FALLING WATER – ACRYLIC SKETCH

Another sketch for the proposed commission based on Frank Lloyd Wright buildings. Though I have a foreboding as I havent heard from them for over a week. This was one they said they liked. Silence can be a sign that something is wrong. Though I did have a commission a few years ago, where there were great spells of silence. It was only when they came to pick up the finished painting, about a year after we started the commission, that they told me the painting was a present for a family member in Canada. The other siblings were clubbing together to buy it and agreement was needed at each stage. If only they had told me at the outset, It would have spared me some anxiety. Then, I find many people assume you know what is going on in their head.

Above is another sketch I produced based on Robie House in Chicago. This one was less enthusiastically received.

This issue, when it comes on the back of an exhibition where I didnt sell anything, just chips away at your confidence. Hard times are now with us with the economic situation and paintings are first to go. I suppose I should hunker down and just enjoy my painting, painting for myself and the fun of it. Having said that I did complete a commission for a friend, but I cant show that as it is from a picture he took off a newspaper.

Still, if you are looking for a painting, check out my website: grahammcquadefineart.com

INSIDER’S VIEW – ACRYLIC SKETCH

This is a sketch for a commission I am presently working on. An artist friend of mine kindly passed on the commission opportunity to me. The clients want two 30×40 inch abstracts for their new office space.

When I first visited them they wanted a pure abstract with plenty of texture, based on Gaudi or Frank Lloyd Wright buildings. I must admit I had trouble with the concept of palette knives and Gaudi, but thought that there could be mileage in FLW buildings. Also, understanding that the two pieces would be in fairly close proximity, I felt that there needed to be some dialogue between them.

I took some initial sketches to the first meeting. I had prepared these from the brief my friend originally received. I wanted some starting point to understand their needs and how I could proceed. One thing they seemed to dislike were pieces with saturated colour. This was a bit of a blow as I do like the option of bright colour, even as a splash of counterpoint in a piece.

Anyway, I produced some sketches from that initial meeting and here are a few of them.

Here is a pair based on the waterfall house linked with a seasonal theme.

Another linked pair, again based on the waterfall building and looking at planar orientations.

There were other sketches amongst the presentation, but after deliberating, the clients decided that pure abstraction wasnt what they wanted. They now decided that they wanted more aspects of the buildings to be featured in the works, so that the viewer could get engaged in a guessing game.

Well, it always helps to know what the client actually wants. So off I went again and produced five sketches of FLW buildings. One of which – based on the NY Guggenheim Museum Interior, you see at the top of this piece. I did each sketch in a different colour scheme, to give them more options.

The one I show seems also to have been rejected. I wasnt surprised, after our initial meeting. It was a bit too colourful. Though, personally, I like it. It was one of two of my favourites from the set. I am thinking that it may be worth developing as a future painting.

Anyway, they seem to like two others, my other favourite and one based on a FLW house in Phoenix, Arizona. Hopefully I can have further discussions this week and start progressing the project.

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

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

GRANITE GARDEN – ACRYLIC PAINTING

I’ve had this painting a while, but I could not get a decent photo of it. Amongst other discrepancies, all the greens turned blue on the images I took, no matter what setting I tried. It was only by tricking the camera that I got something that resembled the actual painting. And, well, it’s a bit of a Pollock, but at the moment I am playing around, and this is one of a series of experiments.

Abstract paintings quite often give me problems when I try to photograph them, whereas, I dont have as many such issues with representational paintings.

I will show other examples of these problems in subsequent posts. Sometimes they actually help you – which they did on a painting I’m currently working on. Hopefully that will be ready for next time.

Other abstract paintings 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

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

SPAWNING ABSTRACTS – OIL PAINTING

Being in the middle of projects I didnt have much to show today, so here is a set of old paintings I never put on the blog. I called them The Upside of Down. This was the first I sold. Below is the second one sold.

They came from one picture, it was oil on paper. I treated the ordinary, 90lb watercolour paper with a mix of exterior emulsion and PVA. This prevents the oil from sinking into the paper – rather like rabbit skin gesso. Here is the completed piece with me taking a rest – if you take a nap always put an open book on your lap; you appear productive.

I have my doubts about the vertical lines and because the paper was only 90lb it started to tear with the weight of the paints and gesso. So I cut it up and sold it like pieces of cake.

Here is another cut off the old block which has since found a new home:

I think I sold another one as well and still have a couple more available. It might be an exercise worth repeating. It is a variation on selecting a favourite passage of a painting and developing another from it and also the size allows some big gestures even if a few of them aren’t very nice.

Other abstracts, including the last few Upsides of Down are available for sale on my website: grahammcquadefineart.com