THISTLE PATCH – PASTEL PAINTING

I’ve been doing some pastels of late, but mainly seascapes. So, for a change, I thought I’d slip in a pastoral scene.

I saw these thistleheads whilst out walking in the grounds of Kenwood House, north London in September. I put out an acrylic painting a week or so ago, entitled Perfect Day. That painting showed a view of this hill from the other side of the lake. It indeed was a perfect day; the pleasure of the open air after negotiating three train rides which brought us from Liverpool to the capital.

In this pastel scene the parched ground acted as a foil for the clump of thistles and bank of trees. The light on the thistle seed heads made them almost glow. Then, just an arrangement of the thistle clump to run counter to the slope of the ground.

I hope it brings you calm.

Other landscapes and floral paintings are available for sale on my website: grahammcquadefineart.com

AT THE TOP OF CLIEVES’ HILLS – WATERCOLOUR PAINTING

I have been meaning to have a go at this for a while. I wasnt sure how effective it would be. I took some reference photographs as I was sitting on the roadside painting the image (below) which I posted in an earlier blog : the view over the hills to St Michael’s Church at Aughton, near Ormskirk – a favourite of mine.

I put a couple of walkers in, but it is a precarious place to walk as cars come wizzing along. I found them a bit too close for comfort as I sat painting by the roadside. Still, I lived to paint another day.

Other landscapes are available for purchase on my website: grahammcquadefineart.com

PERFECT DAY – ACRYLIC PAINTING

A couple of months ago we visited friends in London. On our arrival the weather was fine and their dog needed exercise so we went off to Kenwood house – which backs onto Hampstead Heath and Parliament Hill – and walked through the grounds. Our route passed a series of lakes. One was the home of the Kenwood Ladies swimming club. Further down the hill was a lake for the men. Apparently they need to be kept apart – maybe they once had similar problems that I get with frogspawn filling my pond. Anyway…

This is another lake, with loungers in the evening’s heat. I particularly like the couple lying in the grass. I recalled that Lou Reed song: memorable for me as the record came out just as I started university. It was a juke box constant whilst I got my feet under the table in the union bar – in those heady, sunny, autumn days – days before the reality hit the fan.

I did a quick painting from a number of my photos, just to scope it out. I left out the guitarist who set up his amp nearby and regaled the whole lake with some practice pieces before the police arrived and curtailed his session; not even giving him time to pass the hat around – showbiz, eh?

Other landscapes are available for sale on my website: grahammcquadefineart.com

LOW LIGHT ON A YOUNG RIVER 2 – WATERCOLOUR PAINTING

I was trawling through my images as I prepared an update to my website when I discovered this small watercolour I completed a couple of weeks ago. It was an imaginary scene based on recollections from my travels. I have painted a similar subject before using the same title. At the time it was just a bit of playing around, looking at textures and techniques – painting with no pressure. I hope you enjoy it.

Other landscapes are avilable for purchase on my website: grahammcquadefineart.com

WORKSHOP WATERCOLOUR

I was asked by a painting club in Formby to run a paint-along workshop in watercolour texture next month. The problem for me is that it is to take place over one afternoon. So time is of the essence, as the format is: I will do a bit and the attendees will then have a go, before I move on to the next step etc etc.

I selected this old favourite of mine as the subject.

So over the last few days I have been working out how to do this. I will focus on the road surface and puddles. Initially, though, we will quickly wash in the sky and fields to provide context and then set about painting the roadway. How long this will take is anyone’s guess – but the aim is to complete the road. If time is left over at the end, we will try and complete the painting, which is pretty simple.

To check how this approach will work out, I set about doing another painting. I didnt do the original in this order. The result is above and seems ok. It gave me timings and areas where I could speed things up.

I decided to complete the painting – the one you see above, and it may prove useful for an exhibition I am planning in November.

Other landscapes are available on my website: grahammcquadefineart.com

BLUE CALM – WATERCOLOUR PAINTING

Four colours were used on this imagined scene. A hot and cool red and a hot and cool blue. I could have got away with dropping the cool red, but I did need both of the blues to emphasise the recession. I liked the way a yellow seems to emerge between the second and third hills (from the left) .

