My mobility is rather restricted at the moment so I haven’t been to any life sessions – its bad enough lugging an easel to them so the added restriction of crutches just makes me stay at home. What I thought I’d do is have a look at some of the quick 2 minute sketches and see if I could make anything of them. This is the first one I tried. It is rather plain, but I did intend a stark image – perhaps even starker – but I did like the calmness of the pose. In this one I included a hint of the face.
The original sketch is below, done without measurement, so I think the top of the arm is a little short. I might have a go at another and try a different style.
I saw some work on a blog by an Israeli artist painting faces in blocks of colour which was very striking and this got me thinking. I didn’t want to paint a portrait and I wanted some sense to the background so I came up with this. There is a bit more I might do to improve it, this but essentially it’s done . The work I saw used bigger blocks of colour – something I wished I had done as I got into this, although I did want to have the patches smaller and more diverse towards the bottom. Mixing diverse colours from just six base colours and white you begin to get a little stir crazy after a while.
This view is from an early morning outing I did at the end of April and from which I’ve already posted a number of paintings, around 6 I think so it was a productive morning although I paid the price as my bike got a puncture and I had to walk the last 4 miles home.
This view allowed me to play around with some textural work, something that I am experimenting with watercolour at the moment.
Some time ago I reported, after painting the plein air Downholland Farm I posted, that I had left my portable palette behind. When I came back to search for it I came in my car and had to park on some waste land and the easiest way was to cut through this small copse. I loved the evening light coming in through the trees and the branches and trunks cutting across the scene making an almost stained glass effect. When I came out of hospital last week I thought that I could do this in pastel and sat down and cracked on and produced this pastel below:
I thought that the pastel would allow me to get the criss-crossing branches easier and also allow me to work up the foliage catching the light in the shadows. I was unhappy with the results and decided to have another go in watercolour. I tried a splattering approach with the foliage on the watercolour and got some wonderful textures, but had to go over a lot of it in order to get the tonal contrast I was after. In the end the result was better but still it lacked the impact that I was after.
I decided to work up a couple of paintings I did as plein air sketches and posted a few weeks ago. I was a bit disappointed with the results and am trying to work out why I feel this way. I think this one could have been done with more textured foreground and less of the ploughed field although I do have a problem with the large amounts of green that that might produce.
This second one might do with increasing the contrasts but again I am concerned with masses of green. I will leave both in the studio and mull over them whilst I get on with something new.
Other landscape paintings are available for sale on my website: grahammcquadefineart.com
Before my hip operation I tried to get out and about and do some plein air painting whilst I still had my mobility, but the weather quickly deteriorated towards the end of May so here are my only offerings. Ironically just over the hill and trees in this painting is the hospital I had my operation in.
Actually when I came out here I thought that there were some better views, but as I walked about, what I thought could be subjects weren’t that good. This seems to be one of my problems with painting outdoors. Eventually I settled on this view, though I did enjoy painting in the late evening sun.
I walked over the bridge and came down onto the canal bank and saw this narrowboat that I thought was mooring for the night. The low sun on it against the dark background was very alluring, so I set up to paint it. I got my initial drawing done, catching the owner on the back of it. I hadn’t even finished the drawing when the guy opened up the throttle and my subject sailed away. So I had to make it up and in so doing I think I lost a lot of impact. If only I had taken my camera. Another of plein air painting’s perils.