Summery Days – Painting the Sheep

Good morning everyone. I’ve been doing a bit of finishing off again and this little watercolour, Summery Days was started about a month ago. Actually, I was following a free tutorial one evening. And, putting the first layer down was straightforward, But, after that I found it difficult to make progress. So I left it to one side for a bit, busy with other projects. After a while, I couldn’t ignore it any more. So I tried to move it along by myself. Honestly, I wasn’t very confident. I often feel like that when painting a subject that wasn’t really of my own choosing. However, I persevered and I’m reasonably pleased with the end result.

Summery Days – Painting the Sheep

On the plus side, I learned how to make the sheep look more realistic . Initially I did this by putting a medium tone on the body, reserving the white of the paper for the light patches. Then I added the dark tones after. And, most importantly, I did all this as soon as possible so that the animals look part of the scene from the beginning.

Well, that’s all for now. And, I’ve now got a lovely summery picture to look at while we wait for the snow to melt here in the UK! (And here is another post with summery pictures in it.)

Work for our New Exhibition

Ready to Go On

Good morning everyone. Well, I have been quite busy again doing “art” business. In fact, I’ve realised that I’ve made myself just a bit too busy. But, in my own defence, it’s probably a natural reaction to the situation. First, no art activity for a long time. Then, say yes to every opportunity that comes along! Anyway, what could be nicer than taking part in Rotherham Roar artists’ group exhibition? Because it’s the first one we’ve had for quite a while. And so, I took these two pencil and watercolour sketches I did at life drawing class ages ago , for our new exhibition.

Ready to Go On
Thinking

In fact, the space we are exhibiting in at Rotherham Market Hall is like a wall of glass. So, works on paper and unframed are the way to go. Therefore I choose these two prints.

Working in my Allotment
Clematis at Dusk

As I recall, the flower painting was part of a project at my art society to capture the colours of flowers as the light faded. See here for more of my flower paintings.

And, finally, these last two made the final choice for our new exhibition. Up first is my version of a microscope photo of a neuron (one of those things in your brain that makes everything possible).

Neurons

And, finally, one of my favourites, a mixed media piece I call a semi abstracted memory of a walk in the woods.

A Walk in the Woods

To be honest, I’ve probably got enough work to fill the whole wall, not that I’m an excessive painter or anything! But, for now, six is enough!

Sketching Faces – my New Challenge

Good morning everyone. After I’d finished the Inktober challenge this year, I realised how much I had benefited from the daily drawing exercise. So I was pleased to find a new Instagram challenge – sketching faces on #facetasticfriday. Actually, this is hosted by a great group I joined a while ago – Kick in the Creatives. And I think the reference photos are very good and sometimes different (like the one above!) As you can see, I couldn’t resist adding watercolour to the image, to bring it to life a bit. But, I drew most of my sketches just in biro, with no pencil sketch beforehand, just to add that bit of excitement when sketching faces!

Well, I’m only writing a short post today, because I’m just getting busier and busier! So, I’m off to the printers, getting some stuff ready for an exhibition, more of that later.

However, if you want to have a look at some of my adventures in portraiture, see this post here.

A Pink and Blue Intuitive Abstract

A pink and blue intuitive abstract,  organic shapes, swirling about in a sea of grey.
Pink and Blue

Good morning everyone. I been trying to catch up a bit recently and finish off some paintings that I had left midway. For example, this pink and blue painting first started life as a quick abstract sketched out in marker pens. In fact, I was in my studio early one morning watching the sunrise through my window. And the glorious colours – pink, soft blue and turquoise really inspired me. So, I grabbed a pack of cheap felt tip pens and a drawing pad, and created this.

The first drawing of the idea.

As you can see, I added greys to tone down the brightness. And these became quite a feature in my acrylic version on canvas board.

Pink and Blue – the Acrylic Version

Well, I really enjoyed applying the paint thickly and creating texture in this acrylic painting on board. However, it still didn’t seem quite right and so began the long wait! Actually, I looked at it everyday ( there’s stuff all over the house being “looked at”!) And then I got busy! Does this story sound familiar? Finally, I quickly finished it with some subtle marks, so, lots of thinking led to quick painting.

And, I was fairly pleased with it, so I put it on the dresser and I’m still looking at it. But now it’s stopped talking to me, so that’s ok.

You could see more of my abstracts here in my gallery . And all of my work is for sale at reasonable prices, email me via the Contact Me page for details. And here is another pink and blue abstract, acrylic on board.

A Little Gouache Story Picture

Good morning everyone. Well, this story picture is finished at last! In fact, I started it back in August as a response to an open call, online. But, I didn’t like what I produced at all. And, it has been hanging around the house ever since, staring at me reproachfully. And whispering, ” Why won’t you finish me?” Anyway, I gave in on Sunday and repainted it, changing the figure into something I like. By the way, as well as the original reference photo, I looked at this image a lot for direction ( see below)

By Hugo Scheiber

When I looked him up a bit more, I really like this Hungarian artist’s expressionist painting. Hugo Scheiber 1873 – 1950. And to me, still modern and fresh looking.

The Book

What’s the story? Actually, this story picture is quite an open image and full of possibilities, what do you think? And, here’s another of mine, still waiting for its story to be told.

Castles, Palaces and Stately Homes

Once upon a Time

Good morning everyone. At this week’s meeting for our art society, we are having a Studio evening. By that we mean an opportunity to sit and paint together and have a bit of a chat. And the theme for the night is ‘Castles, Palaces and Stately Homes’, in any painting media and style. Of course, this is only a suggestion for inspiration and members often bring their own work to continue instead. But we find that it’s sometimes helpful to concentrate the mind that way.

