The post before last I showed 3 morning sketches, the first one of a single cottage. This was the view behind me, as I painted – one of the many drainage ditches that crisscross this marshy land, surrounded by flattened reeds and grasses.
I loved the myriad of warm colours picked out and accentuated by the rising sun. A new day and the crows descend to squabble over the remaining grains of cereal.
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.
I was looking to do an abstract inspired by the gorgeous colours of a Corsican summer and pulled out a painting I had completed a few years ago of a corsican hill-top village. I got quickly sidetracked and thought I could improve on this old painting so set about repainting much of it. The result is disappointing, no progress here, though I did get some ideas for colours and textures for the abstract. For the record the original I painted over is shown below.
Back in June this year, I published a post where I displayed 3 paintings all done from the same spot, my sketching stool, just looking in different directions on Clieves’ Hills. This latest offering is based upon one of them. It is brassy, stretched out and made to look like an old steam train destination poster, but the essential elements have been retained, including the Church.
This is another in the graphic style I was exploring, using the local vicinity as my reference point. It may have got a bit fussy in the foreground, but I like its boldness and colour and it complements the others paintings in the series.
I may be tempted to get out and gather some more reference material for the dark winter nights ahead.
With yesterday being the last day of the month – and summer – and clear skies forecast, I packed my rucksack and headed out on the bike. This first sketch was of a cottage alongside a country lane – Small Lane South. The low light was sublime in the early morning.
Despite full sun the atmosphere was cold and it took a lot of waving to dry my paper between washes which slowed down my progress somewhat.
This second sketch was of a favourite subject of mine, Clieves Hills. I was sat on the edge of a wheat field, but the crop looked unusable. It was flattened by the wind and dampened by the rain we have suffered with of late. We might be paying more for our bread next year.
After tramping across dew wet fields, my trainers were sodden, making my feet cold and my arms were aching from flapping my wet paintings in the breeze, so I decided to call it a day. Hopefully we might get some warmer autumn days to get out and paint in a less frenetic style – anyway, at least I got out.
I looked at my watercolour sketchbook the other day and saw that I hadnt done any outdoor painting in July. The weather hasnt been very good – well not for outdoor painting, though my lawn has rejoiced in the warm damp weather.
So with a mini heatwave forecast and two days to go, I set off up Parbold Hill. I had noticed some footpaths off the road that go up the hill, but have never explored them. So on Thursday up I trudged with my painting gear. The first painting is on the way up.
Dodging the many dogs that yapped and barked around my feet I got to the top and walked about the exposed plateau, taking a winding footpath through a wheat field. I liked the trees in their lush summer finery and sat on the path looking out over the Lancashire plain. It was as I was working on this second sketch that I realised the tall streak in the distance could only be Blackpool Tower.
As I started back I saw a row of cottages on the high ground above me. They looked like Cotswold cottages. I also liked the gaps in the trees that surrounded them, so I decided to get the paints out again and make the most of my visit.
A more traditional rendering of the local landscape than my previous blog, but both show the topography of the flat moss. Here the road – Segars Lane, a single track road – hovers above the drained marshland which is now fertile arable land. It gradually splays and slides into the fields below, causing it to undulate in the process. Then the road is reinforced and the process starts again. Roads, crows and powerlines cross the land. Here the powerlines take a shortcut into the sun on a bright summer`s morning.
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.
Well, we are presently experiencing our normal summer; high winds and rain, which I am told is set for the week, but last week there was a brief taste of sunshine. I had the last couple of pages in my old sketchbook to fill and a new one was waiting to get started on – so I needed to take the opportunity..
For the first painting, I chanced upon a little path off the road as I cycled along. I liked the sweep of the path and the tonal range of deep shadows against the ripening barley. As I got cracking a tractor came bouncing down the path, so I had to collect all my belongings and head for the long grass. Anyway, he didnt return and calm returned.
This second one was at the top of Clieves hills and again I liked the deep tonal contrast – and the incongruous speed signs. Just off left are the trees I painted and posted on 18th June.
For this one, above, of the cottages on Cut lane I had to wedge myself into the hedgerow on a busy road. I may have spooked a few cyclists as they caught me in the corner of their eye on passing.
And finally, sat on the verge of a quiet country lane, painting the fields and farm, I was surprised by the number of walkers, cyclists and the odd car or two which passed. These days no-one miders you and they hurry past. I didnt even need to cough.