A view of Liverpool city towards the Mersey with the tall commercial buildings blocking out the bright sunlight until the sun’s persistence starts to break through and tear open the gloom. On the right, towering above the street, is the Liver Building with its clock tower and the Liver Birds balanced on the cupolas above.
I think I had just come out of a life drawing session and crossed the road to spot this. The life drawing group had been forced to move here from a decrepit but lovely light building to one on the right, There wasnt much natural light on the model down at the bottom of this valley and added to that the room was smaller.
This is part of the Albert Dock complex on the Liverpool waterfront with the Anglican Cathedral – a subject of an earlier blog – glowering in the background. The pumphouse is now a pub but was built to power the hydraulic cranes used for loading and unloading the ships. It may also have powered the refrigerated facilities at the dock.
The question was whether to include the chimney or not. Including it constrains the painting and reduces the detail. As it has a rather quirky shape I decided to include it all and pay the price. The images I used were into the sun and I tried to vary the colours, mixing on the paper, but as I built up the perspective tonally, the mixes homogenised.
I have been struggling of late, painting. In the last couple of weeks I have abandoned three paintings. One I have restarted and the other two await the gods of inspiration to call – they appear to have a number of house calls.
In situations like this I like to take a break and mess around, hence the sketch above of the shady alleyways of Villefranche Sur Mer on the Mediterranean. I loved the yellow building, the shadows and the washing and painted it in an hour and a half – trying to focus on simplicity, as if I was on the spot. It was good therapy.
Another one was a painting I had posted before of the Strand near the waterfront in Liverpool. I found it in a pile of paintings and thought that it could do with some tweaking. So here it is duly tweaked.
I liked the unsubtle juxtaposing of the warm and cool colours and the buildings disappearing into the hazy sunlight and carbon monoxide.
Before Christmas there was a call for paintings of Liverpool for a book entitled The Liverpool Art Book. The authors have done a number of other cities starting with the Cambridge Art Book. They use quirky media such as CAD, collage and screen print etc so I thought my images might be a little staid. I also thought that they would want images of major landmarks.
This week they got back to me and said that they wanted copies of two of my paintings. One was a watercolour that could be of anywhere. I called it Shopping Can Create a Thirst and it was from images taken in Liverpool One (the main shopping area in Liverpool). I was pleased with the painting – but I actually threw it in the entry by accident.
I suppose the second one was more what I thought that they might want – it was a pastel of the area close to the waterfront
It is called Crossing the Strand and shows the Liver Building in the Background.
I have posted both these paintings in the past, but I must admit their selection was a bit of a surprise. Still at least I got two in. The book is supposed to come out later in the year.
The repeat season continues with this offering. I posted a sketch of this before Christmas and now a more considered attempt. At least I got the buildings upright this time and achieved the smokiness you see in this contra-jour view. This is the waterfront at Liverpool and The Liver Building casts a shadow over the procedings.