LIGHTS OF THE FOREST – WATERCOLOUR PAINTING

A fellow painting blogger mentioned her drawer of shame for paintings that failed to meet expectations. I felt that the title was harsh but then thought she could mean: ‘shame, a few bits let it down – I’ll have another go later’ drawer . This latter title describes a pile of paintings that I have. They just need tweaking to get to the conclusion I would be more comfortable with.

A version of the painting above – of a summery Ainsdale woods, the same place I did a mini series of paintings recently – was on that pile. I liked the contrast of lights and shade in the first version, but too much of it was variations of green. So the other day I picked it up and had another go. This time I accentuated the colours: greens, blues and purples in the shadows and a real hit of red on the path. Just taking the scene and pushing it a little further.

There may be a little more to be done. I have, so far, resisted putting texture on the path as there is loads of texture and busyness everywhere else and I am wondering whether to further darken the shaded areas at the sides, but am wary about losing the gentle purples and blues. So this may be the finished version.

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

A SHADY COPSE IN AINSDALE WOODS – WATERCOLOUR PAINTING

Here is the third of the paintings from my recent afternoon’s cycle trip. This one is from the start: as you exit a small copse onto a long open path that runs alongside the woods – before entering the main body of the forest. Again, the glow of the birches is evident, tempered by a canopy still provided by, mainly, sycamores.

I painted this in a direct style, a different approach than I normally use in watercolour. It was more like one I use in acrylic painting, where I build up blocks of colour. In this case, with watercolour, I worked light to dark. After enough applications you get a wonderful muddle of woodland foliage and the contrast of the light and shade lifts it that bit further.

Hopefully, it encapsulates a sunny autumn day.

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

AFTERNOON AMID THE BIRCHES – WATERCOLOUR PAINTING

We have been having some unseasonably warm weather of late and last Saturday the sun came out as well. I almost gathered the paints together to grasp the last opportunity, this year, to do some open air painting – almost ( I dont mind the cold – I just lack the temprement to wait for paint to dry) Besides, it was well into the afternoon, so, instead, I grabbed the camera and cycled off to the local woods at Ainsdale, which back onto the dunes and shoreline,

At this time of the year, with bright sunlight, the birches glow yellow and gold, almost like lightbulbs against the dark foliage of the firs behind. I then came across this copse of birches that pressed the footpath, before it opened out onto a clearing. The shadows cast by the trees, like fingers of darkness tugging at the remnants of the day.

I had to paint it and I thought I might try a small series of paintings from my ride that afternoon – so there may be more coming.

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

INCOMING TIDE – MIXED MEDIA

Last month I published a set of sketches for a watercolour and pastel beach scene. I combined aspects of two of them to produce this on a half imperial sheet – 35x52cm. I will display it in a group exhibition we are staging in the Southport Wayfarers Arcade from the end of November until Christmas. So book yourself a flight to bag a bargain at our pop-up exhibition before someone else grabs them. Alternatively I can post it to you.

Other seaside and beach scenes can be purchased on my website: grahammcquadefineart.com

MOORINGS AT THE ROSEMARY LANE CANAL BRIDGE – WATERCOLOUR PAINTING

We recently had a lunch booked at a canal-side pub, but one of our friends was sick and had to cancel. As it was a bright day, we decided to have some lunch and then go for a walk. Due to a miscalculation on my part, the walk was a bit longer than intended and we arrived back to the car, at the pub car-park, as the sun was beginning to get low in the sky – reflecting off the boats collecting at their winter moorings. I thought that it might be worth painting

This bridge has changed over the years. It was a favourite location of the art group I ran and and was the subject of some plein air painting in the summer – allowing for a drink at the pub afterwards. You can see in an earlier painting of mine – which I posted a long time ago – that there was a magnificent willow tree which stood at one side – though I think the removal of the ivy has been an improvement.

