LIGHTS OF THE FOREST – WATERCOLOUR PAINTING

A fellow painting blogger mentioned her drawer of shame for paintings that failed to meet expectations. I felt that the title was harsh but then thought she could mean: ‘shame, a few bits let it down – I’ll have another go later’ drawer . This latter title describes a pile of paintings that I have. They just need tweaking to get to the conclusion I would be more comfortable with.

A version of the painting above – of a summery Ainsdale woods, the same place I did a mini series of paintings recently – was on that pile. I liked the contrast of lights and shade in the first version, but too much of it was variations of green. So the other day I picked it up and had another go. This time I accentuated the colours: greens, blues and purples in the shadows and a real hit of red on the path. Just taking the scene and pushing it a little further.

There may be a little more to be done. I have, so far, resisted putting texture on the path as there is loads of texture and busyness everywhere else and I am wondering whether to further darken the shaded areas at the sides, but am wary about losing the gentle purples and blues. So this may be the finished version.

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

AFTERNOON AMID THE BIRCHES – WATERCOLOUR PAINTING

We have been having some unseasonably warm weather of late and last Saturday the sun came out as well. I almost gathered the paints together to grasp the last opportunity, this year, to do some open air painting – almost ( I dont mind the cold – I just lack the temprement to wait for paint to dry) Besides, it was well into the afternoon, so, instead, I grabbed the camera and cycled off to the local woods at Ainsdale, which back onto the dunes and shoreline,

At this time of the year, with bright sunlight, the birches glow yellow and gold, almost like lightbulbs against the dark foliage of the firs behind. I then came across this copse of birches that pressed the footpath, before it opened out onto a clearing. The shadows cast by the trees, like fingers of darkness tugging at the remnants of the day.

I had to paint it and I thought I might try a small series of paintings from my ride that afternoon – so there may be more coming.

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

FOREST CLEARING – WATERCOLOUR PAINTING

I worked this up from a recent sketch which I posted here week or so ago. I’m not sure whether this moves on much from that sketch. What I loved, though, was the reddish hue against the deep greens and the glimpses of light at the far end of the clearing. I tried to go in loose with dark greens over the first red wash used for the tree trunks. Then I built up tones to give depth and texture.

One for the maybe pile.

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

SPRING IN WHARFEDALE – WATERCOLOUR PAINTING

Of late I have been playing around with abstracts and imagined landscapes now that I know where I am going with my upcoming demonstrations. I do find working on abstracts and experimenting with techniques quite slow and wearing as I tend to hit many dead ends and I need time to reflect on my next step.

So in one of these periods of contemplation I thought I’d paint this view of a lane in Wharfedale, in Yorkshire, we visited last year.

I suppose I did a bit of experimenting even in this piece. I was pleased with the effect of slightly dampening the paper to get the soft shadows cast by the trees. I did shadows of a tree in a local park in a painting last year and was dissatisfied with my shadows done on dry paper. I may have to revisit that. The other thing was the cluster of daffodils: I initially just dropped a load of yellows on the paper and covered some of it with blobs of masking fluid when the paint had dried. Later I worked in some darks around the remaining yellow and later still, rubbed off the masking fluid. Lo and behold I got some bright blobs of yellow that could be daffodils but whatever, they glow from the shadows.

So it wont be long before we start seeing the daffs this year – and the worst will be over: well apart from the heating bill.

Other landscapes are for sale on my website: grahammcquadefineart.com

SUN SPRINKLED CLEARING IN AINSDALE WOODS – WATERCOLOUR PAINTING

A familiar scene in my local woods which run behind the beach. Instead of pushing the tonal range, as I normally do, I wasn’t as aggressive with the darks, particularly the background. I also restricted the palette to a violet/yellow scheme and nearly succeeded, before dropping in muted reds to further enliven the foreground.

I did this painting sitting in our pop-up gallery in the arcade last Friday. The shopping arcade now has few operating shops and footfall is low. I wonder how long we will have the opportunity to exhibit here. We sold a few cards and , I’m glad to say, one painting, though not one of mine. I was also in another exhibition as well, last weekend, but sold nothing. It dampens your enthusiasm when you see little return from your efforts.

Last Sunday was the final day for our exhibition in the arcade, but suddenly the group who were due to take over from us have apparently found greener pastures, in the local art gallery. I’m not sure if they are that green as I am about to retrieve two paintings from this gallery which have done nothing for the past couple of months. I will be collecting them on Monday – presumably to make way for this group. So the upshot is, we can remain in our venue until Christmas which means I will be sitting painting in the gallery for a while longer.

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

THE FOOTPATH TO HASKAYNE – WATERCOLOUR PAINTING

Another in the series for an upcoming exhibition. I’m not sure of the painting’s commercial potential, though I love the subject. Again it was worked up from my sketchbook and some photos and I took the opportunity to rotate the footbridge to reveal the opening at the far end. When I originally painted it, the view was more side on.

These splayed bridges are designed to prevent livestock moving out of the field , but give free passage to walkers. I like the light and shade on the footbridge. I used tinted gouache, dry brushed onto the foreground grasses to imitate seedheads.

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

THE VIEW FROM PARBOLD HILL – WATERCOLOUR PAINTING

This is another version of a painting I did and posted in January. January’s painting was part of a group of eight that I had entered for an exhibition that is about to start in two weeks time. Last Friday a lady from Scotland contacted me, wanting to buy this painting and four others. Having already submitted my selection for the catalogue, I had to get my skates on and paint another version. Unfortunately it was one of my bigger ones, on a half imperial sheet. This time I did it in portrait format. The first one, the one the lady has purchased, which I did in January, is in landscape format.

So today I will take down my eight paintings to the exhibition venue in readiness for them to hang and yesterday I sent off the five paintings to the lady in Scotland. Fortunately I was able to talk her out of receiving the paintings framed. I always dread sending framed and glazed paintings by post. Four of these were watercolours and sending four glazed paintings was just a recipe for disaster.

So after a busy few days I can relax a bit.

Other landscape paintings can be purchased from my website: grahammcquadefineart.com

A GLIMPSE OF THE SEA – WATERCOLOUR PAINTING

A view from my recent walking holiday in Portugal. We had been on the top of the sea cliffs for most of the day when the path turned inland, into a wooded area. It twisted and turned and came out along the edge of a field with the trees on one side. Walking along, I spotted this gap in the trees, revealing the coastline and sea.

I was well ahead of the group and contemplated the opportunity for a quick painting. So I entered the half lit glade looking for a spot to settle down. As I dropped my rucksack I heard rustling off to the left. There was a guy in the wood moving around. Not sure what he was up to, I took a few photos, picked up my bag and headed on my way on the path alongside the field.

The path dropped down the high ridge towards a river which I knew we had to traverse. As I sat on the banks waiting for the rest of the group, the man in the woods came down and waded the shallow river. Perhaps I had spooked him as much as he had done me.

Other paintings of woodland 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