SUMMER’S END – WATERCOLOUR SKETCHES

I’ve missed some good opportunities to get out painting recently. A few times the forecast didnt look promising but the next morning you are presented with a glorious day. Too late to assemble everything and select a location, leaving me to rue the missed opportunity.

Last week the opposite was true – good forecast, but I awoke to a hazy morning. As I was up and prepared, I decided to make the most of it.

At my selected location they were harvesting and the bales added interest to a fairly plain subject.

Then, I walked up and sat down on a few you see on the right and painted this view of the church and vicarage.

Perhaps a few wonky sheep, but by then the sun had broken the haze and I was in better spirits.

I could be criticised by my reluctance to seize any opportunity. But last minute opportunism can carry penalties. Last Wednesday evening I went to a life session. Setting out my equipment in the studio, I opened my glasses case to find it empty. Life is hard enough, but as the light faded it became almost impossible. On this occasion I’d prepared everything before departing, yet still forgot this vital accessory. Grabbing all my kit at the last moment only opens me up to many more omissions.

Still, hopefully, there may be one or two opportunities to paint outside left this year – I just need to be ready.

Other landscapes are available for sale on my website: grahammcquadefineart.com

HIGHTOWN FARMS – WATERCOLOUR SKETCHES

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.

Other landscapes are available for sale on my website: grahammcquadefineart.com

A GARDEN IN LUNT – WATERCOLOUR PAINTING

With house guests and other problems I havent much to show, so here is a painting I sold in 2006. I recall spotting this scene over a wall as I was out painting. I couldnt find anywhere to perch as there was a ditch in the way, so a few photos had to suffice and I completed it back home.

The old garden lit by the low sun and the view across the field of barley. It is a simple scene done simply, perhaps something I dont do these days. We were discussing it the other day, as we packed up one of our exhibitions. We didnt sell much, but some of the few that sold were simple landscapes – many of them anonymous. Certainly food for thought in the coming months, when hopefully I will be out on my bike painting our local countryside.

Other landscapes and floral paintings are available for sale on my website: grahammcquadefineart.com

EVENING ON THE ALT ESTUARY – WATERCOLOUR PAINTING

The boat theme continues with some moored yachts at low tide on a local river, the Alt, which discharges into the Mersey Estuary. Here, facing west, you get some great sunsets and this is one of them along, with the birdlife which feeds off the extensive sand and mud flats.

I have done this scene before, but thought I’d give it another go, making changes with the viewpoint, though I am not sure whether I’ve made much progress here.

Anyway, today is my first day at the pop up gallery in this session. We have been open for four days and there have been a few sales, which is encouraging considering the economic situation – though none of them were mine. However, I have had four enquiries for commissions in the last week, two of which are very strong and I am meeting one of them at the gallery today, to discuss details.

A sunny day is forecast, so I might see some people, though I’m taking my painting gear to pass the quiet times.

Other nautical paintings are available for sale on my website: grahammcquadefineart.com

THE CLAYTON PLACE FRUIT STALL – ACRYLIC PAINTING

Another in the style of Colin Brown, the same style used in the painting I recently posted : Waiting to Cross the Strand. Except that it isnt in that style. It certainly started that way, but my good intentions were quickly usurped by my own usual methods and this is the outcome. I think it was the detail that forced me to get tighter.

Though it’s not to say I am unhappy with the result. I rather like it and it has some things going for it that please me.

The subject is, as you can see, the fruit stall. This comes into view when you exit the main entrance from Central Station in Liverpool. Central Station is the hub of the city’s rapid transport system, not he mainline station. The stall is in a bit of a down at heel alley that links to a new shopping precinct. When the sun shines on it, though, the stall seems to glow and this is what I have captured here.

It is also a welcome addition to my Liverpool Series.

Other Liverpool scenes are available on my website: grahammcquadefineart.com

WAITING TO CROSS THE STRAND 2 – ACRYLIC PAINTING

I read an article by the artist, Colin Brown, detailing his approach to cityscapes. I thought that it could help energise my own work. As with many such demonstrations, there were aspects that I didn’t like, but his starting point seemed interesting. I suppose I had unconsciously used a similar approach in my life painting, but Brown provided a coherent structure that I felt was worth investigating.

So here is my first attempt, applying some of his methodology. The subject is the Strand on the Liverpool waterfront. Here you need to cross this very busy road to get from the city centre to the old dock buildings which have now been converted to shops, restaurants, apartments, arenas, art galleries and museums.

I wanted to contrast the people waiting at the crossing to the heavy traffic and the business of the early evening activities going on around and of course reference part of the Liver Building.

I originally did a version in pastel and it got used in a book on Liverpool, published a few years ago.

But despite being published the painting never sold. So this time I changed the angle and featured the highrise, which is supposed to reflect an ocean liner, and also pushed more colour into the piece.

As I’ve said many times before – you can but try.

Other townscapes and paintings of Liverpool are available on my website: grahammcquadefineart.com

SUNDAY MORNING, LITTLE CROSBY – WATERCOLOUR PAINTING

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.

Other townscapes are available for sale on my website: grahammcquadefineart.com

AROUND LYDIATE – WATERCOLOUR SKETCHES

Last week I managed to get out for a sunny early morning session in Lydiate, close to Maghull, a suburb of North Liverpool. From the roadside I spotted this wheat field with lovely tractor tracks disappearing into the distance towards some houses. I found a good spot beside the quiet lane and started my task. Later, a woman who lived in a nearby house came out to see what I was up to. She told me the houses were gamekeeper’s cottages, four in all. This one might make a nice pastel painting- perhaps one for the winter months.

The canal runs through Lydiate, and this bridge – Pilling Lane Bridge – is just around the corner from where I sat doing the previous painting. Perhaps a little too much green – it might be worth coming back in the autumn when the leaves start changing. Still, it was a pleasant hour painting in the morning sunshine.

Cycling back to the car I spotted the ruins of St Catherine’s Chapel set in a copse back from the road. It was built at the end of the 15th century for the Lord of the Manor. A pleasant place to paint in the dappled sunlight serenaded by birdsong. I find painting crumbling ruins difficult at the best of times, and beginning to tire on the third sketch of the day, my mettle was tested and similarly turned into a crumbling ruin. Anyway, it is an approximation of what was there. It might be worth exaggerating the colours of the stones if I were to have another go one winter’s evening.

Other local landmarks and landscapes are available for sale on my website: grahammcquadefineart.com

EVENING WALK DOWN GORSEY LANE, CROSBY – ACRYLIC PAINTING

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.

Other landscapes are available on my website: grahammcquadefineart.com

GLIMMERS ON WATER STREET – WATERCOLOUR PAINTING

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.

Other Liverpool paintings are available on my website: grahammcquadefineart,com