After some quite aggressive dental work earlier in the week, I have felt the need to take things a little slower and, at the same time, halt my consumption of nuts. Fortunately with painting, I have something to productively engage me in the meantime, something that isnt too physically demanding. With a couple of exhibitions looming, including one which monitors your previous entries and prohibits any returning, I thought I’d get myself a new selection of local topics. This is one of them – a venue I’ve painted before.
I did like the old wharf buildings before they were renovated, but I suppose without some renovation things would go into terminal decline. So I have excluded the more radical changes and focussed on the the less altered part of these old buildings. I also misted out the canal-side houses in the distance in this morning scene.
I am exploring a few subjects for a local, upcoming exhibition and wondered whether this beach scene might be worth an airing. I have done similar versions of it before but the open expanse of beach, as it melds into the sea and sky, is a difficult proposition to balance up. In the past I have filled the top part of the open expanse with cloud – this time I thought that the energy of agitated gulls might be a better resolution. I have over a week, so there is a bit of time to play around.
Another in a long series of paintings of my town’s main street. There are a couple of exhibitions coming up that are held on this street, so it is useful to have something of local interest to display. Add that to the fact that I am a sucker for the winter sunsets here – a painting is inevitable. There may be another to come.
This is the view I used to see as I cycled to work across the fields behind our town. The sun rising and a mistiness still clinging to the low reclaimed marshland. Occasionally you’d spot the ghostly form of a barn owl swooping above the ditches and reed beds.
The painting now resides in my neighbour’s house. They used to take the same trip – but in a car, not on a bike.
Well, I couldnt resist taking a few pictures of this couple down at our local lake, feeding the birds. More so, because it was into the sun and the birds sang out like jewels – helped by the dark shadow cast by one of the stores in the nearby retail park. Then there was the plastic bag held by the woman, the biggest diamond, catching the sunlight.
Not one I’d like to do plein air neither for its complexity nor because of the chill wind down there that day, but it was a nice little exercise in the warmth of my studio, arranging and adjusting the players and building up the tones.
Another view of my local woods at Ainsdale. This time it wasnt so much the light that attracted me – but the colours. The orange and yellows pitted against a blue grey background. I also loved the mistiness and mystery of the forest beyond, with ghostly shapes of pine trees appearing and disappearing.
Then there was the bracken – always a pain to paint – well it is for me. I viewed it as a challenge and I think it comes over as the ragged mess that it always seems. I did think of leaving it out altogether but the dead orange foliage might have been too much on its own and the bracken sets the scene and leads the viewer into the action. Well, that was the plan.
I have had a few distractions of late and dont have much to show except a reworking of some azaleas I posted a week or so ago. In this rework I made the flowerheads larger so that they occupied more of the painting surface – after all they are the subject of the painting. I also modified my colour palette to echo the yellow/orange of the flowerheads in the foliage area and pushed the purples and blues in this same area to complement the yellow/orange of the flowers. You can only hope it that it makes a difference.
Another in my sporadic woodland series illustrating the magic conjured by light and shadow. You may be flagging of the subject, but I never tire of these scenes that I happen upon in our local woods at Ainsdale. This is one of the many pathways that criss-cross the forested dunes and at the end; a beckoning light, just over the horizon. It makes me realise how superstitions grow.
On the Leeds to Liverpool canal near Scarisbrick I happened upon the cluster of bankside trees set against the morning sun and the reflection they cast on the water. In the distance the ducks and a huddle of moored boats hopefully drag the eye through the painting. Most of all I loved the serene peacefulness of the still hour – worth the early rise.
I was not satisfied with an earlier version of this painting which I’d posted a while ago. The foreground of the original had some of the scoured beach, but I felt it wasnt convincing. So out came the pastels and the tide came in a bit further.
Whilst I had my watercolours and pastels out I thought I would do a sketch of another seashore scene. I liked the way that the main wave seems to be sliding shoreward and I put in a gull just to complete the picture.
It would be nice to get down to a suitable beach to have a look at some stormy waves and get some inspiration. Our beach is sandy and slopes too gently seaward to get good crashing waves like these – leastways I’ve never seen any. I’ll just have to wait until I can get to a suitable coast – perhaps a holiday is due.