I joined in a group exhibition in Southport where I live, and have been manning the gallery for a couple of days this week, as I am going on holiday the week after next. The shop is in a beautiful Victorian arcade, but unfortunately most of the shops are empty and footfall is low. To occupy my time between visitors, I painted this scene which is about 200 yards from the exhibition intending to put it in the exhibition. I have done quite a few of this street, called Lord Street, in the past and they have sold. The exhibition is on for six weeks and I have done quite well at this venue previously, though this time I am not holding my breath. I may try and get this painting in next week as there is still a bit of wall space available.
I put up a couple of Liverpool Street scenes, shown on the right, and the Southport street scene may fit in amongst them.
I have mentioned a pile of problem paintings I have in my studio – paintings I like, but have a few issues with. This one directly above was an example. Mixing images and subjects resulted in the figure being too small for the railings and the colourings on the Bexhill Pavilion and the promenade being too dark and light respectively. So I had another go and produced the one at the top. I also took the opportunity to rearrange the figures.
I had similar issues with the painting looking the opposite way in the afternoon ( as opposed to the morning in the one above)
This one below was the first attempt;
The painting was odd in that I wanted to get the full width of the background buildings which consequently made for quite an expanse of foreground which was left a bit empty.
I hope this time the foreground has more presence and the figures aren’t as stiff. I also wanted to get more detail into the background to imply the jumble of structures there.
Lastly, there was the case of leaning Lord Street that I put out a few days ago. I thought that as I was on the topic of buildings I might as well round them all up. The one below was the original post.
So I set about it again and also tried to be a bit more subtle with the washes.
Another painting from my recent trip into town. This one is of the covered walkway over the shops with the setting sun throwing its rays down the pavement. I tried to paint the trees and buildings in one go and may have been overambitious. I had to subsequently take out colour to signify windows . I feel that there are some successful parts to this and I may have a go at repeating it.
Lord Street is the main street in Southport. Once a thriving shopping venue with covered walkways, today it is blighted with shop closures and lack of footfall.
In the winter, the low sun casts deep shadows and lights up reflective surfaces and makes for a great painting. The other afternoon I thought conditions were right for these perfect images. However, when I got down to the town centre, the sun was still too high to get the impact I was after – I need to wait a little later in the year – but still the contra jour effect of the setting sun gave an arresting image – particularly the lady dodging the traffic.
Needing a couple of paintings for another exhibition I decided to do one of the locale. This is part of the main Street here in Southport with its covered walkway and Victorian facades, although some of the buildings down this end have a distinctive art deco feel. The tower belongs to the long defunct railway station that ran a line back down towards Liverpool. I frequently cycle up the path of the old line when out looking for topics to paint. The old station is now yet another hotel. I love the view looking into the light, which you only get in the winter months, here. At other times the sun is too high and sets over the buildings on the right.
I have sat outside and painted this building in the centre of Southport on at least two occasions and recently I spotted this angle which has the imposing clock tower dominating the scene. Then one night we went to see a performance and the evening sunlight lit up the sandstone façade and I quickly took some photos. So this painting is a combination of a number of photos taken on different days with very different lighting conditions. It made the drawing mighty complicated and where I had problems and uncertainties I covered them in people. All I was after was the tower in shade against the glow of the sunlit façade. Also the top half was from really dark photos, but I couldn’t put anyone up there to cover uncertainties so I winged it with the lights and shades.
With all these problems I wished half way through I hadn’t started it, but it pulled through in the end. Perhaps I should have got on my bike and taken a few more reference shots but when you’re in the thick of it you think you can make do.
This is a version of Lord Street 1 I did a few years back. I was pleased with the painting, but it didn’t sell for a while and in the meantime I did some more and then I sold six different views in the street over a couple of years. This time someone wanted a retirement gift with the retiree and his wife in Lord Street, Southport (where I live) so we decided on this first scene. The trouble was when I went back to check it out a coffee chain had opened up in the area and I felt obliged to reflect reality, so I took some more photos and included a table, a few chairs, some signage and someone puffing on a cigarette. I like the smoker, they add a bit more interest to the scene.
The client has just seen the photo and seems to like it- just hope he likes it in the flesh.
I did a painting of Lord Street in Southport, where I live, and posted it a week ago. This view, above, is on the other side of the street, but about six months later, although at the same time of day. In winter the sun comes low over the south end of the street in the afternoon and, on sunny days, bathes the buildings in a golden light.
I started a version of this at the weekend and as I was painting I picked up a tissue on the side of my hand and transferred it to the painting. On the underside of the tissue was a plug of winsor blue and I printed a couple of blobs on the painting. There are five colours used in the painting and winsor blue wasn’t one of them and as it is a staining colour I couldn’t get it out or disguise it enough. So I did the pastel of Windermere whilst I stretched a sheet of paper.
Lord Street is the main street in Southport where I live. I have painted the street many times before – mainly on the other side of the street where most of the shops are. In fact I am painting another one right now. This painting above was from a combination of a couple of photos I took this summer.
A little further down is a bandstand and for a couple of years we displayed our paintings around it in the summer. We didn’t make many sales, even after on the very first morning of the first day selling two. It was something I felt we should have continued with, but after so many weekends standing in the cold the collective will started to drain. Pity really.