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.
I warned you – another view of Little Crosby in readiness for my exhibition in the old manor hall there next month. This view is further back than the painting in the previous blog and is, as you can see, in a long format. At first I was going to leave out the modern house on the right, but the sun playing on the windows and the shadow cast on the wall was a delight. What I did leave out was the never ending line of traffic, although I toyed with putting a car in the distance, but finally decided against it.
As I said in my last blog I completed one project – now on to the next … . This is a painting for a group show in November. I need eight paintings for it and I already have a couple. The event takes place in the old Manor Hall of Little Crosby. This is a small village set at the northern end of Liverpool. So last Monday morning being bright and sunny I got up early and headed down to the area near the exhibition. I had to take photos of Little Crosby as this small lane gets choked with traffic on the school run – not a place to be painting plein air – I could barely cross the road. This will be one of two paintings of the village. I have painted the scene before and the morning light warming the faces of the stone built cottages – some as old as the 17th century – gives great passages of light and shade. More will follow.
The heatwave continues -not good news for my garden – forcing me up early to explore the local area. I see these cottages when I travel by train into Liverpool and their shapes always catch my eye, so I set my stool up along the lane which leads to the railway line, As I painted a dog came along and attacked me, knocking over my cup of tea, and water container. It wasnt very big – just a nuisance. The owner followed and kicked the dog away and wanted some info on my website and prices – but as to yet no sales,
The next day I set down by the River Douglas, warily watched by grazing sheep – though none attacked. which meant I could drink my tea
. Wading birds stilted the muddy flats and squabbling ducks caused a heron to fly off for more peaceful fishing.
This is a bit further down the River Douglas . I wanted to get closer to the moored boat, but despite over half an hour of trying I had to settle for this original view. I have a rule where I dont paint things I can barely see, but after all my efforts and the sun getting higher, I let slip this rule, though with my telephoto lens I did get enough should I want to paint it at home.
Another spell of sunny weather has made me get up early and take the paintbrushes for some exercise. Normally by now our summer has crashed into an indifferent greyness. I suppose this could be the upside of global warming. So back to the Leeds Liverpool Canal for this one by Heaton Bridge. I liked the interplay of light and shade and I could make more of it if I did it in the studio.
Another one by Heaton Bridge on the canal. I even painted my own car in the background. I had to duck in and out of the shade on this one, as I needed the sun to dry the washes before moving on.
And finally one from this morning. I took the bike and cycled around the lanes north of Crosby. Here is one of the many farms. Swallows gathered on the power cables in the dewy morning, but had disappeared by the time I had finished and lapwings made noisy overtures to any encroachers. Apart from that, well away from the road, all I could hear was the occasionally barking dog in the early stillness.