A view I’ve done before, but this time I thought I would make more of the sunset and it’s effects. I’ve used the woman crossing the road with her shopping bags in another painting, but she fits in well here.
I think I’ve mentioned before, in earlier blogs, how the sunset in winter months is quite spectacular on Lord Street, the main street in Southport, where I live. I also spotted the light reflecting off the surface of a puddle in the gutter and, if nothing else, that was reason enough for me to do a painting.
As I said in my previous post, I am preparing for two watercolour demos and getting them to run smoothly has taken a bit longer than I thought – but we’re there now.
Unfortunately I am halfway through a new painting because of this delay, so I thought I’d show an old painting of mine of a small village on the outskirts of Liverpool. It was done a long time ago and it quickly sold. I have kept an image of it on the internet and it has bought many enquiries and quite a few commissions and sales. I was proud of it at the time, still am, and it surprised me that I hadnt shown it on this blog before.
Normally, in the morning this road is very busy, as it serves as a short-cut. Sunday morning allows you to stand in the middle of the road. Though, I didnt paint it plein-air, as even on a Sunday there would be a few objections from motorists if I tried that stunt.
I have just realised that it will soon be February, when I have two painting demonstrations to do. One request is for a canal scene, and this is what I intend to demonstrate. It is a painting I did in 2008 and at the moment I am working out how to best complete the painting in an hour and half. For me, it is a question of getting the order right, so the audience isnt sitting around whilst you mix colours, and there is quite a bit of mixing here to get the water effects. I also need to ensure to emphasise the points I want to raise.
The second demonstration was picked for me by the art club that engaged me. It is of a field of poppies I did more recently.
It isnt a painting I would select if I had a choice. There is a lot of texture in the foreground field that I did in a very haphazard manner, at the time – feeling my way through. I used masking fluid in the painting. Again I want to avoid delays, so I may need to get the hair dryer out to avoid waiting for the masking fluid to dry. Other techniques are a little faster – I did some scraping back and and finally resorted to gouache when all my options were used up. Again, I am working through this to find the best order needed to present it in a coherent way.
After all this I’ll need a holiday and yesterday I ordered some Egyptian pounds for a two week cruise down the Nile at the end of February. Hopefully we will get to go this time – this is the second attempt.
After the Christmas indolence, a walk was proposed. Organising a walk in our family can require diplomatic skills far beyond my capabilities. My wife wanted to walk by the canal which meant we wouldnt get lost and me get angry at the lack of signage. She also reckoned that it wouldnt be too muddy. My daughter didnt want to go too far to get to the walk and I wanted to go somewhere to see some different scenery. I think my daughter’s partner would have preferred to stay put.
I selected a route which, I hoped, met all the specifications. After an early lunch, waiting for the rain to subside, we set off. There was a low winter light which gave great contrasts and shadows and suited me well.
We came up a low hill to a wooded area where there is a derelict Chapel, originally built in the 1500s. The farmland surrounding the site was waterlogged and had lovely glistening puddles made by tractor ruts. With the light illuminating the grass of our footpath and the puddle reflecting the post and trees I thought it might make a great subject to paint even though it is a bit on the dark side.
We completed the walk without getting lost, though the canal tow-path did prove to be the muddiest part of it.
Now all the planned exhibitions have either finished or are currently running I can stop painting local scenes and start playing around a bit more. This is a half imperial size (56x76cm) watercolour – so double the size of watercolour I’ve been painting of late.
I’m not sure of its commercial value, but working into light is something I love doing. In this case it was a low evening sun washing a golden glow over the subject and casting long violet shadows. Not to forget the transparent feather tips of the gulls which seemed to carry their own illumination, particularly when set against the shadows. So I got a great deal of satisfaction doing it.
I’m not sure of the sentiment of feeding gulls and pigeons; as all you end up doing is increasing the population and teaching them to rely on people for food. But I did like the guy struggling with his plastic bag full of breadcrumbs, perilously close to having the bag being whipped from his hands by an impatient gull.
