I have been struggling of late, painting. In the last couple of weeks I have abandoned three paintings. One I have restarted and the other two await the gods of inspiration to call – they appear to have a number of house calls.
In situations like this I like to take a break and mess around, hence the sketch above of the shady alleyways of Villefranche Sur Mer on the Mediterranean. I loved the yellow building, the shadows and the washing and painted it in an hour and a half – trying to focus on simplicity, as if I was on the spot. It was good therapy.
Another one was a painting I had posted before of the Strand near the waterfront in Liverpool. I found it in a pile of paintings and thought that it could do with some tweaking. So here it is duly tweaked.
I liked the unsubtle juxtaposing of the warm and cool colours and the buildings disappearing into the hazy sunlight and carbon monoxide.
Another painting from my recent trip into town. This one is of the covered walkway over the shops with the setting sun throwing its rays down the pavement. I tried to paint the trees and buildings in one go and may have been overambitious. I had to subsequently take out colour to signify windows . I feel that there are some successful parts to this and I may have a go at repeating it.
Lord Street is the main street in Southport. Once a thriving shopping venue with covered walkways, today it is blighted with shop closures and lack of footfall.
In the winter, the low sun casts deep shadows and lights up reflective surfaces and makes for a great painting. The other afternoon I thought conditions were right for these perfect images. However, when I got down to the town centre, the sun was still too high to get the impact I was after – I need to wait a little later in the year – but still the contra jour effect of the setting sun gave an arresting image – particularly the lady dodging the traffic.
Well it’s actually a Drive where I live – but Alan Lerner apparently lived on a street- so you do what you have to, to make the title work.
I was putting the bins out the other day and looked up the Drive to see the autumn sun piercing the remaining leaves on the sycamore trees and patterning the pavement. I thought that it would make a good painting.
I added the dog walker as a focal point. There are plenty of them about as evidence on the pavement abounds.
I have a pile of paintings in my studio that await the resurrection. I have misgivings about them and they wait, hoping that one day I can better resolve them. The first version of this was near the top of that pile. I put it on this blog in April 2018. In that one I felt the the leaf shapes were a bit repetitive and I had them going under one another and coming out the other side, so things got complicated. I also felt some of the panels were a bit dull.
So here is the born-again replacement. The new, more varied, leaf shapes were harder to arrange to get the paneling I required and the greater detail in the nature panels, though more satisfying, might cause confusion.
I have resolved the shortcomings of the first one but may have created new ones – you can but try.
Other townscapes, landscapes and seascapes – but unfortunately no factoryscapes – are available for sale on my website: grahammcquadefineart.com
This painting follows on from the one on my previous blog, which was of a cafe just at the end of this street, off to the left. The sun was out on our visit last week, giving great contrasts. This view is with my back to the Catholic Cathedral, facing the looming tower of the Anglican Cathedral ahead. Hope Street connects the two.
I like this scene and have painted it before, but from a higher angle, up on the steps of the catholic cathedral. This one is at street level, capturing the full weight of presence of the Anglican cathedral; glowering at us sinners – well it was just one drink, honest, governor.
I did this scene plein air and posted it a few weeks back. The field of view was much wider on that one as I am a sucker for chimney pots and thought those buildings provided a good coda. This one is much tighter and focusses on the area which really got my interest. The light on the sea in the background also caught my eye when I was strolling along the prom on an earlier occasion. However, when I sat down to paint, the sea was dark, the lighting effect only came out later. Anyway, I included it on this one.
I have been a bit busy sorting out things for my exhibition which I am going to set up tomorrow. This morning I decided to do a sketch from our last day in Bangkok.
We weren’t leaving until the afternoon and as we had held our room we took the boat up to the main riverboat and rapid transport terminal of Sathorn and walked around the streets and alleyways that surrounded the terminal.
The whole placed teemed with activity and industry from cafes to engineering workshops. You get the feel that the skyscrapers are slowly taking over and there were building sites with lorries squeezing into them delivering materials and everyone worked around each other, all quietly going their own way and all the time the highrises crept forward.
All day long trains of barges carrying the city’s rubbish (I’ve been told) are towed down the main river, seaward. The barges are low in the water as they depart the city ( see a train of them below the reflection of the tall building) and then they return. bouyant, like corks. I must find out where it all goes to.