A slight change of subject now I am back home. An image from my recent visit to the canal: a dog walker taking an early morning stroll. This is on the Leeds to Liverpool canal near the small community of Burscough.
After the almost relaxing holiday I’ve just had ( ’til I tried filling in the documentation, a traumatic experience for a sensitive soul like myself, to get home, which took the best part of a morning that should have been spent poolside with a cold beer) I’m now entering a busy period with two commissions, two exhibitions and a demonstration coming up this month. This will be the first watercolour demonstration I have done since January 2020, after which our first shutdown started. Then I will be preparing for Christmas – how fast time flies. It seems such a short time since my last Christmas exhibition which, admittedly, lasted from November until March, due to the Covid lockdowns.
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.
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.
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 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.
Another one from last week’s cycle rides. This is part of the Leeds Liverpool Canal. I liked the light coming in through the trees on the left and dappling the bridge.
Following my half imperial painting I showed two posts back, I used the other half of the sheet for this painting. I was really taken with the light coming in through the plane trees on the left and the coda of the building on the far left – see below.
But with it I had a foreground expanse with little going on. I threw a quarter imperial mount on the finished painting it and discovered a much more succinct image.
Now it’s cut for a quarter imperial mount – so there’s no going back.
One to stir up the Troll. Its snide, anonymous comments continue – well I presume that they do, as for the last few weeks I have found a way of discarding without viewing their content. I assume this will continue as canal scenes seem to trigger a bigger tirade of ire than most other topics.
Perhaps this tactic may result in discarding a comment from someone who has a serious point to make, but in my eyes the risk is worth it.
So here is a calming winter scene by the Leeds to Liverpool Canal – well it calms me.
I decided to return to watercolours and build up some canal paintings. This was a contra jour scene I spotted recently. I loved the weeds and rushes at the canal edge in the foreground. I decided to add a narrowboat, mainly to upset troll. Then, dropping some white gouache onto the wet paper gives the satisfying illusion of smoke. I’m easily pleased.
Our walk along the Leeds Liverpool canal the other day took us past the swing bridge near the small town of Burscough. I love the line of old cottages in the left background, and have painted them in the past from the other side. I wondered whether the long lead in of the tow path, delineated by the shadows from the bright winter sun was worth a go, particularly as I wanted a long format painting to test on my new website that I am getting built.
And if nothing else, the sight of a canal painting always ignites the bigoted troll – and it can get cold hiding under a stone at this time of year.