My Brand New Bright Watercolours

Pumpkin Time

Good morning everyone. How do you like my brand new bright watercolours? Actually, that’s my little joke, because they aren’t brand new at all! Well, I was getting so fed up with the pale colours on my plein air quick sketches, see here.

So I looked a few things up on the internet, and found out that my paints should be ok. Because they are reasonable UK brands. Also, the paper is decent quality, but I’m working on finding something a bit better. Then I tried to remember not to muddy the colours too much. Eventually, I even started using gouache colours for their brightness, but I really prefer watercolours for on the spot sketching. Anyway, I decided to try something I read in a few posts and articles. And that is really wetting the pans of colour with lots of drops of water ( from a water brush). Then I waited ten minutes and painted two examples, this one being an imaginary landscape.

New Improved Bright Watercolours

View over the Bay

By the way, my Australian tutor Rod Moore encourages us to paint from imagination to help develop composition skills. But I’ll talk about that in another post. Next, I just had to do a little abstract doodle to test the colours again!

Another Purple and Yellow Abstract

As you can see, these are very bright watercolours. But, just a word of caution, let the paints absorb all the water before taking the box out on a sketch trip. If not, it will leak all over your bag! Perhaps you knew all this already, however it’s new to me. And, I’m very glad I read this advice on line.

Finally, I gave this new system a proper road test this weekend when I went to the allotment. After working hard all day watering, picking and tidying, I just had to do a quick 30 minute sketch. Can you see the pumpkins and the scarlet flowers on the runner bean plants? Happy painting!

Pumpkin Time

Have You Seen These Paintings?

Somewhere in France

Good morning everyone. Today for this very quick post I’m showing you these paintings that you may not have seen before. When I packed them up for delivery to Darfield Museum for my solo show, I realised that they might be new to you.

As you perhaps can guess, this is a scene in the afternoon heat in a small town, somewhere in the south of France. Actually, I spent a year in a town much like this back in the seventies. And I well remember walking through the streets early afternoon, going back to work after lunch break. As the heat was intense, everyone walked carefully in every patch of shade, no matter how small. Obviously, coming from a cool North of England, this was a new experience for me. Alas, with climate change, I’m getting more used to higher summer temperatures now.

Scarbrough in the Mist

In complete contrast, I painted this scene of the Yorkshire coast in memory of lots of strolls along this beach. And, we have walked so many of them in summer mist, or a sea fret as we call it. Which seems to be a band of mist clinging to the coastal strip, when a few miles inland, the sun shines down strongly! Here you can also see the iconic Grand Hotel in the background.

Anyway, both of these paintings will be in the show at Darfield Museum in September. And there are lots more on display in my Gallery.

Scarbrough in the Mist – in a virtual room

My Sketchbooks Over the Years

The View from Patterdale Hotel

Good morning everyone. In my last post I showed you little watercolour sketches from my sketchbooks. And it got me thinking about how many sketchbooks I had filled over the years. Quite a few! So, I looked through one or two and found plenty that I drew whilst on holiday in the Lake District.

For example, this one is a view over to the hills from the garden at the front of Patterdale Hotel, near Ullswater. Actually, we used to stay here once or twice a year, pre pandemic. Unfortunately, I still don’t feel brave enough yet to stay in an hotel. Anyway, the views all around are spectacular. And it was very tempting to sketch while sitting on the patio garden with a cold drink after a walk in the hills.

Place Fell, from Patterdale Hotel

Well, this is another view from the garden, the majestic Place Fell, which rises to 2154 ft. How could you not draw this? If you’re wondering where the lake is, this view shows the end of the lake, which is rather boggy and soon floods after heavy rain. These two paintings from my sketchbooks are about three or four years old, but, look what else I found! A very similar sort of landscape from 2003. And, I have some even older! How time flies when you’re enjoying yourself!

A Lake View

Please note, these are all plein air sketches done in 25 to 40 minutes, to capture the moment and they are 7 by 5 inches. If you wish to see a white cottage view in the Lakes, all neatly finished off, see here.

Plein Air Painting in Cumbria

Inside Brougham Hall

Good morning everyone. We are just back from a short break in the Lake District, UK, where I managed to fit in some plein air painting. And we visited this lovely place here- Brougham Hall, pronounced ‘Broom’, apparently! Of course, quite a lot of it is in ruins now. But a friends group (volunteers) look after it, on a small budget. And they are managing a long project of restoration. However, it is quite charming and I sat in the courtyard cafe here and did this watercolour sketch. Actually, you can see the well which provided the castle’s water, the structure in bottom right.

In fact, on that day we were spoilt for choice. Because we spent the rest of the day visiting another castle and not one but two henges. In case you didn’t know they are the remains of earthwork structures constructed in Prehistoric times. Unfortunately, no one seems to know exactly why they were created. So, it’s all guesswork from there onwards. But, you can let your imagination run wild about what they were used for. Most likely meeting places of some kind, but, very evocative and intriguing!

A Plein Air Sketch of a Lake

Haweswater

Next day it was misty and drizzly, so we drove to Haweswater, a lake up on the high ground. And they enlarged this stretch of water to provide a reservoir of drinking water for Manchester. However, to achieve this they flooded the land near the top of the lake. And in my sketch here I painted the remains of the village buildings that are usually under water. After all, this has been the driest summer for years in the UK. Anyway, I tried very hard to show the misty atmosphere. But I stopped sketching when I realised I subtly changed the lighting , as it naturally happened! Obviously one of the challenges of plein air painting.

