Painting Plants At the Allotment

An abstract composition suggesting a tangle of vegetation in a wood. Mixed media.
Among the Trees

We have been working very hard in the garden for a few weeks now . The summer season is in full swing and the crops are growing furiously in this weather . The glorious sunshine and lots of rain have certainly helped ! There’s lots of inspiration for painting plants.

Taking a Break – Painting Plants

Drawing Runner Beans

I don’t often find time to take a break when we are up at the allotment . There are always so many chores to do at this time of year . But , I couldn’t resist it any longer and I just had to draw the tangle of leaves and flowers twining their way up the garden canes ! As you can see in the sketch above , I did a working sketch of the runner beans . To explain , the sketch is a quick record of the scene – about twenty minutes. And it is intended as a reference for me to use later when I have time to do a larger painting.

Drawing Runner Beans – a close up

My Notes on Painting Plants

Hopefully , you can read the notes that I scribbled on my drawing here . They are just reminders of the colours for when I paint the bigger picture . I do also take one or two photos , but the memory of actually drawing this first will be more useful to me . I did observe the shapes of the leaves and flowers quite carefully too .

Tangled vegetation

Painting Plants - a window box crammed full of polyanthus flowers - yellow,  purple and green . Abstract composition
Spring Flowers

I have been quite fascinated by tangled leaves and flowers for a couple of years now . In this mixed media painting of flowers in a windowbox above , I tried to show the crowding of the plants in a small space . And the painting at the top of the page is my impression of how I felt after a walk in a wood in early summer last year. There was a real jungle of growth and I just had to spend some time painting plants . So much inspiration and so little time ! ( see more abstract flower paintings here )

Watercolour and pencil work showing a runner bean plant with scarlet flowers  -painting plants .
Runner Beans in Colour

I took ten minutes later on in the day to add some watercolour to my runner beans . To be honest , I haven’t decided yet whether to turn this into a semi abstracted composition or a design . Stay tuned to find out !

Open Air Sketching at the Reservoir

A quick open air sketch in watercolour of a view over the reservoir,  framed by trees , with a jetty extending over the water .
Open Air Sketching at Worsbrough Reservoir

We went for a lovely walk last Friday at Worsbrough Mill .The day was very hot , so this shady spot was just perfect for open air sketching . I always carry a small sketching kit when I go into the countryside . For me , sketching means using watercolour with perhaps a simple pencil or pen sketch first . But quite often I draw with the paintbrush to get everything into position and then , the best bit , add the colour .This took about twenty minutes .You see , the idea is , not to produce the best finished sketch you ever did , but to make an on the spot record of the scene .

Outdoor Sketching Kit

It’s quite simple really , I fill a medium sized pencil case with a few pens and pencils , plus an eraser and a sharpener . Then I take my little watercolour set . It has twelve colours and the lid of the case is my palette. Three brushes is enough , I find . I use a little plastic travel bottle with screw top for water . The sketch books I take are mainly decent watercolour paper , two different sizes : 10 by 7 inch or , my favourite, 8 by 5 inches .This is quite small , I know , but then there is a good chance of getting the painting finished .

A close up of my hands doing my open air sketching at the scene . You can just see my little  watercolour sketching kit .
Open Air Sketching at the Res

This is a simple phone snap , nothing fancy , just something to record the scene . I can also refer to it if I decide to use this little study and paint a larger picture of the subject in watercolour or acrylic .

A Shady Spot

The reservoir as Hokusai might have painted it .

The Great Wave at Worsbrough Reservoir

There’s a long story attached to this painting – for all the details , see here . But the short version is : this is my favourite beauty spot re-imagined with ‘The Great Wave ‘ appearing on it . It’s my tribute to the great Japanese artist Hokusai ( 1760 – 1849). Just to end on a lighter , more whimsical note !

Why do we do open air sketching ?

Good question .Firstly, I love the freshness of my work when I paint with the subject directly in front of me ( not from a photo ) . Secondly , finishing it quickly like this improves my drawing skills . And , of course , it’s really enjoyable !

