Saturday, 31 July 2010

Liverpool painting. May I Start, May I Finish. Wapping Dock

Last day of the month and 15 Liverpool paintings completed. I'll probably get time to draw breath and search for new paintings outside the city centre. I was given an interesting book called, 'Village Liverpool' by Kay Parrot. In it is a collection of Liverpool scenes from various artist from a generation or more past. It may be interesting to visit some of the paintings as they are now and redo them for comparison. Writing about one of the artists, Alfred Harry Jones, it says,

'Mr Jones has taken up the brush and palette laid down by Hardman and is in the same way, preserving memories of the city's landmarks and quiet places for the historical interest of future generations.' p11

Just about sums up what the project is about really, coincidentally, he died in 1958, the year I was born.

Friday, 30 July 2010

Liverpool painting. May I Start, May I Finish. Lime Street Station

Finally got around to doing a painting of Lime Street. I think this is more or less the same view Trevor Chamberlain had for his plein air oil in 1986. It reads,

'Lime Street Station, Liverpool 6in x 9ins. The attraction here was the sweep of the station roof with the enhanced colours of the evening light. Oil Painting Pure and Simple, p27

I think in today's climate, the anti terrorism attitude might have seen him moved on for some reason or another.

Wednesday, 28 July 2010

Liverpool painting. May I Start, May I Finish. Albert Dock

I got down with the tourist's and began this last night as the sun was getting lower and lower, finishing touches added this morning from photos etc.

Albert Dock is the largest group of Grade I listed buildings in Britain and the Dock was officially opened on 30 July 1846 by Prince Albert.

It was the first enclosed, non-combustible dock warehouse system in the world and the first structure in Britain to be built entirely of cast iron, brick and stone. In 1848 the world's first hydraulic warehouse hoists were installed.

The Dock was built to accommodate sailing ships with up to 1,000 tons' cargo capacity but by the turn of the century only 7% of ships using the Port were sailing ships. The Dock's days were numbered and it was finally closed in 1972.

The refurbishment of Albert Dock was carried in 1983 and the first phase was opened in 1984 in time for the arrival of the Tall Ships Race and the International Garden Festival.

The official re-opening ceremony was performed by HRH Prince Charles on 24 May 1988. The original building cost was £514,475-8s-ld. The present day insurance valuation of the buildings, however, is in excess of £250 million.

Tuesday, 27 July 2010

Liverpool painting. May I Start, May I Finish. Renshaw Street

I think I need to remember Philip Larkin’s quote that, ‘Something like nothing happens everywhere.’

I did this from a photograph I took yesterday along with a few quick colour notes. The thing about painting Liverpool for the year is not only do I get to go to places I've never seen before, but I get to do paintings I may not normally consider making. I can’t always be waiting for the perfect conditions that may be ahead, I don’t think I’d get very far with trying 15 to 20 paintings a month.

I think Renshaw Street is one such painting, a dull wet day that would not really be seen a painting opportunity until you consider the muted colours, the Cathedral being swallowed by the mist and the reflections on the road. The resultant image is not the happy shining picture that we would associate with the thought out perfect image; I suppose it’s a painting challenge. Having done the one, I think I would probably try a couple more and resolve a new set of problematic lighting conditions, and given the July we’re having it might not be such a bad idea after all.

Saturday, 24 July 2010

Liverpool painting. May I Start, May I Finish. Painting of Mill Lane

First time I'd ever been here today, I didn't even know West Derby had had a station. I spent time on what is now the Liverpool Loop. That's one of the good things about this project, I'm getting to sit draw or paint parts of the city I've never visited before.

The Loopline was abandoned in 1964 by British Rail and became quite derelict until 1986 when plans were drawn up for its conversion to a walking and cycling route.

Construction began in 1988, and the final section to Aintree opened in 2000. The railway path provides a flat, well surfaced green corridor through the urban environment of east Liverpool, and forms part of the award-winning Trans Pennine Trail. The route takes the form of a woodland park which runs through rocky cuttings or high on embankments with wide views across the city.

There are many bus routes running across and parallel to the path and service frequencies are available from Merseytravel. There are local railway stations near to the route at Hunts Cross, Halewood, Broad Green, Rice Lane and Walton.

