OFF ROAD AND SKYWARD – WATERCOLOUR ABSTRACTS

With a commission and a demonstration and getting ready for my holiday I’ve been busy of late, but still found time to play around with some small watercolour abstracts.

They are all based on landscape and light.

Though none of them have been completely to my satisfaction, there are some nice parts which could be developed.

I do find with watercolour that creating interest with texture is a little more difficult than with oils or acrylics and have been busy spraying, scraping and dragging to try and vary my applications.

So here are a few of my experiments. I think I will pause for now, as I find you can quite easily go into auto repeat.

I have put them in my sketchbook and will look at them later to see where I could take them.

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

STRIDING ALONG DENDRITES AND LEAPING SYNAPSES – ABSTRACT ACRYLIC PAINTINGS

I’m continuing my imaginary travels, but this renegade slipped out: I hankered after some brash colour; that’s my excuse.

To curb these impulses, and get back to the theme outlined in my earlier blog, about our reactions to unfamiliar and new places, I added dashes of green and, naturally, called it Green Spaces. Tenuous; agreed, but look at the COLOUR.

So on the green theme, this one slipped out by accident. I imagined forests; greened light piercing the dark and glimpses of sky.

By slipping out I mean this is a repurposed old painting. The above started out as a pastoral scene I posted in a 2019 blog.

I brushed and scraped some colours over this painting, mainly to obscure the figures and hide any of the representational and left it overnight. I came back the next morning to start on it, turned it about and decided it didnt need much extra doing to it: so I didnt.

Finally, back to my imagined travel theme. I did this, Strange Town, deliberately and conscientiously following my self imposed brief.

But I must admit I prefer the first two.

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

WANDERING MIND – ACRYLIC PAINTING

I mentioned in an earlier post that I was playing around with more abstract pieces on the subject of travel. I was influenced by the confusion and bemusement of newly arriving in strange and exciting places; how everything can be a noisy muddle of shapes and movement. So here are a few paintings of my mind’s wanderings – some more representational than others.

This was influenced by my visit to Marrakesh some years ago.

This is where it starts to get more representational, with an estuarine feel, but it was driven by the way I applied the paint and then removed it with a palette knife. I made a dark mix from a orange red and blue green, but only partially completed the mix before applying the paint onto pre-prepared paper. Once applied I started to remove some of it in a variety of ways.

I finally arrived closer to home with a similar approach to the estuarine one above with an image shaped by the beach at Southport, where I live.

There are other paintings, but I wont bore you further: I’m still searching. Though I may have discovered a few possibilities with the above and my sketchbook has many other snippets.

Other abstracts and landscapes are available on my website: grahammcquadefineart.com

EDGE – ACRYLIC PAINTING

Recently I have been experimenting with imagined landscapes and abstracts developed from my experience of landscape. Here is one of the latter. For me it has the feeling of emerging into a new space, as if I’m, perhaps, on the edge of an adventure or an escape.

This painting developed in a piecemeal way. It started with an earlier painting where I was looking at the feelings associated with travel and approach.

But this painting looked a bit disjointed to me and with all the scraping and layering was getting a bit muddy. So I did the old tried and tested trick of looking at small areas for anything interesting and food for my imagination.

Here are two areas which intrigued me. Not only that, the images I took, and display here, look better than the actual painting. Perhaps it is because the colours don’t appear as muddy and there’s better contrast. As a consequence, I used the photo on the right to develop a bigger painting.

Arriving at the above, I felt I had overdeveloped the central motifs. They now looked too much like trees and pulled the painting in a representational direction. I also felt that other areas were too dull and wanted the colours to sing out more. That was how I arrived at the final painting. Is it the end? I dont know, but I’ll pause there and leave it to rest whilst I try other things.

Abstracts are available for sale on my website: grahammcquadefineart.com

CREEP – ACRYLIC PAINTING

Well, I’m back to just playing around and here is a plaything that has been around for a fair while. The question in my mind is whether the outside is creeping in, or the inside is creeping out. Your decision.

In fact this painting has been creeping for a long while. Here is the original version which I was pleased with at the time ( and even now, as I look at it) and posted on this blog in 2018.

I painted this one day in our pop-up gallery, as I waited for customers, in 2018. It was a scene from a walk we had taken alongside the river Ribble as we approached Settle in Yorkshire. The light was coming in through the riverside trees and there were dog walkers in the distance. I painted it in a blocky style which carries over into the abstract.

