I took the opportunity to play around with colour on this painting of a country lane close to Little Crosby. Blocks of discrete colour arranged according to tone. In the shadows it allowed some quite diverse and strange selections which added punch and when completed, surprisingly, looked quite natural.
I was also pleased with the feeling of light I achieved which reflected the the bright summer’s evening with the wheat ripening in the field beyond.
The process is quite time consuming. Normally I can cover big areas with quick brushstokes – but not on this one. The methodology slowed me down and made me consider the placement of colour more analytically.
I added the dogwalker at the end as an afterthought, subsuming them into the landscape as I had been that day, painting in the evening light.
I was a bit low after my last plein air outing and the resulting paintings produced (last post). Wanting a change from another landscape, I rummaged among my pile of the incomplete and abandoned paintings in search of fresh leads. This one above was an abstract attempting to recall the wonderful colours seen on a visit to Corsica a few years ago. The trouble was, I wasnt getting the deep blues and clear turquoises I was after and the whole thing looked a bit sombre and so it got abandoned. I decided to lighten it up and add flecks of colour. The process lifted my spirits and it occurred to me that it was like coming back to the familiar, a return to comfort and I thought about the effect of the sight of harbour lights for a crew returning in the evening gloom. So I had a title. The process opened me to similar themes on the subject and to the possibility of repurposing old paintings. I have another one on the go at present.
Over the last few weeks I have been wanting to get outside painting, but the mornings have been unpredictable. They forecast cloud, so I don’t make plans, and when I wake up it’s bright sunshine and, conversely, with all my gear packed, I wake up to cloud. So, the other day, I decided to change tactics and go out to the beach one sunny afternoon. Once there though, it seemed like everyone else had decided that the beach was the place to be (though not to paint) and it was crowded. I did this in acrylics, above, when I got home.
Despite the crowds and interruptions I did a few sketches in watercolour. I wanted to get material for some more finished pieces.
I’m not sure I got much material. I might have a look at the sand besieged pines on the right, but I was working directly into the light on this one and the contrast is perhaps too much. It wasnt helped by a trail of passing sunburnt and sand-covered daytrippers, children and dogs knocking over my water pot and covering my palette in sand as they wended their way back to their cars.
Last month I posted some sketches for this painting. Since then I have developed it further and it is now on this 50x76cm canvas. Running liquid acrylics about on the canvas opened up other possibilities but I have generally built on the sketches rather than altering them. I’ll leave this alone for a while before making any assessment of it. One thing I am conscious about is that changing the scale of a piece can make a difference to how I feel about it and, for me, many times I have found out that bigger isnt necessarily better.
On Saturday a friend of mine organised a life session and I took the opportunity to get back into the life room. It must be 15 or 16 months since I’ve done a live session with a model and despite the stolid poses it was good to get back. There is something about working under a time pressure – trying to get finished before the session moves on.
You can see the yellow throw served a number of purposes.
In the lockdown I have tried to develop drawings from sketchbooks, but I find that quick sketches lack information that a more developed painting requires, so I did try to focus on key shadow forms in some of my pencil sketches on the day so that I could take them further in the future.
I must see if other local groups have started up as despite all the angst I suffer with poor poses and indifferent lighting the sessions help to speed you up and get an image down quickly and the human form is a great measure of drawing accuracy.
I have been continuing to play with acrylic inks. I completed a painting on canvas using inks and acrylic paint which I was pleased with. It had a floral connotations so have I have been searching for other themes for a new painting.
So I started to look at dance and movement which the ink lines can evoke. So this was the idea behind the top two – though the top one did take on a life of it’s own.
Continuing the movement theme, above, I tried to run the watercolour washes counter to the movements of the acrylic inks.
Another potential theme was the urban environment. The straight lines that the droppers of ink can easily produce convey man made objects.
And of course, I looked at the landscape, but this time I added the ink to watercolour washes rather than the other way around as I had done on the first four above.
Finally another landscape theme on a preprepared watercolour wash, but along with the acrylic inks I added some pastel as well.
I suppose this could be worked on a little more, but I took a photo of it to see how it was looking and decided to post it. Apposite as they are opening up shops and other non essential outlets tomorrow in our neck of the woods. However, cafes and pubs can only serve customers outside – so those inside on this painting are mere reflections., and with our weather, those on the outside will soon be wrapping their coats around them – but for now it’s sunny – it could be France – but it’s Parbold.
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.
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.
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.