Having recently sold a couple of canal scenes I thought that I would paint a view of the Leeds to Liverpool Canal at Parbold. Another reason was to rattle the Troll’s cage – it gets agitated when it sees a canal – though never reading its rants, it might have changed for all I know or care.
I liked the boat tucked into the sunny mooring though I changed it to a narrowboat and the figures I borrowed from another photo. I saw some guys in a narrowboat when I was painting along the canal in the summer. They didnt look your usual barge folk. When I packed up to leave I walked past them and heard them speak in a foreign language. Later, it occurred to me that perhaps they were using narrowboats to house foreign workers – or perhaps illegal immigrants, who knows. There are quite a few craft well past their prime moored along the canal so that might be an easy way to raise some income. Though once you`ve handed the keys over your asset might disappear off into the sunset, never to be seen again.
Last week I was in Durham and was able to get outside painting on a couple of warm and sunny days. However, the painting above was done at home. I had spotted the subject whilst sketching the dead tree beside the river, below – in fact this view above was behind me as I sketched, but getting the filigree foliage against a smoky forest backdrop needed a bit of thinking through, so I declined the challenge and painted this instead.
In hindsight I should have given it a go. Still, it was good to have an unexpected chance to get outside. The day before I sat and sketched the city skyline into the light.
This was again done on the banks of the River Wear with a curious bull snorting near my back from the field behind me. Fortunately the seemingly flimsy barbed wire fence did the trick and I survived to paint another day as this blog and my final sketch: looking up the hill to the other side of the river – testifies.
Whilst visiting my daughter we were walking along the river Chelmer – near Chelmsford in Essex – on a bright autumn day. I saw a swan bathed in sunlight and was hoping for it to open its wings as it preened itself. Unfortunately it was disturbed by a couple of fishermen, so for this painting I had to make something up, but I managed to capture the lighting effects against the darkness of the background which had first caught my eye.
Back to my seaside series, though this was from an image I took on Lake Garda years ago. I also did a watercolour of this a long while ago, but thought that it might be worth trying again in a loose style with acrylics. I am quite pleased with the result as the counterchange of light and shade give it a vitality and with the haze you don’t get bogged down with detail.