Abstract Flower Painting in Summer

A very large pink and red abstract flower painting,  slightly abstracted in style , surrounded by relief prints of leaves in purple and olive green.
Big Pink Abstract Flower

Last week I was inspired by the combinations of colours that I saw in the summer flowers I was planting in our window boxes . Pink and red caught my eye and I worked with these to create an abstract flower painting . I had been talking to a friend online about simple printing . So I had a go at relief printing some leaves . I used the easiest , non-tech method ! After coating the back of the leaf with acrylic paint , I pressed it gently on to the painting , using a sheet of clean paper to protect everything from my painty fingers . Then I experimented with the amount of paint I used and the pressure I applied to get different effects . I also made a second print with the same painted leaf and the resulting print has quite a faint , dreamy quality that is very pleasing . The possibilities are endless ! I quite liked the result .

Windowbox Flowers – mixed media

You might have seen this mixed media piece earlier on in the year. I just loved the colours of the Spring flowers back in April or May .For this abstract flower painting I used watercolour , pen and coloured pencil.

Another Abstract Flower Painting

This watercolour painting is one of my own favourites , Sweetpeas from the Allotment. I liked it so much that I chose it for the poster to advertise my solo exhibition back in January at the Skelmanthorpe Gallery in West Yorkshire. You can read all about it in this post here .

Abstract flower painting of sweetpeas in pink  , purple and green
Sweetpeas from the Allotment

Actually , I have realized just recently that I prefer doing an abstract flower painting now , rather than in realistic style . So , watch this space for more experiments !

All my paintings are available to buy at reasonable prices . For more information , go to the contact page and use the form to send me an email .

Acrylic abstract painting – Break Through

Abstract Composition in Acrylic

Acrylic abstract composition in lemon,  green , ultramarine blue and a touch of maroon.  Big , gestural marks.
Break Through acrylic abstract painting

I’m very proud of this painting – let me explain why . It’s been about six or seven weeks since I felt like painting anything bigger than a small journal page. To be honest , after finishing off a large acrylic abstract begun before Lockdown and then creating just one more ( because the idea wouldn’t give me any peace until I did , see here ) I found that I could only work in a small art journal given to me as a gift . It was an absolute godsend . I could use it to make me feel calmer , and , also to express some of the feelings that I couldn’t say in words , as in this one .

Bunch from the Allotment – watercolour

Back in the studio

However , I really missed painting and , this Monday , I dragged myself to the ‘studio ‘ ( just a small bedroom really ) and , once I started working , I couldn’t stop ! A break through ! It was glorious- painting all day . I’ve decided to work larger now , I was feeling too cramped , trying to work too small so this piece is 16 by 20 inches , on paper . I completed it in two sessions of an hour and a half, on the same day . This abstract composition has been rattling around in my head about four weeks or so . So now it’s finished , I can relax .

Break Through – detail 1
Abstract composition in lemo ,green , ultramarine blue and a touch of  maroon . Big , gestural marks.
Break Through – detail 2

The colours are dynamic and vibrant – they make me feel positive and buoyed up . I don’t think you will be able to see the small , subtle details and texture – perhaps you can see them better in these close- ups .

I hope you enjoy looking at my paintings – all of my artwork is for sale at reasonable prices. There are lots of interesting examples of acrylic abstract painting on my Gallery page too.. If you want to know more about prices and so on , go to the Contact page and send me an email using the form.

Break Through

Watercolour and Collage- Under the sea

A bright watercolour and collage  sketch of corals and plants with black and white collaged fish swimming by in a sunlit sea .
Fish Swimming By – in watercolour and collage

I started this week’s art journal mixed media piece with no particular subject in mind , except that I wanted to create something light and colourful. I sketched out the scene in watercolour and collage . The corals and plants are drawn from my imagination . It was done quite quickly and then I thought about how to make the fish really stand out from the background . I decided that collaged paper could be the answer . I have seen so many great ideas on line about creating your own collage papers . So l took a sheet of cartridge paper and scribbled some black lines with a marker pen . Then I used a simple template for the cut out fish and arranged them in a pleasing shape . And I have some collage paper leftover for another project !

A School of Fish

I hope you feel a bit cheered up by my whimsical underwater scene – it certainly lifted my spirits !

A bonus picture – Sunflowers

Supermarket Sunflowers

A quick sketch in pencil and watercolour in my tiny sketchbook. I finished this in about fifteen minutes – ( almost ) instant art . See more flowers in my gallery .

Mixed Media – Raindrops and Hailstones

An abstract mixed media design in blues and greys , representing raindrops and hailstones falling on to the window  .
Raindrops and Hailstones

This mixed media piece was inspired by the relentless rainy weather we had a couple of weeks ago – the raindrops splashed across the glass of the windowpanes in different patterns according to the direction of the wind . Sometimes they just landed softly and trickled down – sometimes they lashed across diagonally and , as in this art journal piece , the hailstones fell at the same time ! What strange summer weather .

