A view of Liverpool city towards the Mersey with the tall commercial buildings blocking out the bright sunlight until the sun’s persistence starts to break through and tear open the gloom. On the right, towering above the street, is the Liver Building with its clock tower and the Liver Birds balanced on the cupolas above.
I think I had just come out of a life drawing session and crossed the road to spot this. The life drawing group had been forced to move here from a decrepit but lovely light building to one on the right, There wasnt much natural light on the model down at the bottom of this valley and added to that the room was smaller.
This is part of the Albert Dock complex on the Liverpool waterfront with the Anglican Cathedral – a subject of an earlier blog – glowering in the background. The pumphouse is now a pub but was built to power the hydraulic cranes used for loading and unloading the ships. It may also have powered the refrigerated facilities at the dock.
The question was whether to include the chimney or not. Including it constrains the painting and reduces the detail. As it has a rather quirky shape I decided to include it all and pay the price. The images I used were into the sun and I tried to vary the colours, mixing on the paper, but as I built up the perspective tonally, the mixes homogenised.
I have shown versions of this before and here is the latest manifestation following more changes. This time I thought that the figure on the left needed improvement and I made it in the likeness of Duncan Ferguson a key player for Everton which is represented by the blue. This counters the right side with the Liverpool hero Steven – so establishing some symmetry and evening up the accolades for this football obsessed city.
I admit that not a great deal has changed since the last time but with my daughter up from London for a few days I didnt get much painting done and this was all I could fit in – so take a slice of Liverpool.
All day long trains of barges carrying the city’s rubbish (I’ve been told) are towed down the main river, seaward. The barges are low in the water as they depart the city ( see a train of them below the reflection of the tall building) and then they return. bouyant, like corks. I must find out where it all goes to.
On to Cambodia and our first port of call was the capital Phnom Penh. It is a war torn country, getting back on its feet and the city has the old markets side by side with the new brash buildings. I did this very fast into the light, but hopefully it captures the flavour of the city.
The day before we entered Cambodia we spent a very pleasant day on the Mekong delta in Vietnam, sampling the transport and food. We had lunch in a riverside cafe on one of the many forested islands. After the meal there was time for a siesta – but art never sleeps and I had just enough time for this quick sketch before we were whisked back to Ho Chi Minh City.
The repeat season continues with this offering. I posted a sketch of this before Christmas and now a more considered attempt. At least I got the buildings upright this time and achieved the smokiness you see in this contra-jour view. This is the waterfront at Liverpool and The Liver Building casts a shadow over the procedings.
The sun shone brightly when I emerged from a Saturday life session and I decided to have a look around and take a few photos before boarding the train home. In front of the Liver building the light came from the direction of the Mersey. I decided to do this sketch from a few of the photos, getting a view down The Strand with people crossing the road.
In hindsight I could put more detail and colour into the people in the road and have the person walking away, coming at the viewer, maybe with a companion instead. Then, if I manage to get the buildings upright and get rid of the orangutan scaling the ventilation shaft on the right, maybe we’re in business.
Returning to the station from a life painting session I was struck by the reflections on the pavement and took a few photos. The street has some interesting buildings, but the light never seems to be in the right position to bring out their beauty. So I guess this as near as I get to something I find satisfying.
I also had another go at the pastel I posted a week or ago, entitled ‘Crossing the Strand’ – another snapshot of Liverpool. I agreed with a reader’s criticism that the figures seemed to form a queue across the picture, so have bunched them up a bit and spread the rest out. I did it on a lighter paper which meant I had to fight to get the feel of the early evening gloom.
I was doing another painting of our local beach but things got out of control and I washed off what I had done with the intention of starting again, but when I got the paper dry again my heart had gone out of the project and as it was a piece of reclaimed paper I thought that I would try out an idea I had been carrying around in my head.
I am quite happy with the result and though a few of the panels could be improved I think that there is scope for further development and I might even be able to create a small series on the idea. Anyway, I’ll post any further work here.
I was walking down Mathew Street in Liverpool the day after St Patrick’s day. A feeling of quiet reflection in the air. I liked the breaks of light and dark down the street where the Cavern Club, a place the Beatles used to play, was ( there still is a Cavern Club on the site of the old one)