Walking back from Bowness to Waterhead in Ambleside along the side of Wansfell Pike recently, I could see the rain coming in off the sea and making its way towards Windermere and me. I have been thinking of doing this in oils and thought a sketch in pastels might be worthwhile first.
I love the patches of illuminated country picked out against the formless gloom and the way landforms are lost and found in the low cloud.
I was waiting for the paint to dry on an oil I am doing at the moment so I was looking around for something to do and picked on this. I still need to practise the undergrowth. I struggled with the bracken on the painting before last and am still struggling. The temptation is to go really loose which can look dynamic with splatter and runs but lacks form and I was trying to find some middle way. I was pleased with the mossy rocks and flow of the water. I might have another try at this.
I have done a similar painting in the past of the boats gathered at the north end of Windermere in the English Lake District. The morning sun catches the surfaces of the boats. By darkening the water, highlights on the vessels are possible. I hadn’t tried this before. All the water surface has been darkened, though it doesn’t look like it. I reserved the lights for some of the vessels and the edge of the swan.
I once painted this scene on a winter’s morning, but gave up when the water on my palette froze. I should have tried the old trick of using alcohol, but decided for a photo instead and went inside for breakfast.
Other Lake District paintings are on my website grahammcquade.com . The other painting can be seen in the Sold section.
The light hitting the top of the wall, the dying bracken and the top of the buildings appealed to me. Bracken I find very difficult to pull off and I think it could have been better. I think I could have got even more light on the vegetation even after scratching back. Perhaps this indicates I need darker tones around, but I was getting muddy. Its a war out there and I wasn’t winning.
Still working on my large liquid acrylic paintings. I’ve got two to a stage I’m satisfied with but the final one remains elusive, so I thought a change of pace whilst I think about my next move might be beneficial. In the Lake District on a warm spring late afternoon and the blueness of the mountain backdrop with the light peeping over the hills makes Derwent water a great place to be. I thought I would work a bit larger than my normal pastel landscapes, this is 56×36 cm which is slightly smaller than my figurative work, but big for my landscapes. I think working bigger in pastels does afford more options when mark making.
It was a sunny spring evening in Ambleside near Lake Windermere in the English Lake District. I was facing into the evening sun and I painted undisturbed for about an hour. I have done two paintings subsequently, this being the second. I thought I could do with a break from the acrylics, I have been dong recently.
Last year the painting group went to Grasmere to see the local painting exhibition. Afterwards, whilst the majority went off for some retail therapy my wife and I went up to Easedale tarn. On the way up I looked out for something I could paint later. Arriving at the tarn I looked back in the direction we had come and the sunlight was catching some of the fields below. I took a few photos. Later, on our return, I found the old cottage I had seen earlier and whilst my wife settled down to read, I found a spot away from the pathway and started to do an initial drawing, then having just mixed up the colours for the first wash the heavens opened and down came the rain. There was only one thing for it. The pub.
There are other Lake District paintings on my website: grahammcquadefineart.com. Take a look.
A watercolour of Lake Windermere at Water Head with the early morning light. I did a similar scene one November and was slowed by the water on my palette freezing. Not having any alcohol available I returned for a cup of tea.
I will be putting this painting on my website: grahammcquadefineart.com