Watercolour, pencil and coloured pencil – mixed media

Hailstones – an abstract interpretation

I tried to capture the subdued , melancholy feeling of a drenched world by using soft blues and greys . The gestural marks and shapes I made were at first soft and rounded, but , as the storm became more intense , I drew harder , stronger straight lines . Finally , I added my abstract interpretation of hailstones , making each one different. I don’t know if this is scientifically correct , but it’s how I imagined them – a bit like snowflakes . The hailstones are so fierce as they arrive but they only last a short while and then they quickly melt . Then the sun came nearer to a gap in the clouds and a few rays of orange light filtered through . All this may or may not be obvious when you look at the painting, but it was going through my mind as I created it . Anyway , I hope you like my weather picture : Raindrops and Hailstones.

Raindrops and Hailstones – in mixed media

I hope I have given you a brief insight into the mind of an artist . You can see more abstract compositions in blue shades in my Gallery – Abstracts here

Did you know ?

If you click on the title of any post until it is underlined , you can see the likes and comments and perhaps add your own ! And I will have a better idea of how many visitors are reading this blog .

P.S Have a look at the new gallery of my work in the sidebar of the blog. I shall keep this up to date and , remember , all of my work is for sale at affordable prices.

How to Re-paint an Old Acrylic Painting

Abstract composition in pink and Green, a woman staring out through her window. Atmosphere all dreamy and mysterious.
Woman at the Window- acrylic on paper

You might think that I created this acrylic abstract composition during Lockdown this year – it definitely would fit the theme of loneliness and isolation . In fact , I have painted a few similar – perhaps I’ll gather them together into a post one day soon . Anyway , this was done as part of a series last year on the problems of modern life as a woman ( but that’s another story ). What I really wanted to talk about was the way this came about .

Pink and Green Abstract

Pink and Green Abstract

This is how it began ! My very first proper abstract ever – painted for an on-line group on Facebook. It did get quite a few likes , but I was not really very pleased with it , so I decided to try to create another painting out of it , using the same colour palette and some of the same shapes . Of course , this is more easily achieved with acrylic paint than with watercolour or mixed media . The paint has great covering capacity .

Halfway

This is the halfway stage – the composition is just beginning to emerge. Then I started thinking about the way some women today are not allowed to move around freely and this image of someone staring wistfully outside seemed to fit my theme .

Woman at the Window

I hope you enjoyed reading about how I used one canvas to create another. It was an interesting experiment . If you did , there is another post I wrote not too long ago, where I describe the same process . Just click on the link here . And you can see more pictures about Modern Woman in my Gallery-People here .

Story Pictures

Do you like looking at Story Pictures ? I love creating them . Some people like to have the explanation to think about , some prefer to make up their own idea of what the painting is about . What do you think ?

All my one-of-a-kind artwork is available at reasonable prices. Contact me by email for further details , using the form on the Contact page .

Red in Mixed Media and Acrylic

A mixed media abstract composition in red and black.  The black is collaged paper.  The shapes are bold and gestural.
Red and Black

This is the latest page in my art journal ( 9inch square ) – a mixed media piece using collage, watercolour , pen and coloured pencil . It was quite instinctive . The only idea I consciously brought to it was using a restricted palette . Red and black go very well together and I added greys to get some mid tones into the design . The white you can see is the paper showing through . I think the mood is loud , upbeat and , possibly confrontational. Can you see any images in this ? I know I can but I’d be interested to know what your interpretations are.

This abstract is in my Gallery – Abstracts – along with lots of other interesting paintings . Click on the link here

Red and Blue – Mixed Media on Paper

Sinking

In this one , as you can see , I paired red with blue and added black for more emphasis . You’ll see collage , watercolour , pen and oil pastel. The red is subdued in places and the blue is quite pale . The atmosphere here is more uncertain , confused and , because of the suggestion of deep water , more sinister. It’s definitely Lockdown art ! I love the way that my feelings come through in the work – but I only realise it later .

