This row of plane trees that border one of the main paths in Sefton Park in Liverpool forms a graceful arc of shade. Quite a few times I have paused a moment here on my walk back to the train station. I thought I might try capturing the elegance of the trees and the patterns of shade that they produce.
I did most of this painting last Friday as I sat in our pop-up gallery. I had hoped to finish it, but we had around sixty visitors and three paintings and a variety of cards were sold. In the end I completed it at home on Saturday. It hasn’t worked as I had anticipated. Maybe too much green, despite my attempts of variation. But then, that is the nature of the place; an overpowering verdancy. I also wanted the figure to stand out more – perhaps putting a few darker trees behind them might have been a better strategy.
One to be filed away and looked at later when inspiration might provide other options.
Sefton Park is a well used park in south Liverpool. It has a renovated glass house filled with tropical plants and is worth a visit for that alone. At the southern end is a long lake with ducks, geese, swans and cormorants, amongst the birds I recognised, all jostling for food thrown at them by the locals. We popped down to the park after Christmas for some exercise and a look at the glasshouse, before stopping off for some lunch in one of the many restaurants down Lark Lane, which joins the park at one edge.
Walking around the lake, I was taken by the light with a low diffuse sun breaking through the thin cloud. It gave some interesting effects.
Readers of my ramblings may remember I was in Dublin last weekend. The weather was glorious. We walked around the city to visit many of the sights. In St Stephen’s Green we strolled down the tree cooled avenues of the park. In the shade, I was struck by the brightness I could see in the distance, in the open spaces all around.
I’m thinking of doing another version of this but in a more abstract form, exploring the starker contrasts of light and shade that seemed to engulf me at the time – but then again it might have just been the Guinness.
On holiday the other week I took to sketching people sat on benches. I worked a couple up to see what they looked like with the idea of doing a small set of work. Here are the first two. I liked this view of mother and daughter? with the girl sitting in a casual pose and the pair in deep conversation.
This one was of a couple in Manor Gardens, in Bexhill – the subject of a couple of paintings I posted recently. It looked like they made a habit of having their lunch in a shady spot in the gardens and looked well at home there. They observed the comings and goings and commented on them as they ate.
I tried to keep these painting loose, using a palette knife in parts. I am looking to do about four of them.
This is the second painting in the Manor Garden series. Once more it is of the rose garden but looking down the terraces from the main house. The previous painting, displayed on my last blog, viewed the garden from right to left in this painting. Here, the view is more into the sun, so there are some juicy contrasts of light and shade.
The roses are a bit more florid than you might see if you visited, but they are probably in line with what the gardener was intending.
Both paintings have been dispatched, and the lady seems to be happy with the two pieces although she didnt recognise herself in the first painting. Hopefully she now has a constant reminder of a place she loves.
On holiday the other week we visited these gardens in Bexhill’s old town, in Sussex. The area was part of the old Manor built in 13th century and its remains can be seen. There are also other ruined buildings. These create small walled gardens and enclosed spaces. Many of the walls are made of flints, held together with mortar, a common method of construction here, as flint is found in the nearby chalk hills and beaches.
These gardens are well maintained and the present main building is used for weddings. The gardens are a favourite haunt of a lady who asked me to paint some views of it for her. This is the main rose garden and some of the buildings and ruins can be seen. This rose garden is used as a backdrop for wedding photos and garden parties.
The second painting is being worked up and I will post that on my next blog.
I hate sitting doing nothing, so as I manned our exhibition the other day, I started this painting. I got all the drawing completed and put in the initial washes and background details in, between greeting the 30 or so visitors who dropped by. Some of the visitors are interested to see someone painting and it can be an ice-breaker. For this reason I left the wall until I had a quiet moment at home, as it took a bit of concentration to paint.
The park is quite near to where we are holding the exhibition and the painting also features some of the town’s buildings. There is a tower behind the couple, that I painted in an earlier session at the exhibition, I posted the result a couple of weeks ago. That painting is now hanging in the gallery.
Wednesday was a sunny day so I cycled out to get some more information for a painting I was planning. This park was close to my area of interest, so I stopped by and I couldnt resist this contra jour scene of the old Victorian gatehouse to the park and the people enjoying the afternoon sunshine.
I was in Green Park in London last Saturday. We had just come out of the Royal Academy after seeing the summer exhibition and were walking through the park to the Mall. Most people were sitting in the sun but this group had pulled their deck chairs into the shade and were in deep debate. I might have another go at the grass by the deck chair. As I look at it now, writing this, I feel it could do with a bit better finish, but I do like the overall feel to it.
I saw a photograph of a garden in low light in a copy of a National Trust magazine. Primarily I liked the lighting and all there was just a bench and tree in an empty garden. I thought it could do with some figures for narrative so I found a couple of figures in some old photos. Once they were in I felt the tree had to be moved for better balance. Despite these changes I’m happy that the image retained a great atmosphere. I used a lot of blue in the background shrubs, which was grey/green in the photo and that has given it the shadowy intrigue I was after.