WOODLAND SCENES – WATERCOLOUR SKETCHES

It was midsummer solstice and I hadnt yet been out painting plein air this year in the UK. I had done some in Egypt and I have posted those sketches, but in the UK either poor light, cold or life had got in the way. So, with good weather forecast, I decided on my venue and off I went. On the way, a connecting road was closed. So I had to think quickly of some other place to paint. Not a good start.

I had planned to do some simple light and shade studies without too much detail, so when I saw this half cleared wood I was hesitant. It was more complex than I wanted, but the colours were great and the glimpses of light intriguing. So I parked the bike and started painting. I did most on site, but I had to finish at home. When I saw my photos, there was barely any of the redness on the images and it was this colour that drove me to do the painting. I like the result, rough as it is and may be working it up later.

Then I saw this scene. Again, I should never have started it, but the light and shade was too much to resist.

I then arrived at the kind of thing I was after, sitting in a field of barley – a simple view, passages of light and shade, whilst the traffic inched along on the other side of the wood on the right. So, after all the setbacks I got three studies in the bag and broke the ice – which you’d expect in June.

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

WOODLAND’S EDGE – WATERCOLOUR PAINTING

Last month the bluebells were out and there seemed to be a lot of them, well they were in my garden. Here is a painting of a local copse alongside an old railway track which has since been converted to a walking and cycling path. I have painted a number of scenes along it over the years.

At the moment I am working on a couple of large abstract acrylic commissions. Hopefully I will get the first one done this week. I am using moulding paste and matt gel to give the acrylics body and form. I have had these additives a while, but never used them much. The client wants texture, so we’ll give them a try. It’s good to be forced to try new approaches and they may transfer to some of my own work in the future.

Other landcsapes and abstracts are available for sale on my website: grahammcquadefineart.com

FLOODED FIELDS – WATERCOLOUR PAINTING

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.

Landscapes are available for sale on my website: grahammcquadefineart.com

A GLIMPSE OF THE SEA – WATERCOLOUR PAINTING

A view from my recent walking holiday in Portugal. We had been on the top of the sea cliffs for most of the day when the path turned inland, into a wooded area. It twisted and turned and came out along the edge of a field with the trees on one side. Walking along, I spotted this gap in the trees, revealing the coastline and sea.

I was well ahead of the group and contemplated the opportunity for a quick painting. So I entered the half lit glade looking for a spot to settle down. As I dropped my rucksack I heard rustling off to the left. There was a guy in the wood moving around. Not sure what he was up to, I took a few photos, picked up my bag and headed on my way on the path alongside the field.

The path dropped down the high ridge towards a river which I knew we had to traverse. As I sat on the banks waiting for the rest of the group, the man in the woods came down and waded the shallow river. Perhaps I had spooked him as much as he had done me.

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

PAINTING OUTDOORS AT LAST -WATERCOLOUR SKETCHES

I was going to display some more sketches of my garden, but on Wednesday the sun rose early and I decided to get out and do my first painting of the year.

I had decided on the location but on my way I spotted that a mist was coming off the moss and that would have made painting very difficult, so I swerved off beachward and tried to find something interesting to do on the dune belt.

The first were the pines lit by the morning light, above.

Then I spotted this pine on the edge of the woods. I liked the colour of the bark in the light against the darkness of the woods behind,

I had one more sheet on my painting pad so I decided to head towards the sea and sat on top of a sand dune and painted, the admittedly rather mundane, view to the sea.

Not an exciting bunch of sketches, due to the location being forced on me by circumstance, but it was great to get out and just have a chance to sit and meditate for two or three hours in the sun. There was also one advantage of this social distancing – no-one bothered me as I worked – not that there were many out at that hour and location.

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

BLUEBELL GLADE – WATERCOLOUR PAINTING

I had a bit of trouble with this painting – well I have trouble with most of my paintings – but this time it forced me to start again.At the outset I was caught by the light through the trees illuminating the flowers and reflecting off the petals and leaves. I think I caught that with this version – though it was quite tedious painting the bluebells -because I needed to reserve a lot of the white of the paper for these reflections.

The first one below lost the effect of the illuminated flowers and became disunited – though it has some qualities which eluded me in the second version.

The venue is an old, disused, railway line coming from Maghull, in the north of Liverpool, to Southport, where I live, called the Cheshire Lines. I think around this wood was a branch line linking to the main line.

I stumbled on this during a cycle ride a couple of weeks back. The bluebells are now fading away fast around here.

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

LOCAL VIEWS – WATERCOLOUR PAINTINGS

A few repeats here. Versions of these saplings in a sunny clearing in Ainsdale woods have been presented before. In this latest version I feel I have got the lightness of the birch leaves in the sun. I think the photograph flatters the painting, though it might look better in a mount.

This is of the grassy sand dunes close to the beach in the evening. This was a sketch, done on the back of a one of my many rejects. The glow works well, despite the yellow, and I used masking fluid to get the glistening tips of the foreground grass. I needn’t have bothered as I got far better results by scraping the damp paint with my scalpel. I’m not sure introducing the green in the foreground helps with the overall harmony. You may be seeing this one again.

And saving the worst to the last. I’ve presented this entrance to Ainsdale woods before . I thought that by introducing leafy branches across the path it might help to lift the image but these puny leaves look like an afterthought and trying to hint at forms in the dark areas remains elusive – oh well.

Other woodland and beach scenes are available on my website: grahammcquadefineart.com

DANCING LIGHT, FLEETING SHADOWS – WATERCOLOUR PAINTINGS

Another view from Ainsdale pine woods near to my home, where the firs and bracken have populated the old sand dunes down to the beach.

You can understand, in a more credulous age, the belief in sprites and fairies as the morning light bristles or crepuscular darks grow.

And another go at the view of the woods and path I posted a few weeks ago. The first one was quickly done on the back of an old painting and I loved the glow I achieved. Unfortunately some of the old painting had been cut down so it didnt fit my frames and mounts. Hence this second attempt on a fresh sheet.

Other paintings of the Sefton coast are available for sale at great prices on my website: grahammcquadefineart.com

A WALK THROUGH AINSDALE WOODS – WATERCOLOUR PAINTING

I saw a woodland scene simply done in watercolours the other day and wondered whether some of my scenes could do with decluttering. The painting was eye catching though too simplistic for my taste but I felt it was worth trying some of the principles.

This painting was from view I have had lying around for a while and I thought that it would make a good starting point. I proceeded with a wash of strong primary colours over the wetted sheet and then moved the whole lot with more sprayed water to get some colour mixing into a myriad of hues.

When dry, further forms were created into sprayed areas to give hit and miss shapes and gradually the whole thing was worked up with drier and drier brushwork.

I’ll do a few more and compare them with earlier paintings I have done.

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

DOG WALKING 2 – ACRYLIC PAINTING

Back in July last year I was sitting in a gallery, doing my stint;  looking after the shop and trying to sell some paintings. It can be pretty slow around here,  so I set up my easel and started painting the picture below. It was based on  photos I had taken on a day walking in the Yorkshire Dales.

I used acrylics and square brushes and painted it during the day.

I was quite pleased with the result. I felt that the subject matter suited the style of painting. Unfortunately the punters dont agree. The painting stayed at my side, despite many attempts to shake it off. So the other day I decided to change the subject matter around and have the people walking towards me.

The actions of a desperate man . …

This, and other paintings are available for sale on my website: grahammcquadefineart.com