Red and Purple

The last image I want to show you is my ‘ Hell on Earth ‘ acrylic painting on a 2 foot square canvas . I chose red and purple colours mainly . This was actually done in response to a challenge from an online group that I belong to : paint in red and purple and orange. . This is a colour combination I wouldn’t normally choose , but I was quite pleased with the outcome . The subject matter , a ravaged landscape , really sets the scene. But the red and purple help to give quite a eerie feeling to the atmosphere. As you can see , working with a restricted palette leads me to fresh ideas and inspiration which is always welcome !

Hell on Earth

All of my one-of-a-kind artwork is for sale at reasonable prices. If you see anything you like , email me for more details , using the form on the Contact page . It’s Affordable Art !

More Blog Posts

Don’t forget to check out my blog more often – I’m writing two posts a week now and you might not want to miss out on anything !

The Light at the End of the Tunnel – acrylic painting

Hope – The Progress of Mankind Part 4

We see the back of a naked figure standing in a lush forest  , looking out towards a beautiful green light in the distance - in acrylic
Light at the End of the Tunnel – acrylic painting

I painted this picture back in April – I was just longing for some relief from the worry and grief I felt at the height of the pandemic. I’ve waited quite a long time before showing it but perhaps now is the time?

Artist’s Inspiration

The idea for the painting came to me quite instinctively – I was walking through a small park and I suddenly thought about how vulnerable we are to illness or viruses . So I decided that the figure should be naked to symbolise the defenceless feelings a lot of us have had , during this time .

Human – acrylic painting

I think I was gradually working towards this idea – have a look at this mixed media journal page I created in March this year , to cheer myself up. I called it ‘ A Brighter Day ‘ It was very intuitive , but afterwards I realised it was a picture of hope , breaking through like a glorious sunrise .

A Brighter Dayin acrylic

And the other stage in the process was , of course , my ‘Paradise ‘ painting , where I portrayed the Earth as a wonderful , unspoilt world in the trilogy that I created for a commission proposal earlier this year.

A semi abstract acrylic painting of a lush jungle with insects and birds - pink  , green and golden yellow .
Paradise

You could say that ‘ Paradise ‘ was Part 1 , then ‘ Hell on Earth ‘ Part 2 came next , followed by ‘ Free Spirit ‘Part 3 . You can see the whole story in this post here . But now I can see that ‘Light at the End of the Tunnel ‘ Part 4 comes next in the story . I’ll show you Part 5 in a little while . None of this was planned – but I realise , with hindsight , that my intuitive inspiration was steadily moving through these past events and helping me to cope . I wonder if anyone else has noticed any effects on their art practice ?

Light at the End of the Tunnel – acrylic on canvas .

Bird in Lockdown – Update

A close of the pigeon's face , her yellow beak and beady eye .

Mixed Media Pigeon – now finished.

A pigeon in a loose watercolour style  , drawn first in pen , washed in watercolour ( grey and purple  ) and then finished with coloured pencils
Lockdown Pigeon

As promised , the finished version of the bird in mixed media – drawn in pen , thin watercolour washes and then strengthening the colours and adding detail with coloured pencils .

She’s Spotted Something

I like leaving all the construction lines in – this did actually start off as a doodle , so there are plenty of lines , until the drawing decided what it wanted to be !

Feathers and Foliage

Actually , the coloured pencils are ideal for soft feathers and grasses .

All the art on my website is for sale at reasonable prices . This mixed media piece is 9 by 9 inches square. Watercolour , pen and coloured pencil on paper , priced at £25 including shipping in the UK . Affordable Art – if you want to treat yourself !

Bird Art in Lockdown

Coffee and Cake – Art for Sale

Picture of the Month

 This is an abstract composition with the figure of a young woman emerging from the background, sitting in  a cafe with coffee and cake  .
Coffee and Cake

I thought I’d just take this opportunity to showcase an acrylic painting once a month and offer it at a reduced price – art for sale ! . I have done quite a lot of artwork over the years – there are paintings everywhere in the house !

This is an acrylic painting on paper , sized 16 by 12 inches . It’s unframed , without a mount , and sold as you see it . The colours are just very slightly brighter in real life .

I painted it last summer when I was exploring the technique of painting over an existing finished painting and creating a semi-abstract composition using the same colour palette and atmosphere, if you like . I’m afraid I didn’t keep a record of the original acrylic painting in this case ( I can show two more examples of this technique in a later post )

As you can see , I was very interested in all the wooden objects in the cafe – the window frames , the spokes of the chairs , the panelling and the floor boards. I also concentrated on the textures of the pretty tablecloth and the woman’s pink fluffy sweater . I expect you have already spotted the cup and the dainty , iced cake !

