LONDON SCENES – WATERCOLOUR SKETCHES

We decamped for a few days to London. The wife had come up trumps on the Wimbledon lottery and had some ticket options. Not that you win any tickets, no; just the right to purchase some centre court tickets. This, though, is a step improvement on getting up at 4am to stand in line to try and get entry to the outer courts on the day.

I decided to go down with her and mooch about SW London while my wife and daughter – who lives in London – sipped Pimms and downed a few punnets of strawberries whilst watching a match or two.

Here is what I did instead. The first one is a sketch of Putney Bridge. This bridge spans the Thames between Putney and Fulham. As I sat on the Putney side I was caught by the bright London busses crossing the bridge, adding a bit of colour to the scene.

The church in the background is All Saints in Fulham which is on the perimeter of the grounds of Fulham Palace, the seat of the Bishop of London. I didnt know it was there until I wandered across the bridge. Entrance to the grounds was free and I did another sketch in the palace gardens as the other punters sat on the terrace and took tea.

The light wasnt very good, but it was a pleasant way to pass the day and I visited places I hadnt been to before and then enjoyed some evening meals out with family.

It beats working.

Other landscapes and townscapes are available for sale 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

CAUGHT, GREEN HANDED – PASTEL PAINTING

In my previous post I described sitting in the morning sun painting the trees last Tuesday. Well, as I worked, I noticed movement in the field and a large hare came towards me. Unfortunately as I fumbled for my camera it seemed to get wind of me and moved away across the fields. In the end I managed to get a few shots which I turned into a pastel painting.

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

WOODLAND SCENES – WATERCOLOUR SKETCHES

It was midsummer solstice and I hadnt yet been out painting plein air this year in the UK. I had done some in Egypt and I have posted those sketches, but in the UK either poor light, cold or life had got in the way. So, with good weather forecast, I decided on my venue and off I went. On the way, a connecting road was closed. So I had to think quickly of some other place to paint. Not a good start.

I had planned to do some simple light and shade studies without too much detail, so when I saw this half cleared wood I was hesitant. It was more complex than I wanted, but the colours were great and the glimpses of light intriguing. So I parked the bike and started painting. I did most on site, but I had to finish at home. When I saw my photos, there was barely any of the redness on the images and it was this colour that drove me to do the painting. I like the result, rough as it is and may be working it up later.

Then I saw this scene. Again, I should never have started it, but the light and shade was too much to resist.

I then arrived at the kind of thing I was after, sitting in a field of barley – a simple view, passages of light and shade, whilst the traffic inched along on the other side of the wood on the right. So, after all the setbacks I got three studies in the bag and broke the ice – which you’d expect in June.

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

NARROWBOATS AT BURSCOUGH – WATERCOLOUR PAINTING

Another old painting. I sold this to my gardener who also came along to the art group I ran after he was telling me that the teacher at the art group, he originally went to, didn’t turn up one afternoon because he had fallen asleep after lunch. I advised him to join our group where he would get help and advice for free from the other members. He saw me painting this at one of our sessions and asked to buy it.

Other canal and narrowboat paintings are available for sale on my website: grahammcquadefineart.com

JUNE’S BLOOMS -WATERCOLOUR PAINTING

I have a yellow rosebush, close to our decking, which gives two flushes of flowers each year. It has just finished flowering and if I get around to deadheading it we should get another flush later in the autumn. I did this painting back in 2007 and sold it to a friend. It is one of a number of paintings I have done of it over the years. I love the pastel shades of the blooms and am always puzzled how red the buds start out, but always turn into various shades of yellow.

Other floral paintings – even yellow roses – are available for sale on my website: grahammcquadefineart.com

RIGID AND CHAIR BOUND – PASTEL AND PENCIL SKETCHES

Whilst manning a pop-up gallery recently, a painter I know came in and reminded me about a group we used to paint with. I hadnt been to that group since before Covid ( though I had heard that they were secretly running throughout the epidemic – but that’s another story). Also, since Covid they had, for various reasons, started meeting earlier, which makes it more awkward for me to attend. Anyway, last Wednesday I forsook my evening meal and made the effort to attend.

I’m glad I did. I enjoyed the evening, though there wasnt any direction to the model and we were presented, throughout the evening, to my eye, with various versions of someone sitting naked on a bus . The lighting was good, though, but I did have to prevent the organiser turning on all the lights and ruining its effect.

Afterwards, looking back over some earlier pre-covid drawings, what did I see? Similar seated poses, just different models – a bit like the other sketches I did on the night, shown below. Despite these moans, I will try and get back there as we have lost one life group around here completely and I am not getting much figurative practice these days.

Life and figure paintings are available for sale on my website: grahammcquadefineart.com

PLEX MOSS LANE – WATERCOLOUR PAINTING

Here are a couple of old paintings I reworked recently. This one, of the local reclaimed farmlands behind our town and the roller-coaster lane that runs across it, was washed with water and almost half of the painting removed or reduced in tone. I then repainted the foreground. Hopefully it now has a softer feel. more appropriate to an early morning scene.

And another painting given a similar treatment. This one, of Rivington Pike, which you can see across the moss from Southport, where I live. A similar approach was done to this, washing off the lower half to increase the impression of morning light and then reworking the fore ground.

Both were long format paintings which I am presently short of, ready for any upcoming exhibitions.

At present I am working on some big commission pieces with one almost finished, allowing me to start on the second one. I have posted sketches of them earlier and hopefully will have something to show soon.

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

WOODLAND’S EDGE – WATERCOLOUR PAINTING

Last month the bluebells were out and there seemed to be a lot of them, well they were in my garden. Here is a painting of a local copse alongside an old railway track which has since been converted to a walking and cycling path. I have painted a number of scenes along it over the years.

At the moment I am working on a couple of large abstract acrylic commissions. Hopefully I will get the first one done this week. I am using moulding paste and matt gel to give the acrylics body and form. I have had these additives a while, but never used them much. The client wants texture, so we’ll give them a try. It’s good to be forced to try new approaches and they may transfer to some of my own work in the future.

Other landcsapes and abstracts are available for sale on my website: grahammcquadefineart.com

BLOWING UP A STORM – ACRYLIC PAINTING

Regulars with a good memory might recall other, earlier versions of this. One of those versions has been propped on the wall of the studio, taunting me to do better. Hopefully with this I may have, but is it good enough? Another studio residency will no doubt tell me.

I tackled this with a palette knife to try and impart some of the energy I felt was lacking in earlier versions. I also rearranged the players, particularly the pianist and bassist and tried to keep the colour range tighter. Other than that, the theme remains the same: a theme I like. I might even try a companion piece, but first I have a couple of commissions to do which may take a while.

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