FALLING WATER – ACRYLIC SKETCH

Another sketch for the proposed commission based on Frank Lloyd Wright buildings. Though I have a foreboding as I havent heard from them for over a week. This was one they said they liked. Silence can be a sign that something is wrong. Though I did have a commission a few years ago, where there were great spells of silence. It was only when they came to pick up the finished painting, about a year after we started the commission, that they told me the painting was a present for a family member in Canada. The other siblings were clubbing together to buy it and agreement was needed at each stage. If only they had told me at the outset, It would have spared me some anxiety. Then, I find many people assume you know what is going on in their head.

Above is another sketch I produced based on Robie House in Chicago. This one was less enthusiastically received.

This issue, when it comes on the back of an exhibition where I didnt sell anything, just chips away at your confidence. Hard times are now with us with the economic situation and paintings are first to go. I suppose I should hunker down and just enjoy my painting, painting for myself and the fun of it. Having said that I did complete a commission for a friend, but I cant show that as it is from a picture he took off a newspaper.

Still, if you are looking for a painting, check out my website: grahammcquadefineart.com

ASWAN AND OTHER WATERCOLOUR SKETCHES

Finally we reached Aswan where further navigation down the Nile is prevented by two dams. Our boat moored opposite Elephant Island in Aswan. The Island is one of the oldest parts of Aswan and the whitewashed houses looked like something you might find in a Greek Mediterranean fishing village. It looked particularly inviting in the morning sun – so, always weak to temptation, I went on deck to get something down on paper.

Next to our boat, town dwellers waited for the ferry to the island. There are still many rickety ferries on the Nile, but the Egyptians are building new bridges and unfortunately their days seem numbered.

Now I am back home, I have been looking over my sketches and here is another one of the many fishermen among the reedy islands, one I didn’t publish at the time.

And here is the riverside as we approached El Minya with it’s boat building and repair yards that you also see elsewhere, all the way down the river.

I think that is almost all of the sketches. I gave a few to our guide, Salah, who was always checking out what I was doing, but what remains are a reminder of a super trip.

As I said in an earlier blog, painting a scene on a moving boat requires a special approach, as getting what you need down before it’s gone demands speed and a disregard for too much detail – probably not a bad thing in my case.

Other landscapes, townscapes and riparian scenes are available for sale on my website: grahammcquadefineart.com

KOM OMBO AND EDFU – WATERCOLOUR SKETCHES

For me, Monday was a red letter day on this trip. In the afternoon we moored up right next to this temple at Kom Ombo, so for once I was able to sketch some of the architecture we had come to see. It is quite a late temple by Egyptian standards being started in the 2nd century BC. A giveaway is the ornate column tops which indicates Greek or Roman influence. In fact it had a whole range of column decoration. It is also unusual in that it is dedicated to two deities, the falcon headed Horus and Sobek, the local crocodile headed god. There were a lot of crocodile mummies on display in the museum – though, disappointingly, none in the river ( crocs not mummies).

I returned to the boat after the visit to the temple and museum and had about an hour to get this down. The warm evening light mellowed the stonework and I got a fair bit done before we set sail again, though I had to do the sketch in a rush.

On that same Monday, we woke up to find we had moored right on the waterfront of the town of Edfu. Normally we moored in walled areas or in out of the way and uninteresting places. On this morning we were right in the thick of it with touristy horse drawn carriages transporting people to the local temple of Horus. ( though being in the thick of it meant we were also close to the mosque, and got called to prayer at 5am – on this occasion I declined the invite) I had breakfast and hurried up on deck to get a flavour of the place before we set off. Again, another hurried sketch, which I finished as we headed to Kom Ombo.

Other townscapes are available on my website: grahammcquadefineart.com

FURTHER DOWN THE NILE – WATERCOLOUR SKETCHES

As we progress down the Nile, the valley widens and closes revealing miles of lush agricultural lands on occasions, and then the desert makes an appearance with high limestone cliffs butting up against the river, marking the edge of the desert.

At other times the cities and towns come into view. The high-rise buildings seem very similar to the high cliffs of the desert edge.

As the boats slips by, children an adults rush to the shore and wave. I thought that this was because we are some of the first tourists for a couple of years, but I’m told that this has always happened.

In some places with lush water meadows and net fishing it feels like the place has never changed.

Other landscapes are available on my website: grahammcquadefineart.com

DAYS ON THE NILE – WATERCOLOUR SKETCHES

At last we made it to Egypt and are slowly making our way down the Nile from Cairo to Aswan. I would like to take my painting gear on our visits to the sights, but I am never sure how much free time there is available. I could have done the Sphinx which had great form in the early morning light, but other visits have been more busy. So, I have limited myself to painting as we proceed down the Nile. The sketch above was done shortly after we set off one morning.