Coffee and Cake – a detail

Art for Sale

Would this painting look good in your kitchen ? Or perhaps in your lounge , something intriguing to look at as you enjoy a cup of coffee and a delicious cake or pastry . I wonder what she is thinking about ? You could choose a frame to match your own decor . I’m offering it at the bargain price of £40 including shipping – I’m based in the UK . Please contact me for more details by sending an email on the Contact page here .

Coffee and Cake – acrylic on paper

Bird Art in Lockdown 2020

A work in progress - a watercolour sketch of a pigeon
A pencil drawing of a house sparrow in my Lockdown art journal  in traditional,  , realistic style
House Sparrow

This post is all about birds – I suppose I have taken more notice of the ones visiting my garden during Lockdown . I certainly have heard more birdsong than usual in the first few weeks of isolation , when the world was quieter.

This first image shows a common garden bird in the UK – a house sparrow. This pencil drawing was done for a challenge set by a painting group I belong to .

An art journal page painted in Lockdown 2020

Birdman – art in Lockdown 2020

I started to keep an art journal in March and I have done a few intuitive abstract composition in mixed media like this one ( Birdman ) . I just painted in watercolour on brown toned paper without much thought , and a birdlike shape appeared , cradled in the hands of a rather strange looking man.

Seagulls

My next image is a blast from the past actually (apologies for the poor quality phone snap ) . Again , this was a challenge that I set for Barnsley Art Society a couple of years ago . Mine was painted in acrylic in just over an hour .Wouldn’t it be nice to go on a trip to the seaside right now ? ( only two hours drive from where I live )

A work in progress  - a watercolour sketch of a pigeon
Pigeon

And the last one I’d like to show you is a work in progress from my journal . Again , an unplanned , instinctive work , just a watercolour doodle to begin with . And then I realised I was moving towards painting a pigeon !

These are just the first layers. I shall probably add more watercolour and oil pastel then I’ll post it as soon as I have finished it

So , that’s my post . A tribute to Birds – they have certainly kept my spirits up during this strange time . I wonder if anyone else has noticed a trend in the type of art they have been producing during social isolation ?

A bird carved in wood on the mantelpiece in a local stately home , a pen and wash sketch done on the spot in February

Flowers in a Loose Watercolour Style

Flowers in Watercolour

Flowers in Watercolour

A painting of a bunch of flowers ina loose watercolour style  - purple  , pink  and golden yellow
A Bunch from the Garden

This is a watercolour painting of a bunch of flowers that I quickly gathered from the allotment . It’s painted in a loose watercolour style and I can’t really call it a sketch – I spent about an hour and a half on it. It’s in my Lockdown art journal where I can be a bit freer and experiment ( play , really) .

I tried to use more water in the paint and let it flow around . I like using a technique called ‘ wet-in -wet ‘ when you load up your brush with fairly runny watercolour paint and paint it on top or right next to wet paint and then watch what happens ! Sometimes the effects are quite pleasing . Then I exaggerated and worked into the bits that looked effective. I’m not so experienced with this medium but working in an art journal gives you the freedom to try things out , without worrying about ‘ spoiling anything ‘ .

Watercolour Detail 1

There’s Sweet Williams , euphorbia and verbena in there plus a ferny sort of plant with delicate heads of pale yellow flowers.

Watercolour Detail 2

At least now I have more time to paint when I feel inspired – instead of putting it on a to-do list !

Flowers in a loose watercolour style  - yellow and purple areas of colour with some close up detail
Flowers in Watercolour – painted in a loose watercolour style

This is watercolour on paper, a page in my art journal , about 10 inches square. If you want to know more , email me using the form on the Contact page . All my work is for sale at reasonable prices.

Acrylic Painting of a Spring Garden

Art inspired by my Spring Garden

Having a Breather – acrylic on paper 16 by 12 inches , unframed £50 plus shipping

I am always inspired by the beauty of plants and flowers in my garden . This acrylic painting in the naive style is an idealized view of my allotment , just as dusk is falling . I’m having a cuppa after a hard day’s work ,watching the last rays of the sun over the pond .

