Having spent the last couple of weeks completing four commissions, I needed to let off some steam. I had some images of jazz players and thought about combining them into a painting. I intend to do the final version in acrylics, using liquid acrylics to get the effect of the watercolours – but watercolours allowed some easy explorations. The theme is still developing and I’m considering putting in further additions, so these are first steps. My initial one is below, then I decided to add a bassist.
Knowing me I will end up with a full orchestra for the final piece.
This is the last of a recent clutch of commissions: the village church at Halsall. On the right is what was the village pub – with its old sign, but is now a financial consultancy – how times have changed – and the war memorial is just visible in front of the church.
I originally did this plein air, tucked on a bank out the way, hoping not to slip into the stream as I worked, early one morning. I then turned that sketch into a painting which sold and now someone else has asked for a version. So you may have seen this before as I posted both the other versions.
On the original version I realised I had the church spire slightly out of proportion and by shortening the spire to the correct size meant I could include more of the foreground and shadows, which gives a better lead in. I was taken by the light creeping in from the right – just starting to illuminate the church and gravestones and allows for some nice tonal interchanges. I’ll keep this for a few days and see if I need to do any further adjustments
Those who read my last blog will be aware that I am painting a couple of commission pieces. Here is the second – part of the front of the house. Some of the house is presently under scaffolding and boarded up, so I had to use some old photos to complete this painting. Anyway, I’ve just finished it and I need a while to look at it and see if there are any adjustments to be made. Putting it out on my blog will help, as I will see it every time I go in.
I posted the buyer a copy of the first painting and he seemed happy. Hopefully I’ll get a similar reaction when I send him the final copy.
Then, as I was painting this, I got another enquiry for a painting which had been sold, so I’ve been asked to do a copy of that. Its like the old story – you wait ages for a bus and then three come along at once – well four in this case. So I’d better crack on and start it…
I mentioned in my previous blog a number of commissions I have been asked to do. This is one of a local fee paying school. It shows the rear of the hall, a later addition, around 1900, I think. In this view it has the air of an Oxbridge college. The style of the house is mock Gothic and includes a tower which was designed by Augustus Pugin as a dry run for the one he built for the houses of parliament. At the time of my visit it was clad in scaffolding – but it bears a striking resemblance.
Inside the house are some incredible wood carvings. I was told some came out of Buckingham Palace – and the quality certainly bears that out. I am working on a second view at present and will show that on this blog later.
Hopefully the owners will be happy with the views.
This was an image I was playing with sometime ago from a distant trip to the English Lake District. At present, my time is taken up with commissions.
Before Christmas I had a small exhibition at my framers and I sold three paintings prior to the holiday. Since Christmas the paintings have been locked in his shop window. Latterly, non essential shops, like picture framers, were allowed to open again and a couple more paintings sold before we ended the exhibition on Monday. However, from the exhibition I have acquired three commissions and so I am working my way through those. The first one was of someone’s house and cat which I thought inappropriate to show, but the other two might make the blog – when I complete them. For me, commissions take longer than a normal painting because you need to be sure of details personal to the recipient and I also allow the recipient to be part of the planning which doesnt speed things up.
So for now, here is a view over Lake Windermere, before the next shower of rain comes in to dampen the walker. Hopefully we will be getting back there soon.
This is the approach to a village close to where I live. I wanted to paint it in situ last summer but to get this view I had to stand on one leg with a hedge pressed into my back. So I took a few photos and looked for somewhere more comfortable to paint – perhaps it’s an age thing. The low morning sun coming in over the unkempt field and the row of half illuminated houses appealed to me. So many times have I found the best views are in the most inaccessible of places.
I wasnt prepared for Thursday dawning without a cloud in the sky and by lunchtime it was still cloudless so I decided to get out and do some painting. Unfortunately I hadnt made any plans, so I headed off on a well worn route, hoping to spot something new of interest. This, above, was a view across to farms on the moss with the remains of last year`s bramble and undergrowth in the foreground.
I continued up Clieves`s Hills – the only bump in the Lancahire Plain around here and close to the top, I took the opportunity to get off the bike and sit down to paint this house. I liked theinterchange of light and shade on the walls and the tree just coming into leaf, all set off against the recently tilled soil.
And finally another drainage ditch. Again I liked the light and shade and the way the banks zig-zagged like teeth of interlocking cogs. In hindsight, there is room to play more on the light and shade of banks and I think the water close to the bottom of the painting was wider then I have it which would add to the contrasts. But by then I had cycled twenty miles and was on my third painting – concentration was beginning to sag – but a great afternoon, nevertheless.
Having had to rebook a holiday for the second time this week I thought that I would recall one from a more carefree time. This is on the Italian Lake Garda, a little hamlet near Salo. It was out of the way and frequented, it seemed, by locals. I saw quite a few small gatherings passing away the evening around the quay and a small promenade, putting the world to rights and greeting friends. Some even brought their own chair and when done would fold it up and carry it back to their house.
Other seaside paintings are available for sale on my website: grahammcquadefineart.com
We have been getting some decent weather of late, even though it has got colder. On Saturday it was still warm enough to get on the bike and do some more outdoor painting. My plan was to attempt more complex subjects – subjects I would normally attempt in the studio. The one above is of a small bridge over a drainage ditch. I liked the counterchanges from light to dark and back again. In the end I had to to the railings in gouache when I got home – as I didnt take any with me. Whilst the gouache was out I added some stalks and grasses on the near bank. Despite the austere subject it made an interesting painting and might be worth doing bigger.
The next subject was daffodils in a small coppice. The flowers were away from the trees, but I wanted to use the darker trunks as a foil for the flowers. Normally I would use masking fluid, but outside, without any, I had to work around the flowerheads. I find daffodils difficult at the best of times because the yellow isnt a very imposing colour. In hindsight I should have pushed the flowers back further against the trees and used the contrast for all it was worth and, at the same time, reduced the complexity of the background – but that is what sketching is about – working out the best options.
Whilst I sat working on this picture, at the edge of the wood, a hare came slowly towards me. It got to within about 5 feet. I wanted to photograph it, but reaching for the camera would have disturbed it. In the end it realised I was there and bolted off into the woods.