A few fellow bloggers have shamed me by getting out and doing some plein air painting, even in the chill depths of February. So, this week, when the sun shone and the temperatures rose I got on my bike and tried to find some suitable subjects.
So here they are; the first of this year, from around the lanes close to where I live – even managing to get a March date on my sketchbook page. Above is one of the many drainage ditches which run along the lanes and keep this old marsh area suitable for agriculture. This one might be worth working up into a painting.
This second one I have done before, but with the trees in full leaf. The shape of the trees reveal the prevailing winds.
As I work fairly fast I need sun and warmth to get the washes to dry, otherwise shapes just become amorphous and the paint too thick as you put one wet wash on top of another – even tricks like painting the sky, then the foreground and dodging from one dry area to the next waiting for the first wash to dry dont work – and then there was the day that the washes froze on the palette; that`s when I took a vow to stay indoors on cold days. But Wednesday was a very pleasant day to be out in the open.
You may have picked up a certain dissatisfaction with my previous post and I did manage to find the gesso – so here is another version. I wanted colour and it is needed on this, our shortest day. A blast of summer.
The flattening of the perspective gets the viewer closer to the action of the switchback road that can even make the sedate cyclist queasy. It also clears space for a rush of colour for the sheer sake of it. Even if it isnt the finished article, I am closing in.
A slightly less edgy landscape than my previous serving. I originally sat down and painted this scene, in watercolour, with my back to the Leeds and Liverpool Canal, early last year. I was reminded of it when I walked past the view last weekend and noticed that the tractor track is still visible in the field about 18 months later – I dont know what was on its tyres. Maybe it was driven by Richard Long or Andy Goldsworthy…
I’ve used this motif before as part of other paintings, but decided to make it a painting in it’s own right. I roughly covered over an old painting to inject some energy and mystery to the final piece and then let both the underpaintings come through all over the image.
I love this half shadowed cluster of farm buildings at the foot of Clieve’s Hills, near Ormskirk in Lancashire, and this was mainly from photos I took when I painted the same scene outdoors in May this year. Like some other landscapes I have done recently, I have distorted the colour range and heightened saturations. Though I hope to have imparted a bit more edginess into this one with the underpainting and rough handling of the foreground.
With the sun shining I got up early on Monday morning and headed to Clieves Hills on my bike. On my last painting trip I spotted this cottage at the foot of the hills from another angle and made a mental note, but returning on Monday, I was more taken with this view, with sweeps of stubble leading the eye. Comparing it to the other sketches I did on the day I feel I have captured a dose of morning freshness under the sun’s first rays.
I then headed up the hill and, from across the field, spotted this group of buildings nestling under a tree. This is the kind of light I want, crisply defining shape and form and keeping me warm as I paint.
Then I shuffled a good hundred yards along the ridge and set my stool down to paint these cottages that almost hang in the air looking out to Liverpool and the Welsh hills beyond. I have been reluctant to paint these before as it is at a well frequented viewpoint. Casting shyness aside, no-one even noticed me as I painted away.
The grasses, plants and flowers in the foreground were a picture in themselves and I might turn this into a painting in the near future.
Continuing the local landscape theme on canvas I pushed on from the graphic style I have been showing recent. This time starting with some loose washes and textural work to see where that brought me out. I have done similar things in the past, favouring blue/purple/yellow orange combinations, but this time went for greens and reds, though yellow seemed to pushed its nose in there as well.
And this was the result. Too messy? too many motifs? I’m certainly undecided. I also wonder whether adopting this complementary colour approach also causes confusion. Keeping things in one colour segment and working tonally might calm things down.
Another in a graphic style acrylic painting, though this is not on canvas but on paper and slightly smaller at around 36×52 cm than earlier paintings of this type. The undulating furrows of a newly planted potato crop caught my eye as I cycled around the Moss earlier in the year.