Last Chance to See Show

A Castle in Portugal

Good morning everyone. This is your last chance to see my solo show in the cafe gallery at Darfield Museum! So I thought I would choose three of my personal favourites to spotlight. Firstly, A Castle in Portugal – and the way this one turned out really pleased me . As you might have noticed, it’s in gouache paint. And I love the texture and chalky quality to the paint. However, it does have its challenges and I’m working on it! To be honest, you have to develop a lightness of touch with the layers. Otherwise, if the top layer is a little bit too wet and you are heavy handed with the brush, the colours will merge.

Swaledale Barn

Now this one I really enjoyed painted and I started it during our holiday in the Yorkshire Dales in July. If you don’t know the area, it’s a series of rivers running through pretty valleys. And this barn is in the vale of the River Swale and it’s a very typical scene. In fact, you can see these small barns almost in every field. Apparently, the tradition was to try and grow two crops of hay each season. And store it conveniently in the barn in the field, so that the farmer and the animals had easy access to the winter feed.

Last Chance to See Top Withens

Top Withens

Anyway, I am very fond of this one too. And, I’m very pleased to say that someone bought it! To be honest, I’m thrilled that someone really loved it enough to take it home. Particularly because it almost sold at another gallery, but mistakes were made. Unfortunately, that potential customer went home disappointed. However, now it will be hung somewhere where it will be appreciated, and that’s all I want. But, I will miss this large framed picture, it does remind so much of the brooding moors up near Haworth. If you want to know the story, read this post here. So, tomorrow really is your last chance to see this show!

Sketches from Heritage Open Day

Open Door at St. Mary’s

Good morning everyone. This is the quick watercolour sketch I did in St. Mary’s church, last weekend on Open Heritage Day. Actually, the event lasts for two weeks and it’s great to have the opportunity to visit buildings that are usually closed. For example, last year we went in the very impressive National Union of Mineworkers Headquarters. Of course, St Mary’s is open several times a week. But it was lovely to be welcomed into this beautiful space by the volunteers and the vicar.

Anyway, I chose this view to sketch, as I wanted to show the tall pillars of white stone. They are so tall that they make the massive door look small!

The View Towards the Altar

Next I felt inspired to try and include some of the patterns and colours that really stood out amongst the pale plastered walls and pillars. So I chose an abstract representation of this view down towards the altar.

Patterns and Colours in the Church

After that we went to the gallery coffee shop which is just opposite the church, for coffee and cake. And also to look at everyone’s sketches. What a perfect way to spend a morning on Open Heritage Day! Maybe you might like to see the outside of this building in this post here , it is very picturesque.

Why Do I Love Red?

The Backs

Good morning everyone. Why do I love red? Well, that’s a good question, and I’m not really sure of the answer. But I thought I would show you this acrylic painting from a few years ago and try and explain. For example, I was inspired by an old black and white photo of children playing on ‘the backs’. That is, behind the terraced row of houses in a pit village where they live. Obviously the colours were black, grey and white. However, I wanted to show the brightness and hope children bring to a community. So I painted them in colour. In my opinion, the touch of red draws the eye most and makes my point perfectly.

Perhaps you may be wondering how I chose this subject for this post? Actually, it was the theme for our latest meeting at our art society. And, it really inspired us all, so picked out some of my own paintings featuring red. Incidentally, this is my unfinished effort from Tuesday’s meeting. And it is a farm building with a tin roof, in gouache. When it’s propenly finished, I will show you . Anyway, in my opinion, the redness forms a strong focal point and also makes the scene look cheerful!

A Touch of Red

So, why do I love red? Because it can be cheerful and it helps the composition by being a strong focal point. In fact, it can also heighten the drama of a scene. How about the effect in this one?

Zig Zag

Personally, I think this is quite dramatic! Finally, of course, red can suggest blood and danger. And I do have some drawings done in the pandemic which reflect this. I’ll show them in another post, I think.

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More Virtual Travelling the World

Sandstone Bluff

Good morning everyone. We had a very enjoyable morning at my Meet the Artist event on Saturday at my solo show. And it was great to show family and friends my exhibition at Darfield Museum. Actually, we all imagined travelling the world while looking at the paintings. In fact, it was fascinating to hear people’s thoughts on exactly where the scenes were set. Because there were no labels on the wall next to the paintings, my visitors didn’t know the titles or locations of the scenes. For example, I described the image above as ‘Sandstone Bluff, Australia’. But a friend of mine said it reminded him of a ruined Crusader castle, somewhere in Europe!

Travelling the World, the Story Behind the Picture

Somewhere in France

Similarly, another friend was convinced that this was a painting of a town in Italy! Well, it definitely was France, see this post here for the story. However, I must admit that I did miss out the distinctive French 2cv cars on the road. So that the scene was a more simplified composition. Anyway, we both came to the conclusion that the town must have been near the French – Italian border. Perhaps you will have noticed that the tower in the distance is reminiscent of Italian architecture.

