In my last post I showed a painting taken from our post Christmas walk. Here is another one from earlier in that same walk. It shows the route of a long defunct railway track called the Cheshire Lines which served Manchester, Liverpool, Chester and this line ran out to Southport, where I live.
Now it’s a walking and cycling path which crosses the moss from Southport to Maghull, north Liverpool.
I thought it might be worth doing in pastel. The greens were vivid in the low winter sun and the passing rainclouds in the background heightened this effect – and, of course, there are some puddles.
Now I have the pastels out I have started a couple more from the same walk, so there will be a small series from the same day – I give you fair warning.
I like this area and have done quite a few plein air paintings and studio paintings from around this path. Here are some of the watercolours I have posted in the past of scenes from the Cheshire Lines:
Another painting for the upcoming exhibition and one worked up from a sketch made on site, along with photographs. This scene is from further down the same lane that I showed in my previous post, but it wasnt done on the same day. The day here was much brighter and showed off the emerging leaves in their spring colour. I loved the reflections and shadows in the ditch water, and the winter skeletons of the trees before they get clothed in dense summer greenery.
Also, there was a good place to sit off the lane. The road is only wide enough for one car and sitting painting on the verge risks you having to move all your gear when a tractor comes bouncing along, normally pulling an even wider trailer.
It maybe isnt the kind of thing for many people, but it was something I enjoyed doing.
Another painting worked up from my sketchbook and photos in readiness for an exhibition at my framer’s shop. I posted the sketch earlier in the year after doing it. This lane is so typical of the roads which crisscross the moss behind Southport where I live. Rich agricultural land is divided up between deep ditches. I’ve seen a few cars in them, due to driver inattention or intoxication. You dont get out without a crane – always assuming you survive.
The roads – one of which you see here – tend to sink over the years resulting in roller-coaster ride as you drive along them. As I worked on the original sketch a couple of fellows came along on their bikes, past the houses you see, and up towards me. They were also taking advantage of the first good day of spring we had this year. They paused to see what I was up to and I showed them what I was working on. Apparently they had spotted me earlier on a similar lane, as I was painting another view. Now they were now on their way home when our paths crossed again.
I posted a version of this painting in early January. At the time someone commented on the bottom portion of the painting; that it needed reducing. I had to agree with this useful suggestion and decide to extend and expand the narrative of the passing places down the canvas.
In the end I reworked two thirds of it, making it look like a collection of snapshots along this single track lane close to where I live – a record of a journey perhaps. The passing places, emblematic of how we have to compromise and defer on our journey through life – well, most of us anyway.
I certainly like the idea behind this painting and how the greys characterise the place and the vibrancy generated by this colour against the oranges and yellows in the sky and fields.
I have struggled with this painting and have decided to stop and have a rest. Publishing it will allow me to create some distance and ponder. I need the space: of late I have found my painting getting slower and slower and decisions taking longer and longer to make.
This painting comes from an old photo of a country lane near to where I live. I love the incongruous angles of the posts. The photo is below along with marks and water stains made by me.
I wanted to break the image up and decided to do this in a landscape format, like the photo. I did some thumbnail sketches.
And off I popped on a 75x50cm canvas. Before too long doubts crept in and out crept the gesso. Well the gesso came out after I had completed a new acrylic sketch over an old painting, which retained a lot of its original colours.
I thought that this format might be better so then the gesso did come out and I completed the painting at the top of the page. I thought that the notion of the painting being in three parts, with each part slipping past the other, echoed cars on this track having to negotiate past one another. I was reminded of that piece of performance art – Imponderabilia” Marina Abramovic where visitors had to squeeze between the naked artists stood at the only entrance to the exhibition. I apologise that this piece isnt as unnerving or erotic – but then that’s what you get on a Monday morning.
You may have picked up a certain dissatisfaction with my previous post and I did manage to find the gesso – so here is another version. I wanted colour and it is needed on this, our shortest day. A blast of summer.
The flattening of the perspective gets the viewer closer to the action of the switchback road that can even make the sedate cyclist queasy. It also clears space for a rush of colour for the sheer sake of it. Even if it isnt the finished article, I am closing in.
A slightly less edgy landscape than my previous serving. I originally sat down and painted this scene, in watercolour, with my back to the Leeds and Liverpool Canal, early last year. I was reminded of it when I walked past the view last weekend and noticed that the tractor track is still visible in the field about 18 months later – I dont know what was on its tyres. Maybe it was driven by Richard Long or Andy Goldsworthy…
A more traditional rendering of the local landscape than my previous blog, but both show the topography of the flat moss. Here the road – Segars Lane, a single track road – hovers above the drained marshland which is now fertile arable land. It gradually splays and slides into the fields below, causing it to undulate in the process. Then the road is reinforced and the process starts again. Roads, crows and powerlines cross the land. Here the powerlines take a shortcut into the sun on a bright summer`s morning.
Continuing the local landscape theme on canvas I pushed on from the graphic style I have been showing recent. This time starting with some loose washes and textural work to see where that brought me out. I have done similar things in the past, favouring blue/purple/yellow orange combinations, but this time went for greens and reds, though yellow seemed to pushed its nose in there as well.
And this was the result. Too messy? too many motifs? I’m certainly undecided. I also wonder whether adopting this complementary colour approach also causes confusion. Keeping things in one colour segment and working tonally might calm things down.