PEAK SKETCHING IN WATERCOLOURS

Not much painting over the last few days as we went away to the Peak District near Stockport to meet some of my wife’s friends who were up visiting. We gathered in the grounds of Lyme house – which among other things, was used as a backdrop in a BBC production of Pride and Prejudice.

As the troops gathered I sneaked away to sketch the view of the house from near the main driveway despite it starting to rain in the attempt. Fortunately there was an oak tree to shelter under.

We stayed in an inn on the outskirts of town, high on a hill and I thought that I would get up the next morning and paint for an hour or so, before we set off. When I woke up there was low cloud and drizzle so I stayed indoors and sketched the horses in the farm opposite when they grazed into view.

They didnt stay still for long and it was a good exercise trying to catch them in their poses – something I should do more often. When they disappeared from view I built up the farm which overlooked the valley.

Later we walked up towards Kinder Scout and this was a view of the reservoir I snatched as I waited for the others to catch up. I liked the green sloping field behind the house which jumped out in the sunshine – overworked but a reminder of the day.

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

GOING UP THE HILL – WATERCOLOUR SKETCHES

I looked at my watercolour sketchbook the other day and saw that I hadnt done any outdoor painting in July. The weather hasnt been very good – well not for outdoor painting, though my lawn has rejoiced in the warm damp weather.

So with a mini heatwave forecast and two days to go, I set off up Parbold Hill. I had noticed some footpaths off the road that go up the hill, but have never explored them. So on Thursday up I trudged with my painting gear. The first painting is on the way up.

Dodging the many dogs that yapped and barked around my feet I got to the top and walked about the exposed plateau, taking a winding footpath through a wheat field. I liked the trees in their lush summer finery and sat on the path looking out over the Lancashire plain. It was as I was working on this second sketch that I realised the tall streak in the distance could only be Blackpool Tower.

As I started back I saw a row of cottages on the high ground above me. They looked like Cotswold cottages. I also liked the gaps in the trees that surrounded them, so I decided to get the paints out again and make the most of my visit.

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

SOME LIGHT IN THE FOREST – WATERCOLOUR PAINTING

I was in the middle of an acrylic painting and had an impulse to paint this in watercolours. It is of another favourite subject of mine: Ainsdale Woods which sit on the edge of the sandunes on the coast. I loved the purples, blues and greens, which I have enhanced here, and how they collide with the yellows of the sunlit leaves.

I tried to be sparing in my washes and brushwork to keep a freshness and may have left areas underworked as a consequence. Anyway, there`s plenty of colour for a gloomy pine forest.

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

TWO CHURCHES – WATERCOLOUR PAINTINGS

I did warn you there were more churches to come. These are local country churches. I did a sketch of Halsall Church, above, one quiet morning during the lockdown. Normally the road in the foreground is very busy, but on that morning there were only a few passing vehicles and a couple of pedestrians. Even so, I wedged myself over a wall on the steep bank of a stream and painted into the light. On this version I widened the field of view, to put the Church into context.

This second one is of Sefton Church and I have presented a version of this before, but I wasnt happy with the washes and I felt I had too much foreground at the expense of the subject. So here is a second go. I feel happier with this version.

Anyway, that concludes my ecclesiastical excursions – well at least for now.

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

A JUG OF FLOWERS IN A SUNNY WINDOW – WATERCOLOUR PAINTING

I presented this as a sketch in April and the sketch has been floating around in my studio since then. As an inveterate fiddler it was only time before I had another go. I wanted to break up and explain the background better and pay more attention to the reflected light and give more deference to my wife`s flower arranging. At least this time its not on the back of another painting , which for me, is a step forward.

Other floral painting are available on my website: grahammcquadefineart.com

MORNING, ST LUKES CHURCH, FORMBY – WATERCOLOUR PAINTING

Maybe I’m undergoing some sort of epiphany or, then again, perhaps not, but I am painting a number of churches of late. I have a couple more in the pipeline, but this is a completed one.

I had been over to the sand dunes at Formby to do some early morning painting and was making my way back to the road when I glimpsed the church through the chestnut and sycamore trees. I squeezed in under a dilapidated fence and sat and painted the back of the church, though it was the light coming in through the leaves of the trees that adds the punch to this painting and I didn’t do that justice in my sketch. So here is my second go at home, sat in comfort, listening to a spot of Mozart – you can almost feel the sunshine.

Other churches and local paintings are available for sale on my website grahammcquadefineart.com

AROUND HALSALL – WATERCOLOUR SKETCHES

Well, we are presently experiencing our normal summer; high winds and rain, which I am told is set for the week, but last week there was a brief taste of sunshine. I had the last couple of pages in my old sketchbook to fill and a new one was waiting to get started on – so I needed to take the opportunity..

For the first painting, I chanced upon a little path off the road as I cycled along. I liked the sweep of the path and the tonal range of deep shadows against the ripening barley. As I got cracking a tractor came bouncing down the path, so I had to collect all my belongings and head for the long grass. Anyway, he didnt return and calm returned.

This second one was at the top of Clieves hills and again I liked the deep tonal contrast – and the incongruous speed signs. Just off left are the trees I painted and posted on 18th June.

For this one, above, of the cottages on Cut lane I had to wedge myself into the hedgerow on a busy road. I may have spooked a few cyclists as they caught me in the corner of their eye on passing.

And finally, sat on the verge of a quiet country lane, painting the fields and farm, I was surprised by the number of walkers, cyclists and the odd car or two which passed. These days no-one miders you and they hurry past. I didnt even need to cough.

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

SKETCHING ON THE SPOT – WATERCOLOUR

Well, the weather has broken around here and my early morning outings have stopped. Here is the result of my last foray on the first day of this month.

It took me a while to find a suitable subject that day and eventually I selected the view on Clieves hills across the fields to Aughton Church which is just outside Ormskirk, With the cottage in the foreground it might be one worth working up in the future.

As I painted I noticed another view to my left with the far hills shrouded in mist.

So when I completed the Aughton Church view I turned in my seat, replenished my water, had another cup of tea and started the view over the valley to the far hills. On this one I think I went a bit too dark too soon but again it could be one to work on later.

And then, as I was thinking that one more painting might round off the morning well, I turned to look up the hill and saw the weather blown trees. I decided to select just a few of these trees which stand high on the ridge and with a second twist of my stool and another cup of tea I started on the final painting of the morning.


Three paintings without moving – so it was a good morning and the cycle ride home was helped by a following wind – what more could you want?

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

STATION ROAD, BARTON – WATERCOLOUR PAINTING

This may have a ring of familiarity. I did a similar painting en plein air and posted it a few weeks ago and decided it would make a good subject for a long format painting. I liked the lane on the left leading into the cluster of buildings in this hamlet and the long fingers of shadow extending into the sprouting barley.

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

POPPIES ON STATION ROAD – WATERCOLOUR PAINTING

Not one I did plein air, but it was a scene I saw on my way from a recent painting expedition. It was getting late into the morning and my tea had run out so I took a few photos.

I had the suspicion that someone had scattered poppy seeds into the field – there was a house opposite – but the scene was quite arresting even for that.

I had to resort to a bit of gouache in the end along with some scrubbing and scratching but hopefully I captured the randomness of it all.

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