AFTERNOON AT FORMBY POINT – PASTEL PAINTING

This was the last of a series I recently painted of our local coastline. They have familiar themes to others I have painted. In this one I liked the shadows cast by the nearest clump of marram grass and the distant beach as it drifts away into infinity. It is an expansive area of sand where, in some areas, you barely see a soul as you walk beneath the towering dunes.

This set of paintings gives me some choice when I come to select paintings for the exhibitions which are fast approaching.

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

INCOMING TIDE – MIXED MEDIA

Last month I published a set of sketches for a watercolour and pastel beach scene. I combined aspects of two of them to produce this on a half imperial sheet – 35x52cm. I will display it in a group exhibition we are staging in the Southport Wayfarers Arcade from the end of November until Christmas. So book yourself a flight to bag a bargain at our pop-up exhibition before someone else grabs them. Alternatively I can post it to you.

Other seaside and beach scenes can be purchased on my website: grahammcquadefineart.com

BACK TO THE BEACH – PASTEL PAINTING

With this painting I’m staying with the pastels and riffing on a familiar theme in preparation for upcoming exhibitions. I was pleased with the colours I got into this familiar view of the beach at Formby – simple pleasures, but I’m a simple man. I had to include some old fencing as I was demonstrating a similar painting at a club in Blackpool on Thursday, so the practice helped. Tomorrow I will be running a pastel workshop. Hopefully, after that, things will quieten down and I’ll try to explore some other themes and media, though I do want to do a larger version of the mixed media offering of breaking waves I posted a week or so ago.

Today I am off to a life session run by an old mate of mine. He told me that he has got a great model, someone I havent seen since before covid. I just hope we can get some good lighting as well.

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

AUTUMN ON THE ALT ESTUARY – PASTEL PAINTING

I’ve painted this view before but had forgotten about it until I was preparing this blog.

With the sale of a coastal painting this week as well as preparing for a couple of exhibitions and doing a lot of pastel work, especially for the demos and workshops I’m running this month and next, I was looking around for likely subjects.

So I had a go at this, which is the estuary of a small river, the Alt, as it empties out into the bigger Mersey Estuary at the north end of Liverpool. In the summer, the channel, close to the dunes, is lined with moored yachts, but as the year dwindles towards its end they are brought ashore and placed in a compound.

This view is from the dunes looking over the Mersey towards the Wirral peninsular that can be just picked out in the haze. If you look hard there is a tanker making a break for the Irish sea.

The dark headland behind the marram grasses is made up of building rubble from the bombed out Liverpool, which was dumped there after the second world war. As you walk along the beach you can find carved fascias to old buildings amongst the sea smoothed bricks and concrete. Someone once told me that they found half of a tombstone there.

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

AFTER THE STORM – WATERCOLOUR PAINTING

Today I am doing the first of a run of workshops and demonstrations, that continue over the next month or so and consequently time is at a premium. So here is an old watercolour painting done in 2012 and sold soon after. It was based on a view I saw whilst on holiday in Cornwall. I was pleased with the way the cliffs and water worked, along with a sense of melancholy which adds to the painting.

Hopefully there wont be too much melancholia this afternoon.

Other seascapes and beach scenes are available for sale on my website: grahammcquadefineart.com

EARLY START – WATERCOLOUR PAINTING

I’m busy preparing workshops and planning demos as well as reworking a couple of acrylics so here is another blast from the past, circa 2010. I never sold this and dont know where it is now, though I was pleased with it at the time.

It is a view of a small natural harbour at Rotheneuf, just north of St Malo in Brittany, France. I used to go down there and do some painting in the morning, whilst on holiday. It was a glorious little place. After my painting session I would go to the boulangerie, get a couple of bagettes and return for breakfast – yep, life in the fast lane.

The sailors used to come down to the harbour and prepare their boats in readiness for the incoming tide and when their boat was afloat off they went. I did sell one painting of the harbour where the yachts were bobbing on a fuller tide, but there is a pathos to this one, augmented by the muted colours. I recall it being one of my large watercolours. It might be worth redoing as a smaller, quarter imperial version.

Other seaside paintings are available on my website: grahammcquadefineart.com

AT FORMBY POINT – PASTEL PAINTINGS

Another reworked image, this time of the beach at Formby, and the reason for this is that I am also preparing for a pastel workshop, along with some demos.

A lady, from a local art club had seen a beach pastel on my website and asked whether I could do that as a demo. Despite never having demonstrated pastel before, I accepted the booking. I wouldnt even call myself a pastelist. I just started using them in life sessions. I found you get form and colour down very quickly with pastels. From there I used them in my landscapes.

However, I use a different style with life work than with landscapes and seascapes. With the latter I blend a lot, probably because I am working flatter, rather than on an easel in a life session.

After that surprise booking, I received two more requests for pastel demos and one for a pastel workshop. I dont know if there has been some culling of the pastel fraternity around here, leading to a lack of choice and then on to me, or maybe people just talk amongst themselves.

So I have been investigating possible subjects. I have settled for the one above. I did try a couple of others, one of them is below:

This is another old subject, done before in watercolours. I feel, though, that with watercolours, I got a much subtler finish and this was a reason why I am selecting the first one for the demos and workshop. The first demo is in October.

Also, by doing these trial pieces, I get a painting that I can put in to one of my upcoming exhibitions. A little icing on the cake.

Other beach scenes and seascapes are avilable for sale on my website: grahammcquadefineart.com

BLUE CALM – WATERCOLOUR PAINTING

Four colours were used on this imagined scene. A hot and cool red and a hot and cool blue. I could have got away with dropping the cool red, but I did need both of the blues to emphasise the recession. I liked the way a yellow seems to emerge between the second and third hills (from the left) .

It has a Lake District feel, but it is all pretty much made up. I wanted a calming and simple image and hopefully I got one.

Other landscapes, some of the Lake District, are available for sale on my website: grahammcquadefineart.com

A STORM BREAKS OVER BIRKDALE BEACH – PASTEL PAINTING

I am working on a small series of local beach scenes in pastel. It gives me an opportunity to try out the use of gouache to quickly block in masses of light and shade. Darker passages can take a lot of pastel to build up and painting in a mixture of colours that can be added to with pastel seems to give a fresher result. I have done it with acrylic before, but I felt gouache will retain a better tooth to the paper.

On the beach, the marram grass covered dunes give way to lonely wet sands stretching way out to the breaking waves, almost imperceptible, in the distance. Above, dark clouds gather across the Irish sea in readiness to sweep in eastwards, lashing the country with the moisture picked up when crossing the Atlantic.

It is a good place to walk, in waterproof boots, on a windswept days past wading birds, to view what flotsam the preceding tide has deposited on the wet sand. Broken branches, like reaching limbs, festooned with flags of algae and black jewels of coal scoured from the Welsh coast dot the sand like pebbles.

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

FORMBY POINT – PASTEL PAINTING

Another view of the local beach at Formby, quickly done, with it’s wide expanses of sand and retreating sand dunes. It recalls summer days by the seaside and time squandered in the warm sunshine.

Summer’s on its way, though we may have to wait a while longer.

Other seaside and beach paintings are available on my website: grahammcquadefineart.com