Brimham Rocks, Yorkshire Dales

Finally, just one more example of a painting that set people off virtually travelling and reminiscing. In reality, this is the scene of a very distinctive rock formation at Brimham Rocks in the Yorkshire Dales. Yet, my friends assured me that it was: a local crag on a moor, another rocky area in the Dales or a beauty spot in Devon in the south of England! And this gave me food for thought, is it better to display a label with title and explanation or not? What do you think?

My New Silver Birch Painting

Silver Birch Wood

Good morning everyone. This is my new silver birch painting in gouache. Well, I thought it was about time I created my version of the silver birch woodland scene. Of course, I wanted to make mine a little bit different from the many excellent dark, atmospheric paintings I have seen. So I went for a feeling of slender tree trunks, shimmering in the hazy light. And, the colour of the grass is sharp and bright, just like it is after a shower. As for the sky, I exaggerated the mauve tones, to please myself actually! But, it really makes me want to step into the picture and see what is round the bend in the path!

Silver Birch Wood – a closeup

By the way, I am starting to feel a little bit more confident with gouache paint now, at long last! In fact, I do like painting with it very much. And, I am getting used to the way it moves around on the page and how the colours settle after a while. But, it can still surprise me when one colour can ‘merge’ into another over night! And that’s what happened to these silver birches with the white highlighting. As regards the shift in colour as they dry, I suppose it is becoming a little more instinctive. And, I must have gone through this when learning how to handle acrylic paint. However, I probably forgot about the learning stage as soon as I was through it. But, I must say I am now trying a different type of paper, a more smooth finish. And I’ll show you the first painting when I’ve finished it.

Painting Trees

Finally, you must have noticed how much I love painting trees, see this post here . So here are one or two examples. Firstly in watercolour and pen and then in oil pastel and watercolour.

A Tree in Outline
The Big Tree in my Garden

Latest Exhibition at the Museum

White House in the Mountains

Good morning everyone. This is the acrylic painting that I put on the poster I made to promote my latest exhibition. Well the show opened yesterday and, I must admit that I was very pleased with the way it looked.

The Poster

Actually, the museum cafe gallery is a lovely, intimate space and we sat quite a while, looking at my paintings. In addition, the cakes are all homemade and delicious, so the time passed quite pleasantly!

Customers at the Museum Cafe Gallery

Then I took some photos, but the lighting on the paintings reflected and defeated my camera. So, apologies for that!

The Mary River, Queensland

Perhaps you might have seen this gouache painting before in this post here. However, I don’t think you know this acrylic I did a few years ago. In case you can’t tell (!) it’s my allotment.

The Allotment

After we had looked at my latest exhibition, we went into the courtyard garden to admire the scarecrows. If I could explain, it was the village Scarecrow Festival. Just a bit of fun for the children at the end of summer. Finally, we walked over the road to the church, All Saints. And it’s very picturesque, sited in a peaceful church yard. Actually there is a public footpath at the edge of the graveyard which takes you past the site of the medieval fish ponds. To be honest, the site is not restored but there is a line of willow trees that trace the line of the banks. What a pleasant afternoon out! I will probably post a bit more about my latest exhibition after the Meet the Artist event next week. Incidentally, if you are in the area, you are very welcome to join us, details on the poster.

Greetings Cards on the Windowsill
Somewhere in France and Beach Day
Swaledale Barn and The Power of the Waves

New Outback Painting in Gouache

The Lone Tree

Good morning everyone. Well, I’ve finished it at last! My new outback painting in gouache. Actually, it was three quarters finished a week ago, but I put it on our dining table . And then I looked at it a lot! Eventually I realised that there were too many clouds for the balance of the design to be pleasing.

So I used the ‘Draw’ function on the editing system and covered up the excess clouds on the image of my painting. Until it looked good, then I altered the painting itself. In my opinion, this is a great way to try out variations without using a paint brush. In fact, it’s really useful when painting in gouache as it is quite difficult to alter on the paper. Obviously it’s not as forgiving as acrylic when it comes to ‘mending’ mistakes. But you can learn how to do it by trial and error.

Another part of my process that is different when using gouache is adding trees over a background. Normally, I would paint the tree in right from the beginning. Then ‘cut’ the paint of the sky, for example, around it. After that I would progress all parts of the painting at the same time. To my eyes this looks better. However, here I simply put down the lower tree trunk as a marker and painted all the rest of it later. And it felt very strange!

My Outback Painting
The Lone Tree – a closeup

Anyway, I felt pleased with how it turned out, because it’s all a learning process. If you want to see how I painted one of my earlier gouache paintings, see here. Hopefully you can see a bit of improvement? But the beauty of painting with gouache is feeling a definite sense of achievement after each one you do.

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