WOODLAND SCENES – WATERCOLOUR SKETCHES

It was midsummer solstice and I hadnt yet been out painting plein air this year in the UK. I had done some in Egypt and I have posted those sketches, but in the UK either poor light, cold or life had got in the way. So, with good weather forecast, I decided on my venue and off I went. On the way, a connecting road was closed. So I had to think quickly of some other place to paint. Not a good start.

I had planned to do some simple light and shade studies without too much detail, so when I saw this half cleared wood I was hesitant. It was more complex than I wanted, but the colours were great and the glimpses of light intriguing. So I parked the bike and started painting. I did most on site, but I had to finish at home. When I saw my photos, there was barely any of the redness on the images and it was this colour that drove me to do the painting. I like the result, rough as it is and may be working it up later.

Then I saw this scene. Again, I should never have started it, but the light and shade was too much to resist.

I then arrived at the kind of thing I was after, sitting in a field of barley – a simple view, passages of light and shade, whilst the traffic inched along on the other side of the wood on the right. So, after all the setbacks I got three studies in the bag and broke the ice – which you’d expect in June.

Other landscapes 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

LAST MEN STANDING – ACRYLIC PAINTING

I did this painting just before I departed for Portugal at the end of September. It came from my visit to Formby Beach when I was collecting material for a commission and seeing what else was about.

I loved the wind-sculpted shapes of the trees, though they are in peril. The sea is encroaching and pushing the coast back and this small cluster of trees will soon be no longer. You can see the next line of the pine forest in the background.

I think there is mileage in making the trees starker and I was going to introduce some reds and other colours into the trunks and foliage, but for now exploring the shapes of the trees and their relationship to the landscape is enough.

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

MANOR GARDENS 2 – WATERCOLOUR PAINTING

This is the second painting in the Manor Garden series. Once more it is of the rose garden but looking down the terraces from the main house. The previous painting, displayed on my last blog, viewed the garden from right to left in this painting. Here, the view is more into the sun, so there are some juicy contrasts of light and shade.

The roses are a bit more florid than you might see if you visited, but they are probably in line with what the gardener was intending.

Both paintings have been dispatched, and the lady seems to be happy with the two pieces although she didnt recognise herself in the first painting. Hopefully she now has a constant reminder of a place she loves.

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

AROUND HASKAYNE – WATERCOLOUR SKETCHES

With a fine morning forecast for Tuesday I checked the maps and headed for some lanes I had not visited before. They were behind the small village of Haskayne around six miles from where I live in Southport. I had no idea what I was going to find to sketch. The first subject was a rickety footbridge over a drainage ditch. I liked the way it was partially in shadow and the intriguing view between the branches into another field. Nothing much, but it was a pleasant way to sit on a sunny morning, listening to birdsong between the silence – this time without the passing crowds.

I eventually found a second subject – a magnificent tree standing serenely alone in a wheat field with the morning sun illuminating its trunk and leaves. It had the shape of an oak, but the leaves seemed to be fine like an ash, I couldnt get near as the foreground grass and plants covered a deep ditch.

I had to get back early as the plumber was coming to sort my boiler out – but it was pleasant few hours on a sunny June morning.

Landscapes area available for sale on my website: grahammcquadefineart.com

MARSH LANE, HESKETH BANK – ACRYLIC PAINTING

This is the third painting from a recent local walk. The two others I posted were watercolours, but I decided to do this in a stylised way with acrylics. I was taken by the illumination of the ivy on the tree trunks and thought that the potency of the saturation of the acrylic paint would better show this off and the bright reflections off the leaves had the feeling of a mosaic. The ivy clad trunks were in conflict with the bare winter branches which added more incongruity. So here it is – on our way back to the car.

The other two were the Boatyard at Banks and Afternoon Stroll. So in the end it proved a fruitful afternoon`s stroll.

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

THE VIEW FROM PARBOLD HILL – WATERCOLOUR PAINTING

Last summer I climbed Parbold Hill which is close to the M6, south of Preston. It looks out west over the Lancashire plain towards the Irish sea, amongst other places. This was the view I saw as I made my way back to my car. Earlier I had sat and painted a number of sketches which I posted at the time.

Here is the first one of the day, on the way up the hill.

The trees, in a line in the mid ground, on the top painting, I think are hawthorn trees, though I have never gone to investigate. This line of trees in the centre of the field have always interested me. In 2015 I was painting on the hill in the evening and took some images of the trees and did a pastel from it. Same trees, different angle – again I posted this one at the time. I loved the shadows cast by the trees from the setting sun and so did someone else as the painting was purchased soon after.

Other landscapes are available for purchase from my website: grahammcquadefineart.com

FALL – WATERCOLOUR PAINTING

Outside our house, along the road, are sycamore trees and against a bright blue sky they recently displayed a vitality I felt compelled to capture in paint. They looked good, despite the problem of all the seeds that come down with the leaves, leaving me with a year-long task of uprooting seedlings as they emerge.

Now, after a few autumn gales, the title should be Fell – but the display was good whilst it lasted, though I notice bunches of seed heads still hanging onto the otherwise bare trees, taunting me with their presence.

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

SPRING AND AUTUMN- WATERCOLOUR PAINTINGS

I`m working on a commission at present so here are a couple of paintings I did a while ago but didnt get around to posting. This one above is from a set of photos taken earlier in the year when it was too cold to paint outside – well for an impatient wimp like me who spends sunny, summer mornings waving paintings in the warm air getting the washes to dry.

I had posted an earlier version of these autumnal birches in our local woods, but decided to have another go. Lots of spraying and splattering, but not much progress. It seemed to go downhill from the start with a pallid sky which I had hoped to to use to accentuate the warm autumn oranges.

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

CHRIST CHURCH, AUGHTON – ACRYLIC PAINTING

Back in June this year, I published a post where I displayed 3 paintings all done from the same spot, my sketching stool, just looking in different directions on Clieves’ Hills. This latest offering is based upon one of them. It is brassy, stretched out and made to look like an old steam train destination poster, but the essential elements have been retained, including the Church.

This is another in the graphic style I was exploring, using the local vicinity as my reference point. It may have got a bit fussy in the foreground, but I like its boldness and colour and it complements the others paintings in the series.

I may be tempted to get out and gather some more reference material for the dark winter nights ahead.

Other landscapes are available on my website: grahammcquadefineart.com