Just to remind you, I painted both of these watercolour sketches on the spot and quite quickly. So, by no means are they finished paintings. If you want to see studio painted landscapes, have a look at the landscapes in my Gallery here.

Industry and Yorkshire, New Exhibition

A Long Shift

Good morning everyone. If you follow this blog, perhaps you may know that I belong to a great group called Northern Fringe Gallery. And we have just decided to start a new group project ‘Industry and Yorkshire’. However, that’s only a working title, this project will probably evolve as it goes along.

Anyway, this is my version of a very evocative black and white photo from a book all about coal mining. Actually, my dad was a miner all his life, but not quite in conditions like these, thank goodness! Well, I painted this a few years ago, but I think it fits our theme very well. So I had it framed all ready for our show. Now have a look at the second one.

The Wool market at the Piece Hall

In fact, I have posted this watercolour painting before, see here. However, I’ll just explain that this World Heritage site in Halifax was originally a place where weavers sold their cloth. And, because the cloth was called a ‘piece’ that’s the origin of the name, Piece Hall. So you can see why I chose this for the theme. By the way, weaving was a very big industry in West Yorkshire, just as we were all about coal mining here in South Yorkshire where I live. However, spinning and weaving were also practised here too and my auntie worked in a wool spinning mill.

Of course, I shall paint a couple more for the show too. But, more of that later!

My Elephant Painting has Sold!

All Dressed Up

Good morning everyone. As you can tell, I’m so pleased that my elephant painting has sold from our art society exhibition. And it went off to its new home. The lovely buyer wanted to have it for a splash of colour in a newly decorated hallway in his home. So I know it will be looked after. In fact, we did quite well and four paintings were sold, which is good, I think, in the present state of affairs. Anyway, it’s not the main purpose of putting on our exhibition which was to enjoy showing off our work to each other, friends and family. And, from that point of view it was a huge success.

Woman Carrying Water
Bathing in the Ganges River

The two images above were painted in gouache paint during our first Covid lockdown in 2020, photos from Unsplash. Obviously, they are also scenes from life in India, like my elephant painting. And they were part of a monthly challenge in a painting group I joined. To be honest, it was a godsend to virtually meet up and work with other artists at that time. And the group is still going strong – Beginner Gouache Group over on Mewe. As you can see, connecting with fellow artists is always important to me. And, of course, that’s why I love writing this blog and being a part of this artists’ community. You could click here to see my painting of a bluebell wood, which sold at my last solo exhibition in March.

A Very Quick Catchup Post

Dream Landscape

Good morning everyone. Just as it says in the title, a very quick catchup post. In fact, I’ve not really had much time to paint lately. So these two pieces are quite literally small works done in snatches of time. To be honest, I started this gouache in five minutes before starting on breakfast! Well, you get the picture. Anyway, quite unusually for me, this was straight out of my imagination. And, I don’t really feel like it’s finished, but to add any extra elements now would look too artificial. So I’ll consider it as a study, a practice in using gouache paint.

Emotional Outburst

Now, as you can see, this one in my quick catchup post is completely different. Of course, it’s a doodle, but also a picture of my state of mind at the time. What do you reckon, anger, anxiety, bewilderment ? All of the above. We are living in such strange and difficult times and I usually try to keep my worries under control. However, sometimes they break out and I suppose there’s less harm done if it’s contained within a painting. Actually, oil pastel is really good for this kind of art therapy. Because you can pound it into the paper and get rid of all those uncomfortable feelings. Honestly, I’ve no idea what it is or if it means anything. But,I definitely felt better after I’d done it! And there’s another post here with more art therapy exercises that you may not have seen before.

New Gouache Paintings for Exhibition

Dry Country

Good morning everyone. As I promised, this is one of my new gouache paintings for my solo exhibition in September. By the way, I apologise for the fuzzy quality of the photo – I forgot to photograph the painting before I took it to my framer. In fact, I finished it Tuesday morning at art class and took it straight there! Perhaps you spotted that it’s another Australian scene from my tutor’s Outback trip. And, I just love painting these dry landscapes.

Here are the four pictures just back from John, my lovely framer. Actually, I left six more with him to be framed soon, a selection of acrylic and gouache.

Anyway, there will be a nice mixture of brand new gouache paintings and some slightly older acrylics. But, all in all, a lot of stuff that I haven’t shown before to my artfriends. I wonder if you remember my painting (Somewhere in France) here, this is in the show too.

Finally, just a little look at one of my new favourites that I completed to be a part of Rod’s project. And there are loads more photos at my disposal to be painted when I have time.

High Bluff in the Outback

How to Paint the Sea

The Power of the Waves – closeup

Good morning everyone. Yesterday I went to see my acrylic painting at Fronteer Gallery, Sheffield and I was very pleased with it. Such a good exhibition of a variety of excellent painters, showing how to paint the sea.

In fact, there were oil, acrylic and watercolour paintings, resin, textiles, ceramics and photos. And what a thrill to be exhibited with them. And a nice opportunity to paint the sea.

My Painting in the Show

Finally, here’s another of my seascapes, I’m taking it to be framed this afternoon. Then it’s all ready for my solo show next month. But more of that later! Meanwhile, here is another seascape to look at.

Beach Day
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