AT THE TOP OF CLIEVES’ HILLS – WATERCOLOUR PAINTING

I have been meaning to have a go at this for a while. I wasnt sure how effective it would be. I took some reference photographs as I was sitting on the roadside painting the image (below) which I posted in an earlier blog : the view over the hills to St Michael’s Church at Aughton, near Ormskirk – a favourite of mine.

I put a couple of walkers in, but it is a precarious place to walk as cars come wizzing along. I found them a bit too close for comfort as I sat painting by the roadside. Still, I lived to paint another day.

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

DAWN EDGES OVER CLIEVES’ HILLS – WATERCOLOUR PAINTING

I’ve done versions of this before, but not being satisfied with the results I decided to try again. This was stimulated by another dawn scene I’m going to work on and will hopefully put out on my next blog. As I was planning my dawn scene I recalled this early morning view of the newly mown fields at the base of the rise we have the temerity to call a hill in these parts.

I have been wondering whether to introduce a murder of crows, which I have seen at other times, gathering to snaffle the dropped grains in newly mown fields, but have been held back by the thought that they might upset the harmony. The question is whether this harmony lulls the viewer into drowsiness or is there enough going on to maintain the interest?

I shall ponder on this and fight off any drowsiness as I do.

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

PRIMROSE HILL – WATERCOLOUR PAINTING

This painting developed from an early morning sketch I posted a few weeks ago. A row of cottages at the top of a shallow incline – which in this area of flatness is called a hill. It was originally done in landscape format but I thought that it might pack more punch in long format. Even so, I’m not sure whether it will hold much interest for anyone save, possibly, the few souls that live there. Whilst working on another sketch by the side of the road up by the far cottage you see in the painting, a local stopped by and enquired whether I could paint his house which is just off to the right – I gave him my card, though so far I’ve heard nothing more.

As for the painting – it was the colour and shapes of the cluster of cottages set against the rough, dry grassland and the difference in brushwork between the two which interested me. Couple this with a scatter of random leaning power-line poles and you get my attention, though, I suspect, no-one else’s. But in the end I enjoyed the task – so here it is.

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

SUNSHINE ON A RUST RIVEN ROOF – WATERCOLOUR SKETCHES

On my last sketching trip, which I blogged a week or so ago, I was cycling back when I spotted this barn with it’s rusting roof glowing in the sunlight. I resolved to come back and try a painting of it. But on my return, despite my expectations, the sun wasn’t shining. At the early hour the sun was still low in the sky, so I went along the road in search of another subject to paint. Here is one below:

Behind a hedge was this newly mown field, and the view up the hill. Upon completion, the sun was still playing hide and seek behind the fair weather clouds. So on I went looking for something else.

I followed an unfamiliar footpath that quickly petered out and deposited me in a field from which I found this view. A cluster of farm buildings; ones I have painted before, but this time it was from a closer viewpoint. And, when I had completed that, the sun still wasnt playing ball but by then it was getting late and I wanted some breakfast so I decided to go back to the barn and do the best I could. And there it is. Still, the red roof works well against the greens and the distressed side panels add to its character – but it would have been so much better with some bright sunlight.

Other landscapes are available on my website: grahammcquadefineart.com

HOT SUMMER DAYS – WATERCOLOUR SKETCHES

With predicted record UK temperatures I assumed the next day was going to be cloudless and packed my painting gear in readiness for an early start. At 5-30 it was hot, but not cloudless, but, ever the optimist, I started out and hoped the light would improve.

The first painting is of a subject I’ve done before, but not from this angle, sitting on the roadside verge, looking out across the fields at the distant Aughton Church and the cottage with the reflective roof tucked in on the left.

When a Range Rover narrowly missed me as speeding commuters passed on the lane behind, I knew why I had found a different vantage point in the past. Still, I lived to tell the tale and here is the evidence.

Retreating to a safer position in the middle of a field, I was struck by the variation of colours from the different crops and the seed heads of the grasses which I achieved by scratching out with a scalpel and then adding a bit of shading.

Perhaps a bit of tiredness had crept in on this line of trees along a track, though I think some good light might have made a difference. Yep, a bad workman always blames his light.