I displayed this painting at a number of exhibitions, but there were no takers. I concluded that perhaps potential buyers might prefer to see the faces of the dog walkers – so I changed things around and came up with this which I posted in 2019.

But I didnt do myself any favours. Just look at the guy’s head – well just look at the guy. The painting got filed away. It escaped the bin as I did like the setting with the light to dark transitions and the block style with which it was constructed.

So, with time on my hands this week, it got turned around, put on the easel and the figures and dogs were evicted, and here it is for your edification today. It may not be the finished article, but it’s worth pausing with for now.

We recycle things a bit differently around here.

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

THE ROAD FROM HAWES – WATERCOLOUR SKETCH

Last week we stayed in a cottage in Settle on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales. In the main the weather was overcast, particularly in the morning when I went out to sketch. Towards the afternoon and evening the sun broke through the clouds. Here is a sketch from, memory, of a view I saw as we drove back from a walk in Hawes – another Dales’ village. High on the moorland these isolated farmhouses dotted the road and as we climbed the hill the silhouette of the buildings stood out against a break in the clouds.

I did another version, even more sparsely:

This was at a stage before I started to add detail and ruin it.

Because of the flat light my morning sketches disappointed me. I was also hindered by drizzle and inquisitive cows which nearly trampled over my painting gear.

The middle sketch above shows similarities to the first sketches, except that the building was a small electricity substation. I sat balanced on a dry-stone wall painting it, packing in when a light drizzle started to fall.

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

HARBOUR LIGHTS – ACRYLIC PAINTING

I was a bit low after my last plein air outing and the resulting paintings produced (last post). Wanting a change from another landscape, I rummaged among my pile of the incomplete and abandoned paintings in search of fresh leads. This one above was an abstract attempting to recall the wonderful colours seen on a visit to Corsica a few years ago. The trouble was, I wasnt getting the deep blues and clear turquoises I was after and the whole thing looked a bit sombre and so it got abandoned. I decided to lighten it up and add flecks of colour. The process lifted my spirits and it occurred to me that it was like coming back to the familiar, a return to comfort and I thought about the effect of the sight of harbour lights for a crew returning in the evening gloom. So I had a title. The process opened me to similar themes on the subject and to the possibility of repurposing old paintings. I have another one on the go at present.

Abstracts are available for sale on my website: grahammcquadefineart.com

EMPTY GLASS, HALF FULL – ACRYLIC INK AND WASH, SKETCHES.

I have been continuing to play with acrylic inks. I completed a painting on canvas using inks and acrylic paint which I was pleased with. It had a floral connotations so have I have been searching for other themes for a new painting.

So I started to look at dance and movement which the ink lines can evoke. So this was the idea behind the top two – though the top one did take on a life of it’s own.

Continuing the movement theme, above, I tried to run the watercolour washes counter to the movements of the acrylic inks.

Another potential theme was the urban environment. The straight lines that the droppers of ink can easily produce convey man made objects.

And of course, I looked at the landscape, but this time I added the ink to watercolour washes rather than the other way around as I had done on the first four above.

Finally another landscape theme on a preprepared watercolour wash, but along with the acrylic inks I added some pastel as well.

Still playing. It keeps me off the streets.

Paintings for sale are available on my website: grahammcquadefineart.com

WOULD, FOR THE TREES … – PASTEL SKETCHES

THERE’D BE BLIGHTS OF THE CITY.

I was playing with my pastels, looking at options for an abstract, and turned this pair into something else. Though all the time fighting to keep to the spirit of abstract and not being too descriptive with a view to painting a bigger piece. With the first one I did a similar painting in acrylics some time ago and was pleased with it. The second one, I feel, could be developed by deconstructing it a little and playing the large areas of grey off with the smaller and more intense patches of colour.

I might do a few more, as it happily occupied an hour without any pressure of a result.

Other abstracts, including a version of the top sketch, are available for sale on my website: grahammcquadefine art.com

TALES OF THE MOSS – ACRYLIC PAINTING

Continuing the local landscape theme on canvas I pushed on from the graphic style I have been showing recent. This time starting with some loose washes and textural work to see where that brought me out. I have done similar things in the past, favouring blue/purple/yellow orange combinations, but this time went for greens and reds, though yellow seemed to pushed its nose in there as well.

And this was the result. Too messy? too many motifs? I’m certainly undecided. I also wonder whether adopting this complementary colour approach also causes confusion. Keeping things in one colour segment and working tonally might calm things down.

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