Urban Sketching at Saltaire

Pen and Watercolour and Urban Sketching

Watercolour sketch with pen all in yellow mauve and brown showing huge vats in a brewery . Semi abstract style whilst urban sketching
Brewing

This is just a quick post – I wanted to share with you a watercolour sketch I did this weekend . I spent the day with Urban Sketchers Yorkshire. We went to the fabulous Salts Mill ,at Saltaire near Bradford , a World Heritage site. But , first of all , we spent the morning in a craft brewery urban sketching, looking down on the factory from a balcony. See here for some great photos of the Beer Factory.

Well, I did my usual pen sketch and I realised how many gorgeous patterns there were in the view . So , when adding watercolour , I started to emphasize and exaggerate the abstract shapes. At the moment , I’m concentrating on abstract composition in my acrylic painting so I’m a bit obsessed ! But this is the first time I’ve actually put one together while ‘ one the spot ‘ so to speak. This could be addictive !

I used some of the new techniques I’ve learned – putting more contrast in the design and trying to harmonize the colours.

I’ll post something a bit longer soon , when I’ve a bit more time, all about a great exhibition I saw in Sheffield .

Have a look here for more of my urban sketching at Saltaire and other places !

How to Paint an Acrylic Abstract

Acrylic Abstract Painting – Step by Step

Acrylic abstract painting with 
swirling shapes in red , orange and purple with touches of black and white
Red , Orange and Purple Composition

This is my latest acrylic abstract painting. So I thought that I would explain a little bit about how I created this. In effect , how to paint an acrylic abstract ! Firstly, I followed a suggestion online to play with these three colours plus black and white and , literally , just see what happened. I did find this brief quite inspiring – choosing the colours had already been done for me . So if I could ‘ let go ‘ , I thought it might be relaxing. As opposed to the hard thinking and research that goes into , for example , one of my Story Pictures.

A tribute to Hokusai's Great Wave set on a local reservoir in a traditional landscape painting
Great Wave on Worsbrough Reservoir

Anyway, I usually work in this ‘ portrait ‘ format and I didn’t realise how used I was to creating a rectangular composition until a friend of mine gave me some lovely square canvases. So , that was a challenge I set myself and this was the first version.

Step by Step

First version of Red , Orange and Purple,  with lots of white , showing the artistic process
Version Number One

I was pleased with the movement but I realised that the ‘white ‘ shapes were not working so – on to the next version.

A very busy,  complicated development of this restricted palette acrylic abstract 
I
Version 2

So next day, I worked on the painting some more and took away a lot of the white. But meanwhile , I had been far too busy and I had added so many ‘ interesting ‘ little sections . Really, they were cute in their own way , but all together , it was too much and just confused the eye. So, they had to go – it was quite a painful experience to paint them out . In fact, I think this is why some artists find it difficult to judge when an abstract is finished . I certainly do . What do you think ? Is it finished ?

A red, blue and purple painting hung on the garden wall - how to paint an acrylic abstract.
On the Wall

Well , that way of creating an intuitive abstract seems to me completely different to the way I put this next one together

Shocking Pink spiral shape on a royal blue background with accents of  bright green
The Spiral

Believe it or not , this composition came to me as a finished design in my imagination. Actually, this hardly ever happens for me . So it was just a question of trying to put it down on paper ( or canvas in this case )

Well, that’s enough waffling from me. I hope that I have shed a bit of light on how to paint an acrylic abstract . If you want to see more of my abstract paintings , have a look in my gallery here . And , don’t forget , all of my work is for sale at reasonable prices.

How do you paint your abstracts ?

Three Flower Paintings – a Triptych in Acrylic

Three Flower Paintings on Small Canvas – a Triptych

Three small canvases showing three flower paintings  - sunflower,  poppy and echinacea.
Three Flowers – a Triptych

What’s a triptych ? Basically , it’s a group of three paintings shown together and sharing aspects of subject matter , colour or style – or all three ! In fact , just like these three flower paintings. Originally, I think it described three paintings usually above or on the altar in churches. Actually , it’s a really popular way of presenting artwork at the moment in galleries . And some artists are very creative in the way the pieces are linked together .

Anyway , this is my version of a triptych disguised as floral art. In fact , I had to come up with something for an art group I belong to and I was a bit stuck. Then I remembered that I had decided to paint a series of flower paintings in acrylic on small canvases a while ago . However, life got in the way and I had only completed two, Sunflower and Oriental Poppy.

Sunflower
Oriental Poppy

So , I decided to paint one more – for the art group theme , a triptych of flowers. That is , three flower paintings. This is Cone Flowers.

A close up of ' Cone flowers ' , one of my three flower paintings . Red petals and green leaves.

Easy ! One triptych delivered .

Flowers from My Gallery

I must just mention that I have entered ‘Bluebells’ ( and two other paintings) for an open call for an exhibition. Luckily , Bluebells was accepted ( hurray ! ) .And to my delight, chosen for the publicity image – two reasons to be cheerful, I think !

A sea of  bluebells in a wood with the sunlight streaming through , a traditional landscape painting
Bluebells in Silkstone Woods

I must admit , I do love painting flowers. And , if you would like to see more , there’s loads more in my Gallery – ‘Still Life and Flowers’ here

Flowers and foliage in a vase - impressionist flower painting.
A Bunch from the Allotment

So, to finish up with, here’s my favourite – going to a new home when my solo exhibition finishes today ( the image at the bottom of the page )

Well, there are all kinds of floral art – on canvas, on paper , in vases , in a landscape , as a triptych or stand alone .And , I wonder which kind you like best ? Or , do you like them all , like me .

A tree in full creamy white blossom in the  Welsh hills , a springtime landscape painting.
Spring Blossom in Wales
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