LAST OF THE SUMMER -WATERCOLOUR SKETCHES

With yesterday being the last day of the month – and summer – and clear skies forecast, I packed my rucksack and headed out on the bike. This first sketch was of a cottage alongside a country lane – Small Lane South. The low light was sublime in the early morning.

Despite full sun the atmosphere was cold and it took a lot of waving to dry my paper between washes which slowed down my progress somewhat.

This second sketch was of a favourite subject of mine, Clieves Hills. I was sat on the edge of a wheat field, but the crop looked unusable. It was flattened by the wind and dampened by the rain we have suffered with of late. We might be paying more for our bread next year.

After tramping across dew wet fields, my trainers were sodden, making my feet cold and my arms were aching from flapping my wet paintings in the breeze, so I decided to call it a day. Hopefully we might get some warmer autumn days to get out and paint in a less frenetic style – anyway, at least I got out.

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

PEAK SKETCHING IN WATERCOLOURS

Not much painting over the last few days as we went away to the Peak District near Stockport to meet some of my wife’s friends who were up visiting. We gathered in the grounds of Lyme house – which among other things, was used as a backdrop in a BBC production of Pride and Prejudice.

As the troops gathered I sneaked away to sketch the view of the house from near the main driveway despite it starting to rain in the attempt. Fortunately there was an oak tree to shelter under.

We stayed in an inn on the outskirts of town, high on a hill and I thought that I would get up the next morning and paint for an hour or so, before we set off. When I woke up there was low cloud and drizzle so I stayed indoors and sketched the horses in the farm opposite when they grazed into view.

They didnt stay still for long and it was a good exercise trying to catch them in their poses – something I should do more often. When they disappeared from view I built up the farm which overlooked the valley.

Later we walked up towards Kinder Scout and this was a view of the reservoir I snatched as I waited for the others to catch up. I liked the green sloping field behind the house which jumped out in the sunshine – overworked but a reminder of the day.

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

GOING UP THE HILL – WATERCOLOUR SKETCHES

I looked at my watercolour sketchbook the other day and saw that I hadnt done any outdoor painting in July. The weather hasnt been very good – well not for outdoor painting, though my lawn has rejoiced in the warm damp weather.

So with a mini heatwave forecast and two days to go, I set off up Parbold Hill. I had noticed some footpaths off the road that go up the hill, but have never explored them. So on Thursday up I trudged with my painting gear. The first painting is on the way up.

Dodging the many dogs that yapped and barked around my feet I got to the top and walked about the exposed plateau, taking a winding footpath through a wheat field. I liked the trees in their lush summer finery and sat on the path looking out over the Lancashire plain. It was as I was working on this second sketch that I realised the tall streak in the distance could only be Blackpool Tower.

As I started back I saw a row of cottages on the high ground above me. They looked like Cotswold cottages. I also liked the gaps in the trees that surrounded them, so I decided to get the paints out again and make the most of my visit.

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

AROUND HALSALL – WATERCOLOUR SKETCHES

Well, we are presently experiencing our normal summer; high winds and rain, which I am told is set for the week, but last week there was a brief taste of sunshine. I had the last couple of pages in my old sketchbook to fill and a new one was waiting to get started on – so I needed to take the opportunity..

For the first painting, I chanced upon a little path off the road as I cycled along. I liked the sweep of the path and the tonal range of deep shadows against the ripening barley. As I got cracking a tractor came bouncing down the path, so I had to collect all my belongings and head for the long grass. Anyway, he didnt return and calm returned.

This second one was at the top of Clieves hills and again I liked the deep tonal contrast – and the incongruous speed signs. Just off left are the trees I painted and posted on 18th June.

For this one, above, of the cottages on Cut lane I had to wedge myself into the hedgerow on a busy road. I may have spooked a few cyclists as they caught me in the corner of their eye on passing.

And finally, sat on the verge of a quiet country lane, painting the fields and farm, I was surprised by the number of walkers, cyclists and the odd car or two which passed. These days no-one miders you and they hurry past. I didnt even need to cough.

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

SKETCHING ON THE SPOT – WATERCOLOUR

Well, the weather has broken around here and my early morning outings have stopped. Here is the result of my last foray on the first day of this month.

