WAVEFORMS – MIXED MEDIA SKETCHES

With my daughter visiting last weekend we took some time out for a walk. It was centered on the village of Parbold in Lancashire, which has a great art gallery housed in a disused windmill alongside the canal. The gallery is run by James Bartholomew who does a lot of work in pastel over gouache. Well, he certainly did when he came to do some demonstrations for the club I once ran. I dont think he does them anymore as the last time I tried to book him he said it wasnt worth his time.

His prices bear this out and are well deserved. Some time later,I was looking at entering a painting into the open exhibition of the Royal Society for Marine Artists in London. I looked them up to see what was doing well and discovered that he had won the main prize the previous year.

He does a mixture of subjects, but his seascapes always catch my eye. I have done similar work in watercolour, but seeing his work I thought I’d give the mixed media approach a go. So here are three sketches I did this week.

My base media was transparent watercolour, not gouache. The addition of pastel over the watercolour base allows for some vigorous markmaking in keeping with breaking waves and swirling wash on the beach.

I just wanted to give it a go and see what came out. I may try a bigger one for an upcoming exhibition.

We didnt buy a painting, but one of the reasons for the visit ( apart from climbing the steep hill behind the village) was to purchase some of the big mugs he stocks which have images of his work on the outside. They are good, bucket sized mugs. I had bought a few before, but the penultimate one cracked, spilling coffee over the table recently.

Anyway, now, we are fully stocked with big mugs again and the visit has inspired me to try out a new technique. Let’s drink to that.

Other seascapes and beach scenes are available for purchase 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

BREAKWATER – WATERCOLOUR PAINTING

Just two colours were used to paint this – a warm red and a cool blue. I wasnt sure whether it would come off, but after a lot of dry brushwork and the splattering of masking fluid, it started to take shape. I was pleased with the starkness of the image – you can almost hear the shingle being raked by the incoming waves.

And by way of contrast, a scene from the same beach, but with the tide out and the winter long forgotten.

This was an acrylic study and I used a few more colours here – but not many more.

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

LOW TIDE AT SOUTHPORT – WATERCOLOUR PAINTING

The joke is that the sea goes so far out here, it always seems like low-tide.

I went down to the beach the other fine day to get some driftwood for a mobile I am making, which hopefully I will post shortly. There were some great cloud formations and whilst I was searching for suitable pieces I managed to find time to snap a few photos and later used them to give you a flavour of the beach here at Southport UK.

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

STORM PATROL – WATERCOLOUR SKETCH

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I was watching some TV about seabird colonies in Scotland and the scenes of the wild sea made me want to try some techniques I saw in a book by Nita Engle. There is no brushwork in this painting except to use them to flick paint onto the paper and a little bit to finally render the seabirds. She actually uses an applicator to squirt the paint onto the paper so that you can get regression with the waves – a degree of control  that you cant achieve by flicking.

I did a second painting – Headland – which more reflected the programme, although the headland just appeared out of the marks so I did use a bit of brushwork to bring it to prominence .

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I might use some pipettes I have to mimics the spray application and gain a bit of control with the waves.  However I do love the wildness that this approach brings. So I might bore you with another one soon.

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

 

THE WINTER SUN AT FORMBY POINT – WATERCOLOUR PAINTING

p10203751I mentioned in my post of Birkdale beach how, if the marram grass doesn’t establish you get sand that extends into the sky. This is another painting for my upcoming exhibition on local landscapes. I originally did it half imperial, 52×36 cm, but wasn’t happy with it so I cropped it to 25x36cm. I think it says the same thing only more eloquently.

Here is the original:

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Other paintings of Southport and beyond are available for sale on my website: grahammcquadefineart.com

 

WORKING THE BEACH – ACRYLIC PAINTING

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Another in the beach series. I wanted to do someone working on the beach, but I’m not sure about this – probably too much empty space. The guy is sucking up lugworms from their burrows with a pump device. You then use the worm  for fishing bait. In my day we had to dig them out and you had to  dig fast as they went down their holes as you dug. Still, if you dug judiciously you could dig down two holes at once and double your gain. It was certainly good for the biceps.

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

CHASING SEAGULLS – ACRYLIC PAINTING

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I have been playing with this idea of chasing the unattainable of late. It started with an earlier post – Evening on the Beach on 16th November –

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where I had some images of a family on the beach. I added some gulls for narrative  and I liked the notion of the younger sister chasing the older sister in her endeavours. The painting didn’t satisfy me and I thought of focussing in on the two children in their chase.

I began a painting in this vein but still wasn’t happy with the composition. Here is a half completed version still in a portrait format and very similar

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I felt I wasn’t close enough to the action and needed to approach it differently to  get some feeling of involvement. I had to find a whole new set of images to cobble together the composition. l also decided to dispense with the blocking approach I have been using with acrylics recently as I couldn’t get the textures I wanted for this piece.

I’m still not sure if it is complete, but I need to rest it for a while and look at it later, but I think I’ve made a few steps forward, or at least sidewise, crablike.

Other acrylic paintings can be found on my website: grahammcquadefineart.com