My New Show at Commune

New Show

Good morning everyone. Well, I’m back for now! This is my new show. But I’m still struggling with my website. Incidentally, if you’re wondering who madpainter is, it’s me!

Anyway, I’ve been very busy in the meantime and this image shows my new show at The Urban Commune. I love the place, and I was thrilled for the opportunity to show my paintings on canvas in this gallery.

The Setup

In fact, it didn’t take us too long to install this, we’re getting better at it now!

Me, Looking Delighted

To be honest, I’ve been very busy recently with my arty stuff. But when opportunities come up, I can’t say no! For example, this morning we went to suss out a lovely cafe to display my work in. I can’t wait to set it up! More of that later.

Finally, if I were to chose a favourite painting in my new show, it would be this one . The Silk Princess. To be honest, I really would like to refer you to another post which tells the backstory of this acrylic painting. However, I can’t do that at the moment. Here’s hoping that things will only get better!

The Silk Princess

This Week’s Mindful Scribbly Doodles

Feeling Angry

Good morning everyone. Well, just to keep you up to date, some of my website problems have been solved, thank goodness! But, things are not fully restored , so, I apologise if I can’t really follow, like and comment properly yet. Anyway, as you may be able to tell, I was feeling slightly fed up when I did one of my little scribbly doodles. Actually, it was done in about three snatched five minute sections. And, I did feel a bit better afterwards. First I scribbled away with ink, then I added watercolour and oil pastel. And then I couldn’t resist some final calligraphic marks on top.

The Tunnel

Finally, this one was completed even quicker as I was experimenting with charcoal, graphite and wash pencils. In fact, I found them as I was tidying up my studio, don’t ask! Well, I don’t think this one needs much explanation. However, you could read it as either coming out of a dark place or going onto one! Let’s see what happens next! Thank goodness I can do these scribbly doodles and feel the benefit. There are more mindful paintings on this post here.

Some More Christmassy Paintings

Stained Glass Window

Good morning everyone. As you might have noticed, I’m still fairly locked out of Jetpack and the reader, so I can’t see much of your posts. Anyway, this is just a quick catchup post of the Christmassy paintings I’ve been busy with.

Firstly, this is my interpretation of a stained glass panel. In fact, this was the theme of our last meeting before Christmas at our art Society. And, everyone created something quite unique. For example, I took inspiration from some stained glass panels done by Henri Matisse, one of my favourite artists. Actually, it was great fun to do, largely intuitive in my case, starting off with collage. And then improvising with gouache paint.

Christmas Angel

Secondly, I created this interpretation of an angel for the online gouache group I belong to. To be honest, I introduced the topic myself, being keen to see how other artists would portray the subject. As well as being eager to research the theme and try something new for Christmassy paintings. Well, there was some fabulous inspiration on line. And I chose this modern style and put my own twist on it. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find the names of the original artists, so I can’t give them a mention. Sorry about that!

Well, that’s a round up of my seasonal painting this year. Hopefully, I can be in better contact with you all in the new year.

Christmas Fair at the Urban Commune

The Path Through the Fields

Good morning everyone. I’ll just make this a short post because I’m not sure whether it will succeed. In fact, I’m having loads of trouble with my blog and I apologise if I don’t see and like your posts. Actually, I’m very limited with what I can do, with no hope of any progress until the beginning of January. Anyway, we went to the Christmas fair at Urban Commune and, for the first time ever, I had a stall! And this is a gouache painting that I finished while I was minding the stall.

Painting at the Christmas Fair

As you can see, I had a great time – met some lovely people and connected with new artists. I even got a chocolate sweet from Caribbean Santa!

Caribbean Santa and his Chief Helper at the Christmas Fair

Also, there was some fab live music (even some dancing!). So, what a great start to Christmas.

