BACK TO THE BEACH – PASTEL PAINTING

This morning I am taking some paintings into the pop-up gallery for my first collaborative exhibition in the run up to Christmas. This one will run for a month and I will have to do one day a week manning the shop and hoping for some healthy sales.

So now on to the second exhibition, in November. I have already sent in my list for the catalogue, but not all the paintings had been completed. This one above is the last of the eight I will be submitting. I felt I needed a local beach scene: similar to the one I am putting in today. I must admit I prefer that one, but what one person likes, another doesnt. Again it is of Formby beach, a popular destination in this area.

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

SUMMER IN AINSDALE WOODS – WATERCOLOUR PAINTING

I continued my search for a woodland scene for an upcoming exhibition and painted this yesterday. I will probably submit this painting rather than the one I posted on my last post. Both are from the same woods.

You can see the path disappearing right, down what becomes a sharp hill, which quickly bottoms out and then rises sharply again. Great for cycling down until you meet another cyclist coming the other way doing the same thing – trying to get enough speed to get up the hill in front.

Fortunately on that day I didnt meet anyone coming the other way.

Anyway, I have now submitted my exhibition entry form, so that’s one less job. We start another exhibition in town on Sunday, so I need to label up another set of paintings.

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

FOREST GLIMPSES – WATERCOLOUR PAINTING

I think I mentioned that I have a couple of exhibitions coming up. So apart from painting, I have been assembling paintings in readiness. Gathering the paintings together, I felt I needed another local forest scene and a beach scene to give me a good spread of subjects. Here is one forest scene I did this week.

But despite the loose splattering and layers of masking fluid, I felt that the painting lacks the punch I was after. I feel it needs more colour even though I injected more colour than is in the reference. I was also hoping the large tonal range would galvanise it but, for me, it isnt enough.

Fortunately I have time. I just need to produce a list for next week, so at the very worse, I can put down a generic title and keep my nose to the easelstone.

I dont regard these problems as a waste of time. It is a learning opportunity – even if it can get half forgotten in the months ahead. It is also good practise – something you can never get enough of.

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

LAST MEN STANDING – ACRYLIC PAINTING

I did this painting just before I departed for Portugal at the end of September. It came from my visit to Formby Beach when I was collecting material for a commission and seeing what else was about.

I loved the wind-sculpted shapes of the trees, though they are in peril. The sea is encroaching and pushing the coast back and this small cluster of trees will soon be no longer. You can see the next line of the pine forest in the background.

I think there is mileage in making the trees starker and I was going to introduce some reds and other colours into the trunks and foliage, but for now exploring the shapes of the trees and their relationship to the landscape is enough.

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

WALK BY THE CANAL – WATERCOLOUR PAINTING

A slight change of subject now I am back home. An image from my recent visit to the canal: a dog walker taking an early morning stroll. This is on the Leeds to Liverpool canal near the small community of Burscough.

After the almost relaxing holiday I’ve just had ( ’til I tried filling in the documentation, a traumatic experience for a sensitive soul like myself, to get home, which took the best part of a morning that should have been spent poolside with a cold beer) I’m now entering a busy period with two commissions, two exhibitions and a demonstration coming up this month. This will be the first watercolour demonstration I have done since January 2020, after which our first shutdown started. Then I will be preparing for Christmas – how fast time flies. It seems such a short time since my last Christmas exhibition which, admittedly, lasted from November until March, due to the Covid lockdowns.

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

SKETCHES FROM PORTUGAL 2 – WATERCOLOURS

We have reached the end of our walks, arriving in Sagres in the Algarve yesterday – although it isnt over for us as tomorrow we visit friends near Faro for another few days. Sagres is a fishing port in southern Portugal and here are a couple of old boats sunning themselves in their retirement.

On the way to Sagres we walked along many clifftops and beaches and you keep taking photos as each place seems stunning at the time. In the end realise you have too many views of cliffs and beaches. So here is a painting of some cliffs instead.

