LIGHTS OF THE FOREST – WATERCOLOUR PAINTING

A fellow painting blogger mentioned her drawer of shame for paintings that failed to meet expectations. I felt that the title was harsh but then thought she could mean: ‘shame, a few bits let it down – I’ll have another go later’ drawer . This latter title describes a pile of paintings that I have. They just need tweaking to get to the conclusion I would be more comfortable with.

A version of the painting above – of a summery Ainsdale woods, the same place I did a mini series of paintings recently – was on that pile. I liked the contrast of lights and shade in the first version, but too much of it was variations of green. So the other day I picked it up and had another go. This time I accentuated the colours: greens, blues and purples in the shadows and a real hit of red on the path. Just taking the scene and pushing it a little further.

There may be a little more to be done. I have, so far, resisted putting texture on the path as there is loads of texture and busyness everywhere else and I am wondering whether to further darken the shaded areas at the sides, but am wary about losing the gentle purples and blues. So this may be the finished version.

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

PATH AMONGST THE BIRCHES – ACRYLIC PAINTING

You would be almost correct if you thought you’d seen this before. It is another version of a watercolour I posted earlier in the month. This time I put it on a 76×50 cm canvas and used acrylics. I pushed back the thicket on the right, compressing the trunks and focussed more on the shadows they created on the path – adding a few more for good measure. Hopefully I’ve created a bit more energy on this one and it more accurately reflects the feeling I had cycling through our local woods in Ainsdale on that recent sunny Saturday.

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

A SHADY COPSE IN AINSDALE WOODS – WATERCOLOUR PAINTING

Here is the third of the paintings from my recent afternoon’s cycle trip. This one is from the start: as you exit a small copse onto a long open path that runs alongside the woods – before entering the main body of the forest. Again, the glow of the birches is evident, tempered by a canopy still provided by, mainly, sycamores.

I painted this in a direct style, a different approach than I normally use in watercolour. It was more like one I use in acrylic painting, where I build up blocks of colour. In this case, with watercolour, I worked light to dark. After enough applications you get a wonderful muddle of woodland foliage and the contrast of the light and shade lifts it that bit further.

Hopefully, it encapsulates a sunny autumn day.

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

SUNLIT BIRCHES BY THE FOREST PATH – PASTEL PAINTING

I mentioned in my previous post about a cycleride in the afternoon sun, last Saturday. Here is another in the small series of paintings from that trip. This one’s a pastel. The low afternoon sun pierces through gaps in the forest, picking out skeletal birch trees, which hang there, like automatons on a ghost train ride, scaring no one.

A fellow blogger, N, from Ink,Yarn and Beer told me to look at the pastel work of Karen Margulis. In one utube video she used a wet brush to spread and mix the pastel across her support. When I’ve done this the paper cockles, making further work difficult. But recently I have been using gouache as a base for dark areas in my pastels and havent had any issues. So, for the forest background, I dragged down purples, siennas and browns with a wet brush to create a backdrop, using Karen’s approach. I also did it in the sky. With the amount of water kept to a minimum it seemed to work. When the sky and backforest was dry, I went in with the foreground trees, grasses and the leaf covered path.

It is a dark piece and I am a little undecided about it, particularly its commercial potential, but I’ll put it up and see how I feel about it in the coming days. I have another watercolour on the go from this trip and am thinking of making the previous painting of the birch copse with shadows, into a bigger acrylic piece.

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

AFTERNOON AMID THE BIRCHES – WATERCOLOUR PAINTING

We have been having some unseasonably warm weather of late and last Saturday the sun came out as well. I almost gathered the paints together to grasp the last opportunity, this year, to do some open air painting – almost ( I dont mind the cold – I just lack the temprement to wait for paint to dry) Besides, it was well into the afternoon, so, instead, I grabbed the camera and cycled off to the local woods at Ainsdale, which back onto the dunes and shoreline,

At this time of the year, with bright sunlight, the birches glow yellow and gold, almost like lightbulbs against the dark foliage of the firs behind. I then came across this copse of birches that pressed the footpath, before it opened out onto a clearing. The shadows cast by the trees, like fingers of darkness tugging at the remnants of the day.

I had to paint it and I thought I might try a small series of paintings from my ride that afternoon – so there may be more coming.

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

ROSEBAY WILLOWHERB IN AUGUST – WATERCOLOUR PAINTING

Walking through a clearing in my local woods last August I spotted the downy seed heads of the rosebay willowherb about to shed their harvest into the wind. It seemed a good subject with the remaining magenta flowers and reddish stalks set against the blue greens of the pinewoods and the yellower greens of the open scrubland. Here is the result.

You know, when midway through a painting, progress starts to slow and the enthusiasm edges towards the door, that perhaps it wasnt such a good idea, or a different approach might be advised. Actually, the reduced resolution of this photo has softened its pedantic plod and made it a bit less jarring to my eyes.

But then, I know the truth – it’s in front of me. We move on…

Other floral painting is 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

SUN SPRINKLED CLEARING IN AINSDALE WOODS – WATERCOLOUR PAINTING

A familiar scene in my local woods which run behind the beach. Instead of pushing the tonal range, as I normally do, I wasn’t as aggressive with the darks, particularly the background. I also restricted the palette to a violet/yellow scheme and nearly succeeded, before dropping in muted reds to further enliven the foreground.

I did this painting sitting in our pop-up gallery in the arcade last Friday. The shopping arcade now has few operating shops and footfall is low. I wonder how long we will have the opportunity to exhibit here. We sold a few cards and , I’m glad to say, one painting, though not one of mine. I was also in another exhibition as well, last weekend, but sold nothing. It dampens your enthusiasm when you see little return from your efforts.

Last Sunday was the final day for our exhibition in the arcade, but suddenly the group who were due to take over from us have apparently found greener pastures, in the local art gallery. I’m not sure if they are that green as I am about to retrieve two paintings from this gallery which have done nothing for the past couple of months. I will be collecting them on Monday – presumably to make way for this group. So the upshot is, we can remain in our venue until Christmas which means I will be sitting painting in the gallery for a while longer.

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

SUMMER IN AINSDALE WOODS – WATERCOLOUR PAINTING

I continued my search for a woodland scene for an upcoming exhibition and painted this yesterday. I will probably submit this painting rather than the one I posted on my last post. Both are from the same woods.

You can see the path disappearing right, down what becomes a sharp hill, which quickly bottoms out and then rises sharply again. Great for cycling down until you meet another cyclist coming the other way doing the same thing – trying to get enough speed to get up the hill in front.

Fortunately on that day I didnt meet anyone coming the other way.

Anyway, I have now submitted my exhibition entry form, so that’s one less job. We start another exhibition in town on Sunday, so I need to label up another set of paintings.

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

FOREST GLIMPSES – WATERCOLOUR PAINTING

I think I mentioned that I have a couple of exhibitions coming up. So apart from painting, I have been assembling paintings in readiness. Gathering the paintings together, I felt I needed another local forest scene and a beach scene to give me a good spread of subjects. Here is one forest scene I did this week.

But despite the loose splattering and layers of masking fluid, I felt that the painting lacks the punch I was after. I feel it needs more colour even though I injected more colour than is in the reference. I was also hoping the large tonal range would galvanise it but, for me, it isnt enough.

Fortunately I have time. I just need to produce a list for next week, so at the very worse, I can put down a generic title and keep my nose to the easelstone.

I dont regard these problems as a waste of time. It is a learning opportunity – even if it can get half forgotten in the months ahead. It is also good practise – something you can never get enough of.

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