The Knight in the Chapel

Charcoal Portraits All Finished Now

Feeling Thoughtful

Good morning everyone. As promised, here are my charcoal portraits from the drawing class last weekend. Actually, I was longing to finish them and finally found some time yesterday. But I spent a couple of days looking at them before that. And it seems to be an important part of the creating, I think. Perhaps you may enjoy hearing about the process of this one, a technique I’ve not tried before. Firstly we had to cover the paper with a thick layer of charcoal. Then we proceeded to carve out the outlines of a face, using an eraser, all the while staring into a little mirror. Maybe that’s why the facial expression is so serious! Well, it was the end of the class then, so I did the rest at home, including more subtle ‘removals’ and the addition of details in fine charcoal. Plus just a touch of white pastel.

A Portrait in the Scribbly Technique

Here is the finished version of the drawing I showed you in this post here. And this was a new technique for me too. Because the first preparatory sketch was quickly done and then partially erased! After that, we were encouraged to use a scribbly style of strokes with the sticks of charcoal. In addition, we were working in half light to accentuate the shadows on the face. Then I tidied it up and smoothed it down a bit at home. And, I am quite pleased with these charcoal portraits.

Finally, for those of you who want to see the finished collaborative abstract I took part in, here it is! As you may notice, it underwent a few changes before being hung on the wall in the projects room at The Urban Commune. So we can all admire it.

The Colourful One

Painting a Colourful Abstract Together

Colourful Abstract 1

Good morning everyone. I went to a collaborative painting workshop at The Urban Commune Gallery here on Thursday. And we created this colourful abstract together. Actually, it was on the walk route of Artwalk Wakefield so we had plenty of visitors. Perhaps you can’t tell from the photo, but this is not the finished version. Because I had to leave before the end, I haven’t seen it yet.However, I think you’ll get the idea. Firstly, our tutor Gavin had painted a neutral background on this large piece of paper, to kill the white. Then we scribbled out marks and shapes to warm up. After that we started adding stuff, each using one colour at a time, to give some cohesion. Also, we continually switched places around the paper to prevent anyone from getting too cosy!

Working Together

Then we had to step back and consider the painting as a whole. Unfortunately, that’s just when I had to leave so I didn’t see the colourful abstract completed! But it was a great workshop, thanks to Gavin. And, if you’re ever in the area, it’s a brilliant gallery and artists cooperative to visit.

My Covid Story at Urban Commune

Maybe you have seen this photo before, if you read my blog. And it is one of my displays in the gallery, see this post here. Anyway, this is an example of my semi-abstract and abstract style. But, it’s only one of the styles I paint in. Because, as you may know, I like to change things up a bit, as I did in this abstract here.

On the Path

Beautiful Dales Landscape in Gouache

A Sunny Day in the Dales

Good morning everyone. Here’s another beautiful Dales landscape in gouache, Yorkshire Dales, that is. Actually, this is just a quick post today, to keep you all updated on the artwork I have finished. And I really enjoyed painting the luscious foliage in this sunlit view. To be honest, it reminds me of many walks that we did in this part of the world. Because we have returned to this delightful place over many years, camping and staying in youth hostels. And, now, renting cottages. In fact, the area is not really so big, but each small area is very distinctive and the landscape is quite varied.

As you can see, this view is of the valley bottom, but still quite high up. Of course, the hills are not far away and the view is, in my eyes, very pleasing. At times, the weather can be challenging, even in summer. However, in my painting you can almost feel the heat rising from the grass. Also, in my imagination, I can hear the insects busily buzzing around. Incidentally, the last walk we did in Wharfedale this summer was in sun till halfway round. Then hailstones and heavy rain for the other half! But, that’s part of the charm, I suppose. Anyway, in my opinion, you can have a beautiful Dales landscape in any weather.

Pinks and Blues in Oil Pastel

Now this is something quite different, a quick intuitive abstract made in marker pen, oil pastel and pencil. And it took me about three sessions of ten minutes each while I was doing chores. And, I felt a great deal better when I finished it! How satisfying to do some art therapy in snatched moments of time. As you may know, if you read my blog. I do rely upon these abstract sketches to cheer me up. See another post here for more examples of occasions when I only had time for sketches.