An impressionistic acrylic painting of my Spring garden . A figure sitting on a bench surrounded by plants growing luxuriantly in late Spring
The Crabapple Tree in my Spring Garden – watercolour on paper 10 inch square – a page in my Lockdown art journal

However , during Lockdown this year , I , like a lot of other people, was confined to my house and our small back garden received a lot more attention than usual ! I painted this watercolour sketch (Crabapple) outside , sitting on my tiny patio in March this year. I enjoyed just being outside in my Spring garden on a fine afternoon .The tree was just beginning to show its bright green , frilly leaves .This tree provides us with enough apples to make three or four jars of Apple Jelly each year- delicious with pork chops . The sketch was completed in forty minutes urban sketching style !

Spring Flowers

Spring flowers – watercolour on paper – a page in my art journal

I observed the Spring flowers quite closely – these were in the window box outside my living room window,. The colours of the flowers in this watercolor sketch really glowed – especially the contrast between the complimentary colours purple and yellow . Again , this was a very quick sketch , done as I stood in front of the window , looking down at the windowbox through the glass !

Abstract Composition

A swirling abstract composition in yellow purple and green , heavily textured in watercolor , acrylic , collaged paper and oil pastel
Abstract Flowers Mixed Media on Paper – a page in my art journal

Straight after painting ‘Spring Flowers ‘ I felt inspired to do a mixed media abstract composition of the colours and shapes of the flowers and leaves. I layered on collage , pencil and oil pastel to create that textured effect .

My Spring garden - looking down over the small lawn to the crabapple tree . The delicate , pink blossom is just beginning to show .
The Vegetable Plot – pencil drawing

And , finally, when I was working yesterday at the allotment garden , I found five minutes in a coffee break to do a quick pencil drawing of the brassica plants in front of me as I sat in the shade .Two different kinds of cabbage and a Brussel sprout plant ( the broccoli plants are not ready to go in yet )

My gardens give me endless inspiration !

Affordable Art

All of my original artwork is for sale – just go to the Contact page and send me a message . If you like what you see , on this post or in the Gallery or Portfolio section , if you want to treat yourself or buy a gift for a loved one , ask for more details – all my paintings are reasonably priced.

A Triptych of Acrylic Paintings

The Progress of Mankind

All will now be revealed ! You may remember , a few posts ago , I showed you two large , abstract canvases which formed part of a series of three . Here, as promised , is the final painting .

A turquoise blue kite , soaring free into a glorious,  golden sky .This is the third canvas in the triptych of acrylic paintings
Free Spirit

These three large canvases were entered as a proposal for a commission at a local stately home, to be displayed in the private chapel , inside the big house. Unfortunately, I was not successful on this occasion , but I was really inspired by the idea and I thoroughly enjoyed the process of entering.

Part One of the Triptych

I was reflecting on the state of our modern world , right at the beginning of the lockdown . So I thought about the idyllic world mankind lived in , before industrialisation and I painted this intuitive abstract to show an unspoiled planet , visualized as a sort of tropical paradise. For more details and close-ups of this painting , see https://margarethallfineart.com/paradise-acrylic-abstract-painting/

Paradise

The next chapter in the story also came easily to me – I must have been feeling quite pessimistic and I portrayed a burnt-out , desolate world with a huge , red sun ( hints of global warming ? )

Hell on Earth

I suppose I must have been thinking about the excessive consumption and the way modern civilisation exhausts the Earth’s resources. This painting was shown in a virtual exhibition on Instagram – see https://margarethallfineart.com/three-abstract-paintings-on-canvas/ .

For the final part of this triptych of acrylic paintings, I thought about how the paintings were to be displayed in a church , where people could sit in quiet contemplation , perhaps hoping for a peaceful resolution of their troubles . So I tried to portray this as a spirit soaring free , away from all difficulties . I suppose I also used the motif of the kite to symbolise that feeling of wanting to escape from the ‘ virus ‘ problem , a feeling that a lot of us have experienced lately . But it was mainly painted instinctively and must have come from my subconscious.

A turquoise blue kite soaring free into the  glorious golden sky
Free Spirit

I hope that you enjoyed looking at my Isolation Art. There are actually two more large canvases that do take the story forward , when I think about it . But that can be saved for another day .

