It’s not a subject I would choose, but the view means something to someone and so long as it has a resonance with a viewer, that’s all that matters.
I had previously painted someone’s cottage in Cartmel ( which is at the southern edge of England’s Lake District) as a small commission, and it was spotted on the web by a lady wanting a birthday present. She asked to do this view. It appears I have become the go-to artist for Cartmel.
I have only been to Cartmel once, in June of 2010. On that day a gunman was rampaging a few miles north of the town on a killing spree. Fortunately Cartmel was well out the way of his trajectory, but earlier in the day we were closer to the incident, which unfolded over a number of hours, before the gunman shot himself.
It was only when we got home, later that day, did we hear of the incident.
Anyway, the lady who commissioned it for her father seems happy with it and I hope it gives her father – whose birthday present it is – some fond memories.
I joined in a group exhibition in Southport where I live, and have been manning the gallery for a couple of days this week, as I am going on holiday the week after next. The shop is in a beautiful Victorian arcade, but unfortunately most of the shops are empty and footfall is low. To occupy my time between visitors, I painted this scene which is about 200 yards from the exhibition intending to put it in the exhibition. I have done quite a few of this street, called Lord Street, in the past and they have sold. The exhibition is on for six weeks and I have done quite well at this venue previously, though this time I am not holding my breath. I may try and get this painting in next week as there is still a bit of wall space available.
I put up a couple of Liverpool Street scenes, shown on the right, and the Southport street scene may fit in amongst them.
The tower of the Anglican Cathedral glowers over large parts of the city. Here on the edges of Toxteth it thoroughly dominates the surrounding buildings even though it is set back within its wooded grounds. It is most striking when a sandstone face glows in the sunlight whilst its shadow-side displays a thunderous purple- maybe some ecclesiastical message there for us, the great unwashed. Anyway, because of the dominance of the tower, I pushed the other architecture back. I also placed a taxi, blocking the pavement, at an angle to break the verticals. Perhaps it could do with a few figures?
Sitting outside the pub, I was taken by this view of Tarleton – a village to the north of Southport, where I live. We were enjoying some refreshment on a walk along the River Douglas and sat in the afternoon sunshine. It was soon after we spotted the errant geese I painted for the previous blog. Probably one of the last days of summer and now only a distant memory.
I had taken a few photos, so was able to cobble together a wide format painting with the lead-in of the red brick houses, cut with shadows, and the view past the trees to the local church. Pity about the car park on the right, but it was a challenge.
A couple of paintings of buildings from around Sucre in Bolivia. Sucre was once the capital of Bolivia and is the now the constitutional capital of the country – whatever that means. However, it is a lovely old colonial styled city featuring whitewashed walled buildings with tiled roofs in an absolutely amazing country.
I did some sketches of the rooftops of Sucre whilst I was there and someone spotted them and wanted a few pictures of their own. Above is the roof and towers of the Convent de San Feilipe Neri which we visited in the centre of the city.
The one below is a building I never went to, Castillo de la Glorieta just outside the city.
I do find architectural drawings very demanding and if I am working for myself I try to simplify them by working into the light for instance. However, it sharpens up your observational and drawing skills to give the customer what they want.
Having done this pair it will be good to get back to doing something in a looser style.
I have shown versions of this before and here is the latest manifestation following more changes. This time I thought that the figure on the left needed improvement and I made it in the likeness of Duncan Ferguson a key player for Everton which is represented by the blue. This counters the right side with the Liverpool hero Steven – so establishing some symmetry and evening up the accolades for this football obsessed city.
I admit that not a great deal has changed since the last time but with my daughter up from London for a few days I didnt get much painting done and this was all I could fit in – so take a slice of Liverpool.
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.