This Week’s Art Therapy Paintings

Cells

Good morning everyone. This is just a quick catchup post of my art therapy paintings this week. Well. that’s what my art sometimes feels like, when my life is busy and demanding. But, I’m really glad that I can turn to creating art to calm my nerves. Honestly, I wouldn’t be without it! Anyway, this painting is probably a portrait of all the different thoughts taking up space in my head. And, this time, instead of editing out some of the busyness and explosions of colour, I left everything in. Normally, I keep an eye on the design and overall shape of the composition. And prune back quite a lot to streamline it. So, here is the un- edited version and it means more to me now, but I might feel differently tomorrow.

Halloween Date Night

And, just for a bit of fun, here is my Halloween painting, a bit late, I know. However, this is it, I tried hard to make it look scary. But me and my art buddies have decided to call it ‘Halloween Date Night’. (Not really one of my art therapy paintings, but, a great pleasure to paint)

New Paintings, Finished at Last

On the Beach

Good morning everyone. I’d like to show you these two new paintings, finished at last! Firstly, this beautiful Mediterranean scene, based on a photo from Landscape Reference Photos for Artists, here , by Penny Wohler – Stone. And this was such a pleasure to paint! In addition, gouache paint seems made for a scene which cries out for delicious textures and vibrant colours. Of course, this painting also fits in with my theme of hot, dry landscape and Australian scenes. (See here ) In fact, it’s turning into a collection now! To be honest, I couldn’t really see the point of doing a series before. But this one seems to have grown itself! Now I’ll have to think about displaying it together somewhere. Anyway, I’ll just paint a few more first.

Encounter

Secondly, a completely different intuitive abstract in watercolour, pencil and marker pens. Actually, I found this little painting when I was tidying up some sketchbooks. And, I remember trying out a tip about keeping watercolours moist – I think I proved here that it does work. Because, as you can see, the paint didn’t need much encouragement to wander across the paper nicely. So, I was pleased with it, and when it was dry, I stashed it away.

Anyway, I looked at it from all angles and embellished it with patterns and markings. Then I noticed something in it that suggested a face to face composition – I wonder if you can see it too?

Encounter – a close up

So, there you have it – two new paintings, finished at last.

On the beach – a close up

Sketching in the Industrial Museum

The Chimney House

Good morning everyone. A few weeks back I went out for the day with Urban Sketchers Yorkshire. And we went sketching in the industrial museum at Kelham Island in Sheffield, UK. Actually, the name is slightly misleading because it is an old preserved industrial area in the city centre. Because it is alongside the River Don and some of the water is diverted to power a mill, a small area becomes an island! Now, as well as the museum in an old electricity generating station for city trams, there lots of lovely buildings. To be honest, they are now blocks of flats and pubs and so on. But still beautifully restored and picturesque.

Making Files

This is an old drawing on display in Kelham Island Industrial Museum. And it shows the sort of work which was carried out in the small shops typical of the area. For example, making tools, in this case metal files. So, I spent an hour or two wandering around the interesting exhibits, looking for inspiration. As I am at present painting industrial subjects for our Northern Fringe Gallery exhibition, see this post here.

Machinery

Anyway, this is a quick pencil abstract I did later, after spending some time making working drawings in a workshop. In fact, it was an enterprise where the men cut out shapes from sheets of steel, for machinery parts. However, I’m still gathering ideas for a finished painting for our show. If you keep reading this blog I’ll post as soon as it’s finished.

Progress of Mankind – New Show

The Progress of Mankind

Good morning everyone. This is my new show. And I was delighted to see my five part series ‘ The Progress of Mankind’ displayed at Urban Commune gallery in Wakefield. In fact, I had dreamed of seeing it like this all through the pandemic when I painted it. Of course, I didn’t see it as a story when I painted the first piece ‘Paradise’.

Paradise

As I painted this intuitive abstract, I realised it was an attempt to portray an idyllic world, completely unspoiled by man. If you look closely, you can spot hints of a bird, an insect, foliage and flowers.

