BLOWING UP A STORM – ACRYLIC PAINTING

Regulars with a good memory might recall other, earlier versions of this. One of those versions has been propped on the wall of the studio, taunting me to do better. Hopefully with this I may have, but is it good enough? Another studio residency will no doubt tell me.

I tackled this with a palette knife to try and impart some of the energy I felt was lacking in earlier versions. I also rearranged the players, particularly the pianist and bassist and tried to keep the colour range tighter. Other than that, the theme remains the same: a theme I like. I might even try a companion piece, but first I have a couple of commissions to do which may take a while.

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

FRANK LLOYD WRIGHT – ACRYLIC SKETCHES

Well, after the communication breakdown with my commission clients, contact was restored when I learnt that they had come back from holiday and were ready to proceed. The painting above was the second one they liked ( I posted their other preferred painting earlier). I feel that this one could be developed further, but I am not sure how far they want to venture into the descriptive. I have asked for a second meet to look at their preferred options and ways I can further develop them.

This second one was another sketch I submitted. I feel that there are aspects in all the sketches which could be brought into the final pieces, hopefully making them stronger. Anyway, they have promised a deposit today and I will move ahead and purchase the canvases, as they are bigger than my usual ones and they didnt want me to make them, which was a pity, as I have plenty of unstretched canvas and wood to make the stretchers.

Other abstracts are available on my website: grahammcquadefineart.com

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

THE GAMEKEEPER’S COTTAGES ON ALTCAR LANE -ACRYLIC PAINTING

Tomorrow I am back in the pop-up gallery to do my weekly stint. Last Friday, when I was there, I did this acrylic version of a watercolour I had previously painted on site. The gamekeepers cottages are over to the left, in case you were wondering. I remember sitting by the roadside, last year, absorbed in my painting when a lady from one of the nearby cottages came out and asked whether I wanted a cup of tea – very nice. Though, I always take some tea with me on these early morning painting trips. It helps me settle down and concentrate better.

I was hoping that the greater colour saturation of the acrylic would bring something to the party and I suppose it has, though the depiction of the cereal is a bit clunky and that was something I had hoped would have come out better with the acrylics.

Still, it productively passed the time. Now I have to find a suitable subject to paint tomorrow, particularly as it will be less busy than last Easter weekend.

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

THE CLAYTON PLACE FRUIT STALL – ACRYLIC PAINTING

Another in the style of Colin Brown, the same style used in the painting I recently posted : Waiting to Cross the Strand. Except that it isnt in that style. It certainly started that way, but my good intentions were quickly usurped by my own usual methods and this is the outcome. I think it was the detail that forced me to get tighter.

Though it’s not to say I am unhappy with the result. I rather like it and it has some things going for it that please me.

The subject is, as you can see, the fruit stall. This comes into view when you exit the main entrance from Central Station in Liverpool. Central Station is the hub of the city’s rapid transport system, not he mainline station. The stall is in a bit of a down at heel alley that links to a new shopping precinct. When the sun shines on it, though, the stall seems to glow and this is what I have captured here.

It is also a welcome addition to my Liverpool Series.

Other Liverpool scenes are available on my website: grahammcquadefineart.com

EXHIBITION SUBMISSIONS – W/C and ACRYLIC

Tomorrow I will take three paintings of local scenes to an upcoming exhibition at Southport’s art gallery, The Atkinson. The first one is a new version of a watercolour I presented before, but I have dropped the horizon line and cut out some of the foreground after Multiplemichael – in my opinion, rightly pointed out that there was too much unnecessary foreground in the original. I also increased the foreground puddle on this version of Flooded Fields at Lathom.

This second one is an acrylic painting of Formby Beach, again, one I have previously shown. The third, is a smaller watercolour: Sunset on Lord Street, again, one I have shown before.

It is a juried show and was a good hunting ground for me in the past, but the gallery authorities have meddled with the format. It was originally run by a small group of artists as a totally juried show. Now the gallery authorities have insisted on it becoming inclusive (because they get a grant towards it, if it is in that format). Now we have a hybrid: anything goes, along with the juried show I am entering. There’s a subsequent lack of ownership resulting in poor advertising which is vital in these days of austerity and having to sail against a difficult financial headwind.

If nothing sells – assuming I get them in – it might be my last appearance, particularly as the submission price has increased ( probably because they werent making as much in sales as they once did)

When this exhibition is running we will be opening another exhibition almost opposite on Lord Street, organised by a local artist. Consequentially, I will be having two bites of the cherry, but even so, sales may be hard to come by.

Paintings are for sale on my website: grahammcquadefineart.com

WAITING TO CROSS THE STRAND 2 – ACRYLIC PAINTING

I read an article by the artist, Colin Brown, detailing his approach to cityscapes. I thought that it could help energise my own work. As with many such demonstrations, there were aspects that I didn’t like, but his starting point seemed interesting. I suppose I had unconsciously used a similar approach in my life painting, but Brown provided a coherent structure that I felt was worth investigating.

So here is my first attempt, applying some of his methodology. The subject is the Strand on the Liverpool waterfront. Here you need to cross this very busy road to get from the city centre to the old dock buildings which have now been converted to shops, restaurants, apartments, arenas, art galleries and museums.

I wanted to contrast the people waiting at the crossing to the heavy traffic and the business of the early evening activities going on around and of course reference part of the Liver Building.

I originally did a version in pastel and it got used in a book on Liverpool, published a few years ago.

But despite being published the painting never sold. So this time I changed the angle and featured the highrise, which is supposed to reflect an ocean liner, and also pushed more colour into the piece.

As I’ve said many times before – you can but try.

Other townscapes and paintings of Liverpool are available on my website: grahammcquadefineart.com

BRIDALVEIL FALLS, YOSEMITE VALLEY – ACRYLIC PAINTING

A friend asked me to do a commission for their newly decorated room. It was a memory from one of their holidays. The photos were into the sun with high contrast and little colour. I must admit to liking the high contrasts, but felt it needed some colour, so I introduced purples and blues into the rocks and added some foreground foliage with complementary ochres to break up the mass of the cliff-face.

An added difficulty for me was the size, smaller than I’m used to, and this hampered me somewhat. Anyway, they are happy with it and I’m taking them to my framers to get the right frame and mount.

I had been to Yosemite myself, but didnt recognise the falls. Then, going over my old photos from 1983 there it was, I just didnt manage to get such a good vantage point.

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

AUTUMN COMES TO AINSDALE WOODS – ACRYLIC PAINTING

After the holiday, back to earth with a bump – particularly yesterday, when I had some pretty aggressive dental treatment. But this blog is about painting, not my teeth, so here is a painting of the local woods which back onto the sandy beaches around here.

The woods are predominantly made up of conifers, but there are gaps where spruce makes a grab for the sunlight. Then, in the autumn these gaggles of spruce light up the forest with their colourful, leafy displays. I’ve painted this type of scene before and here, without apology, is the start of a wooded section just behind our local airfield.

Coming out of the shade of a copse, the light on the trees and their trunks ahead, grabbed my attention and the puddles on the path was an added extra.

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