AROUND HALSALL – WATERCOLOUR SKETCHES

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.

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

THE TRACK TO NEW CUT LANE – ACRYLIC PAINTING

This is another in my series of local views though this one is less stylised than the previous two, but I have pushed the colours again. I posted a plein air version back in July last year and when I found it in my sketchbook to do this version, I was quite pleased with the watercolour I had done out in the fields.

So in some way I have taken a backward step with this painting by not pushing it graphically but I am pleased with the summery vibrancy and the looseness.

In the meantime I have been reworking the first two. I’ll post them soon when all the changes have been made.

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

A STORM PASSES GREEN KETTLE FARM – ACRYLIC PAINTING

Second in the series of the graphic and colour-centric landscapes I am completing. Not sure if there is too much detail in the foreground here and that a further paring down could prove beneficial. I am already reworking the foreground of the first in the series I presented earlier, and painting a third.

I did a watercolour of this farm a long time ago and there isnt a lot going on though I love the outline of the buildings and the wind sculpted trees. This time I added the storm and am very pleased with some of the outcome.

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

SKETCHING ON THE SPOT – WATERCOLOUR

Well, the weather has broken around here and my early morning outings have stopped. Here is the result of my last foray on the first day of this month.

It took me a while to find a suitable subject that day and eventually I selected the view on Clieves hills across the fields to Aughton Church which is just outside Ormskirk, With the cottage in the foreground it might be one worth working up in the future.

As I painted I noticed another view to my left with the far hills shrouded in mist.

So when I completed the Aughton Church view I turned in my seat, replenished my water, had another cup of tea and started the view over the valley to the far hills. On this one I think I went a bit too dark too soon but again it could be one to work on later.

And then, as I was thinking that one more painting might round off the morning well, I turned to look up the hill and saw the weather blown trees. I decided to select just a few of these trees which stand high on the ridge and with a second twist of my stool and another cup of tea I started on the final painting of the morning.


Three paintings without moving – so it was a good morning and the cycle ride home was helped by a following wind – what more could you want?

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

EARLY CROPS UNDER CLIEVES HILLS – ACRYLIC PAINTING

This image was developed from a plien air painting I posted at the start of June.

I wanted a bit more colour and punch and also thought that a graphic style could enhance the saturated colours so I gessoed over an old painting on canvas and set to work. I had been influenced by work by Fred Ingrams amongst others and although I havent achieved his brave use of colour it is an early step.

It might be worth producing a small set of paintings in this style and see if they develop. I have plenty of raw material both photos and sketches to draw from.

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

POPPIES ON STATION ROAD – WATERCOLOUR PAINTING

Not one I did plein air, but it was a scene I saw on my way from a recent painting expedition. It was getting late into the morning and my tea had run out so I took a few photos.

I had the suspicion that someone had scattered poppy seeds into the field – there was a house opposite – but the scene was quite arresting even for that.

I had to resort to a bit of gouache in the end along with some scrubbing and scratching but hopefully I captured the randomness of it all.

Other landscape and floral paintings are available for sale on my website: grahammcquadefineart.com

MORE LOCAL SKETCHES IN WATERCOLOUR

Well today the rain came and not soon enough for my lawn. It also gives me a rest as I have been madly cycling around the local area in the good weather looking for subjects to paint. The first of this set of sketches is a complex called Dicconsons farm. I sat on the edge of the field and painted the bend in the lane. When I completed this one I shuffled 90 degrees on my stool and did the view looking across the field and up Clieves Hills, just outside of Ormskirk.

I then had to pack up and get on the bike again and rode around until I saw Dicconsons Farm from across the fields. I was attracted by the way the light was reflected off the roofs. As you can see lemon yellow was a particular favourite that day.

Other local landscape paintings are available on my website: grahammcquadefineart.com

IN THE DISTANCE, SEFTON CHURCH – WATERCOLOUR PAINTING

The Saturday before last I got out on my bike and took some pictures in the bright morning light. This is of Sefton church which is in a hamlet at the north end of Liverpool. Sefton is also the name of an administrative area, within Liverpool, which stretches from Bootle to Southport, where I live.

I have painted this church before and submitted it to a local exhibition, which at that time was in Bootle town hall. The painting below sold and later, I got a phone call from the office of the Mayor of Sefton asking if I had another painting of the church. Though they apparently didnt like the other paintings I had, as they never bothered to get back to me.

I have resisted taking my paints with me on my recent trips, but as I was out on this day, I came across a painter at his easel. He clearly didnt want any interaction as he turned away from me as I approached. I didnt even get to see what he was painting. For me though, for a while, I will use my camera.

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

PAINTINGS OF HALSALL MOSS – WATERCOLOUR AND PASTEL

On Monday morning I decided to try and lift the lethargy I described in the previous post, by getting out on my bike and seeking out new material. Normally I would have taken my painting gear, as it was a bright, if blustery morning, but I felt that that might upset the locals, so I put a camera in my pocket instead, and headed off along Plex Moss Lane – the lane defined by the posts in the watercolour above, past the farm you can see, and across Halsall Moss. Taking pictures as I went.

The land rises as you come off the Moss and there was a line of trees.

I did this one in pastel, of the trees bursting into leaf.

And I got a few more images that I can work up during lockdown.

As well as collecting images, a trip like this also allows you to pick out some possible places to paint when life does return to normal. I can waste a lot of time finding an interesting subject when I go out. If I have a few possibilities in mind before I set out it can set me off in a much better frame of mind when I settle down to paint.

Stay safe.

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

HALSALL MOSS ON A SPRING MORNING – PASTEL PAINTING

I painted an identical scene in watercolour and posted it on this blog a while back. In this version I wanted to see if I could enhance the textures of the vegetation using pastel and hopefully have got more variation with this media, even if the image is pretty similar.

The view is one of the many drainage channels that criss-cross this low lying marshy area which is now prime arable land. I originally sketched it one morning last year and during the painting the mist broke and the morning sun illuminated the fresh vegetation picking out the greens and yellows.

Hopefully I will soon be able to get out in the open to gather some fresh material to paint again, unless the government confine us all to barracks.

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