West Derby railway station was a station located on the North Liverpool Extension Line to the south of Mill Lane, West Derby, Liverpool, England, it opened on the 1st December 1879.

It closed to passengers on the 7th November 1960, it was used by freight trains until 1975, even though the tracks were not lifted until of early 1979. This station was about 2 miles away from Croxteth Hall which was the home of Lord Sefton.

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Liverpool Painting. May I Start, May I Finish. Blundell Street

Should be called after the rain. Yesterday I went out full of good intentions and paint, a little rain I thought, I'll sit in the car. The rain got heavier and the wipers were working overtime and the car steamed up so I called it a day. It seems the morning news was all about people being flooded out during a hosepipe ban, but the biscuit goes to one interviewee when asked about the people in his road being flooded. ‘We’re all in the same boat', he replied, without a hint of sarcasm.

Tuesday, 20 July 2010

Liverpool Painting. May I Start, May I Finish. Back Percy Street

21cm x 21cm oil on board. I think this one's cooked now so I'll call it a day. This was worked up from an acrylic image done some time ago. I received an email today from artist Richard Mckinley talking about finding beauty in the mundane.

It put me in mind of the current Liverpool project in that our time is filled with the ordinary; it is up to us to find the extraordinary in that. Letting events tell their own story as much as possible. It is perhaps up to the artist to find a sense of the sublime in the most inauspicious of subjects.

As Philip Larkin noted, “Nothing, like something, happens anywhere

Monday, 19 July 2010

Liverpool painting. May I Start, May I Finish. Upper Duke Street

I sat in the car on Upper Duke Street and had another go at yesterdays drawing. I thought of Trevor Chamberlain painting from his car in the rain using his small pochade box. I think I would need a battered old car where I wasn't constantly thinking about the interior and the paint marks I might leave. A mobile studio, warm with a little background music, and no curious bystanders... luxury.

Sunday, 18 July 2010

Liverpool Drawings

Upper Duke Street, Liverpool, looking towards the Mersey

Saturday, 17 July 2010

May I Start, May I Finish. Pochade painting of New Bird Street.

July feels like the first month we haven't been guaranteed the sun. I must admit I really like working with the contrast of light and shadow to aid the composition of a picture, but given the the flat lighting I think the painting turned out OK. I managed to fire off a couple of drawings before working on the colour study. Time seems to stand still when you're left alone to work, unobserved. I think as the days grow shorter I will try a few night paintings, these might add a little something that goes missing with the sun.

Is it just me? I think it's quiet apt to find that the Liverpool Duck parks up every night in New Bird Street...oh, it is just me then.

DUKW is a US Army acronym meaning D = 1942, U = utility or amphibious, K = 6 wheel drive and W = twin rear axles. The vehicles have always been affectionately referred to as ‘Ducks’. Of those built, between 700 and 1,000 are thought to still exist. We are currently researching their history but know that Wacker Quacker 1 was once owned by BP and spent a number of years operating in Aberdeen Harbour. It then went to an army museum in Scotland but was never put on display. It was purchased by Mr Rex Ward a few years ago and restored to show condition. We purchased it in 2000 and updated and converted it to the configuration you see it in today.

for anyone new to the Duck the blurb goes on to describe.

Your hour-long trip begins on the road, taking in the historic Waterfront, touring the famous sights of the City, then making a dramatic “SPLASHDOWN” in the Salthouse Dock.

Friday, 16 July 2010

May I Start, May I Finish. Pochade painting of Pilgrim Street

Didn't get time to upload this yesterday so here it is today. Spent the afternoon drawing and painting around the back streets close to the studio as I was in town for the day. I painted and drew the street that the Liverpool Duck, (below) retires to of a night, and I thought he slept on the water in the dock.

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

May I Start, May I Finish. Pochade painting of Penny Lane.

Working from a photograph and colour studies etc this morning. This is the result of work I did a couple of days ago. I always find it harder and not as rewarding doing these studies in front of the computer, but sometimes needs must, mostly lack of real time to sit and paint on site.

I've been looking at another urban painter this week, Andrew Gifford. Andrew works in oil and finishes them off in the studio over the coming months, adding glazes and ,'putting in the art', as he goes along. He always works initially on site but continues to build them up this way.