Hell on Earth

Maybe this piece needs no explanation, it’s a scene of pollution and destruction on an overheated planet. Perhaps you can feel the heat from the monstrous red sun and smell the toxic smoke.

Flying Away in my New Show

Free Spirit

Actually, I created this acrylic painting ‘Free Spirit’ out of my subconscious. Because I finished it completely and then afterwards understood its significance. If I can explain, I painted my dream of floating away from all the worry and trouble, just like a kite in the sky.

The Light at the End of the Tunnel

Now this one is the only one of the series that was partly planned. Really a bit later on when we were aware of vaccines being developed. So I thought of a painting trying to show the feeling of seeing a light at the end of the tunnel. And I decided to use the figure of a young man to represent the human race, naked and vulnerable.

Connections

Finally, the last part of my story of my new show – Connections and it’s all about family and friends. Because, this is what I learned during the pandemic, the importance of connections with people. In effect, I painted this without a plan. And, I see here an abstract portrait of me and my nearest and dearest. So, that’s how this work came about and what it means to me. If you like, you could see more of my Story Pictures here.

Looking at Free Spirit

Mini Exhibition at Urban Commune Gallery

Still Standing

Good morning everyone. I’d love to show you my new mini exhibition at the Urban Commune Gallery in Wakefield, UK, see here . Well, it’s a small exhibition really over two panels in this gorgeous new Gallery, but it feels a lot bigger!

Urban Commune Gallery

Actually, the commune was founded by a group of artists for the purpose of encouraging creativity in the community. And also to provide a place for local artists to show their work. In addition, they are partnered with the charity Uthink, dedicated to supporting young people in poverty. What a brilliant idea! So, I had to be a part of this and I booked some space for my new mini exhibition.

Setting Up

By the way, it didn’t take us long to set up. Then it was time for a cup of coffee and a look around at all the fab work on the walls and on the shelves. And chat with the artist volunteers who make all this possible.

My New Exhibition

Perhaps you have seen some of this work before, if you read my blog. So, I’ll just feature this one – take a closer look at my watercolour portrait of a valley in the Yorkshire Dales

The Valley

Anyway, that’s all about this show, but I’m preparing another in this gallery. And I think it will look good, displayed the way I’ve dreamed of, so, watch this space! If you want to see more of my landscape paintings, have a look at my gallery here.

Not Inktober – My Small Sketches

On the Table

Good morning everyone. It’s that time of year when dedicated artists draw in ink, guided by a list of suggested prompts, Inktober. But after feeling too much pressure to keep up last year, I decided to do Not Inktober! Actually, I was missing doing small, sometimes silly drawings, where I could play! So, I invented Not Inktober, that is, draw when you like and what you like. And then choose a title.

Perplexed
Headache

Of of course, this last one doesn’t need any explanation, I think! However, when I was researching for this post, I found out that there is a challenge called Inktober 52, see here . Perhaps this is worth thinking about too – making a more developed sketch over a week, different prompts. And taking the whole year to take part.

Travelling
Machinery

Well. this is the last of my Not Inktober sketches ( there may be more!). Perhaps you would be interested to know that I did this one after a great day out with Urban Sketchers Yorkshire. In fact, we went to Kelham Island Industrial Museum and I found it very inspiring. But the best bit is that I’ve now got loads of ideas for an Industry project. Maybe you remember our Northern Fringe Gallery group of artists exhibition on this theme. It’s an ongoing project, so I have plenty of time to create an abstract composition based on this drawing. Anyway, I shall still find time to do small, quirky sketches too as it is so enjoyable. If you want to look back at my Inktober efforts last year, look here.

The Beautiful Colours of Autumn

Leaves Falling

Good morning everyone. I have felt so inspired lately by the beautiful colours of autumn and I wanted to show you my latest gouache painting. Actually, we were working on the theme of The Colours of Autumn at Art Society this week. So, I decided to do an impressionistic design of leaves drifting to the ground, whilst still keeping their glorious colours. Of course, these colours only last a short while, so, enjoy them while you can. Perhaps you can tell that this little painting is in gouache. Because the creamy texture and soft blending are typical of this medium. Incidentally, can you spot the gold-coloured paint on the two brown leaves? If you would like to see the very. very simple, short video I made about this painting, look here.

