A friend of mine, a very good watercolourist, gave me a couple of sheets of watercolour paper he uses. It is quite rough, but also the texture of the paper is quite flaky and loose, you can see discrete particles which make up the paper. I’ve had it for a while and thought that I would give it a go with this sketch.
The painting is of the Corsican coast. I only used two colours: Windsor blue and cadmium red. The surface of the paper isn’t as tough as my usual Arch paper, so when I started to scratch back to regain some white, the paper seemed to ball and I had to carefully remove the balled fibres with the tip of my scalpel.
Also marks appeared. You can see a dark blob to the left of the sailing boat. Also there are lines in the far hillside on the left and they also appear on the right.
I cant understand anyone using this kind of paper. If you put a lot of effort into a work – which I didn’t here – you don’t want imperfections showing up. It would be embarrassing to sell this work particularly if dark stains start appearing.
The only thing I was impressed with was the lack of cockling when I applied my initial washes. Normally I stretch my paper, but this time I just laid it on the board and sloshed on the water. It stayed flat.
I have done a similar painting in the past of the boats gathered at the north end of Windermere in the English Lake District. The morning sun catches the surfaces of the boats. By darkening the water, highlights on the vessels are possible. I hadn’t tried this before. All the water surface has been darkened, though it doesn’t look like it. I reserved the lights for some of the vessels and the edge of the swan.
I once painted this scene on a winter’s morning, but gave up when the water on my palette froze. I should have tried the old trick of using alcohol, but decided for a photo instead and went inside for breakfast.
Other Lake District paintings are on my website grahammcquade.com . The other painting can be seen in the Sold section.
Still working on my large liquid acrylic paintings. I’ve got two to a stage I’m satisfied with but the final one remains elusive, so I thought a change of pace whilst I think about my next move might be beneficial. In the Lake District on a warm spring late afternoon and the blueness of the mountain backdrop with the light peeping over the hills makes Derwent water a great place to be. I thought I would work a bit larger than my normal pastel landscapes, this is 56×36 cm which is slightly smaller than my figurative work, but big for my landscapes. I think working bigger in pastels does afford more options when mark making.
Well there are a few problems with this but I’ll publish it anyway. I like the light on the boats and may do it again, making the boats bigger to fill the foreground. But, in my humble opinion there are some good aspects as well, so here it is.
It is a similar subject to a painting I saw Joe Dowden had got published in a UK painting magazine years ago. He had blurred the marker flags on the single boat and you got the feeling of a very stiff onshore breeze. I was impressed and called the number at the end of the article. I asked Joe whether he did any courses. He then started to ramble on about cats and dogs and after a few minutes I couldn’t see where he was going. I rephrased the question and asked about lessons. Oh, he replied, I thought you said , did I do horses. I could hear a burst of laughter on the other end of the phone from people around him. At the time he didn’t, but years later he started running courses in Dubrovnik and I went on one. It was very good. Joe is a great teacher. His books are good to, full of very useful techniques, some I have used on this painting. He has a great website too.
I made this up from three photos. I loved the light coming in across the sea, illuminating the cracks in the groyne and making the wet pebbles sparkle. However the picture was a little dull without something else going on. I thought about putting some seagulls in, but decided upon the two guys who were fishing nearby who I had photographed, but with the sun. It meant I had to draw them the other way around and make up some shadow and highlights.
Whilst in Essex during Christmas we went out to the coast and in the cold evening walked along the banks as the sun set and the tide came in and the wading birds made the most of the disappearing sands. Not sure about the sun but I like the birds on the sand.
From the balcony of my Dad’s flat, in Bexhill on the south coat of England, I took a number of photos the other week and this was a combination of three of them. The view is constantly changing with the weather, the tides and the people all contributing to the variety. I was particularly taken by the light reflected from the draining water on the beach. I have painted this phenomena many times, particularly around the Mersey Estuary and there are examples on my website: grahmmcquadefineart.com