Then, after a few miles of cliff you hit a beach and a small settlement and hundreds of surfers looking for the perfect wave. From a distance, and in their wet-suits, they look like the tadpoles that populate my pond in the spring.

And finally, yet another beach nestling amongst the cliffs. The others had gone for ice cream whilst I stayed to paint the scene for you.

There may be more sketches before we return. I have plenty of paper left.

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

SKETCHES FROM PORTUGAL – WATERCOLOURS

We have decamped to Portugal for a few days of walking down the coast of Alentejo and the Algarve coastlines in the south of the country. So, in hindsight, it was bad planning of me to follow up some local beach scenes with more from Portugal – maybe I was getting excited about having a holiday at last.

We started at Vila Nova de Milfontes on the mouth of the river Miro. A really lovely old, small town. The above sketch is of the beach and cliffs on the way from Milfontes, south to Almograve as we walked along the fisherman’s path on the top of the cliffs. We sat on the beach to eat lunch and I did this sketch in between bites of my sandwich.

This is the pontoon at the foot of our hotel at Milfontes. The sea is in the background with the pontoon on the river. Shoals of mullet were frothing the water and in the distance is a small headland at the river’s mouth. The river water is calm in comparison to the Atlantic breakers at the head of the river.

I did this quick sketch of Cabo Sardao Lighthouse sat in the dugout on the football pitch which was adjacent to the lighthouse. I had about 30 minutes to do it as our tour guides organised the transport to get us back from the day’s walk.

The lighthouse is famously built backwards with the living quarters opening out into the prevailing winds and the light at the back

As we headed south the cliffs got higher and were made of Schist which had broken up in planes to give great light and shadow areas. This was a painting I started on a lunch break which for no apparent reason got curtailed. Hence a lack of much detail. Though it was a good practice piece to explore the rock textures.

So I am about to go out again for a walk on my own, so there may be some more sketches – you lucky people,

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

A GLIMPSE OF THE SEA – PASTEL PAINTING

Well, I did warn you that I had gathered a lot of information on my last trip to Formby Beach. So here is another painting inspired by that visit. This one is fully illuminated by the sun, instead of looking into the light. Again, a glimpse of the sea breaking on the mud and sand in the distance and the sad remains of the old fence being devoured by the receding dunes. The sea is gobbling up the land here and I suppose it will get worse as sea levels rise. At the same time the sand gets pushed further inland.

Other seaside and beach paintings are available on my website: grahammcquadefineart.com

AFTERNOON ON FORMBY BEACH – PASTEL PAINTING

I went down to Formby beach to get some visual information to enable me to complete a painting which I posted a week ago. I also gathered some more possible material for other paintings. The afternoon was well advanced and the low sun put the seed heads of the marram grass into silhouette. On this painting I was conscious of too many dark areas, because the bright light put a lot of the ravine into shade. Certainly, some shade was useful to counter change with the seed heads, but too much could make the whole thing very moody. So, to reduce this shade, I exaggerated the light filtering through the grasses.

I think the simple painting captures the feeling of place and time well.

Other seaside and beach scenes are available for sale on my website: grahammcquadefineart.com

RHODODENDRON – ACRYLIC PAINTING

In the past I have sold many floral paintings in watercolour, but of late they haven’t been as popular. Despite being pleased with the ones I recently exhibited, they followed me home. So when I saw some floral paintings in acrylic, presented as single flowers I wondered whether I should follow this approach.

Here’s the first one – a single flowerhead, without my usual adornment of foliage. I have painted flowers in acrylic before, but more in the style of my watercolours and wasn’t taken with the result, despite the fact that acrylics can give much more saturated colour, in keeping with the flowers themselves.

In this painting the flower is big and brassy and demands attention without distraction. I mixed a greeny/black background to work against the pinks and reds of the flower and push the luminosity further.

We’ll see how it goes, you can but try.

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