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

WAVEFORMS – MIXED MEDIA SKETCHES

With my daughter visiting last weekend we took some time out for a walk. It was centered on the village of Parbold in Lancashire, which has a great art gallery housed in a disused windmill alongside the canal. The gallery is run by James Bartholomew who does a lot of work in pastel over gouache. Well, he certainly did when he came to do some demonstrations for the club I once ran. I dont think he does them anymore as the last time I tried to book him he said it wasnt worth his time.

His prices bear this out and are well deserved. Some time later,I was looking at entering a painting into the open exhibition of the Royal Society for Marine Artists in London. I looked them up to see what was doing well and discovered that he had won the main prize the previous year.

He does a mixture of subjects, but his seascapes always catch my eye. I have done similar work in watercolour, but seeing his work I thought I’d give the mixed media approach a go. So here are three sketches I did this week.

My base media was transparent watercolour, not gouache. The addition of pastel over the watercolour base allows for some vigorous markmaking in keeping with breaking waves and swirling wash on the beach.

I just wanted to give it a go and see what came out. I may try a bigger one for an upcoming exhibition.

We didnt buy a painting, but one of the reasons for the visit ( apart from climbing the steep hill behind the village) was to purchase some of the big mugs he stocks which have images of his work on the outside. They are good, bucket sized mugs. I had bought a few before, but the penultimate one cracked, spilling coffee over the table recently.

Anyway, now, we are fully stocked with big mugs again and the visit has inspired me to try out a new technique. Let’s drink to that.

Other seascapes and beach scenes are available for purchase on my website: grahammcquadefineart.com

AT THE TOP OF CLIEVES’ HILLS – WATERCOLOUR PAINTING

I have been meaning to have a go at this for a while. I wasnt sure how effective it would be. I took some reference photographs as I was sitting on the roadside painting the image (below) which I posted in an earlier blog : the view over the hills to St Michael’s Church at Aughton, near Ormskirk – a favourite of mine.

I put a couple of walkers in, but it is a precarious place to walk as cars come wizzing along. I found them a bit too close for comfort as I sat painting by the roadside. Still, I lived to paint another day.

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

THE CANAL BY NEW LANE, BURSCOUGH – WATERCOLOUR PAINTING

Well, my first ever pastel demo seemed to go well on Wednesday. This was after a watercolour workshop on Saturday and yesterday I had tricky tooth root extracted ( well, that was what the dentist told me, so much so she sent me to another dentist to get it done).

So I havent done much painting of my own which I can show to you. Hence another oldie: a winter scene of the Leeds to Liverpool around the Lancashire town of Burscough. It sold at my local library – now converted into housing estate – where our club put paintings on top and between the bookcases and hoped for a sale. Occasionally it happened.

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

AFTER THE STORM – WATERCOLOUR PAINTING

Today I am doing the first of a run of workshops and demonstrations, that continue over the next month or so and consequently time is at a premium. So here is an old watercolour painting done in 2012 and sold soon after. It was based on a view I saw whilst on holiday in Cornwall. I was pleased with the way the cliffs and water worked, along with a sense of melancholy which adds to the painting.

Hopefully there wont be too much melancholia this afternoon.

Other seascapes and beach scenes are available for sale on my website: grahammcquadefineart.com

THE IRISH YEAST COMPANY – WATERCOLOUR PAINTING

When I first walked past this shop in Dublin I was intrigued by the title – it even passed my mind that it was an anagram of Yeats, their famous poet, as I couldnt work out why a business would be based on such a singular product. I also was taken by the warm and cool colours and the rundown nature of it all.

On a subsequent occasion, when I passed, the sun was out and the shadows cast by the projecting walls and decorative mouldings added to its intrigue, so out came my camera. Impulsively I decided to paint it, just for the challenge. Despite its apparent intricacy it was fairly straightforward and painting the linear forms of the piece proved quite therapeutic. I added a fellah just to balance out the cluster of bikes. I hope the worn down nature comes through. It was good to have a little play.

Sticking with our recent Dublin trip, I modified the painting I posted of St Stephen’s Green. I now have all the people all moving in the same direction. Previously I had a few slipping off to the right and upon reflection it seemed to unbalance the piece.

Other townscapes are available for sale on my website grahammcquadefineart.com