An old painting – one sold many years ago. My output has slowed a bit of late as I’ve had storm damage, so have been busy machining wood to repair my greenhouse. Then there are a few fences to repair and the shelter over the door flew off into the blue yonder – not to mention older repairs awaiting their turn.
So, I’ve got a few other things to occupy myself with, though I’m still painting and drawing – just slower. For today’s post I trawled the archives and came up with this. About twenty years ago I went on a painting holiday with Alvaro Castagnet. I was particularly intrigued with what he could do in the Scottish Highlands as I own books of his paintings focussing on sunny climes from Venice, Southern France and Australia amongst others. In the end I shouldnt have worried as I was very impressed with what he concocted from this far-flung Scottish hamlet and its surrounding countryside.
This was the view from the village out over Loch Kishorn towards the sea. Skye is just a shadowy mark in the distance. Not in the Castagnet style, but I was proud of this at the time and put it in a local exhibition where it sold.
Another in the mad scramble to get some paintings ready for a local show. This one is of the main street in Southport where I live. I think I have mentioned this before, that the low winter evening sun ( on the rare occasions when we see it) casts a golden glow over the shopfronts and lends a dreamlike feel to the street. I think I have captured that feel down the end of the street. I also liked the long shadows cast by the pedestrian and cars. In the past I have perhaps got a little dark with the buildings but hopefully, this time, have dodged that particular pitfall.
Yesterday I put this in our pop-up gallery off this very street, but I will probably move it to my solo exhibition at my framers, if and when he lets me start. I want a body of paintings of local scenes and this really fits the bill. Normally I would have high hopes for it, but slow sales at our pop-up gallery have dented my confidence of late.
This was the subject of my second ever post. It is a view of part of our pier at Southport. As the beach faces in a westerly direction you can get some great sunsets like this one.
With our pop up gallery suddenly and unexpectedly being given a months extension and a planned solo show looming at my framers I am in need of more paintings of local interest. This view is an image I have had for a while and I thought that it might make a popular subject. I love mixing the colours on the paper for the reflections and then tempering them with dry-brush darks. The only issue I had were the supports under the pier which always seem to look awkward.
The painting above followed my image, but I wondered whether I could display the painting at both venues and so set about doing a second version.
This time I thought that I would introduce the sun as it dipped towards the horizon and introduced the resulting reflections off the wet sand.
You can but try – they made for some satisfying painting, without too much detail -I’m just hoping that I have enough frames left for both exhibitions.
Back to the Leeds to Liverpool Canal at Halsall for my subject. The view from the bridge over the canal by the old pub, The Saracen’s Head – which is out of sight, directly to the left.
With the light coming in from the left it almost silhouettes the narrowboats and other craft moored close to the pub.
I have posted views of this scene painted further along the canal from where the man is taking his morning constitutional. I did a sketch on the spot and then worked it up into a painting. I posted this painting in early 2020: Approaching the Saracen’s Head – Watercolour Painting In this view you can see the bridge peeping from behind the foliage in the background, along with the roof of the pub.
A familiar scene in my local woods which run behind the beach. Instead of pushing the tonal range, as I normally do, I wasn’t as aggressive with the darks, particularly the background. I also restricted the palette to a violet/yellow scheme and nearly succeeded, before dropping in muted reds to further enliven the foreground.
I did this painting sitting in our pop-up gallery in the arcade last Friday. The shopping arcade now has few operating shops and footfall is low. I wonder how long we will have the opportunity to exhibit here. We sold a few cards and , I’m glad to say, one painting, though not one of mine. I was also in another exhibition as well, last weekend, but sold nothing. It dampens your enthusiasm when you see little return from your efforts.
Last Sunday was the final day for our exhibition in the arcade, but suddenly the group who were due to take over from us have apparently found greener pastures, in the local art gallery. I’m not sure if they are that green as I am about to retrieve two paintings from this gallery which have done nothing for the past couple of months. I will be collecting them on Monday – presumably to make way for this group. So the upshot is, we can remain in our venue until Christmas which means I will be sitting painting in the gallery for a while longer.