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

MORNING POPPIES – ACRYLIC PAINTING

A merry Christmas to all.

I was in the pop up gallery yesterday, manning our final day. It was a bit busier than my previous stints, but I managed to paint this between selling and wrapping up paintings.

When we got an unexpected extra month for our exhibition in the shop, I was very enthusiastic, but my sales seem to have dropped off a cliff edge in the run up to Christmas. Up until November they had been trickling out quite well and I thought the final month, with three exhibitions, might even yield an increase in sales; how wrong I was.

So the year ends on a low. Still, I love the act of painting and without having the above painting to occupy my time yesterday, standing alone in the gallery would have been a real chore. Even though I didnt sell any of my paintings, I did sell some paintings of others and the fact that I came home with this, made the day worthwhile.

So if you fancy a painting, try my website. There are plenty still available: 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

FISHERMAN’S TALE – ACRYLIC PAINTING

Maybe it’s the time of year; approaching winter solstice, summer so far away. I spotted some old photos of balmy days in France. Enjoying a drink, chewing the fat and watching the world go by. This was the combination of a cafe and town scene.

It took me a while to knit together. I took an outline sketch with me to the pop up gallery on Friday and with only 22 visitors was glad of the puzzle to occupy my day. I only finished it this morning, on Sunday. It’s highly probable I may make further changes, but at this moment I am happy with it. I hope it brings you all a spot of warmth and anticipation at this time of year and as it a confection of images, it truly is a Fisherman’s Tale.

Other urban scenes and townscapes are available for sale on my website: grahammcquadefinearts.com

BLOWING UP A STORM, REVISITED – ACRYLIC PAINTING

This is another version of a painting I posted earlier in the year. I felt that painting was too well defined for the subject and the range of colours too distracting and gaudy. I liked the concept and the array of figures, I just needed to present it differently.

So I painted this rougher version, restraining the colours and giving it the air of an exuberant jam session which is what I am trying to portray. I may have gone too far, but I’ll give it a road test at our pop-up exhibition today and see what the punters think – if anything.

Next week I am putting some local scenes, as a theme, into the window of my framer, so I need to pull back my local scenes from the pop-up and gather them for the framer’s show. This means that I will be trying out a range of styles and subjects at the pop-up. After a promising start there, things have gone a bit flat so perhaps a shake up is needed.

Get a painting for christmas – visit my website for a great choice of subjects at keen prices: click on: grahammcquadefineart.com. Go on, treat yourself!

DEJA VU IN THE LIFEROOM – MIXED MEDIA

On Saturday I attended one of my, now rare, life sessions. I did the above painting in acrylic. I wasnt firing on all cylinders having had little sleep the night before. My sleep badly disturbed by the effects of two glasses of wine – and they werent big ones at that. Another of the displeasures of getting old.

Roy, who runs the session – mainly for pupils of his – announced the day before that we were going to have two models. My heart sank. I think this format rarely works, especially when you have quite tight posing times.

So I started the session with these pencil sketches. They were all I could manage in the 12 minutes allowed for each pose. The hurry in their completion didnt help my jangling, sleep deprived nerves and set me in the opposite direction to the calm meditative state I need to to paint and draw.

The acrylic painting at the top was done after the pencil sketches, in a longer session before lunch. The fellah, Ian, disappeared and started doing some drawing himself. The reason for him posing was never explained and we were left with Emma, which was a small step in the right direction.

After lunch I decided to stick with acrylics and found myself struggling, despite the almost identical pose. Perhaps my tiredness was getting the upperhand. The pose was set purportedly to allow some of the group to try their hand at portraits.

I asked Roy to get Emma to twist a little, but, later, looking back over the poses I realised she is sat in almost the same way for all of the poses – even her legs are set identically.

Well, it was a bit of practice and having a time limit does force you into working differently and focuses your mind , though on Saturday most of my mind had taken the day off.

Other figurative work is available for sale on my website: grahammcquadefineart.com

A VISIT TO THE LIFE ROOM – ACRYLIC/PENCIL/PASTEL

Yesterday I went to a life session organised by a friend of mine. He runs it once a month. Despite the stiff poses it was good practice to work under a time constraint and here I managed to get around behind the model to catch him dozing off and paint this in acrylics.

The early poses had some life in them and got me back into the swing of things. Another weekly life session started up when I was on holiday the other week, but they decided to fold after two meetings. Such a shame, I was looking forward to restarting with the group on my return. The only other sessions around here are in small, crowded venues and with the level of contagion we have at present I am reluctant to join them. So it is a self inflicted exile.

The stiff pose did me no favours on this pastel. In hindsight I should have opted for a more focussed image, but I perversely wanted to draw the full figure and it suffers because of it. Still, I suppose that is what these sessions are for – making mistakes and learning from them.

Still, it was good to get back to something that I did two or three times a week before covid, though the way things are, my next session wont be for another month.

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

MR AND MRS WYATT AND CAT – ACRYLIC PAINTING

I described recently a trip we had made to Portugal. At the end of it we visited an old university friend of mine who has retired to the Algarve. Well, he has retired there recently, but for twenty years his wife has lived in the villa. I started a painting of their house as a present for them, but the painting went a bit pear shaped and I said I’d do one on my return.

When I returned home I saw a photograph my wife had taken. I had done my first painting from below the house in what can be loosely described as the orchard, but my wife’s photo was taken from the pool deck and showed the place in a much better light. However, there were bits of furniture and a big metal cube covered in gauze where you could sit in the mosquito season by the pool. Some of these objects looked odd. So I decided to put Bob and Grace into the painting to conceal the gap I had created by these omitting the strange furniture.

The view had a Hockneyish, Californian, feel about it. So I thought that I would plonk a cat onto Grace’s lap to echo the painting of the Clarks by Hockney – they also own a cat. It got worse, I added some palm trees which I could see from the orchard and had included them in my first painting – though I think they are hidden behind the villa in this view.

So here we have the painting. I may tweak it a bit more before I show it to them. They already have a few paintings of mine which were on the walls when we visited, for the first time, so hopefully it might amuse them – even though it’s a bit more than the painting of their house I initially promised.

Other townscapes are available for purchase on my website: grahammcquadefineart.com

LAST MEN STANDING – ACRYLIC PAINTING

I did this painting just before I departed for Portugal at the end of September. It came from my visit to Formby Beach when I was collecting material for a commission and seeing what else was about.

I loved the wind-sculpted shapes of the trees, though they are in peril. The sea is encroaching and pushing the coast back and this small cluster of trees will soon be no longer. You can see the next line of the pine forest in the background.

I think there is mileage in making the trees starker and I was going to introduce some reds and other colours into the trunks and foliage, but for now exploring the shapes of the trees and their relationship to the landscape is enough.

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