CAFE LIFE ON LORD STREET, SOUTHPORT – WATERCOLOUR PAINTING

I joined in a group exhibition in Southport where I live, and have been manning the gallery for a couple of days this week, as I am going on holiday the week after next. The shop is in a beautiful Victorian arcade, but unfortunately most of the shops are empty and footfall is low. To occupy my time between visitors, I painted this scene which is about 200 yards from the exhibition intending to put it in the exhibition. I have done quite a few of this street, called Lord Street, in the past and they have sold. The exhibition is on for six weeks and I have done quite well at this venue previously, though this time I am not holding my breath. I may try and get this painting in next week as there is still a bit of wall space available.

I put up a couple of Liverpool Street scenes, shown on the right, and the Southport street scene may fit in amongst them.

Other townscape paintings are 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

DEE ESTUARY – WATERCOLOUR SKETCHES

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.

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

RUSH HOUR, BEXHILL – WATERCOLOUR PAINTING

At present I am playing around with some ideas and havent a new painting to post. The one above is an old painting, done before I started this blog, but never shown here. I thought it’d be worth an outing, particularly as some of the stuff I am working on are beach scenes.

I sold this to a lady, who painted herself, and who later became a friend. Her husband came from the area depicted, which is on the south coast of England, close to where I was born and, also, she liked the title. Unfortunately the lady, Mo, died from cancer, as did her husband – she died about a year after her husband.

When she was in treatment she asked me to carve a wooden head so she could store her wig properly. At that point she left it on a stair post and her sons ( she had three } had taken to playing football with it, kicking it around the house. She offered to pay me, but I asked for one of her paintings. Later I got a watercolour. She had a difficult time with watercolour and mainly painted in acrylics. The watercolour I was given was originally in an exhibition we were both in. I remarked to her how well executed it was and why was she so afraid of the medium. It was a nice piece, well presented, but in the end it didnt sell and so she gave it to me. It still hangs in our kitchen.

Other seascapes and seaside paintings are available for sale on my website: grahammcquadefineart.com

MOORINGS AT CRABTREE LANE – WATERCOLOUR PAINTING

Another view of the Leeds and Liverpool Canal near Burscough in Lancashire. It’s a place that I’ve painted before but here I dwelt on the cluster of shapes created by the narrowboats and houses and in doing so made it a portrait format. This format also allowed the full reflections of trees and posts. The bankside vegetation also added interesting detail.

At this point on the canal is a narrow swing bridge – partially visible on the left which allows traffic to cross the canal.

Other canal scenes are available on my website: grahammcquadefineart.com

EVENING WALK DOWN GORSEY LANE, CROSBY – ACRYLIC PAINTING

I took the opportunity to play around with colour on this painting of a country lane close to Little Crosby. Blocks of discrete colour arranged according to tone. In the shadows it allowed some quite diverse and strange selections which added punch and when completed, surprisingly, looked quite natural.

I was also pleased with the feeling of light I achieved which reflected the the bright summer’s evening with the wheat ripening in the field beyond.

The process is quite time consuming. Normally I can cover big areas with quick brushstokes – but not on this one. The methodology slowed me down and made me consider the placement of colour more analytically.

I added the dogwalker at the end as an afterthought, subsuming them into the landscape as I had been that day, painting in the evening light.

Other landscapes are available on my website: grahammcquadefineart.com

THE EAST HILL, LOOKING WEST – WATERCOLOUR PAINTING

This is a view from the East Hill in Hastings, over the West Hill and town, and out towards Beachy Head in the distance. A view of my youth, and one I always try to see when I am in the area. As I walk over this sandstone butte, which marks the eastern end of the town, I have John Martyn’s song ‘Over the Hill’ ( from his Solid Air album which contains the song May You Never that Clapton later recorded) in my head. Martyn lived at the foot of this hill and he is referring to the walk over the West hill – seen with the houses in the middle distance, which he had to negotiate getting from the railway station to his home.

Martyn had a reputation for altercations with the local fishermen who frequented the many pubs at the foot of the hill in the Old Town of Hastings.

I recall an instance of him, in the mid seventies, taking over the local folk club to try out one of his albums – probably One World, before going out on the road with it. The club featured quite a lot of traditional A Capella, hand to the ear, singers and to walk in to see Martyn with his amplifiers and synthesisers was a pleasant surprise. I had an enjoyable evening at least.

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

AROUND HASKAYNE – WATERCOLOUR SKETCHES

With a fine morning forecast for Tuesday I checked the maps and headed for some lanes I had not visited before. They were behind the small village of Haskayne around six miles from where I live in Southport. I had no idea what I was going to find to sketch. The first subject was a rickety footbridge over a drainage ditch. I liked the way it was partially in shadow and the intriguing view between the branches into another field. Nothing much, but it was a pleasant way to sit on a sunny morning, listening to birdsong between the silence – this time without the passing crowds.

I eventually found a second subject – a magnificent tree standing serenely alone in a wheat field with the morning sun illuminating its trunk and leaves. It had the shape of an oak, but the leaves seemed to be fine like an ash, I couldnt get near as the foreground grass and plants covered a deep ditch.

I had to get back early as the plumber was coming to sort my boiler out – but it was pleasant few hours on a sunny June morning.

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

HARBOUR LIGHTS – ACRYLIC PAINTING

I was a bit low after my last plein air outing and the resulting paintings produced (last post). Wanting a change from another landscape, I rummaged among my pile of the incomplete and abandoned paintings in search of fresh leads. This one above was an abstract attempting to recall the wonderful colours seen on a visit to Corsica a few years ago. The trouble was, I wasnt getting the deep blues and clear turquoises I was after and the whole thing looked a bit sombre and so it got abandoned. I decided to lighten it up and add flecks of colour. The process lifted my spirits and it occurred to me that it was like coming back to the familiar, a return to comfort and I thought about the effect of the sight of harbour lights for a crew returning in the evening gloom. So I had a title. The process opened me to similar themes on the subject and to the possibility of repurposing old paintings. I have another one on the go at present.

Abstracts are available for sale on my website: grahammcquadefineart.com

BLOWING UP A STORM – ACRYLIC PAINTING

Last month I posted some sketches for this painting. Since then I have developed it further and it is now on this 50x76cm canvas. Running liquid acrylics about on the canvas opened up other possibilities but I have generally built on the sketches rather than altering them. I’ll leave this alone for a while before making any assessment of it. One thing I am conscious about is that changing the scale of a piece can make a difference to how I feel about it and, for me, many times I have found out that bigger isnt necessarily better.

Other music inspired paintings are available for sale on my website: grahammcquadefineart.com