Another view of the Leeds and Liverpool Canal near Burscough in Lancashire. It’s a place that I’ve painted before but here I dwelt on the cluster of shapes created by the narrowboats and houses and in doing so made it a portrait format. This format also allowed the full reflections of trees and posts. The bankside vegetation also added interesting detail.
At this point on the canal is a narrow swing bridge – partially visible on the left which allows traffic to cross the canal.
Looking through an old sketchbook I saw a version of this done on a sunny morning a few years ago and thought it might be worth working up. I tried to repeat it as directly as I could without the overpainting and overworking I did originally as you can see in the sketch I posted in May of 2018.
I decided to work up one of the plein air sketches I recently showed on the blog. I had a tussle with the spring leaves on the trees against the dark buildings. I initially splattered masking fluid in the area and then proceeded to paint mixes of burnt sienna, um blue, alizarin and a few others into the area to imitate buildings and dark background foliage. When I rubbed off the masking fluid and applied foliage colours it looked laboured, despite softening edges. So off it all came and I repeated the dark building colours, but then added white gouache mixed with lemon yellow and some blues. I was pleased with the soft effects it gave. I am reluctant to use gouache as I consider it a bit of a cheat, but I dont think I could have got these glinting leaves better any other way.
On my last post I showed two sketches I did on a morning painting trip near Burscough in Lancashire. Here is a scene I saw on the way between those sketches. The old cottage and canal boats caught in the sunshine, contrasting with the shade of the bank I was cycling on. This was the reason why I didnt paint it at the time – being in the shade, the paint would have taken an eternity to dry and I would probably be still painting it.
Presently I am debating whether to go in darker with the overhanging leaves on the near bank: I was taken by the gloominess and darkness of the bank compared to the brightness on the other side. Perhaps a metaphor for life – though it looks like the cottage needs a lot of work doing to it and I’d much rather be out painting.
May has been uncharacteristically cold around here – not the kind of weather to dry your watercolours in when painting outside. Being of an impatient nature, waiting for paint to dry is just too hard for me. But yesterday the weather changed, with southern winds and bright sunshine. I got up shortly after 5am and headed towards the canal. OK, this first one isnt of the canal, but the canal was close by. The silhouetted shapes caught my eye and I thought that it would be a good one to start with.
Later I did settle down by the canal at a place called Parbold and painted the canal boats moored by the village.
It was great to get out in the morning. Hopefully there will be a few more mornings to come. Apart from these sketches I also took some photos so I have plenty of material for further paintings.
With a new laptop and other issues there isnt much new painting to show you so I am reverting to two old watercolours of the canal sold a long while ago and which have never been put on this blog. The first is a canal mooring in Burscough in Lancashire, close to a long defunct mill which I think they are now converting into flats.
This second is of another favourite haunt of mine at Haskayne, further along the same canal, which is always enchanting on a cloudless summer morning, as this was. Just around the corner there is a lovely canal-side pub, which we used to paint at when I was a member of a local painting group.
Another canal painting. I liked the dark form of the narrowboat melding into the bridge in shadow. There was also a lot of foliage and I tried applying paint to sprayed water to get lost and found edges. It took a few goes to build up the volume. Because of all the green I introduced some warms to break the monotony, though not too much as the subdued colour range pulls out the central figure and hopefully focusses the eye on the detail.
Having recently sold a couple of canal scenes I thought that I would paint a view of the Leeds to Liverpool Canal at Parbold. Another reason was to rattle the Troll’s cage – it gets agitated when it sees a canal – though never reading its rants, it might have changed for all I know or care.
I liked the boat tucked into the sunny mooring though I changed it to a narrowboat and the figures I borrowed from another photo. I saw some guys in a narrowboat when I was painting along the canal in the summer. They didnt look your usual barge folk. When I packed up to leave I walked past them and heard them speak in a foreign language. Later, it occurred to me that perhaps they were using narrowboats to house foreign workers – or perhaps illegal immigrants, who knows. There are quite a few craft well past their prime moored along the canal so that might be an easy way to raise some income. Though once you`ve handed the keys over your asset might disappear off into the sunset, never to be seen again.
I’m sure this bridge has a name, but it isnt marked on any map as it is now just part of a barely used footpath crossing the Leeds to Liverpool Canal at Lydiate, north Liverpool. When I’ve walked the path I recall a sign directing you to the named bridge.
I was taken by the layers of light and shade and the shadows on the bridge as I turned to look at it whilst walking along the edge of a field alongside the canal. I painted this a while ago, and it got put into the pile only to be rediscovered a few days ago when I was having a sort out for an exhibition.
A confection of motifs, some of which I have painted before, to try and evoke long languid days on the Leeds Liverpool Canal , or any other canal come to that. With a barely perceptible flow, canals create, in me, a calmness that befits a hot summer’s day.
I started with reds greens and yellows; colours of the summer, washing them across the sheet and then added vignettes of animal and human activity – or lack of it – in an effort to fill the space.