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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Regular readers may sense groundhog day, but this is a more finished version of an offering I produced a few weeks ago as part of a set of woodland scenes. As I scratch around for suitable work for a couple of upcoming exhibitions, there may be more of that set coming – so those of an unforgiving disposition should switch off now…
I posted this painting, An Autumn Morning in Ainsdale Woods, in 2014 and it was around this time that I sold the original. A week ago a gentleman from Stockholm in Sweden wanted an electronic copy for a wall image in an office complex that they were rennovating. So for a small fee I am sending him a file of this image. I always keep a reasonable sized file of all my work as, in the past, I have had had people rejecting small files for publication and if you have sold the original there isnt much you can do to supply an image that meets their needs. I did think that the size of this file was too small for his purpose, but he was happy that the 5Mbyte file was large enough. He will send me an image of the layout when the project is complete. It will be interesting to see the work in another context.
A few loose washes and plenty of splattered masking fluid got this off to a good start. I wanted the smokey luminosity of low autumn sunlight and it seems to have worked at least for the top half. A very similar subject to an earlier painting I posted , but not surprising as they both were from images taken on the same day, but I like the air of mystery in this one.