It has a Lake District feel, but it is all pretty much made up. I wanted a calming and simple image and hopefully I got one.

Other landscapes, some of the Lake District, are available for sale on my website: grahammcquadefineart.com

SUMMER’S END – WATERCOLOUR SKETCHES

I’ve missed some good opportunities to get out painting recently. A few times the forecast didnt look promising but the next morning you are presented with a glorious day. Too late to assemble everything and select a location, leaving me to rue the missed opportunity.

Last week the opposite was true – good forecast, but I awoke to a hazy morning. As I was up and prepared, I decided to make the most of it.

At my selected location they were harvesting and the bales added interest to a fairly plain subject.

Then, I walked up and sat down on a few you see on the right and painted this view of the church and vicarage.

Perhaps a few wonky sheep, but by then the sun had broken the haze and I was in better spirits.

I could be criticised by my reluctance to seize any opportunity. But last minute opportunism can carry penalties. Last Wednesday evening I went to a life session. Setting out my equipment in the studio, I opened my glasses case to find it empty. Life is hard enough, but as the light faded it became almost impossible. On this occasion I’d prepared everything before departing, yet still forgot this vital accessory. Grabbing all my kit at the last moment only opens me up to many more omissions.

Still, hopefully, there may be one or two opportunities to paint outside left this year – I just need to be ready.

Other landscapes are available for sale on my website: grahammcquadefineart.com

DAYBREAK ALONG THE COASTAL PATH – PASTEL PAINTING

Another sunrise painting, this time in pastel.

Last week I was out on the coastal path that runs from Southport, where I live, down to Liverpool and took some photos. I thought that the scene would look good in pastel. I dont normally go outside with pastels as my hands get messy when I use them and then the painting gets contaminated. For this reason I wash my hands regularly when I am doing a painting like this. As there arent any washbasins on the walk I sketched something in watercolour.

This sketch, below, was painted feet from where the pastel looks out, but in a slightly different direction. It doesnt have the same punch as the pastel, but I thought I’d show it anyway.

For this I sat just off the path and watched as the joggers shambled by, oblivious to my presence.

Other landscapes are available for sale on my website: grahammcquadefineart.com

DAWN EDGES OVER CLIEVES’ HILLS – WATERCOLOUR PAINTING

I’ve done versions of this before, but not being satisfied with the results I decided to try again. This was stimulated by another dawn scene I’m going to work on and will hopefully put out on my next blog. As I was planning my dawn scene I recalled this early morning view of the newly mown fields at the base of the rise we have the temerity to call a hill in these parts.

I have been wondering whether to introduce a murder of crows, which I have seen at other times, gathering to snaffle the dropped grains in newly mown fields, but have been held back by the thought that they might upset the harmony. The question is whether this harmony lulls the viewer into drowsiness or is there enough going on to maintain the interest?

I shall ponder on this and fight off any drowsiness as I do.

Other sunrises and landscapes are available for sale on my website: grahammcquadefineart.com

HIGHTOWN FARMS – WATERCOLOUR SKETCHES

We’ve been on the road quite a bit recently visiting friends and currently celebrating the wife’s birthday in Dublin, but earlier in the week I managed to tear myself away and get some painting done. These are farms just north of Liverpool. The one above is Whitedge farm, the last painting, I did on my Tuesday morning trip.

Compare that to the softer effects of my first painting of the morning of another farm, Moss farm, below.

I think the effects are down to the slower drying rates you get in the cooler early morning. The top painting was done around 8-30 am, with the sun climbing in the sky, whilst the first, of Moss Farm, was done around 6-30 am. After doing this first sketch I continued along the track and painted Moss Farm again but from the right hand side as you look in the view above.

This was done contra jour and with a stiff brush I was able to remove paint to create some of the forms I could just see on the farm. This cluster of buildings isnt very pretty, but I think both paintings conceal most of the ugliness.

An enjoyable few hours on a glorious morning and the good weather continues here in Dublin. Just about to go off on a walking tour of the city.

Other landscapes are available for sale on my website: grahammcquadefineart.com