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.
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.
Not much painting over the last few days as we went away to the Peak District near Stockport to meet some of my wife’s friends who were up visiting. We gathered in the grounds of Lyme house – which among other things, was used as a backdrop in a BBC production of Pride and Prejudice.
As the troops gathered I sneaked away to sketch the view of the house from near the main driveway despite it starting to rain in the attempt. Fortunately there was an oak tree to shelter under.
We stayed in an inn on the outskirts of town, high on a hill and I thought that I would get up the next morning and paint for an hour or so, before we set off. When I woke up there was low cloud and drizzle so I stayed indoors and sketched the horses in the farm opposite when they grazed into view.
They didnt stay still for long and it was a good exercise trying to catch them in their poses – something I should do more often. When they disappeared from view I built up the farm which overlooked the valley.
Later we walked up towards Kinder Scout and this was a view of the reservoir I snatched as I waited for the others to catch up. I liked the green sloping field behind the house which jumped out in the sunshine – overworked but a reminder of the day.
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.
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.
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.
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.
As winter draws to its cruel close I came upon this view over the Brede Valley in East Sussex. It was from a dark photo, into the sun, looking over a church cemetery – where some of my maternal family are buried, and on into the valley beyond. I liked the skeletal tree and added another on the right. I lightened the foreground up and created some rough ground instead. Winter coming to an end.
The creation of the branches was a therapeutic exercise, with rain thrashing the window and a spot of Bach on the stereo. It filled a wet morning perfectly.