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

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

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