STRIDING ALONG DENDRITES AND LEAPING SYNAPSES – ABSTRACT ACRYLIC PAINTINGS

I’m continuing my imaginary travels, but this renegade slipped out: I hankered after some brash colour; that’s my excuse.

To curb these impulses, and get back to the theme outlined in my earlier blog, about our reactions to unfamiliar and new places, I added dashes of green and, naturally, called it Green Spaces. Tenuous; agreed, but look at the COLOUR.

So on the green theme, this one slipped out by accident. I imagined forests; greened light piercing the dark and glimpses of sky.

By slipping out I mean this is a repurposed old painting. The above started out as a pastoral scene I posted in a 2019 blog.

I brushed and scraped some colours over this painting, mainly to obscure the figures and hide any of the representational and left it overnight. I came back the next morning to start on it, turned it about and decided it didnt need much extra doing to it: so I didnt.

Finally, back to my imagined travel theme. I did this, Strange Town, deliberately and conscientiously following my self imposed brief.

But I must admit I prefer the first two.

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

WANDERING MIND – ACRYLIC PAINTING

I mentioned in an earlier post that I was playing around with more abstract pieces on the subject of travel. I was influenced by the confusion and bemusement of newly arriving in strange and exciting places; how everything can be a noisy muddle of shapes and movement. So here are a few paintings of my mind’s wanderings – some more representational than others.

This was influenced by my visit to Marrakesh some years ago.

This is where it starts to get more representational, with an estuarine feel, but it was driven by the way I applied the paint and then removed it with a palette knife. I made a dark mix from a orange red and blue green, but only partially completed the mix before applying the paint onto pre-prepared paper. Once applied I started to remove some of it in a variety of ways.

I finally arrived closer to home with a similar approach to the estuarine one above with an image shaped by the beach at Southport, where I live.

There are other paintings, but I wont bore you further: I’m still searching. Though I may have discovered a few possibilities with the above and my sketchbook has many other snippets.

Other abstracts and landscapes are available on my website: grahammcquadefineart.com

EDGE – ACRYLIC PAINTING

Recently I have been experimenting with imagined landscapes and abstracts developed from my experience of landscape. Here is one of the latter. For me it has the feeling of emerging into a new space, as if I’m, perhaps, on the edge of an adventure or an escape.

This painting developed in a piecemeal way. It started with an earlier painting where I was looking at the feelings associated with travel and approach.

But this painting looked a bit disjointed to me and with all the scraping and layering was getting a bit muddy. So I did the old tried and tested trick of looking at small areas for anything interesting and food for my imagination.

Here are two areas which intrigued me. Not only that, the images I took, and display here, look better than the actual painting. Perhaps it is because the colours don’t appear as muddy and there’s better contrast. As a consequence, I used the photo on the right to develop a bigger painting.

Arriving at the above, I felt I had overdeveloped the central motifs. They now looked too much like trees and pulled the painting in a representational direction. I also felt that other areas were too dull and wanted the colours to sing out more. That was how I arrived at the final painting. Is it the end? I dont know, but I’ll pause there and leave it to rest whilst I try other things.

Abstracts are available for sale on my website: grahammcquadefineart.com

GRANITE GARDEN – ACRYLIC PAINTING

I’ve had this painting a while, but I could not get a decent photo of it. Amongst other discrepancies, all the greens turned blue on the images I took, no matter what setting I tried. It was only by tricking the camera that I got something that resembled the actual painting. And, well, it’s a bit of a Pollock, but at the moment I am playing around, and this is one of a series of experiments.

Abstract paintings quite often give me problems when I try to photograph them, whereas, I dont have as many such issues with representational paintings.

I will show other examples of these problems in subsequent posts. Sometimes they actually help you – which they did on a painting I’m currently working on. Hopefully that will be ready for next time.

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

CREEP – ACRYLIC PAINTING

Well, I’m back to just playing around and here is a plaything that has been around for a fair while. The question in my mind is whether the outside is creeping in, or the inside is creeping out. Your decision.

In fact this painting has been creeping for a long while. Here is the original version which I was pleased with at the time ( and even now, as I look at it) and posted on this blog in 2018.

I painted this one day in our pop-up gallery, as I waited for customers, in 2018. It was a scene from a walk we had taken alongside the river Ribble as we approached Settle in Yorkshire. The light was coming in through the riverside trees and there were dog walkers in the distance. I painted it in a blocky style which carries over into the abstract.

I displayed this painting at a number of exhibitions, but there were no takers. I concluded that perhaps potential buyers might prefer to see the faces of the dog walkers – so I changed things around and came up with this which I posted in 2019.

But I didnt do myself any favours. Just look at the guy’s head – well just look at the guy. The painting got filed away. It escaped the bin as I did like the setting with the light to dark transitions and the block style with which it was constructed.

So, with time on my hands this week, it got turned around, put on the easel and the figures and dogs were evicted, and here it is for your edification today. It may not be the finished article, but it’s worth pausing with for now.

We recycle things a bit differently around here.

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

THE ROAD FROM HAWES – WATERCOLOUR SKETCH

Last week we stayed in a cottage in Settle on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales. In the main the weather was overcast, particularly in the morning when I went out to sketch. Towards the afternoon and evening the sun broke through the clouds. Here is a sketch from, memory, of a view I saw as we drove back from a walk in Hawes – another Dales’ village. High on the moorland these isolated farmhouses dotted the road and as we climbed the hill the silhouette of the buildings stood out against a break in the clouds.

I did another version, even more sparsely:

This was at a stage before I started to add detail and ruin it.

Because of the flat light my morning sketches disappointed me. I was also hindered by drizzle and inquisitive cows which nearly trampled over my painting gear.

The middle sketch above shows similarities to the first sketches, except that the building was a small electricity substation. I sat balanced on a dry-stone wall painting it, packing in when a light drizzle started to fall.

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

EVENING WALK DOWN GORSEY LANE, CROSBY – ACRYLIC PAINTING

I took the opportunity to play around with colour on this painting of a country lane close to Little Crosby. Blocks of discrete colour arranged according to tone. In the shadows it allowed some quite diverse and strange selections which added punch and when completed, surprisingly, looked quite natural.

I was also pleased with the feeling of light I achieved which reflected the the bright summer’s evening with the wheat ripening in the field beyond.

The process is quite time consuming. Normally I can cover big areas with quick brushstokes – but not on this one. The methodology slowed me down and made me consider the placement of colour more analytically.

I added the dogwalker at the end as an afterthought, subsuming them into the landscape as I had been that day, painting in the evening light.

Other landscapes are available on my website: grahammcquadefineart.com

FALL OUT – ACRYLIC PAINTING

I had previously mentioned a number of paintings I have been struggling with of late and this is one of them. It started out as an evocation to lush swaying grassland but the final result left me unsatisfied. Instead of getting the gesso out and starting again I thought I could use the movement I had created and so pressed on to bring it to this, its latest manifestation. It’s taken on a topographical feel – like the view you might get moments before impact. So here it rests in my studio – at least I feel more satisfied now.

And whilst on the subject of reworking here are a couple more paintings I’ve shown of late having undergone further tweaking. Firstly, Early Crops Under Clieves Hills:

And secondly, The Storm Passes Green Kettle Farm:

Nothing major but I now feel happier. I might now put them on my website for sale: grahammcquadefineart.com