It took me a while to find a suitable subject that day and eventually I selected the view on Clieves hills across the fields to Aughton Church which is just outside Ormskirk, With the cottage in the foreground it might be one worth working up in the future.

As I painted I noticed another view to my left with the far hills shrouded in mist.

So when I completed the Aughton Church view I turned in my seat, replenished my water, had another cup of tea and started the view over the valley to the far hills. On this one I think I went a bit too dark too soon but again it could be one to work on later.

And then, as I was thinking that one more painting might round off the morning well, I turned to look up the hill and saw the weather blown trees. I decided to select just a few of these trees which stand high on the ridge and with a second twist of my stool and another cup of tea I started on the final painting of the morning.


Three paintings without moving – so it was a good morning and the cycle ride home was helped by a following wind – what more could you want?

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

MORE LOCAL SKETCHES IN WATERCOLOUR

Well today the rain came and not soon enough for my lawn. It also gives me a rest as I have been madly cycling around the local area in the good weather looking for subjects to paint. The first of this set of sketches is a complex called Dicconsons farm. I sat on the edge of the field and painted the bend in the lane. When I completed this one I shuffled 90 degrees on my stool and did the view looking across the field and up Clieves Hills, just outside of Ormskirk.

I then had to pack up and get on the bike again and rode around until I saw Dicconsons Farm from across the fields. I was attracted by the way the light was reflected off the roofs. As you can see lemon yellow was a particular favourite that day.

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

PLEIN AIR WORK #2 – WATERCOLOUR SKETCHES

Back on the bike and into the morning sunshine. This is a cottage on Plex Moss Lane. Further down the lane I stopped on a grass verge and did these farm buildings across the fields,

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They had an incongruousness about them – a ramshackle collection of buildings.

A few days later I ventured down another, parallel, lane that crosses the moss and here are (above) some of the same buildings I painted in the previous image: the two buildings on the right of the painting of the farm across the fields.

And finally I love this cluster of buildings, half in and half out of the shadows with posts and cables sprinkled about – although the barn on the right looks like it could be subsiding.

There might be some things worth working up into a proper painting. It’s certainly good to get out again into the morning sun and the cycle ride gives me some exercise.

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

MORE GARDEN VIEWS – WATERCOLOUR SKETCHES

I did these a few days ago when the lockdown was still tight on and the sun came out. This time I ventured off the decking and into the wilds of the garden.

and another one, looking back to the decking and the house.

With the weather set for an upturn this week I will try and venture from out the garden and into the countryside where I will hopefully find something more interesting than last time. Ill post the results whatever the outcome.

Other floral paintings and landscape are available on my website: grahammcquadefineart.com

PAINTING OUTDOORS AT LAST -WATERCOLOUR SKETCHES

I was going to display some more sketches of my garden, but on Wednesday the sun rose early and I decided to get out and do my first painting of the year.

I had decided on the location but on my way I spotted that a mist was coming off the moss and that would have made painting very difficult, so I swerved off beachward and tried to find something interesting to do on the dune belt.

The first were the pines lit by the morning light, above.

Then I spotted this pine on the edge of the woods. I liked the colour of the bark in the light against the darkness of the woods behind,

I had one more sheet on my painting pad so I decided to head towards the sea and sat on top of a sand dune and painted, the admittedly rather mundane, view to the sea.

Not an exciting bunch of sketches, due to the location being forced on me by circumstance, but it was great to get out and just have a chance to sit and meditate for two or three hours in the sun. There was also one advantage of this social distancing – no-one bothered me as I worked – not that there were many out at that hour and location.

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

THE GARDEN FROM THE DECKING – WATERCOLOUR SKETCH

Tuesday dawned bright and sunny – just the day to get out to paint. Though I am reluctant to do it – despite having seen someone painting outside the other Saturday.

So I thought that I would do the next best thing and settled down on my deck and painted one of the flowerbeds. Even the blue tits came to the bird table feeder. Once to allow me to sketch the shape and then obligingly they returned to give me some colour hints later. The result isnt that clear, a shame after all the effort that they made.

I may even do another view if the sun gets out again..

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