learnt that they had come back from holiday and were ready to proceed. The painting above was the second one they liked ( I posted their other preferred painting earlier). I feel that this one could be developed further, but I am not sure how far they want to venture into the descriptive. I have asked for a second meet to look at their preferred options and ways I can further develop them.

This second one was another sketch I submitted. I feel that there are aspects in all the sketches which could be brought into the final pieces, hopefully making them stronger. Anyway, they have promised a deposit today and I will move ahead and purchase the canvases, as they are bigger than my usual ones and they didnt want me to make them, which was a pity, as I have plenty of unstretched canvas and wood to make the stretchers.

Other abstracts are available on my website: grahammcquadefineart.com