THE VIEW FROM CLIEVES’ HILLS – ACRYLIC PAINTING

There has been much uncertainty and quite a few false starts of late with my painting. I have been wanting to produce some stylised landscapes in acrylic alongside developing the ink and wash paintings I have shown recently. Not much progress has been made.

With the landscape, I couldnt settle on a subject. Then I recalled a wonderful morning I had spent on Cleives’ Hills this summer, with my watercolours, painting some cottages on the edge of the hill. I put the painting I did that day on the blog some time ago and I enclose it below.

I thought I might try this scene both in watercolour and acrylics. So here is the first one, in acrylics, with the cottages and the view of Liverpool in the morning haze in the distance. Fresh off the easel. There may be some more changes to be made, though I think I ‘ve got the punchiness I was after.

Other landscapes are available for sale on my website: grahammcquadefineart.com

SMALL LANE SOUTH, HALSALL – WATERCOLOUR PAINTING

Back at the end of August I set out on my bike one morning to do some painting. The light was sublime and I settled in a field to paint this cottage. I love the way the tree hangs over the lane and the jumble of cable posts stand around like lonely drunks at the end of a party. I posted the sketch I did at the beginning of September and I’ve put it below.

When I came to move on in search of another subject I noticed the row of puddles in the broken road surface. I love puddles and their reflective quality as well as the textures of the broken road surface and the mud and stones stirred up by passing tractors. So I took a few photos.

In the end I had to paint it.

Other local scenes and landscapes are available for sale on my website. Go on, treat yourself. grahammcquadefineart.com

UNDER THE HILL – ACRYLIC PAINTING

I’ve used this motif before as part of other paintings, but decided to make it a painting in it’s own right. I roughly covered over an old painting to inject some energy and mystery to the final piece and then let both the underpaintings come through all over the image.

I love this half shadowed cluster of farm buildings at the foot of Clieve’s Hills, near Ormskirk in Lancashire, and this was mainly from photos I took when I painted the same scene outdoors in May this year. Like some other landscapes I have done recently, I have distorted the colour range and heightened saturations. Though I hope to have imparted a bit more edginess into this one with the underpainting and rough handling of the foreground.

Other landscapes are available for sale on my website: grahammcquadefineart.com

CHRIST CHURCH, AUGHTON 2 – ACRYLIC PAINTING

I posted the first version of this a little while ago and it has since sat in my studio in a tray frame I made for it, but I became aware that the foreground looked a bit timid and tentative and so I decided something had to change.

Out came the brushes and I started scumbling, getting rid of the prissy field break in the lower part and giving the foreground texture. I am happier with this version and having just had an invite to join a mixed exhibition in December ( Covid permitting) along with a solo show at my framers, I have now got a small collection of these stylised landscapes to show.

This, and other landscapes are available for sale on my website: grahammcquadefineart.com

FIRST LIGHT OVER CLIEVES’ HILLS – WATERCOLOUR PAINTING

The post before last I showed 3 morning sketches, the first one of a single cottage. This was the view behind me, as I painted – one of the many drainage ditches that crisscross this marshy land, surrounded by flattened reeds and grasses.

I loved the myriad of warm colours picked out and accentuated by the rising sun. A new day and the crows descend to squabble over the remaining grains of cereal.

Other landscapes are available for sale on my website: grahammcquadefineart.com

CLIEVES HILLS – WATERCOLOUR SKETCHES

With the sun shining I got up early on Monday morning and headed to Clieves Hills on my bike. On my last painting trip I spotted this cottage at the foot of the hills from another angle and made a mental note, but returning on Monday, I was more taken with this view, with sweeps of stubble leading the eye. Comparing it to the other sketches I did on the day I feel I have captured a dose of morning freshness under the sun’s first rays.

I then headed up the hill and, from across the field, spotted this group of buildings nestling under a tree. This is the kind of light I want, crisply defining shape and form and keeping me warm as I paint.