Andrew Gifford, now recognized widely as one of the most innovative young landscape painters working today, is a headliner of Art London, and John Martin notes,

One hundred and fifty years into the photographic age it is exciting to discover that there are still aspects of reality that only an artist can record.

I think I have enough initial studies at the moments to work from and produce larger versions of the on site paintings in step I think.

Friday, 9 July 2010

Still Life With a Twist.

Oil painting with some home grown strawberries from the back garden. I quiet like the idea of the odd still life with a twist, this is the third one these I've done since May.

21cm x 14cm painting, £75, mount and postage included.

May I Start, May I Finish. Pochade painting of Princes Road.

This is a sort of continuation of the last painting in that if you walk to the end and turn right, this is the view of Princes Road heading into town, apparently heading the other way on this dual carriageway it's called Princes Avenue,(what I always thought the whole place was called).

The building on the right is part of the first grade 1 listed Synagogue outside London, in the distance sit the Anglican cathedral and two of the four domes of the Greek Orthodox church of Saint Nicholas. I find it refreshing that these buildings all sit in the shadow of each other.

I spent two days at the Georges Hall this week showing work with the different communities that make up the spirit of Liverpool. After talking to a woman who was looking at the painting project I'm doing, she showed me a copy of some work by Alan P Tankard. Alan was doing something similar in the 50's and this is the only snippet I have come up with, so if you have any more info or can point me in the direction of his book I'd be most grateful.

A more recent artist, who you may have heard of, Alan Tankard was born in Manchester in 1897 but was involved with Liverpool all his life.

His family moved to the city in 1916 and he transferred from Manchester College of Art to Liverpool College of Art where he remained all his working life. His topographical watercolours and drawings of the city probably first date from the 1940s when he took his students to sketch bomb-damaged buildings.

This led him to being commissioned to provide a major series for the Recording Merseyside project with watercolours and drawings.

His views of Liverpool and elsewhere were painted mainly from observation. He completed his pictures quickly, preferably when the sun was shining which he said made the buildings “sparkle”. He retired in 1961 and died in 1964. His paintings are highly saleable.

Tuesday, 6 July 2010

May I Start, May I Finish. Pochade painting of Parkway.

There are some lovely old buildings in Liverpool 8, churches, synagogues, mosques and former embassies. I think you could spend a year around here alone and never run out of things to paint. Found another painter who has painted the urban landscape in the past, George Shaw.

George Shaw paints the Tile Hill estate in Coventry where he was raised in the 1970s. He painted its houses, paths and garages, all with Humbrol enamel model paints – the same he used as a boy on his Airfix models.

'Shaw's previous work has seen him looking back over the scenes of his childhood and adolescence. In this new show we see him looking again at those familiar places as they pass into unfamiliarity. He suspects things are being taken from him and the work is gloomily shadowed by the anxiety of himself being taken; a pub vanishes overnight, a library is boarded up, garages are flattened.

His images a lot more detailed than I normally like but they are strangely familiar. I was raised in the seventies in Huyton so maybe I recognise in his work the disappearance of a mundane past.

Saturday, 3 July 2010

May I Start, May I Finish. Pochade painting of Nelson Street

It's the 10th anniversary of the Chinese Gateway. I had to set a time limit on the painting as there is always the danger you get too finickety, especially with such a subject. This one was done from photos etc in about 2hrs. It actually took a shorter time to do than the others as I average about 3hrs so I must have been conscious about not including too much detail.,_Liverpool

Friday, 2 July 2010

May I Start, May I Finish. Pochade painting of Kensington

First painting for the month of July. Managed 17 paintings of the city in June. The pub with the white dome is the former Liverpool Picturedrome. Built in 1910, the cinema closed its doors for the last time in 1958, the year I was born.

Thursday, 1 July 2010

Paintings at Saint George's Hall

A selection of paintings from the first two months of the, 'May I Start, May I Finish.' painting project will be available to view next week. Along with lots of other events, some of the work produced so far will be showcased at St. Georges Hall on Wednesday 7th and 8th of July from 10- till 4.00. Click on the St. Georges Hall link for further information about the venue.