The coastal path from Southport to Crosby takes you along sandy beaches, through Pinewoods and skirts an army rifle range before depositing you in front of Anthony Gormley’s Another Place. Here, in the painting, the path leaves Formby as the morning sun breaks the scrubby, wind sculpted trees and dances over the long grass.
This is another repeat of a painting I have posted before. I hope I have got the light in the grasses better and improved both the contrasts on the pathway and the textures in the bracken and brush.
I have been going through my back catalogue after the surprise sale of nine paintings. My framer should have six more frames ready today and I have some paintings to go in them – so we can bring the exhibition back up to 30 paintings with a few in reserve. However, I didnt have many larger paintings that I felt comfortable showing. I decided to redo a painting, but this time in acrylics, to fill a larger frame. This is a view over the Lancashire Plain back to where I live in Southport, on the coast. Just beyond these hills – and they are only small bumps – sits the town of Ormskirk, which would be behind the viewer.
I did most of this by the banks of the river at Hue. Scooters and small motorbikes are a major form of transport here and there are lots of them. The group of people changed in this one, but the woman in the sunhat stayed. They were a family or group trying to sell tourists trips on dragon boats and boy did they try – though they left me alone – perhaps they thought I might sell them a picture.
The land in Vietnam from north to south is heavily utilised. There are paddy fields everywhere and quite a few water buffalo. Many people work on the land. It looks like hard graft – reminds me that there might be some gardening to do when I get home.
The other week when I went to get some reference material for an upcoming show, low morning sun-light exploded in between the leaves and branches of the willow trees which sat in the drainage ditches along the road I travelled on. Fortunately I had my camera beside me and I was able to snatch a few snaps. Even better was the fact that I managed to keep the car on the road at the same time and no passing motorists were harmed in the taking of these images.
I have been assembling and framing the paintings for the show and will be taking them in next week for hanging. I had forgotten about these images until I came across them the other day when I thought that I might make something out of them.
I did the original sitting by the river at the end of June and posted it at the beginning of July but thought that it might be worth having another go in the studio. I loved the different levels the river had created and their shadow lines and the light reflecting off the damp mud. I also scattered some animals about, all of which I had seen as I walked along the river. Having climbed over a fence to get there, solitude and calm abounded on this still summer’s morning.
Following my watercolour sketch – Walk in the Woods – I presented a week or so ago, I thought that I would develop it a little. I liked the bands of light and shade created by the beeches in this wood on The Southdowns Way, close to the Cuckmere Valley. I mentioned in the blog that I took some pictures of passing walkers and I put in a couple with their sticks. I also kept the colours muted and resisted my urge to bang in some scarlet amongst the greens. Not sure whether it has the impact of my Dog Walkers where I succumbed to the scarlet urge – but maybe I got some of the calm I experienced on the day. Hope it calms you, also.
Another plein air painting I was forced to complete at home. It was nearly done when my stool started making strange noises underneath me so I stood up and it fell apart at my feet. As the place was covered in sheep droppings I decided to pack up and continue our walk up the hill and on to Cooden.
The day before I had gone to Hastings and walked to Fairlight where this row of coastguard cottages stand on top of the cliff at the highest point. I left out the radio and communications mast and hid the large radar behind the bushes on the right. I certainly wouldnt like to live there with the houses being continually bombarded by large doses of radio waves even though they are relatively low frequency.
Here are a couple of sketches I am less happy with. The one above is of Ecclesbourne Glen a deep ravine on the sandstone cliffs east of Hastings. The hillside is covered in a mass of amorphous vegetation which I knew was a bad thing to try to paint but I have a long affinity with the topography, having run it many times in my youth before heading off on the run along the cliff-top path to the next ravine and another lung-bursting descent and climb.
This last one is of a newly mown field in a valley on the edge of Friston Forest. I was taken by the illumination on the row of trees at the foot of the slope. Behind is the deep valley in shade beneath the forest. I didnt do the contrast justice, but sitting in the afternoon sunshine in isolation amid the birdsong was a pleasant way of passing the afternoon.