Other landscapes are available on my website: grahammcquadefineart.com

ANOTHER SUNNY MORNING – WATERCOLOUR SKETCHES

We’re getting some warm weather, but there is a lot of cloud with it. Monday was different – bright sunshine – so I got on the bike to find some nice light and shade. I started where I had finished on my last outing:

It was right down the end of the lane and past the three poplar trees you can see in the last sketch I posted. I spotted a track up the hill, one I had never been along before, and soon found a view with the long morning shadows.

After that sketch, I continued up the hill and looked across the fields to a cluster of houses I have painted before, but from the other side:

Then back down the hill: I was off to find a morello cherry tree I had spotted a few years ago whilst sketching. I have some morello cherries from trees in my garden, but wanted a few more to make a decent batch of jam. On the way I spotted this scene and paused by the roadside and sketched the cottage up the track.

There were a nice series of curves bending this way and that. Throw in a few powerlines and you have got my attention. I was a bit disappointed with the outcome – perhaps a bit too heavy handed. It also could do with a bit of judicious rearrangement. I have some photos so another version might be on the way.

After this it was off to the cherry tree, but when I had got there the tree had been stripped bare by the birds with plenty of pips hanging by stalks, but all the fruit was gone.

So, it looks like only a couple of pots this year.

Other landscape paintings are available on my website: grahammcquadefineart.com

ANOTHER DAY IN THE SUN – WATERCOLOUR SKETCHES

An early start on a warm summer’s morning, I happened upon this footpath which proved to be a very secluded spot and I was able to spread out and work undisturbed. Nothing too exciting, but I enjoyed myself.

By contrast, on this one I was perched by the side of the road, trying to ignore the passing traffic. I liked the cluster of cottages and the powerlines at the top of the slight incline.

Finally, I sat in front of those cottages in the previous painting, looking at the view they see from their front windows. As I painted, a guy stopped in his car. He owned the house you can just make out behind the trees on the left at the end of the ploughed field. It turned out he had seen a painting I had done of the area which I had previously sold. He said he was interested in getting a painting of his house which he is currently renovating. I gave him my card but so far he hasnt got back to me – but you can never tell.

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

BACK ON CLIEVES’ HILLS – ACRYLIC PAINTING

I am in the middle of a few incomplete projects at the moment, so here is another acrylic painting. It is a return to an old subject, with an old painting – the view from Clieves’ Hills. I did it in 2012, before I started blogging. It looks from the low hill across a summery view of Halsall and the Moss, towards the coast and Southport where I live.

I like the richness of colour in the foreground that helps create the aerial perspective which is driven further with the smokey blue background. Somebody else obviously liked this and purchased it.

I still like this area for sources of subjects and hopefully will be heading out there again when the weather gets warmer.

Other landscapes – and paintings from Clieves’ Hills – are still available for sale on my website: grahammcquadefineart.com

A MISTY START ON CLIEVES’ HILLS – WATERCOLOUR PAINTING

I have an exhibition planned at my framers in December and so I have been going through my sketchbooks for scenes of local interest that I can show. Here is one I sketched back in the summer which I worked up into a painting. The colours were very muted given the mistiness that prevailed, and I have added more to the foreground to push the background back. I might darken the clouds slightly to bring out the sun breaking through the mirk. It certainly did that, as by the time I finished painting that morning, the sun was out and there wasnt a cloud in the sky.

Landscapes atre available for sale on my website: grahammcquadefineart.com

MORNING ON CLIEVES’ HILLS – WATERCOLOUR SKETCHES.

It has been a busy weekend, a life session and the weather was good enough to get out painting. With the plein air painting, I had decided on the canal, but despite it being bright where I live by the sea, there was thick fog at the canal. So, I headed for the hills, but even up here the fog was clinging on. I was deciding to head back to the coast when I spotted this view and decided to stay on the hill and persevere. I loved the way the layers of background were being revealed as I painted. Maybe one to work up as a larger piece.

As you can see the mist cleared as I worked and was pretty much gone on this second piece. This is an old favourite subject – Aughton church – seen from a different angle as I explored a new path, down between some farmhouses.

Just turning on my stool from the last sketch I saw this intriguing view of a farmhouse obscured by foliage and barley. I was taken by the tonal interchange.

So despite the the shaky start chasing around, avoiding the fog, I got some pleasing sketches. I’ll show the life painting on my next post – bet you cant wait. Anyway, the fine weather’s set for a few days so I might get out some more.

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