I’ve tackled this more than once before, but always over elaborated the scene by adding people and the like. I thought I’d give it another go and focus on the thing that originally caught my attention: that of the old tree coming into leaf, catching the sunlight against the darks of the buildings.

It was a lovely early summer’s morning on the Leeds to Liverpool canal when I originally painted this outdoors and that first simple sketch has always been a favourite of mine. I never was satisfied with the results when I worked it up into a painting.

This time I think I’ve got back to the focus of that first sketch, even though I had to resort to a bit of gouache to revive some of the leaves on the tree; though not too much. I’m also happier with the hazy hill in the background, which hangs over the village.

The tower you can just see on the right is an old mill, now converted to a gallery by a local artist James Bartholomew – well worth googling if you like animal and seascape paintings.

Other canal scenes are available on my website: grahammcquadefineart.com


Yesterday I did a watercolour demonstration on a canal scene for a painting group. I wanted to have a few canal scenes to take along to the demo and I painted this the other day to fill out the display. It’s a subject I’ve tackled before with the spring leaves just coming out on the trees in front of the old windmill in Parbold – it houses the gallery of a local artist, James Bartholomew, who’s won awards for seascapes, but now seems to do a lot of animals.

At the time I did a painting on the spot, but when I finished, I walked along the moored narrowboats and saw these guys in conversation on a boat further down the line. When I came to do a painting in the studio they got promoted to the front of the queue.

I’m still not sure about this, as the opening leaves against the dark background is difficult to get in watercolour, but I think I’ve progressed it from the last time I painted it.

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


I decided to work up one of the plein air sketches I recently showed on the blog. I had a tussle with the spring leaves on the trees against the dark buildings. I initially splattered masking fluid in the area and then proceeded to paint mixes of burnt sienna, um blue, alizarin and a few others into the area to imitate buildings and dark background foliage. When I rubbed off the masking fluid and applied foliage colours it looked laboured, despite softening edges. So off it all came and I repeated the dark building colours, but then added white gouache mixed with lemon yellow and some blues. I was pleased with the soft effects it gave. I am reluctant to use gouache as I consider it a bit of a cheat, but I dont think I could have got these glinting leaves better any other way.

Canal scenes are available for sale on my website: grahammcquadefineart.com



I sat and painted here  the other week, though this view is an amalgam of a number of photos. There is a hill behind this village and I was drawn to the smokey early morning light against the fresh early summer greens.

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