A Trip to Saltaire

Mixed Media Abstract Composition

Mixed Media Abstract composition in pink,  purple , ochre with black  and  white .Organic shapes with a face and some vague bird like shapes
Mixed Media Abstract Composition – Bird man by Margaret Hall

This is my latest mixed media experiment an abstract composition using collage, acrylic , watercolour and oil pastel . There’s even some marker and pencil in there – although the pencil might be a mistake as it is too shiny, Do you happen to know how how to apply a few sharp , precise marks over mixed media layers without using pencil ? I’d love to know . Anyway, I don’t really know what I’ve painted here – it was quite instinctive but I think it has something to do with wanting to escape from the anxiety and threat of this virus ! And it’s painted on brown paper ( more of that later ) .

Drawing on Toned Paper

The toned paper in this case is a rather nice brown paper. I have admired other sketching friends’ drawings on brown paper sketchpads so I bought one . However, I don’t really like the effect of acrylic paint on this paper . Perhaps it was the colours I chose , but they don’t seem to have the sparkle that I like when I use white paper.

Pencil drawings on  brown  paper.  Patterns observed on objects in Salt's Mill museum
Patterns seen at the Museum

Now for the interesting part – I bought this sketchpad at the David Hockney gallery at Saltaire when I took part in an Urban Sketchers crawl back in February. You may remember , we spent the morning in a small brewery/pub and I sketched the brewing equipment in mixed media ( pen , pencil and watercolour ) . See my blog post https://margarethallfineart.com/urban-sketching-watercolour-abstract/

Watercolour and pen sketch of vats at a small brewery
The Brewery – Urban Sketching

It was great fun – perhaps one day soon urbansketchers will be able to meet up again .

David Hockney exhibition at Saltaire World Heritage Site, Shipley , near Bradford , UK

A view from the gallery window across to the allotments and the model village

This is actually a complex of woollen mill buildings established by Titus Salt along with the model village he built for his workers in the 1850’s . The village included neat, tidy terraced cottages , a church and a Sunday school , allotments , a school , a park and much more alongside the river Aire . It’s quite fascinating, so go and have a look if you get the chance .

The downstairs floor of Salt’s Mill shows an exhibition of earlier Hockney artwork and houses the art shop where I bought the toned paper sketchpad . Upstairs there’s a museum room about the history of the factory . But the star of the show is the David Hockney Gallery displaying some recent work from the Spring exhibition of locations in East Yorkshire , where the artist used to live . Enough said , just have a look at the fabulous pictures !

The Coming of Spring in Yorkshire – 2011

By David Hockney
By David Hockney
By David Hockney
By David Hockney

The first time we visited the gallery thirty years ago we were lucky enough to see some of the sections of a larger drawing that David was , at that very moment , sending by fax across from California ! The very large drawing, re-assembled from pieces of copy paper is displayed on the wall . I love the way he always enjoys using the latest technology to create his work .

These ‘paintings ‘ are all actually prints of iPad drawings and I think they are absolutely stunning ! I hope that you have enjoyed my little exhibition review .

By David Hockney

Paradise – Acrylic Abstract Painting

An Intuitive Abstract Composition in Pink and Green

A colourful acrylic abstract, mainly pinks and greens , suggesting  a jungle or a paradise garden.
Paradise – an abstract composition by Margaret Hall

This is the first painting in a set of three that I mentioned a couple of posts ago .I think I must have imagined a tropical scene or a scene in a jungle before I started painting . The colours I was drawn to – luscious pinks and vibrant greens – definitely fitted into this theme . I tried really hard not to paint anything too figurative and realistic but when I stood back from my easel, I saw suggestions of a bird , an insect , perhaps an animal, flowers and leaves . So I realized this acrylic abstract composition was going to be semi-abstracted not purely abstract . But that’s ok – I often find that my paintings decide what they want to be , without a lot of input from me . I even turned this one upside down several times to paint it and the motifs still appeared !

Paradise – Birds , Flowers and an Insect ? – details from my acrylic abstract

a close up of shapes like birds and flowers .
A Bird ?
A shape in stripes of yellow and black suggesting an insect in the paradise garden .
An Insect ?

I believe that the term ‘ paradise ‘ has its origins in a word which meant ‘garden’ , a place with lush growth and plenty of water , a place where you could rest and gaze upon a beautiful scene . When I painted this , I was thinking about the story I was telling in a series of three canvases for a commission proposal : this is the first one ‘Paradise ‘ and the second one ‘ Hell on Earth ‘ was shown in a previous post in May and it carries the story forward .. All will become clearer soon when I reveal the third part !