Autumn Garden

Maybe you have seen this plein air watercolour before? In fact, I painted this whilst sitting in my son’s garden last year. And, I particularly wanted to capture the vibrant copper leaves of the Virginia Creeper. Happy Days, sitting on the patio, painting, coffee and cake and good company! Or, here are some more of my happy memories from the year before. When we were admiring the colours of the pumpkin harvest in Wortley Hall gardens, in this post here .

A New Autumn Picture

Well, this is just a glimpse of an acrylic painting I started yesterday, based on a fabulous photo by Viktoria Stockmal from Landscape Reference Photos for Artists. And I’ll show you the progress as I go along, I haven’t painted in acrylic for a while. And I’m really enjoying being creative in this simply gorgeous season of the year.

Realistic or Abstract – Your Choice!

Silver Surfer

Good morning everyone. I wanted to ask you a question – do you choose to paint in realistic or abstract style? Or, if you aren’t an artist yourself, which style do you prefer to look at and admire? Actually, this is what we were discussing last week at a ROAR artists meeting. Well, to be honest, it was a topic I introduced when it was my turn to show my artwork.

Silver Surfer on a Virtual Wall

Perhaps it isn’t so obvious in these images. But this started off as an intuitive abstract and morphed into a seaside themed painting. However, in no way could it be called realistic.

Pink Blossom

Now this one was intended from the outset to be realistic, it’s an Australian landscape. If you read my blog you have probably seen me write about the course I’m following by tutor Rod Moore. And this is the result of one of his tutorials using his own photo. In fact, in addition to learning loads of useful stuff, I found my painting style was really tightening up. Of course, this wasn’t due to the excellent teaching at all. Just an outcome of concentrating very hard on accuracy of detail. Anyway, for me, this is an extremely realistic style .

Showing my work at the meeting

So, realistic or abstract – which do you find yourself drawn to? Or, which do you spend most time painting? If you want see more of my abstract paintings, have a look at my gallery here – I’ve just updated it.

Our Industry Exhibition Now Open

The Winding Wheel

Good morning everyone. This is my latest addition to our Northern Fringe Gallery Industry exhibition which opened this week. As you may recall, we are at the Ridings shopping centre in Wakefield, UK. (See this post here ). To be honest, it was a low key opening at our own gallery. Because we are displaying the pictures as they are finished, on a sort of rolling programme. When we have received a decent amount of entries, we will look for a suitable gallery to exhibit.

The Winding Wheel – now in the Industry exhibition

The Winding Wheel

This is my interpretation of an image of the machinery that powered the winding wheel at a local colliery, now closed. To be honest, I don’t know much about this. Except that the men went down the shaft to work in a lift operated by this machinery. And, I remember my dad telling me that they called the lift the cage! However, I felt inspired by the image itself. I perceived it as a powerful abstract image. And I painted the various bits of it as shapes, not really knowing what they were!

Spinning Jenny

Finally, I will show you the last of my four paintings for our Industry exhibition – Spinning Jenny. Actually, I painted this for an art competition in an industrial town in the North of England a couple of years ago. Unfortunately, the gallery didn’t accept it, but it’s perfect for our theme. Just to explain, I have interpreted an invention called Spinning Jenny in a rather fanciful way. And the real Spinning Jenny was a frame operated by one person to run four wool spinning wheels at once. In effect, the beginning of the mechanisation of the spinning industry. But, I reimagined the machine as a strong, capable working woman, still spinning over the North Pennines where it was invented.

As you might have noticed if you read my blog, I do love painting a story picture! Please look me up again to see what else I might come up with on this interesting theme.

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.

All my work is for sale at reasonable prices, simply email me on the Contact Me page for further details.

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

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!