Earlier this month I posted a painting from a recent walk. Here is another scene from that walk: the ramshackled boatyard on the banks of the River Douglas. This river flows into the River Ribble at its estuary, near Preston. Many of the boats in the yard are deposited alongside a footpath which runs at the side of the river. On the other side of the river are tall embankments and green fields. The site is rather incongruous in this rural setting and I have noticed that a growing number of people are living in boats or newly erected static caravans. No doubt there`ll be a shop and a village pub opening soon.
In the painting I wanted to show the cluttered boatyard against the open country, so the main boat occupies a space close to the centre of the painting. This design may upset some of the purists, but I wanted to present the two aspects of the site in a sort of split screen production, segregated by the tree. I placed a lead in of an upturned dinghy and cart, but hopefully I captured the flavour of the yard amid its surroundings.
Moving further south in Vietnam we arrived at Hoi An. There was quite a lot of charm about the place, but you still dont escape the crowds and hard sell. The town is situated on Bon river 4 Km from the coast. It is an old trading post with many influences and a number of old houses.
We walked through the very busy market, where fish and squid were being landed off boats and chickens were being taken away for the pot and walked along to the old French Quarter by the waterside. Here pleasure boats and fishing boats were moored and for once there were very few people. A great place to paint.
In the afternoon, after sitting in a cafe and watching a monk come in and scrounge some cornettos for him and his mates we crossed the river and I sat on a shaded bench and painted the waterfront. Mid way through an old woman came by. It was obvious I had taken her favourite siesta spot, but I wasnt moving, so she made do with an adjacent bench.
One of the limestone stacks just off the beach at Krabi, Thailand. This was painted from a beach in a national park where some of the rules on the sign as you entered were: no food and dont feed the monkeys. How could you feed the monkeys if you weren’t allowed food?
When we got to the beach there were some exclusive hotels – but you couldnt get anything to eat as they firmly said Guests Only. So I just sat on the beach and contemplated the view. It was pretty good and there there was even a long tailed boat in view.
On another day we went on an island hopping boat trip to some exclusive beaches – though they weren’t that exclusive as everyone else was doing the same. So we had small pockets of sand overrun with tourists like us, wondering why they had come. Outside our hotel there was a vast sandy beach with hardly anyone on at all – oh well… .
The second sketch was done whilst we jostled for space on Paradise island, named possibly as it was one of the few islands with a toilet.
Every time I look at this I end up adding a bit more, so it may move on a little before I exhibit it – but that’s enough for now. I wanted to get the feel of the wear and decay that I experienced when exploring the city. It uses images I have painted and posted before, as well as new ones.
I was thinking about entering the marine artists exhibition in London. I had a couple of suitable paintings but wanted something a little different so that I could judge what it is that they are looking for a bit better and worked up this idea. Now that it’s complete I’m a little underwhelmed by it. I have got tighter than I would have liked. I’ll prop it against the wall and have a look at it over the next week or so and make my mind up. I have used motifs that I have used as subjects before, in case you are wondering whether you’ve already seen it.
I was taken by the image of the three sunlit boats against the shade of the harbour wall, but despite mixing colours on the paper the harbour wall has come out rather dead and there is a lot of it. Well, I thought that it was a good idea at the time.
I had a number of photos of boats in the small harbour at La Val Andre in Brittany and wondered how they would look in an elongated format. I was taken by the two red boats (off different photos) against the grey green of the water.
The area here, to the north of Southport, is very flat and subjects can be hard to come by. Even so I went out on my bike one morning and did some on site painting and took a number of photos. This painting was from one of the photos. I need to get a collection of local paintings together for a couple of up-coming exhibitions, so all other projects have been put on hold.
Last September I went out painting on one of the few bright evenings we had in late summer/autumn. I sat myself down near some old farm buildings surrounded by trees and started to draw and then paint. I hadn’t counted on the sun disappearing behind the trees so quickly ( very different to when I was out in June). The interesting assortment of buildings in light and shade quickly merged into a dark mass in deep shadow. So I packed up and, as the sun was still hovering over the horizon, decided to call in to the Mersey estuary where the local river, the Alt, merges into it. There are a many boats moored right along the estuary, all the way out to the Mersey. When I got there the tide was out and the sun cast everything in an orange glow. The river carves its way through the mudflats to the Mersey and the sun created intriguing patterns on the mud, reflecting off the wet mud and being absorbed by the drier areas. The scene was changing too fast to paint so I took a load of photos and painted it later on a half imperial sheet. I wasn’t happy with the result and had another go on a smaller quarter imperial sheet. I am happier with this. There isn’t much to the scene and probably too many darks, but I think I’ve got the feeling of the place as the sun disappears over the Atlantic.
As I’ve said before I love painting contra-jour – just four colours used on this one which bestows cohesion and prevents me struggling around with detail that inevitably kills the image. And with it a whiff of summer on this cold, windswept January day – well, that makes me feel just a bit better.