Here is a view of the local train station. A road crosses the track just by the station, so when the Liverpool bound train stops, as you see here, the barriers open whilst the train loads up, before it proceeds away from the crossing and the station – so what you see here is the back of the train.
Crossing the road the other day whilst the train was at he station I was struck by the contrasts. The pattern of light and shade, the warm and cool colours and the hard industrial shapes of the train and canopies against the soft, lush sunlit foliage. Because of that you have a painting.
A painting without much commercial value, but nonetheless I like the effects and the challenges it posed for me, particularly with the tracks etc.
You may recall in the post before last the gloomy vista of rain clouds about to come over Birkdale beach – and I said it was part of a series, so here is the next one, a contrasting evening on the beach, with the sun hanging low and the light shimmering off the wet sands in the distance. I did this type of evening view in watercolour and it sold a year or two back, so I thought that I would try a version in pastels, placing tonal washes down in gouache first and then working over them in pastel as I had in my earlier pastel.
Mystery encroaches at this hour. The low light casts shadows and darkens ravines between marram covered dunes. Tracks of past beachgoers get highlighted by a glow on the raised edges that is then underscored by the shadow of the depression. Wisps of grass, catch the low sun and seem to glow against shadowed inclines. Soon the mystery will be complete.
Well, it looks like I got my paintings ( the ones I posted on this blog a week or so ago) into the juried show at the town art gallery – leastways, they havent told me to come and pick them up, which is always a good sign.
So, with that under my belt, I can turn to next week when we set up another exhibition on the other side of Lord Street to the art Gallery, in an unused unit inside a beautiful Victorian shopping arcade. This will be for six weeks and I need to ready a few more paintings for that one. Even though I probably have more than enough, I thought I might do a quick painting of my local shops, around the corner from where I live. The sun shines on the facades in the morning and with the trees only just coming into leaf you can see most of the architecture, including the covered walkway, so it is a local scene which someone might take a shine to.
I posted a sunlit painting of a snicket along the railway track a few days ago. If you continue down that snicket, it comes out on the right, in what they call Birkdale Village – part of Southport, where I live. Here you are actually standing on the rail track with part of the station, the building on the far right.
I think it was the old phone box, lit by the early morning sun that caught my eye and the fact that the sixties carbuncle, on the left – the Spar supermarket – is mellowed and put in the shade by the light coming in over it. Colours are subdued with hints of spring leaves in the background.
A quiet scene of morning stirrings in the suburbs.
This is a scene I see almost daily on my walk. Well, that is, when I get up in time and the sun shines and… So sometimes, anyway. These early summer mornings with the colours of young leaves in sunshine lift the spirit. I also like the old cast-iron bollards that guard the alleyway and which seem isolated and redundant now. Not to mention the old street lamp, still in its old borough colours of cream and red.
Further on my morning route is the site of another painting I did – and posted here – a couple of years ago, at a similar time of the year with the bright morning sun shining through the new leaves.
With the morning light on the dunes the marram grass glows and glistens and cajoled me into working up this view of the beach at Birkdale where I live. I had forgotten I had done a very similar piece before in April and it was only as I was storing this painting that I saw the earlier work. I had forgotten it, probably as I wasnt too taken with the regularly repeating rows of grass I had managed to get on that one. So I got the old painting out again and gave it a dose of reworking and here it is:
On the top painting I blocked in the dark areas with dark acrylic paint before applying the pastels and that saved a lot of time and layers of pastel in achieving the shadows and darker passages, In the lower painting darks were built up with pastel alone.
I did a sketch of this in an earlier blog and decided to have a go as a painting. I like the ethereal feeling the light gives and I managed to get the shimmer on the foreground marram grasses by scratching out rather than using masking fluid as I did in the sketch. For me, this approach yields a more dynamic and varied result.
I also tried to enhance the diagonal sweep of the dune forms to try and inject some dynamism to an otherwise staid subject.
The joke is that the sea goes so far out here, it always seems like low-tide.
I went down to the beach the other fine day to get some driftwood for a mobile I am making, which hopefully I will post shortly. There were some great cloud formations and whilst I was searching for suitable pieces I managed to find time to snap a few photos and later used them to give you a flavour of the beach here at Southport UK.
The final painting of my local series on Birkdale is of the main golf course ( one of many around here). It had to be included in a series on Birkdale. I had painted it before, but from the outside and the 1920’s modernist style with its angular shapes is really set off in the morning light. This time I did it from the ‘playing’ side – so it had to be from photos – they dont allow riff-raff like me to trample over their lush greens. I wanted a long format to complement the previous painting I did of New Cut Lane, I posted last week and thought that the long clubhouse would fit the bill, but as you can see below, halfway through I didnt feel it was working and turned to a landscape format. Not too sure about this even, but that completes the series. I now have 14 paintings – so that should be enough. The exhibition isnt until December, so I have time to reconsider and change. Now on to the next project…
I am just completing my local series. I wanted some long format paintings and selected this view which I have painted before. It is the road out of Birkdale, across the low lying moss away from the sandduned coast. In the early morning the light is low and casts long shadows and concocts mysterious shapes in the distance.