Then I shuffled a good hundred yards along the ridge and set my stool down to paint these cottages that almost hang in the air looking out to Liverpool and the Welsh hills beyond. I have been reluctant to paint these before as it is at a well frequented viewpoint. Casting shyness aside, no-one even noticed me as I painted away.

The grasses, plants and flowers in the foreground were a picture in themselves and I might turn this into a painting in the near future.

Other landscapes are available for sale on my website: grahammcquadefineart.com

CHRIST CHURCH, AUGHTON – ACRYLIC PAINTING

Back in June this year, I published a post where I displayed 3 paintings all done from the same spot, my sketching stool, just looking in different directions on Clieves’ Hills. This latest offering is based upon one of them. It is brassy, stretched out and made to look like an old steam train destination poster, but the essential elements have been retained, including the Church.

This is another in the graphic style I was exploring, using the local vicinity as my reference point. It may have got a bit fussy in the foreground, but I like its boldness and colour and it complements the others paintings in the series.

I may be tempted to get out and gather some more reference material for the dark winter nights ahead.

Other landscapes are available on my website: grahammcquadefineart.com

AROUND HALSALL – WATERCOLOUR SKETCHES

Well, we are presently experiencing our normal summer; high winds and rain, which I am told is set for the week, but last week there was a brief taste of sunshine. I had the last couple of pages in my old sketchbook to fill and a new one was waiting to get started on – so I needed to take the opportunity..

For the first painting, I chanced upon a little path off the road as I cycled along. I liked the sweep of the path and the tonal range of deep shadows against the ripening barley. As I got cracking a tractor came bouncing down the path, so I had to collect all my belongings and head for the long grass. Anyway, he didnt return and calm returned.

This second one was at the top of Clieves hills and again I liked the deep tonal contrast – and the incongruous speed signs. Just off left are the trees I painted and posted on 18th June.

For this one, above, of the cottages on Cut lane I had to wedge myself into the hedgerow on a busy road. I may have spooked a few cyclists as they caught me in the corner of their eye on passing.

And finally, sat on the verge of a quiet country lane, painting the fields and farm, I was surprised by the number of walkers, cyclists and the odd car or two which passed. These days no-one miders you and they hurry past. I didnt even need to cough.

Other landscapes are available for sale on my website: grahammcquadefineart.com

SKETCHING ON THE SPOT – WATERCOLOUR

Well, the weather has broken around here and my early morning outings have stopped. Here is the result of my last foray on the first day of this month.

It took me a while to find a suitable subject that day and eventually I selected the view on Clieves hills across the fields to Aughton Church which is just outside Ormskirk, With the cottage in the foreground it might be one worth working up in the future.

As I painted I noticed another view to my left with the far hills shrouded in mist.

So when I completed the Aughton Church view I turned in my seat, replenished my water, had another cup of tea and started the view over the valley to the far hills. On this one I think I went a bit too dark too soon but again it could be one to work on later.

And then, as I was thinking that one more painting might round off the morning well, I turned to look up the hill and saw the weather blown trees. I decided to select just a few of these trees which stand high on the ridge and with a second twist of my stool and another cup of tea I started on the final painting of the morning.


Three paintings without moving – so it was a good morning and the cycle ride home was helped by a following wind – what more could you want?

Landscape paintings are available for sale on my website: grahammcquadefineart.com

EARLY CROPS UNDER CLIEVES HILLS – ACRYLIC PAINTING

This image was developed from a plien air painting I posted at the start of June.

I wanted a bit more colour and punch and also thought that a graphic style could enhance the saturated colours so I gessoed over an old painting on canvas and set to work. I had been influenced by work by Fred Ingrams amongst others and although I havent achieved his brave use of colour it is an early step.

It might be worth producing a small set of paintings in this style and see if they develop. I have plenty of raw material both photos and sketches to draw from.

Other landscapes are available for sale on my website: grahammcquadefineart.com