Conisbrough Castle

The Keep

This is a quick watercolour sketch I painted in September and my intention was to show the huge, overwhelming feeling of standing at the base of the castle keep.

The Fairy Tale Castle

After a painting by John Piper

Actually, I really enjoyed painting this acrylic a while back, taking inspiration from one of my favourite artists – John Piper. But I gave it my own spin and emphasised the out of this world magical quality of it (I hope!)

Castles, Palaces and Stately Homes

Calke Abbey

As you may know, I spent a week this August in Derbyshire and saw a few beautiful old buildings. Including this imposing stately home, Calke Abbey which was rather forbidding in real life, built in greyish stone. Now, that could be a real challenge! However, I’ll show you how I get on later.

If you like looking at English stately homes see this post here.

Going Out Sketching in Wakefield

The huge sandstone cathedral towered above me, when going out sketching in Wakefield.
A Modern Madonna and Child in Wakefield Cathedral

Good morning everyone. This is just a quick post to update you on my plein air sketching. And we spent a lovely morning, going out sketching in Wakefield. Actually, I was with Urban Sketchers Yorkshire and it was great to see everyone after a long break.

Well, the city is full of characterful streets and imposing buildings. So we headed straight for the cathedral and me and my art buddy found a little wall to sit on. Luckily, the cathedral precinct was a little quieter than the main streets. And I particularly liked being so close to the huge building. In fact, that’s what I tried to capture in the watercolour sketch – the stone work towering above me.

The Side Door

After about fifteen minutes we had enough of the battering gusts of wind, blowing round the building. So, I slapped some colour on the pen sketch and we went for a coffee in the octagonal shaped cathedral cafe.

The Modern Madonna and Child

As I recall, there was almost too much to choose from in the beautiful church. But, my eye was caught by this modern statue and I found it was very moving. Somehow it reminded me of what’s really important in this changing world – the love of family and friends.

If you like looking at sketches of English churches, see this post here and here.

Northern Fringe Exhibition Now Open

Good morning everyone. Well, as I write this, it’s not quite true because we are opening the show tomorrow, see poster above for dates. Anyway, we have waited a long time to put on our Northern Fringe exhibition. Obviously, due to lockdowns and so on, so I’m really looking forward to going tomorrow to see everyone’s work.

As I have mentioned before, the theme is a really meaty one that you can get your teeth into! In my opinion, at least, ‘Inspired by Yorkshire Writers’. Perhaps you have seen my first entry already. But, here’s another chance.

The Green Knight, Waiting for Sir Gawain at the Doorway of his Church

And, I felt inspired to paint this by the poem ‘Sir Gawain and the Green Knight ‘ by Simon Armitage. In fact, he reworked the medieval poem about King Arthur and his knights. And it’s a really good read too.

The House on the Moor

Secondly, I painted this view of the ruined farm house on the moors near Howarth, probably the setting Emily Bronte chose for her novel, Wuthering Heights. But, I was also inspired by the poem by Ted Hughes about the day he and his wife, Sylvia Plath walked up to Top Withens.

Top Withens

Now, after having painted both of these, I was tidying my stash, and I found my Egyptian Temple painting. Actually, I did it a year ago, when I did a series of gouache paintings about Egypt. And, I had forgotten that my imagination was fired up by the exhibitions put on by Joann Fletcher in our town. Joann, born locally, is a well-known Egyptologist – her exhibitions were very good, as were the documentaries on tv. In particular, I remember her striding around the sites in baking heat, with the sun striking off the white stone.

I explain all about this painting here, it has just come back from an exhibition.

Two More Paintings for our Northern Fringe Exhibition

Egyptian Temple

Finally, just before I had to take the paintings to the gallery, I had an idea about one of Ebenezer Elliott’s poems, Trees at Brimham , in North Yorkshire. You see, this Victorian poet lived all his life in my area. And I especially like his poem about this area of rocky outcrops. As he says, the rocks and trees are shaped by each other, and live in ‘union strange’.

Brimham Rocks

Literally, I painted this acrylic painting on Saturday, Sunday and Monday and then delivered it on Tuesday! As our exhibition themes are usually ongoing, I’ve got time to paint more! Watch this space….

Inktober Project Finished at Last

Good morning everyone. Well, I finished this Inktober project at last! Actually, I’m very pleased that I made it to the end, because that’s the first time ever. And it’s only because I decided to make the sketches just that, quick sketches. Only five or ten minutes (some even less!) in contrast to a lot of the work I saw online. In fact, lots of people did absolutely beautiful finished drawings, and there was plenty of creativity too.

Collide

Anyway, back to my Inktober project – this first image was in response to the prompt Collide. And I immediately thought of stars colliding. So I looked at some astronomy photos online and used them as a starting point. Then my imagination took over! The ink was very easy to push around and layer up to get the effects I wanted.

After that, I simply drew my phone charger for the prompt Connect. Next, the prompt Helmet sparked off a few ideas and I finally settled for this Viking helmet. In actual fact, this piece of armour was found in York, a city in Yorkshire, not far from where I live. It was originally a Viking stronghold and has lots of evidence of Roman activity too.

A decorative fan for my Inktober project

Of course, the prompt for this was Fan and I just had to draw this big red fan on the wall in my hall. But, I found it quite difficult to draw in only black or white. As you may know, I’m really fond of lots of bright colour, so, I must do a coloured version some time.

And, finally, the last image is my response to the prompt Risk. As I had been wading through paperwork to create a risk assessment document for our Art Society, it was very much on my mind!

Maybe you can tell that I enjoyed Inktober – you can see the rest of my sketches on my Instagram margarethallfineart. But, I’m glad it only comes around once year!

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