This is the last of a recent clutch of commissions: the village church at Halsall. On the right is what was the village pub – with its old sign, but is now a financial consultancy – how times have changed – and the war memorial is just visible in front of the church.
I originally did this plein air, tucked on a bank out the way, hoping not to slip into the stream as I worked, early one morning. I then turned that sketch into a painting which sold and now someone else has asked for a version. So you may have seen this before as I posted both the other versions.
On the original version I realised I had the church spire slightly out of proportion and by shortening the spire to the correct size meant I could include more of the foreground and shadows, which gives a better lead in. I was taken by the light creeping in from the right – just starting to illuminate the church and gravestones and allows for some nice tonal interchanges. I’ll keep this for a few days and see if I need to do any further adjustments
This is from some photos I took last year. Almost a year ago, as the field of bright yellow rapeseed testifies. Here a view of the Leeds to Liverpool canal and one of its many bridges in the village of Haskayne on the Lancashire Plain. Makes me itchy to get out on the bike and start painting in the spring sunshine.
Another old favourite – Halsall Church, the village church, which is a few miles across the Moss from where I live in Southport. I did a similar view ages ago which sold. In spring, summer and autumn the church is obscured by foliage and it was only in December that I spotted the view again as I cycled around on a sunny day. The sandstone of the church in sunlight blends well with the winter coats of trees, and in this view I focussed more on the Church. The painting now sits in the window of my framer, hopefully awaiting purchase.
Back at the end of August I set out on my bike one morning to do some painting. The light was sublime and I settled in a field to paint this cottage. I love the way the tree hangs over the lane and the jumble of cable posts stand around like lonely drunks at the end of a party. I posted the sketch I did at the beginning of September and I’ve put it below.
When I came to move on in search of another subject I noticed the row of puddles in the broken road surface. I love puddles and their reflective quality as well as the textures of the broken road surface and the mud and stones stirred up by passing tractors. So I took a few photos.
This may have a ring of familiarity. I did a similar painting en plein air and posted it a few weeks ago and decided it would make a good subject for a long format painting. I liked the lane on the left leading into the cluster of buildings in this hamlet and the long fingers of shadow extending into the sprouting barley.
The Saracen’s Head is the name of the pub and restaurant you can just see on the right. Using a zoom lens I was able to stand on a bend and get a view of the canal as if you were approaching in a narrow boat.
The pub is quite a good place to eat and, according to my mate, the fishing isnt too bad around here also, as he is often to be seen on the other side of the bridge that you can see up ahead, sitting with his rod as he passes the hours.
My last post – a canal scene – caused troll to ouze out from under its stone and lob another tired jibe at my handiwork. Narrowboats, in their opinion are contemptuous and, so naturally, troll’s self bestowed and illogical concept of good art – whatever that means – was affronted and it needed to act.
The upshot of this latest beef is that: I AM DOING ANOTHER CANAL SCENE. So my advice to troll is to slide further beneath the slab as another similar scene may follow this.
I sold a couple of canal scenes recently so stocks are low. This painting shows the gastro pub – the Saracen’s Head – on the Leeds and Liverpool Canal where, these days, more and more narrowboats seem to moor up. It is just a few yards from my last canal-side painting in my preious blog.
I had been working on another version of Shasta daisies I published in May, but things went from bad to worse to unprintable. So last night I started sketching this and it seemed to tumble out. I posted a version of this done on site at the end of May, but the lighting wasnt what I wanted. To get this view – and with it the light – you need to get further back down the canal, so far that the subjects became just dots. So the telephoto lense came in handy here.
I parked up in the carpark by the canal ready to go off painting and just took a glimpse along the towpath. Fingers of mist still clung to the reeds, avoiding the sun’s weak rays. Out of the reed beds some moorhens glided across the chill water, probably thinking I might be a source of a free breakfast.
I tried this out in pastel to get the wisps of mist. In hindsight I could have done it in watercolour and used white gouache for the mist.