Paradise

Mixed Media Abstract

Stained Glass Window Effect in Mixed Media

A colourful abstract composition , separated by white strips into geometric shapes . Mixed Media -painted in  acrylic , collage , oil pastel and pen .
Fragments – a mixed media abstract

I wanted to show you one of my lockdown art journal pieces , now that it is finished. I had seen a few great ideas online using masking tape to divide up paper or canvas into sections. Then you paint an abstract composition, remove the tape carefully and admire ! Well , I couldn’t find the tape , so , rather than waste time looking, I quickly ‘ drew ‘ some strips with pencil and ruler .Then came the fun part . I treated each shape as an independent unit and just painted instinctively. I will admit to having used a limited palette of colours , but no other planning took place . On this mixed media abstract , I used all sorts – watercolour , acrylic , collage , pen , pencil , oil pastel .

This mixed media abstract gives the impression  of a colourful ,  modern stained glass window.

Mixed Media Abstract with Collage

#An abstract composition in acrylic  of swirling shapes out of which emerges a distorted face screaming .
A collage sample sheet in acrylic paint

I really enjoyed using all kinds of media on this piece mixed media abstract – first pen , then lots of watercolour . It might be a bit difficult to see in the image ‘ Fragments ‘, but at this stage , I glued on some cutouts of collage samples I made using leftover acrylic paints ( like the one above ) . After that , I couldn’t resist using coloured markers and oil pastels ( and a bit more acrylic in the strips ) .

Fragments of Landscape

What did I think about during the process ? Well, stained glass , glimpses of landscape through a window and colour experiments . But , to be honest, it took on a life of it’s own and I just painted intuitively . It’s quite small , about 8 inches square and I think it’s time I tried this on a much bigger scale . I wonder , do you ever experiment with mixed media work ?

Actually , I did a few mixed media pieces in my isolation art journal – you can see them on my Instagram account – @margarethallfineart or click on the button right at the very bottom of this post.

Isolation Art from my Art Journal

A  scary semi abstract composition , including a spider dropping from it's web and a large red " Don't Panic " sign in the corner .
Don’t Panic a piece I did back in March

Abstract Acrylic Painting on Canvas

Abstract Acrylic Painting in Red and Purple

An abstract composition in acrylic on canvas , in swirling shapes in red , purple and white . It looks like a huge red sun over a sci-fi burned out landscape.
Red and Purple – acrylic painting on canvas

This is an intuitive abstract painting from a few weeks ago on a 2 foot square canvas which is the largest size I have ever painted. It took me a while to learn how to adapt the size and shape of the design to the square format , after the initial free expressive part of the painting . Of course , some semi-abstracted shapes crept in , but that was ok because it fitted in well with the story I was developing over three canvases . These form a triptych which I entered in a commission to produce artwork for a chapel gallery in a local stately home . Unfortunately , I wasn’t successful but I felt it was a very useful exercise and I learned a lot about describing and presenting my work whilst doing the submission .

A large , colourful abstract painting on canvas  in red and purple , pegged out on a washing line .
On a Washing Line

However , now this work can now go public and here it is in a virtual exhibition called ‘ On a Washing Line ‘ presented by a group of local artists that I belong to. We were due to exhibit our recent work in the real world but this is the next best thing and a lot of fun too !

Hell on Earth

To let you into a bit of a secret , the piece was called ‘Hell on Earth ‘ the second of three paintings on canvas – a story about the difficulties the world seems to be going through just now. A dramatic piece to catch the eye and make a bold statement in a large space. But , don’t worry , the ending is hopeful and I will tell the tale in a while over a couple more posts .

You’ll see more of my abstract acrylic painting on canvas in the gallery section – https://margarethallfineart.com/abstracts

Flowers in Mixed Media

Flowers in Watercolour

Colourful Flower Painting in Watercolour and Collage

Six large colourful flowers floating in  a blue sky painted in watercolour, oil pastel and pen -flowers in mixed media
Bursting with Colour -Flowers in Mixed Media

I was quite pleased with this flowers in mixed media piece that I did in my art journal – I used pen ,watercolour , oil pastel, pencil and collage. It was inspired by the beauty of the Spring flowers and colours I could see all around me . I also tried to pay attention to the shape of the design too – a first for me .It cheers me up when I look at it . I hope you like it too !

You’ll find more colourful paintings of flowers in my Gallery ( Still Life and Flowers) http://margarethallfineart.com/still-life-and-flowers