I am presently reviewing some of my old paintings and looking at a change in style. Here is one painting I decided to rework. It is a view across the fields at Ambleside in the English Lake District. I felt it needed emphasis of both the gentle changes in tone in the background and the light and shade of the foreground. By happy accident, extending the same palette across the whole picture produces a satisfying cohesiveness.
I may have different opinions in a few months time, but at the moment I think I have moved forward on this one. There are many more to go, if I have the stamina.
It’s not a subject I would choose, but the view means something to someone and so long as it has a resonance with a viewer, that’s all that matters.
I had previously painted someone’s cottage in Cartmel ( which is at the southern edge of England’s Lake District) as a small commission, and it was spotted on the web by a lady wanting a birthday present. She asked to do this view. It appears I have become the go-to artist for Cartmel.
I have only been to Cartmel once, in June of 2010. On that day a gunman was rampaging a few miles north of the town on a killing spree. Fortunately Cartmel was well out the way of his trajectory, but earlier in the day we were closer to the incident, which unfolded over a number of hours, before the gunman shot himself.
It was only when we got home, later that day, did we hear of the incident.
Anyway, the lady who commissioned it for her father seems happy with it and I hope it gives her father – whose birthday present it is – some fond memories.
This was an image I was playing with sometime ago from a distant trip to the English Lake District. At present, my time is taken up with commissions.
Before Christmas I had a small exhibition at my framers and I sold three paintings prior to the holiday. Since Christmas the paintings have been locked in his shop window. Latterly, non essential shops, like picture framers, were allowed to open again and a couple more paintings sold before we ended the exhibition on Monday. However, from the exhibition I have acquired three commissions and so I am working my way through those. The first one was of someone’s house and cat which I thought inappropriate to show, but the other two might make the blog – when I complete them. For me, commissions take longer than a normal painting because you need to be sure of details personal to the recipient and I also allow the recipient to be part of the planning which doesnt speed things up.
So for now, here is a view over Lake Windermere, before the next shower of rain comes in to dampen the walker. Hopefully we will be getting back there soon.
Watching the TV the other day I saw a scene which reminded me of an image I have in a book on the Algonquin National Park in Canada. I thought I might combine aspects of the images. The sense of stillness and isolation appealed to me – perhaps something I might see in our Lake District in England: maybe it’s my age or situation.
I painted this scene many years ago, before I started this blog, and came across it the other day when I was sorting out my studio. I felt it needed some good darks to carry it off and running in strong colours can be quite tricky which is why I adopted the approach below.
Seeing my earlier attempt I thought that I would try again. Hopefully I have got the solidity and reflection I was after.
Other paintings of the Lake District are available on my website: grahammcquadefineart.com
This was inspired by a recent walk that many in these northern climes might recognise. I like the way forms grow and dissolve in the gloom and a patch of light grabs attention.
I was hoping for smoother transitions in the sky but found the very necessary break of light made that difficult. Now, having had a go I can see another way of approaching the subject so that could mean version two – I apologise in advance .
Anyway, a merry xmzzz to all my reader. Have a great time.
This morning I was roused from my slumbers at 5-30 and the sun was shining, so I went out to do some painting. It’s still cold here, but I took some tea to drink whilst the washes were drying and all was well with the world.
This was the second sketch of the day. I crossed the canal and ventured towards Clieves’ Hills – an area I paint a lot.
Here are some earlier sketches I did when we had a warm spell in April. They are up on the Cumbrian Coast in the Lake District. It took us an age to get there and on the way back the car started to do some very strange things. We limped home but it wasnt a happy day.
This is a view of the area as we climbed the hills behind Ravenglass.
This was a view over the River Esk as it comes to the sea at Ravenglass. The gorse was in full flower with bright burst of yellow all over the hillside – though from the sketch above you might think that they were daffodils.
I liked the dark background behind the sunlit fields and path and the way the light was reflecting off the tops of the trees. I tried a block approach, using square brushes, but in hindsight should have primed the paper with a strong undertone. I might then have got a bit of vivacity with the primer showing through, complementing the rough approach.
I was thinking of getting my oils out for this one but decided that first I might just sketch it out in pastels, and here is the result. I certainly like the lost and found edges lending an air of mystery to the piece and the way the land dissolves into the atmosphere.
I took it from a couple of photos combing the best bits although I am a little unsure of the darkness that pervades the bulk of the image even though, as I keep telling myself, this is necessary to state the highlights.
When I was abroad I received a commission to paint a cottage in Cartmel which is in the English Lake District in Cumbria. It will be for a present. The cottage seems to be an old mill, set beside the village stream. On drawing it I realised that there was no symmetry in this building. The photo I received is rather flat and taken in winter, so I have added some colour and put the leaves back on the trees.
Being away on the run-up to Christmas has caused me to miss some of the exhibitions around here. I managed to get my framer, Glynn, to hold his window for me so at least I got some paintings out before Christmas ( but only just). I have restricted it to landscapes of the area around us and called it ‘ Behind the Dunes’ as we have a very sandy beach around here. I forgot my camera when I set it up but here is an image from last year – apologies for the quality and my bike getting into the frame.
Thanks to Glynn at Ges Bur Studios, Southport for the space.