BACK TO THE BEACH – PASTEL PAINTING

With this painting I’m staying with the pastels and riffing on a familiar theme in preparation for upcoming exhibitions. I was pleased with the colours I got into this familiar view of the beach at Formby – simple pleasures, but I’m a simple man. I had to include some old fencing as I was demonstrating a similar painting at a club in Blackpool on Thursday, so the practice helped. Tomorrow I will be running a pastel workshop. Hopefully, after that, things will quieten down and I’ll try to explore some other themes and media, though I do want to do a larger version of the mixed media offering of breaking waves I posted a week or so ago.

Today I am off to a life session run by an old mate of mine. He told me that he has got a great model, someone I havent seen since before covid. I just hope we can get some good lighting as well.

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

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

MERSEY MORNING – ACRYLIC PAINTING

Sitting atop of a sand dune just south of Formby, I had a good view of the mouth of the Mersey. Reflective objects sang bright in the morning sun and I painted this view in watercolour, disturbed only by distant cries of gulls and lapwings. Not a bad way to start the day.

When I got home and looked at my endeavours I thought that pastel or acrylic would be a better medium for this painting. Eventually I plumped for acrylic because of the fiddly nature of the wind turbine and ship, though other aspects would have been easier in pastel.

I did debate about putting wind turbines in at all – there are quite a few more off to the right. In the end you got a token wind turbine and anyway, it adds a bit of balance to the piece.

Other views of the Mersey are available for sale on my website: grahammcquadefineart.com

DAYBREAK ALONG THE COASTAL PATH – PASTEL PAINTING

Another sunrise painting, this time in pastel.

Last week I was out on the coastal path that runs from Southport, where I live, down to Liverpool and took some photos. I thought that the scene would look good in pastel. I dont normally go outside with pastels as my hands get messy when I use them and then the painting gets contaminated. For this reason I wash my hands regularly when I am doing a painting like this. As there arent any washbasins on the walk I sketched something in watercolour.

This sketch, below, was painted feet from where the pastel looks out, but in a slightly different direction. It doesnt have the same punch as the pastel, but I thought I’d show it anyway.

For this I sat just off the path and watched as the joggers shambled by, oblivious to my presence.

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

CLIMBING TO THE TOP OF THE DUNE – PASTEL PAINTING

Undeterred by the sand flowing away from under your feet, you struggle on, brushing past the coarse marram grass and then glimpse sight of the sea. Now, you realise you’ve reached your objective.

This is the last of the short series of beach pastels I have been doing of late. All used the technique of underpainting with gouache and then overworking with pastel. I was trying to get a feeling of intimacy with this one, compared to the others which had a more panoramic detachment.

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

LAST MEN STANDING – ACRYLIC PAINTING

I did this painting just before I departed for Portugal at the end of September. It came from my visit to Formby Beach when I was collecting material for a commission and seeing what else was about.

I loved the wind-sculpted shapes of the trees, though they are in peril. The sea is encroaching and pushing the coast back and this small cluster of trees will soon be no longer. You can see the next line of the pine forest in the background.

I think there is mileage in making the trees starker and I was going to introduce some reds and other colours into the trunks and foliage, but for now exploring the shapes of the trees and their relationship to the landscape is enough.

Other landscapes and seascapes 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

SUMMER ON FORMBY BEACH – WATERCOLOUR PAINTING

Well for us in northern climes the corner has been turned and summer is on its way, though, no doubt, a rocky (and icy) road lies ahead. So here is a painting of what we’re aiming for. I did this as a pastel a long while ago and wondered whether it would make a watercolour. I love the shadows of the marram grass, the distressed fence, and the way the beach disappears into a hazy blueness. It makes a hopeful change from my recent winter beach scenes.

Here’s to the new year. Have a good one.

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

MIST DUSTED ALT ON AN AUTUMN’S MORNING – WATERCOLOUR PAINTING

This is a view of the River Alt as it drifts through the fields of the Lancashire plain. I love this idyllic view which I see as I cycle across the foot bridge over the river. Though directly behind me is a railway bridge and beyond, a newly constructed housing estate. In front, around the bend, the river enters an army camp where it is used in noisy military exercises. Later, it emerges on the other side of the camp and idly sidles into the mouth of the Mersey as the mighty river breaks into the Irish sea spitting out ferries, liners and cargo ships in front of ranks of wind turbines. Here though, in this spot, you forget your surroundings and there is a calm moment of what if and possibility.

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

VIEWS OF FORMBY BEACH – WATERCOLOUR PAINTINGS

Last Monday afternoon, goaded by a splash of sunshine, we headed for the beach at Formby. Sunlight shot through through the gathering clouds and made intriguing contrasts in the fading light.

The car park shut at 3pm, and arriving at two, it only allowed for a short walk along the beach. Fortunately I brought my camera.

With the number of storms of late it was noticeable that the dunes had been well scoured by the waves. When I returned I decide to paint a few of the images I collected.

Other paintings of the Sefton beach are available on my website: grahammmcquadefineart.com