This is another in my series of local views though this one is less stylised than the previous two, but I have pushed the colours again. I posted a plein air version back in July last year and when I found it in my sketchbook to do this version, I was quite pleased with the watercolour I had done out in the fields.
So in some way I have taken a backward step with this painting by not pushing it graphically but I am pleased with the summery vibrancy and the looseness.
In the meantime I have been reworking the first two. I’ll post them soon when all the changes have been made.
This image was developed from a plien air painting I posted at the start of June.
I wanted a bit more colour and punch and also thought that a graphic style could enhance the saturated colours so I gessoed over an old painting on canvas and set to work. I had been influenced by work by Fred Ingrams amongst others and although I havent achieved his brave use of colour it is an early step.
It might be worth producing a small set of paintings in this style and see if they develop. I have plenty of raw material both photos and sketches to draw from.
I was going to display some more sketches of my garden, but on Wednesday the sun rose early and I decided to get out and do my first painting of the year.
I had decided on the location but on my way I spotted that a mist was coming off the moss and that would have made painting very difficult, so I swerved off beachward and tried to find something interesting to do on the dune belt.
The first were the pines lit by the morning light, above.
Then I spotted this pine on the edge of the woods. I liked the colour of the bark in the light against the darkness of the woods behind,
I had one more sheet on my painting pad so I decided to head towards the sea and sat on top of a sand dune and painted, the admittedly rather mundane, view to the sea.
Not an exciting bunch of sketches, due to the location being forced on me by circumstance, but it was great to get out and just have a chance to sit and meditate for two or three hours in the sun. There was also one advantage of this social distancing – no-one bothered me as I worked – not that there were many out at that hour and location.
Rose cottage seems a misnomer for a farm complex, but that’s what Google said it was when I checked it out. Actually, it wasnt the farm that initially attracted me – though the building acted as a superb foil – it was the gloriously yellow rape seed growing in the field in front, with the illuminated spring foliage on the trees. That was what made me take a photo or two on one of my recent cycle rides.
With Boris’ latest edict I might now get back to painting outside in the coming days – though the temperature has taken a nosedive of late which is a hindrance, as I am too impatient to wait too long for paint to dry; not advisable with watercolours.
I did a sketch of this in an earlier blog and decided to have a go as a painting. I like the ethereal feeling the light gives and I managed to get the shimmer on the foreground marram grasses by scratching out rather than using masking fluid as I did in the sketch. For me, this approach yields a more dynamic and varied result.
I also tried to enhance the diagonal sweep of the dune forms to try and inject some dynamism to an otherwise staid subject.
Another view from my cycle outing on Monday morning across the Moss situated behind Southport, north of Liverpool. The single track lane shuffles across the reclaimed marshland, dodging the scattered farms. The tilled fields ready to sprout barley, cabbages, carrots and potatoes.
I thought that I would do this on a half imperial sheet, rather than the quarter sheets I’ve been using recently.
On Monday morning I decided to try and lift the lethargy I described in the previous post, by getting out on my bike and seeking out new material. Normally I would have taken my painting gear, as it was a bright, if blustery morning, but I felt that that might upset the locals, so I put a camera in my pocket instead, and headed off along Plex Moss Lane – the lane defined by the posts in the watercolour above, past the farm you can see, and across Halsall Moss. Taking pictures as I went.
The land rises as you come off the Moss and there was a line of trees.
I did this one in pastel, of the trees bursting into leaf.
And I got a few more images that I can work up during lockdown.
As well as collecting images, a trip like this also allows you to pick out some possible places to paint when life does return to normal. I can waste a lot of time finding an interesting subject when I go out. If I have a few possibilities in mind before I set out it can set me off in a much better frame of mind when I settle down to paint.
A few repeats here. Versions of these saplings in a sunny clearing in Ainsdale woods have been presented before. In this latest version I feel I have got the lightness of the birch leaves in the sun. I think the photograph flatters the painting, though it might look better in a mount.
This is of the grassy sand dunes close to the beach in the evening. This was a sketch, done on the back of a one of my many rejects. The glow works well, despite the yellow, and I used masking fluid to get the glistening tips of the foreground grass. I needn’t have bothered as I got far better results by scraping the damp paint with my scalpel. I’m not sure introducing the green in the foreground helps with the overall harmony. You may be seeing this one again.
And saving the worst to the last. I’ve presented this entrance to Ainsdale woods before . I thought that by introducing leafy branches across the path it might help to lift the image but these puny leaves look like an afterthought and trying to hint at forms in the dark areas remains elusive – oh well.
I painted an identical scene in watercolour and posted it on this blog a while back. In this version I wanted to see if I could enhance the textures of the vegetation using pastel and hopefully have got more variation with this media, even if the image is pretty similar.
The view is one of the many drainage channels that criss-cross this low lying marshy area which is now prime arable land. I originally sketched it one morning last year and during the painting the mist broke and the morning sun illuminated the fresh vegetation picking out the greens and yellows.
Hopefully I will soon be able to get out in the open to gather some fresh material to paint again, unless the government confine us all to barracks.
I have mentioned a pile of problem paintings I have in my studio – paintings I like, but have a few issues with. This one directly above was an example. Mixing images and subjects resulted in the figure being too small for the railings and the colourings on the Bexhill Pavilion and the promenade being too dark and light respectively. So I had another go and produced the one at the top. I also took the opportunity to rearrange the figures.
I had similar issues with the painting looking the opposite way in the afternoon ( as opposed to the morning in the one above)
This one below was the first attempt;
The painting was odd in that I wanted to get the full width of the background buildings which consequently made for quite an expanse of foreground which was left a bit empty.
I hope this time the foreground has more presence and the figures aren’t as stiff. I also wanted to get more detail into the background to imply the jumble of structures there.
Lastly, there was the case of leaning Lord Street that I put out a few days ago. I thought that as I was on the topic of buildings I might as well round them all up. The one below was the original post.
So I set about it again and also tried to be a bit more subtle with the washes.