We’ve been on the road quite a bit recently visiting friends and currently celebrating the wife’s birthday in Dublin, but earlier in the week I managed to tear myself away and get some painting done. These are farms just north of Liverpool. The one above is Whitedge farm, the last painting, I did on my Tuesday morning trip.
Compare that to the softer effects of my first painting of the morning of another farm, Moss farm, below.
I think the effects are down to the slower drying rates you get in the cooler early morning. The top painting was done around 8-30 am, with the sun climbing in the sky, whilst the first, of Moss Farm, was done around 6-30 am. After doing this first sketch I continued along the track and painted Moss Farm again but from the right hand side as you look in the view above.
This was done contra jour and with a stiff brush I was able to remove paint to create some of the forms I could just see on the farm. This cluster of buildings isnt very pretty, but I think both paintings conceal most of the ugliness.
An enjoyable few hours on a glorious morning and the good weather continues here in Dublin. Just about to go off on a walking tour of the city.
I worked this up from a recent sketch which I posted here week or so ago. I’m not sure whether this moves on much from that sketch. What I loved, though, was the reddish hue against the deep greens and the glimpses of light at the far end of the clearing. I tried to go in loose with dark greens over the first red wash used for the tree trunks. Then I built up tones to give depth and texture.
In my previous post I described sitting in the morning sun painting the trees last Tuesday. Well, as I worked, I noticed movement in the field and a large hare came towards me. Unfortunately as I fumbled for my camera it seemed to get wind of me and moved away across the fields. In the end I managed to get a few shots which I turned into a pastel painting.
It was midsummer solstice and I hadnt yet been out painting plein air this year in the UK. I had done some in Egypt and I have posted those sketches, but in the UK either poor light, cold or life had got in the way. So, with good weather forecast, I decided on my venue and off I went. On the way, a connecting road was closed. So I had to think quickly of some other place to paint. Not a good start.
I had planned to do some simple light and shade studies without too much detail, so when I saw this half cleared wood I was hesitant. It was more complex than I wanted, but the colours were great and the glimpses of light intriguing. So I parked the bike and started painting. I did most on site, but I had to finish at home. When I saw my photos, there was barely any of the redness on the images and it was this colour that drove me to do the painting. I like the result, rough as it is and may be working it up later.
Then I saw this scene. Again, I should never have started it, but the light and shade was too much to resist.
I then arrived at the kind of thing I was after, sitting in a field of barley – a simple view, passages of light and shade, whilst the traffic inched along on the other side of the wood on the right. So, after all the setbacks I got three studies in the bag and broke the ice – which you’d expect in June.
As I said in my previous post, I am preparing for two watercolour demos and getting them to run smoothly has taken a bit longer than I thought – but we’re there now.
Unfortunately I am halfway through a new painting because of this delay, so I thought I’d show an old painting of mine of a small village on the outskirts of Liverpool. It was done a long time ago and it quickly sold. I have kept an image of it on the internet and it has bought many enquiries and quite a few commissions and sales. I was proud of it at the time, still am, and it surprised me that I hadnt shown it on this blog before.
Normally, in the morning this road is very busy, as it serves as a short-cut. Sunday morning allows you to stand in the middle of the road. Though, I didnt paint it plein-air, as even on a Sunday there would be a few objections from motorists if I tried that stunt.
Nothing for a month and then two commissions turn up in quick succession. So I’m a bit busy at present. This is the first one which I am handing over today. It is of a local church close to where the customer lives. He had seen something like this view as he travelled home and asked me to look at it. I’ve painted this church a few times, but not from this angle and distance.
Last week I went over to reacquaint myself with the view. Sitting down the bank by the roadside, with passing cars whizzing past my head, I produced this watercolour.
This is a fairly faithful version of the view. The trouble is the hedge from the road runs right across the base of the church and there were no decent trees or hedges to break the vertical plane. The customer specifically didnt want a watercolour, so I then produced two acrylic sketches which introduced some hedges and created zig-zags to inject energy. The customer had seen another painting of mine and wanted the stylised wheatfield in the foreground, which I had used.
I did one version in a landscape format.
And another in portrait format. The customer originally wanted it in landscape, but I managed to persuade him into a portrait format, which allowed for a greater depth of field and allowed me to increase the size of the church without losing the context.
I must admit that I am pleased with the final piece, as is the customer, and the series of sketches helped in getting to this resolution.
I took the opportunity to play around with colour on this painting of a country lane close to Little Crosby. Blocks of discrete colour arranged according to tone. In the shadows it allowed some quite diverse and strange selections which added punch and when completed, surprisingly, looked quite natural.
I was also pleased with the feeling of light I achieved which reflected the the bright summer’s evening with the wheat ripening in the field beyond.
The process is quite time consuming. Normally I can cover big areas with quick brushstokes – but not on this one. The methodology slowed me down and made me consider the placement of colour more analytically.
I added the dogwalker at the end as an afterthought, subsuming them into the landscape as I had been that day, painting in the evening light.
Still messing about with pastels. I cut down a sheet into 3 long formats and did a few sketches on each portion. This, above, is a spring scene looking away from the Leeds to Liverpool canal in Burscough Lancashire. The Lancashire plane spread out before you and the new growth pushing upward into the warm, still, morning air.
At the other end of the seasons – harvest time and more of the Lancashire plane, but this time around Little Crosby which is on the northern outskirts of Liverpool, for the second painting in the series.
And finally, one regulars might recognise. I posted a watercolour of this a few weeks back with the sun momentarily glimpsing the rain sodden fields. I must admit the tonal contrasts were easier with the pastel.
Other landscapes are available for sale on my new website ( getting there -though still under construction) grahammcquadefineart.com
Continuing the series of repeats. I have exhibited the first version of this many times but it never sold . I liked the tight range of hues which I hoped emphasised calm and quiet. This time I have increased the lights in the wooded area and darkened the field shadows. I have also ensured that the yarrow flower heads contrast against the shadow areas in the field. We’ll see how this goes.
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.