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

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

THE VIEW FROM THE FORMBY DUNES – ACRYLIC PAINTING

I managed to sell a few paintings at an exhibition I held at my framers after Christmas. All of them were beach scenes. So, I just completed another view of the Formby beach from my visit last summer.

I like the remnants of the fences that stand forlornly in the shifting sands. I often wonder what purpose they served as they pop up in all sorts of strange places.

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

BACK TO THE BEACH – PASTEL PAINTING

This morning I am taking some paintings into the pop-up gallery for my first collaborative exhibition in the run up to Christmas. This one will run for a month and I will have to do one day a week manning the shop and hoping for some healthy sales.

So now on to the second exhibition, in November. I have already sent in my list for the catalogue, but not all the paintings had been completed. This one above is the last of the eight I will be submitting. I felt I needed a local beach scene: similar to the one I am putting in today. I must admit I prefer that one, but what one person likes, another doesnt. Again it is of Formby beach, a popular destination in this area.

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

SKETCHES FROM PORTUGAL 2 – WATERCOLOURS

We have reached the end of our walks, arriving in Sagres in the Algarve yesterday – although it isnt over for us as tomorrow we visit friends near Faro for another few days. Sagres is a fishing port in southern Portugal and here are a couple of old boats sunning themselves in their retirement.

On the way to Sagres we walked along many clifftops and beaches and you keep taking photos as each place seems stunning at the time. In the end realise you have too many views of cliffs and beaches. So here is a painting of some cliffs instead.

Then, after a few miles of cliff you hit a beach and a small settlement and hundreds of surfers looking for the perfect wave. From a distance, and in their wet-suits, they look like the tadpoles that populate my pond in the spring.

And finally, yet another beach nestling amongst the cliffs. The others had gone for ice cream whilst I stayed to paint the scene for you.

There may be more sketches before we return. I have plenty of paper left.

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

SKETCHES FROM PORTUGAL – WATERCOLOURS

We have decamped to Portugal for a few days of walking down the coast of Alentejo and the Algarve coastlines in the south of the country. So, in hindsight, it was bad planning of me to follow up some local beach scenes with more from Portugal – maybe I was getting excited about having a holiday at last.

We started at Vila Nova de Milfontes on the mouth of the river Miro. A really lovely old, small town. The above sketch is of the beach and cliffs on the way from Milfontes, south to Almograve as we walked along the fisherman’s path on the top of the cliffs. We sat on the beach to eat lunch and I did this sketch in between bites of my sandwich.

This is the pontoon at the foot of our hotel at Milfontes. The sea is in the background with the pontoon on the river. Shoals of mullet were frothing the water and in the distance is a small headland at the river’s mouth. The river water is calm in comparison to the Atlantic breakers at the head of the river.

I did this quick sketch of Cabo Sardao Lighthouse sat in the dugout on the football pitch which was adjacent to the lighthouse. I had about 30 minutes to do it as our tour guides organised the transport to get us back from the day’s walk.

The lighthouse is famously built backwards with the living quarters opening out into the prevailing winds and the light at the back

As we headed south the cliffs got higher and were made of Schist which had broken up in planes to give great light and shadow areas. This was a painting I started on a lunch break which for no apparent reason got curtailed. Hence a lack of much detail. Though it was a good practice piece to explore the rock textures.

So I am about to go out again for a walk on my own, so there may be some more sketches – you lucky people,

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

A GLIMPSE OF THE SEA – PASTEL PAINTING

Well, I did warn you that I had gathered a lot of information on my last trip to Formby Beach. So here is another painting inspired by that visit. This one is fully illuminated by the sun, instead of looking into the light. Again, a glimpse of the sea breaking on the mud and sand in the distance and the sad remains of the old fence being devoured by the receding dunes. The sea is gobbling up the land here and I suppose it will get worse as sea levels rise. At the same time the sand gets pushed further inland.

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

AFTERNOON ON FORMBY BEACH – PASTEL PAINTING

I went down to Formby beach to get some visual information to enable me to complete a painting which I posted a week ago. I also gathered some more possible material for other paintings. The afternoon was well advanced and the low sun put the seed heads of the marram grass into silhouette. On this painting I was conscious of too many dark areas, because the bright light put a lot of the ravine into shade. Certainly, some shade was useful to counter change with the seed heads, but too much could make the whole thing very moody. So, to reduce this shade, I exaggerated the light filtering through the grasses.

I think the simple painting captures the feeling of place and time well.

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

FRESHFIELD BEACH – PASTEL PAINTING

A friend was trying to contact me and went to my website to get my phone number and saw an image of the beach where she walks regularly. I had sold the one she spotted and she asked me to do another for her and this is the version I painted. Perhaps long time viewers recognise the view as I posted the first one a while ago.

I went down to the beach last week to see what the scene looks like now, but they have put a bigger fence on the left, so with her agreement I left it out. I like the spikey, old broken-down fence, particularly where it stands out against the sand below.

Anyway, whilst I was on the beach I took a few photos, so brace yourself for a set of beach scenes. I need some views for upcoming exhibitions that start to blossom prior Christmas and the beach at Formby is always popular.

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