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.
Sitting outside the pub, I was taken by this view of Tarleton – a village to the north of Southport, where I live. We were enjoying some refreshment on a walk along the River Douglas and sat in the afternoon sunshine. It was soon after we spotted the errant geese I painted for the previous blog. Probably one of the last days of summer and now only a distant memory.
I had taken a few photos, so was able to cobble together a wide format painting with the lead-in of the red brick houses, cut with shadows, and the view past the trees to the local church. Pity about the car park on the right, but it was a challenge.
A few repeats here. Versions of these saplings in a sunny clearing in Ainsdale woods have been presented before. In this latest version I feel I have got the lightness of the birch leaves in the sun. I think the photograph flatters the painting, though it might look better in a mount.
This is of the grassy sand dunes close to the beach in the evening. This was a sketch, done on the back of a one of my many rejects. The glow works well, despite the yellow, and I used masking fluid to get the glistening tips of the foreground grass. I needn’t have bothered as I got far better results by scraping the damp paint with my scalpel. I’m not sure introducing the green in the foreground helps with the overall harmony. You may be seeing this one again.
And saving the worst to the last. I’ve presented this entrance to Ainsdale woods before . I thought that by introducing leafy branches across the path it might help to lift the image but these puny leaves look like an afterthought and trying to hint at forms in the dark areas remains elusive – oh well.
I think this is the beach at Birkdale, but it could be anywhere north of Liverpool from Crosby to Southport as the morning light catches the marram grasses and the birds glisten out on the sandbanks.
I would like to get down there and get another piece of driftwood to modify my fish mobile, as with time on my hands, I have been looking at the mobile I posted a while ago and decided that an adjustment is required, but with restrictions getting tighter that can wait.
Still messing about with pastels. I cut down a sheet into 3 long formats and did a few sketches on each portion. This, above, is a spring scene looking away from the Leeds to Liverpool canal in Burscough Lancashire. The Lancashire plane spread out before you and the new growth pushing upward into the warm, still, morning air.
At the other end of the seasons – harvest time and more of the Lancashire plane, but this time around Little Crosby which is on the northern outskirts of Liverpool, for the second painting in the series.
And finally, one regulars might recognise. I posted a watercolour of this a few weeks back with the sun momentarily glimpsing the rain sodden fields. I must admit the tonal contrasts were easier with the pastel.
Other landscapes are available for sale on my new website ( getting there -though still under construction) grahammcquadefineart.com
I have mentioned a pile of problem paintings I have in my studio – paintings I like, but have a few issues with. This one directly above was an example. Mixing images and subjects resulted in the figure being too small for the railings and the colourings on the Bexhill Pavilion and the promenade being too dark and light respectively. So I had another go and produced the one at the top. I also took the opportunity to rearrange the figures.
I had similar issues with the painting looking the opposite way in the afternoon ( as opposed to the morning in the one above)
This one below was the first attempt;
The painting was odd in that I wanted to get the full width of the background buildings which consequently made for quite an expanse of foreground which was left a bit empty.
I hope this time the foreground has more presence and the figures aren’t as stiff. I also wanted to get more detail into the background to imply the jumble of structures there.
Lastly, there was the case of leaning Lord Street that I put out a few days ago. I thought that as I was on the topic of buildings I might as well round them all up. The one below was the original post.
So I set about it again and also tried to be a bit more subtle with the washes.
Another painting from my recent trip into town. This one is of the covered walkway over the shops with the setting sun throwing its rays down the pavement. I tried to paint the trees and buildings in one go and may have been overambitious. I had to subsequently take out colour to signify windows . I feel that there are some successful parts to this and I may have a go at repeating it.
Lord Street is the main street in Southport. Once a thriving shopping venue with covered walkways, today it is blighted with shop closures and lack of footfall.
In the winter, the low sun casts deep shadows and lights up reflective surfaces and makes for a great painting. The other afternoon I thought conditions were right for these perfect images. However, when I got down to the town centre, the sun was still too high to get the impact I was after – I need to wait a little later in the year – but still the contra jour effect of the setting sun gave an arresting image – particularly the lady dodging the traffic.
Well it’s actually a Drive where I live – but Alan Lerner apparently lived on a street- so you do what you have to, to make the title work.
I was putting the bins out the other day and looked up the Drive to see the autumn sun piercing the remaining leaves on the sycamore trees and patterning the pavement. I thought that it would make a good painting.
I added the dog walker as a focal point. There are plenty of them about as evidence on the pavement abounds.
Rushing around looking at replacement paintings for the exhibition after the sudden sales, I considered a number of local landscapes for display. Some I had affinity for but was reluctant to put on show. So when the dust settled last week I thought that I should see whether I could get them to a stage where I would put them in a frame to exhibit.
This is the first one – the beach at Southport in the evening. The first version was quite large – a half imperial sheet. I realised I could get the essence by compressing it, with the sand, grasses and reflections on the water constained by a narrow format. I also kept a tight reign on the hue, reflecting the beach in the sky.