This is part of the Albert Dock complex on the Liverpool waterfront with the Anglican Cathedral – a subject of an earlier blog – glowering in the background. The pumphouse is now a pub but was built to power the hydraulic cranes used for loading and unloading the ships. It may also have powered the refrigerated facilities at the dock.
The question was whether to include the chimney or not. Including it constrains the painting and reduces the detail. As it has a rather quirky shape I decided to include it all and pay the price. The images I used were into the sun and I tried to vary the colours, mixing on the paper, but as I built up the perspective tonally, the mixes homogenised.
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.
Another view I have attempted in the past and have been slightly dissatisfied with the outcome, but recently walking down the street at just the right hour of the day I saw how the light strafed the architecture, picking out walls, towers, roofs and cupolas of the Victorian buildings whilst plunging the rest into shade.
This rhythm of light and shade seemed to energise the scene. When I started painting I was tempted to hit the right hand side in one frantic wash to capture the energy, but refrained, and built up washes slowly – mixing colours on the paper. Gradually I built up the tonal differences in specific areas to allow subtle hints of architecture to come through and create realism without getting too pedantic.
Hopefully it has worked. I was very pleased with the way the offset windows on the red Prudential Assurance building got picked out and the loose rendering of the left hand side buildings have the appearance of being hit by bright light.
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.
With the exhibitions coming I have been looking at my stock and making adjustments. All these paintings have been shown before on this blog, albeit in their earlier form. These are updates.
This pastel view of Formby beach needed a bit of toning down in the mid ground.
In this watercolour I wanted to make the left hand figure more dynamic as he was originally looking like he was glued to the spot – not good in Liverpool traffic. Also the car needed a bit of reshaping
And in this acrylic of autumn on Clieves’ Hills near Ormskirk, I wanted to pull the foreground nearer and sharpen bits of the middle ground.
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.