I didnt have a clue what I was doing when I started this except the notion of attempting a figurative piece. I had a photo of the top part of the figure and I liked the compact pose; the rest just sprung from there.
Playing with washes and colour, with a bit of drawing, and who knows where I have landed. Out of the proverbial and into the fire. Well, having said that, there are aspects I could take and use to better effect. You build up this thing intuitively and then you stand back and think that would be better there, and if only I had used a redder blue here, or lost that line there.
I do miss the life sessions I used to go to, as it was painting on the fly – no time to really think things through – just crash on, and this painting was similar in that respect. I do have sketchbooks full of figures that might be worth developing and applying some of these approaches to. We’ll see. I did have plans to do some life drawing at the start of this shutdown and apart from some sketches this is only the second figurative painting I have managed – I get sidetracked too easily.
Not much painting over the last few days as we went away to the Peak District near Stockport to meet some of my wife’s friends who were up visiting. We gathered in the grounds of Lyme house – which among other things, was used as a backdrop in a BBC production of Pride and Prejudice.
As the troops gathered I sneaked away to sketch the view of the house from near the main driveway despite it starting to rain in the attempt. Fortunately there was an oak tree to shelter under.
We stayed in an inn on the outskirts of town, high on a hill and I thought that I would get up the next morning and paint for an hour or so, before we set off. When I woke up there was low cloud and drizzle so I stayed indoors and sketched the horses in the farm opposite when they grazed into view.
They didnt stay still for long and it was a good exercise trying to catch them in their poses – something I should do more often. When they disappeared from view I built up the farm which overlooked the valley.
Later we walked up towards Kinder Scout and this was a view of the reservoir I snatched as I waited for the others to catch up. I liked the green sloping field behind the house which jumped out in the sunshine – overworked but a reminder of the day.
I have shown versions of this before and here is the latest manifestation following more changes. This time I thought that the figure on the left needed improvement and I made it in the likeness of Duncan Ferguson a key player for Everton which is represented by the blue. This counters the right side with the Liverpool hero Steven – so establishing some symmetry and evening up the accolades for this football obsessed city.
I admit that not a great deal has changed since the last time but with my daughter up from London for a few days I didnt get much painting done and this was all I could fit in – so take a slice of Liverpool.
A more traditional rendering of the local landscape than my previous blog, but both show the topography of the flat moss. Here the road – Segars Lane, a single track road – hovers above the drained marshland which is now fertile arable land. It gradually splays and slides into the fields below, causing it to undulate in the process. Then the road is reinforced and the process starts again. Roads, crows and powerlines cross the land. Here the powerlines take a shortcut into the sun on a bright summer`s morning.
Continuing the local landscape theme on canvas I pushed on from the graphic style I have been showing recent. This time starting with some loose washes and textural work to see where that brought me out. I have done similar things in the past, favouring blue/purple/yellow orange combinations, but this time went for greens and reds, though yellow seemed to pushed its nose in there as well.
And this was the result. Too messy? too many motifs? I’m certainly undecided. I also wonder whether adopting this complementary colour approach also causes confusion. Keeping things in one colour segment and working tonally might calm things down.
I was in the middle of an acrylic painting and had an impulse to paint this in watercolours. It is of another favourite subject of mine: Ainsdale Woods which sit on the edge of the sandunes on the coast. I loved the purples, blues and greens, which I have enhanced here, and how they collide with the yellows of the sunlit leaves.
I tried to be sparing in my washes and brushwork to keep a freshness and may have left areas underworked as a consequence. Anyway, there`s plenty of colour for a gloomy pine forest.
Another in a graphic style acrylic painting, though this is not on canvas but on paper and slightly smaller at around 36×52 cm than earlier paintings of this type. The undulating furrows of a newly planted potato crop caught my eye as I cycled around the Moss earlier in the year.
Staying with the beach theme started on my last post; another view of the Sefton coast, this time at Formby. I did this in acrylics and I am happier with the depictment of the vegetation compared to what I achieved with the pastels. I am tempted to repeat the previous post of the Alt Estuary in acrylics.
The painting comes from a watercolour sketch I did a few weeks back, one sunny morning when I visited the beach.
In the distance ( through the gap) on the acrylic painting are the impression of some seabirds which I thought I saw as I sat painting. When I blew up the images I saw that it was litter left by the previous day’s tourists – still, the white blobs are birds in my eye.
It’s a while since I last had the pastels out and I wanted to do some paintings of the Sefton Beach, so I thought that they might be just right for the marram grasses.
This is the view where the River Alt empties into the Mersey Estuary and in the distance the Wirral, across the estuary. On a good day you can see the Welsh hills. Just around the near headland is Gormley’s, Another Place, which has the figures looking out into the blue of the distance.
I did warn you there were more churches to come. These are local country churches. I did a sketch of Halsall Church, above, one quiet morning during the lockdown. Normally the road in the foreground is very busy, but on that morning there were only a few passing vehicles and a couple of pedestrians. Even so, I wedged myself over a wall on the steep bank of a stream and painted into the light. On this version I widened the field of view, to put the Church into context.
This second one is of Sefton Church and I have presented a version of this before, but I wasnt happy with the washes and I felt I had too much foreground at the expense of the subject. So here is a second go. I feel happier with this version.
Anyway, that concludes my ecclesiastical excursions – well at least for now.