Earlier this month I posted a painting from a recent walk. Here is another scene from that walk: the ramshackled boatyard on the banks of the River Douglas. This river flows into the River Ribble at its estuary, near Preston. Many of the boats in the yard are deposited alongside a footpath which runs at the side of the river. On the other side of the river are tall embankments and green fields. The site is rather incongruous in this rural setting and I have noticed that a growing number of people are living in boats or newly erected static caravans. No doubt there`ll be a shop and a village pub opening soon.
In the painting I wanted to show the cluttered boatyard against the open country, so the main boat occupies a space close to the centre of the painting. This design may upset some of the purists, but I wanted to present the two aspects of the site in a sort of split screen production, segregated by the tree. I placed a lead in of an upturned dinghy and cart, but hopefully I captured the flavour of the yard amid its surroundings.
Another canal painting. I liked the dark form of the narrowboat melding into the bridge in shadow. There was also a lot of foliage and I tried applying paint to sprayed water to get lost and found edges. It took a few goes to build up the volume. Because of all the green I introduced some warms to break the monotony, though not too much as the subdued colour range pulls out the central figure and hopefully focusses the eye on the detail.
Our walk along the Leeds Liverpool canal the other day took us past the swing bridge near the small town of Burscough. I love the line of old cottages in the left background, and have painted them in the past from the other side. I wondered whether the long lead in of the tow path, delineated by the shadows from the bright winter sun was worth a go, particularly as I wanted a long format painting to test on my new website that I am getting built.
And if nothing else, the sight of a canal painting always ignites the bigoted troll – and it can get cold hiding under a stone at this time of year.
This image is from the same walk I alluded to in my previous post. The light catching surfaces and the figure were too good to miss. It was a pity that the woman was in the shade. I debated moving her to the other seat, but I liked the way she was sat with her shoes just catching the light. Might be worth another version.
In the dash to fill my long/thin frames for an upcoming exhibition I did one of the Leeds- Liverpool canal from the bridge. I did a similar view a few years ago, but this is from a recent photograph. The orientation really suits this format.
It is also three years to the day that I started this blog. I might buy myself a cake.
This started out as a bigger painting. Initially I liked the array of trees in the background and the way they dwarfed the narrowboat and man, but when I completed it, the mass of foliage was boring and overpowering. I decided to cut it down from half imperial to quarter imperial. This is the quarter imperial (36x26cm) painting. I do like the warm colours of the man and lifefloat on the narrowboat, singing out in the sea of greens and the smaller size has put more focus on the boat. I still have some misgivings about the painting and will put it aside to consider it later.
I have liked this scene on the Leeds Liverpool Canal when I’ve been looking for somewhere to paint. There isn’t much, but the light reflecting off the rooftops and coming through the trees and the areas in shade make it appealing to me.
I mentioned it to someone who lives in the area and does a lot of painting and they told me that they had been cycling on the path here and had not been paying too much attention to what they were doing (looking at the scenery) and the cycle wheel got caught in a rut and they finished up in the canal. From what she told me the bike is still in the canal .
As promised, or threatened, in my last post I said I would present another scene of the Leeds Liverpool Canal from where I was painting the other weekend. After the boats on the left and right had departed another boat came in under the bridge and I reached for my camera. It seemed like everyone was making the best of the good weather to get their narrowboat moored up for winter. I particularly liked the smoke coming from his exhaust or chimney – not sure which – which partially obscured the bridge.
With the latest spell of good weather I have been trying to get out and do some painting, although it hasn’t been too successful either in actually getting out and then choosing the time to get out. The other day I went out in the evening and found at this time of year the sun can go down very quickly changing shadows so fast it becomes almost impossible to work.
However, last weekend I was able to get out in the morning and wasn’t confronted with this problem. Instead the subjects took off. Luckily I had taken photographs and had actually drawn them in my sketchbook (see below) but first the boat on the left departed and then the boat on the right untied and came up towards me. I did complain to the man behind the wheel that he was upsetting my painting, but he didn’t put the boat back.
But it was a glorious morning and the scene was superb and even a jogger stopped by twice to see how I was getting on. The painting above was one I did from a number of photos and the painting below was my on site sketch.
As I was doing the sketch, after the boats had departed, another one came under the bridge and I was able to get a photo or two of that which will be the subject of my next painting. The morning proved very fruitful with some great scenes in the low morning sun.
I sat by the Leeds Liverpool Canal one sunny morning the other week and painted the canal by the swing bridge. The on site sketch is below. I thought that the second painting might be better as a wide format image.
On the morning when I came to leave, a narrowboat was coming up to open the bridge. With the wide format I thought that something on the left hand side might balance up the painting a bit more, so I included this boat
in the painting. It now seems to have taken over as the subject of the painting.