In the end I plumped for something upbeat to start the new year with; the summer days to come – well at least for us poor northerners. This was taken from a place where everyone is currently luxuriating in hot summer holiday days.
It was either this painting or one of a hyena. I might keep that for the Chinese new year, well it is the year of the dog.
I did like the way the primary colours of the sunshade blaze out against the dark sea and the shaded figures contrast against the dry, hot sand.
On to the small seaside resort or Hermanus. The backdrop to this town is spectacular with it’s high mountains. Literature said that there could be sightings of whales from the shore, but I think we were a little late in the season and unlike the unpretentious town of Mossel Bay where you could watch dolphins cavort and surf in the waves here there were just a few fishermen catching crayfish.
However, the long walk along the front of the town was worth doing and this was where I painted the view above looking over the fynbos, which is Mediterranean type scrub, on top of the low cliffs back to the town centre.
This was the view from the hotel window, in the middle of the town, out to the new harbour. The waves crashing into the shore in the evening light were quite a sight which I havent really managed to capture.
We walked along the cliffs to the new harbour, but it was a rather sad affair. Hermanus is really missing a trick or two in not developing its old or new harbour areas. Maybe the town will wake up one day.
Down to Plettenberg bay. We had a 10k walk along the Robben Peninsular which, I was told later, a few dont return from. At the end it was hard going but we made for a pristine beach where the breakers pounded in and I rested my weary bones and did this sketch after cooling my feet in the crystal sea.
Another sketch from the same area on a different day. The cliffs tower above you though I think rockfalls are rare, they do occur from time to time.
I have seen a number of poured acrylics recently and decided to have a go myself. I have always liked the effects of poured paint and experimented with it around ten years ago with oil based gloss paint and below is one of my more successful ventures, Marrakech, which, because of the lightfastness of the gloss paint, now hangs in my conservatory.
I did not think you could get the same filigree effects with acrylics that you could get with the more viscous oil paint and so mainly used the liquid acrylics in a more dilute way such as in Dancing the Blues Away, which I posted some time ago, in 2015, on this blog.
So my prejudice has been exposed and I realise it might be worth experimenting with the liquid acrylics in a more concentrated form. I must admit my first attempt included as much manipulation as pouring as I played around with the paint with a palette knife, but the strands and swirls gave a satisfying result and looking at some of the work other people have produced, further variations can be had with the addition of silicone oil. I will be having a few more goes.
I put this out in October 2015 on this blog and then entered it into a number of local exhibitions but there were no takers. It also resided on my websites for a year and a half and with the lack of interest I decided to replace it on my main website, but last week someone saw it on one of my other websites which I dont update too often and they bought it. It just takes the right person to come along and see it and you have a sale.
It has made me resolve to check what I do have out there on the web as it might have been embarrassing if I had cut it up and used it as scrap paper which I am prone do when practising techniques or developing paintings.
Other seascapes and watercolours are available on my website. Get them whilst you have the chance : grahammcquadefineart.com
We have taken a trip down south and I have had some time to do a bit of sketching. This one is from the cliffs at Entretat in Normandy, France. The one below, and less successful, is from the other side of the channel near Beachy Head, close to Eastbourne in Sussex, done a couple of days before. I just like the juxtaposition of the two sketches and the fact that despite the fifty or so miles of sea in between, the topography is identical.
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 .
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.