When we went for a walk along the canal the other week I looked over the bridge at the start and saw that there was a fishing competition going on in one direction. In the other direction there wasnt anyone, so we headed off on the deserted tow-path. As soon as we rounded the first bend, there they were. It was almost as if they had prepared a trap for the unwary.
The trouble with walking along the canal with a fishing competition, apart from losing the sense of solitude, is the fact that their long poles, which stretch right across the canal, can block your path when they pull them back and put more bait on the hook. Fortunately this branch only spread a mile down the canal and after that all was clear, quiet and unimpeded.
On the way back they repaid me for their intrusion with this view into the low winter sun. Let’s call it quits.
I decided to return to watercolours and build up some canal paintings. This was a contra jour scene I spotted recently. I loved the weeds and rushes at the canal edge in the foreground. I decided to add a narrowboat, mainly to upset troll. Then, dropping some white gouache onto the wet paper gives the satisfying illusion of smoke. I’m easily pleased.
I was taken by the variety of colours in my grapes as they were ripening and with the light picking out highlights and creating shadows I thought that it might make a good subject
The wine production here in Lancashire was rather small on account of the fact that I ate all of the grapes. I have a habit of nipping into my greenhouse and thinning out the bunches, to prevent them getting tightly packed and bursting. Sometimes I over do it.
In this painting I was unsure about the foliage, but a fairly loose rendition seems to have worked. The leaves proliferate and constantly need thinning out, so you get this busy green background which I feel I have portrayed.
This painting recalls summer days when I saw these horses beside the canal. I like drawing and painting horses, just for their shapes – rather like boats and the challenge they give when they are at different angles or huddled together.
I gathered up the images I had of the day and arranged the horses to get a selection of orientations and hopefully provide a pleasing arrangement.
Its good to get back painting with the first one of the year, though I am still moving materials back to the studio and at the same time doing a bit of sorting out and culling as I go – it all takes time.
I wasnt going to post, but this morning I worked up a sketch from a walk we went on yesterday. We explored Beacon Hill country park in the hills above Skelmersdale and in the distance, over to the Wirrel, the steam coming out of the cooling towers of Fiddlers Ferry power station caught the afternoon sun and attracted my attention.
The power station is coal fired and is due for decommission, so this sight will soon be a thing of the past.
With a house filled with guests, I havent done any painting over the past few days.When I was clearing space in my studio, I picked up a sketch book and spotted something I had done whilst on the beach in August – and here it is – squabbling gulls on the waterline: perhaps apposite in the circumstances.
This was inspired by a recent walk that many in these northern climes might recognise. I like the way forms grow and dissolve in the gloom and a patch of light grabs attention.
I was hoping for smoother transitions in the sky but found the very necessary break of light made that difficult. Now, having had a go I can see another way of approaching the subject so that could mean version two – I apologise in advance .
Anyway, a merry xmzzz to all my reader. Have a great time.