Still on holiday, we visited friends near my home town. One couple have just moved back to the area and they were showing us around their new house and on the wall was a familiar painting – one I did around 2013. It was pleasing to see it again, after all these years. I dug up this image of it from my files. I called it Early Start.
Here is another long forgotten painting I saw yesterday. I sold it to a lady who lived in the same block of flats as my step mother. The lady has since moved to a care home due to dementia and her family cleared her flat for renting out. This painting was then hung in one of the corridors of the block of flats. I just caught sight of it as I was passing and it made me pause. I had to ask my stepmother about it, who assured me it was the painting I had originally sold to Shirley.
Apologies for the light reflections from the glass. I like the almost abstract shapes at the bottom of the painting which slowly evolve into vegetation and buildings. I have used this approach before, and was pleased with the result here.
Yesterday we took a walk along the Dee Estuary from West Kirby to Neston. The forecast was promising, but the early part was overcast, as you can see from this sketch – at least it wasnt raining. Here we sat down at the foot of cliffs facing out over the estuary to Wales. As I painted this I noticed that the sandbar I had sketched, just behind the boats, had disappeared. That caused me to accelerate my painting. Not knowing the area, I didnt want to be caught between the rising tide and the cliffs.
I needn’t have worried – maybe I’ve watched too many lifeboat programmes of late. We continued on along the beach, but later picked up the Wirral way – the route of a long defunct railway track. The trouble with this track was that for the most part it ran between hedges and was set back from the estuary, so the views of the river and the low hills of Wales beyond – the reason for coming on the walk – were lost. Also, without sunshine, you didnt have the dappled effects you get from treelined walks.
Later, the day did get brighter, as you can see in the sketch above, and here was a glimpse of the Dee, peeping from behind someone’s sheds. I was able to worm my way between a couple of oak trees to get this view, with again, Wales in the distance.
I decided to work up one of the plein air sketches I recently showed on the blog. I had a tussle with the spring leaves on the trees against the dark buildings. I initially splattered masking fluid in the area and then proceeded to paint mixes of burnt sienna, um blue, alizarin and a few others into the area to imitate buildings and dark background foliage. When I rubbed off the masking fluid and applied foliage colours it looked laboured, despite softening edges. So off it all came and I repeated the dark building colours, but then added white gouache mixed with lemon yellow and some blues. I was pleased with the soft effects it gave. I am reluctant to use gouache as I consider it a bit of a cheat, but I dont think I could have got these glinting leaves better any other way.
Having had to rebook a holiday for the second time this week I thought that I would recall one from a more carefree time. This is on the Italian Lake Garda, a little hamlet near Salo. It was out of the way and frequented, it seemed, by locals. I saw quite a few small gatherings passing away the evening around the quay and a small promenade, putting the world to rights and greeting friends. Some even brought their own chair and when done would fold it up and carry it back to their house.
Other seaside paintings are available for sale on my website: grahammcquadefineart.com
I painted this scene many years ago, before I started this blog, and came across it the other day when I was sorting out my studio. I felt it needed some good darks to carry it off and running in strong colours can be quite tricky which is why I adopted the approach below.
Seeing my earlier attempt I thought that I would try again. Hopefully I have got the solidity and reflection I was after.
Other paintings of the Lake District are available on my website: grahammcquadefineart.com
I had been working on another version of Shasta daisies I published in May, but things went from bad to worse to unprintable. So last night I started sketching this and it seemed to tumble out. I posted a version of this done on site at the end of May, but the lighting wasnt what I wanted. To get this view – and with it the light – you need to get further back down the canal, so far that the subjects became just dots. So the telephoto lense came in handy here.