Well, I did warn you that I had gathered a lot of information on my last trip to Formby Beach. So here is another painting inspired by that visit. This one is fully illuminated by the sun, instead of looking into the light. Again, a glimpse of the sea breaking on the mud and sand in the distance and the sad remains of the old fence being devoured by the receding dunes. The sea is gobbling up the land here and I suppose it will get worse as sea levels rise. At the same time the sand gets pushed further inland.
I went down to Formby beach to get some visual information to enable me to complete a painting which I posted a week ago. I also gathered some more possible material for other paintings. The afternoon was well advanced and the low sun put the seed heads of the marram grass into silhouette. On this painting I was conscious of too many dark areas, because the bright light put a lot of the ravine into shade. Certainly, some shade was useful to counter change with the seed heads, but too much could make the whole thing very moody. So, to reduce this shade, I exaggerated the light filtering through the grasses.
I think the simple painting captures the feeling of place and time well.
A friend was trying to contact me and went to my website to get my phone number and saw an image of the beach where she walks regularly. I had sold the one she spotted and she asked me to do another for her and this is the version I painted. Perhaps long time viewers recognise the view as I posted the first one a while ago.
I went down to the beach last week to see what the scene looks like now, but they have put a bigger fence on the left, so with her agreement I left it out. I like the spikey, old broken-down fence, particularly where it stands out against the sand below.
Anyway, whilst I was on the beach I took a few photos, so brace yourself for a set of beach scenes. I need some views for upcoming exhibitions that start to blossom prior Christmas and the beach at Formby is always popular.
Well for us in northern climes the corner has been turned and summer is on its way, though, no doubt, a rocky (and icy) road lies ahead. So here is a painting of what we’re aiming for. I did this as a pastel a long while ago and wondered whether it would make a watercolour. I love the shadows of the marram grass, the distressed fence, and the way the beach disappears into a hazy blueness. It makes a hopeful change from my recent winter beach scenes.
I have sold a number of beach scenes at Formby of late, so stocks of this subject were low and I wanted something not too taxing to paint as I worked on a more difficult painting.
It puzzles me why a local beach scene is such a popular subject but I suppose sunny days at the seaside are always uplifting and can hold happy memories – that is, until you have to paint masses of marram grass and footprints in the sand.
With the morning light on the dunes the marram grass glows and glistens and cajoled me into working up this view of the beach at Birkdale where I live. I had forgotten I had done a very similar piece before in April and it was only as I was storing this painting that I saw the earlier work. I had forgotten it, probably as I wasnt too taken with the regularly repeating rows of grass I had managed to get on that one. So I got the old painting out again and gave it a dose of reworking and here it is:
On the top painting I blocked in the dark areas with dark acrylic paint before applying the pastels and that saved a lot of time and layers of pastel in achieving the shadows and darker passages, In the lower painting darks were built up with pastel alone.
Staying with the beach theme started on my last post; another view of the Sefton coast, this time at Formby. I did this in acrylics and I am happier with the depictment of the vegetation compared to what I achieved with the pastels. I am tempted to repeat the previous post of the Alt Estuary in acrylics.
The painting comes from a watercolour sketch I did a few weeks back, one sunny morning when I visited the beach.
In the distance ( through the gap) on the acrylic painting are the impression of some seabirds which I thought I saw as I sat painting. When I blew up the images I saw that it was litter left by the previous day’s tourists – still, the white blobs are birds in my eye.
A few repeats here. Versions of these saplings in a sunny clearing in Ainsdale woods have been presented before. In this latest version I feel I have got the lightness of the birch leaves in the sun. I think the photograph flatters the painting, though it might look better in a mount.
This is of the grassy sand dunes close to the beach in the evening. This was a sketch, done on the back of a one of my many rejects. The glow works well, despite the yellow, and I used masking fluid to get the glistening tips of the foreground grass. I needn’t have bothered as I got far better results by scraping the damp paint with my scalpel. I’m not sure introducing the green in the foreground helps with the overall harmony. You may be seeing this one again.
And saving the worst to the last. I’ve presented this entrance to Ainsdale woods before . I thought that by introducing leafy branches across the path it might help to lift the image but these puny leaves look like an afterthought and trying to hint at forms in the dark areas remains elusive – oh well.
I think this is the beach at Birkdale, but it could be anywhere north of Liverpool from Crosby to Southport as the morning light catches the marram grasses and the birds glisten out on the sandbanks.
I would like to get down there and get another piece of driftwood to modify my fish mobile, as with time on my hands, I have been looking at the mobile I posted a while ago and decided that an adjustment is required, but with restrictions getting tighter that can wait.
We had some French people staying with us at the weekend and on Saturday we all set off for a walk along the woodlands, dunes and coastline to the north of Liverpool. It was a warm, glorious day and at lunch time we descended the dunes and had a picnic on Formby beach. Probably the last opportunity this year to do such a thing. This was the view as we searched for somewhere to settle down to eat.
The next day the weather was markedly different as we walked along the Mersey in south Liverpool. We had to find shelter from the rain and had our lunch in the car. Though later in the day, as we were leaving, the sun broke the clouds and the exposed Mersey mud glistened, allowing the Oystercatchers to find their evening meal. I might have a go at that view in the coming days.