This one was up near Cairo with some guys fishing. They put their nets out and set about thrashing the reeds and banking with their oars to scare the fish into their nets.

Painting on a moving boat entails, for me, getting a brief sketch down as you pass and then painting what you remember of the scene, finishing the sketch about 10 miles down stream from where you started.

Still, it’s a great way to fill the day.

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

LANDSCAPE SKETCHES – WATERCOLOUR

I’ve been exploring abstracts derived from the landscape and showed some of these in previous posts. As a first stage in the production of these abstracts, I have been sketching out loose landscapes to see if they might lead me somewhere down this path. Here are a couple I was pleased with. The one above came from a clip I saw on the TV and I did a quick, loose, watercolour sketch from memory. There isnt much to it, but it gave a pleasing result.

The one above is based on the beach at Southport, where I live, and I have used the idea of this in one of the semi abstracts I showed in my last post. Initially, I was actually messing around with a skyscape and added the sand and sea as an afterthought. I like the way the rivulets form on the beach, though it can result on getting your feet wet as you walk along the beach, especially when the tide is coming in.

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

SKETCHES FROM PORTUGAL 2 – WATERCOLOURS

We have reached the end of our walks, arriving in Sagres in the Algarve yesterday – although it isnt over for us as tomorrow we visit friends near Faro for another few days. Sagres is a fishing port in southern Portugal and here are a couple of old boats sunning themselves in their retirement.

On the way to Sagres we walked along many clifftops and beaches and you keep taking photos as each place seems stunning at the time. In the end realise you have too many views of cliffs and beaches. So here is a painting of some cliffs instead.

Then, after a few miles of cliff you hit a beach and a small settlement and hundreds of surfers looking for the perfect wave. From a distance, and in their wet-suits, they look like the tadpoles that populate my pond in the spring.

And finally, yet another beach nestling amongst the cliffs. The others had gone for ice cream whilst I stayed to paint the scene for you.

There may be more sketches before we return. I have plenty of paper left.

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

HALSALL SKETCHES – WATERCOLOUR

Warm autumn sunshine is too good to waste and yesterday morning I got up, rather later than normal, and went to a place I had spotted when returning from my last local plein air trip. It is of a cluster of farmhouses I have passed many times, but the newly mown field and an opening onto it gave me a different view and the crows also thought the same, between eating what the mowers had missed.

And then turning around, and looking in the opposite direction. I got a contre jour view of some cottages I have painted before, though, this time, with the hedge obscuring most of the view. There was still a slight mistiness which, earlier, may have completely obscured both views, this being a low lying marshy area. So it was a productive lie-in – As I’ve heard say, it’s not the done thing to arrive too early.

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

THE ROAD FROM HAWES – WATERCOLOUR SKETCH

Last week we stayed in a cottage in Settle on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales. In the main the weather was overcast, particularly in the morning when I went out to sketch. Towards the afternoon and evening the sun broke through the clouds. Here is a sketch from, memory, of a view I saw as we drove back from a walk in Hawes – another Dales’ village. High on the moorland these isolated farmhouses dotted the road and as we climbed the hill the silhouette of the buildings stood out against a break in the clouds.

I did another version, even more sparsely:

This was at a stage before I started to add detail and ruin it.

Because of the flat light my morning sketches disappointed me. I was also hindered by drizzle and inquisitive cows which nearly trampled over my painting gear.

The middle sketch above shows similarities to the first sketches, except that the building was a small electricity substation. I sat balanced on a dry-stone wall painting it, packing in when a light drizzle started to fall.

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

CUCKMERE SCENES – WATERCOLOUR SKETCHES

I mentioned in my last blog that I was on holiday. We are in the south of England and yesterday I walked along part of the River Cuckmere in Sussex which flows out into the English Channel. This scene, above, was painted when I was close to the end of my walk at the village of Alfriston. In the distance you can see Alfriston Church across the water meadow. The river is behind an embankment in front of the church.

When I completed this sketch I walked up past the church. There is a bridge to cross the river to the right of the church. As I approached the bridge I saw that the river had breached the embankment – this was what was filling the water meadow you can see in the sketch. I had to cross a couple of breaches, knee deep in fast flowing water. Fortunately I reached the bridge without any slippages watched on by a crowd of onlookers stood on the bridge.

You do your best to entertain the crowds.

The second sketch was earlier on my walk, in drier times. I liked the red roofs of the buildings peeping from behind the trees and the layers of vegetation banding up from the River Cuckmere, up the chalk hill, to the higher ground.

Landscape paintings are available for sale on my website: grahammcquadefineart.com