I did this a couple of weeks ago, but it got forgotten in the pile. I was after the smoky blues you get in the still early mornings and did resort to a glaze of blue tinted gouache. Perhaps more foliage detail in the foreground might add to the depth, but there is an understated calm about it which is what I was after.
A couple more sketches taken from photos, but painted in one sitting, quickly as if I was on site. This is a path I’ve been along many times, cycling to work. The photo was taken a few weeks ago when good weather coaxed me back on the bike. I am a sucker for puddles and here they are in bucket loads. It was painted in three main washes. Sky and puddles, then land and the blocks of trees and finally all the left hand trees, house details, shadows and fiddly bits. I feel I went in too dark with the muddy track and that limited my options for building up texture there.
This is an image from late summer and it started to get a bit overworked trying to get the tufts of seeding rosebay willowherb ( I think) in shadow. This one probably needed masking fluid, but as I dont use it in the field I resorted to scratching back with a scalpel to get the delicate fronds of decaying flowers.
If nothing else it was a good exercise should I want to paint a bigger or more finished painting.
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.
As practise for future plein air work I did this quickly on the back of an old painting, so I may not have got the proportions of the hill correct. I had an old photo and pretended that I was sat in a field getting it down with the minimum of washes. I also took the opportunity to jazz up the light at the same time. I was pleased with the result and I think the sky helps; along with ignoring a lot of the detail in the landscape. Its something I need to do more out in the field, putting in just enough detail to capture attention, but not getting bogged down.
Last summer I climbed Parbold Hill which is close to the M6, south of Preston. It looks out west over the Lancashire plain towards the Irish sea, amongst other places. This was the view I saw as I made my way back to my car. Earlier I had sat and painted a number of sketches which I posted at the time.
Here is the first one of the day, on the way up the hill.
The trees, in a line in the mid ground, on the top painting, I think are hawthorn trees, though I have never gone to investigate. This line of trees in the centre of the field have always interested me. In 2015 I was painting on the hill in the evening and took some images of the trees and did a pastel from it. Same trees, different angle – again I posted this one at the time. I loved the shadows cast by the trees from the setting sun and so did someone else as the painting was purchased soon after.
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.
This is a morning view from Churchtown -part of Southport, where I live, – across the flat Lancashire plain to Rivington Pike and the start of the Pennines. As I paused on my bike on a spring morning, I was taken by the lines of trees and buildings enveloped by the morning mist and the crisp purple line of the hills beyond.
I have also been doing a bit of meddling. I wasnt completely happy with this watercolour – Fall – I put on the blog a while ago. I thought that the tree looked constrained and unnatural so I added some more branches and messed up the lines of the foliage, whilst retaining the blue/orange contrast. It took some scrubbing and scraping of the sky area to get back to clean paper allowing me to achieve the transparency and vibrancy of the new leaves.
Hopefully it has retained the freshness of the original version.
This is a view of the River Alt as it drifts through the fields of the Lancashire plain. I love this idyllic view which I see as I cycle across the foot bridge over the river. Though directly behind me is a railway bridge and beyond, a newly constructed housing estate. In front, around the bend, the river enters an army camp where it is used in noisy military exercises. Later, it emerges on the other side of the camp and idly sidles into the mouth of the Mersey as the mighty river breaks into the Irish sea spitting out ferries, liners and cargo ships in front of ranks of wind turbines. Here though, in this spot, you forget your surroundings and there is a calm moment of what if and possibility.
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.