January Sale in Wakefield Gallery

Going for a Swim

Good morning everyone. Things are still a bit dodgy here, so I’ll hurry up and write this post while I can! Actually, I don’t think that I showed you this acrylic painting before. In fact, I almost forgot that I had painted it. And I found it while going through my stash. Because I was looking for work to put in our January sale at The Urban Commune.

The Face of the Sunflower

This one was a study in watercolour for a series on flowers, seen close up. Perhaps you remember four small canvases in acrylic – sunflower, oriental poppy, cone flower and pansy in this post here ?

The Pink Pig

While I was looking for unframed stuff for the January sale, I pulled out my pink pig! And I do remember the fun I had painting this, with the help of Simon, our tutor. Happy Days!

Happy Christmas to you All

Christmas Eve in the Mountains

Good morning everyone. This is the ‘Happy Christmas’ acrylic painting I chose for my card this year. Actually, I didn’t think it printed out so well, but friends and family seemed to like it! Perhaps as artists we are sometimes too critical of our own work. Obviously a little bit of objectivity about our own work is helpful. But I do know a few amateur artists who have no confidence at all and that can be toxic. Anyway, I enjoyed painting the cool colours of the ice and snow, contrasted with the warm brown and gold of the cottage.

The Call of the Wild

I don’t think I’ve posted this before, something from a few years ago. In fact, at that time I had a great tutor. And I learnt such a lot in the years I went to Simon’s class. As you can tell by this painting, which I would have struggled to do on my own then.

Finally, this is an on the spot watercolour sketch of the snow of last year’s winter. And, I couldn’t call it ‘plein air’ because we were sitting in the car! Happy Christmas everyone and keep on painting!

The View from Woolley Edge

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

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

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.

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!

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?

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

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 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.

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

Look at this Wintry Scene

Cold Day

Good morning everyone. I decided to show you my acrylic painting of this wintry scene. Although it might seem a little odd in the middle of summer! Anyway, I started painting it a few weeks ago and I enjoyed the ruggedness of the trees. Also, the cool colours of the icy cold stream. Well, I reached this stage of the painting after two sessions and then decided to leave it a while. As usual, I left it in full view in the living room to try to assess it. But quite a bit of time passed by and I had spotted all the bits I could smooth out. However, I realised that if I carried on ‘improving’ it, it might look over painted. And then, in my opinion, it wouldn’t reflect my style. So, for the first time ever, I decided to leave it and show it as finished. I hope you see my wintry scene as finished too!

There are more landscapes in all weathers and seasons in my gallery here. And, finally, I found my other painting of a brook, this time in gouache paint. And, this time in summer!

The View over to the Mountains

Half Way Through Our Exhibition

A Big Back Garden

Good morning everyone. As it says in the title, we are about half way through our exhibition at the ‎Mirfield gallery. So I thought I would show you one of my paintings that you may not have seen before. Actually, I painted this after a lovely holiday in the English Lake District. And, I’ll tell you the idea that inspired me. When people in the farm house looked out of the window at the back, they would see this glorious view. In fact, this hill is part of the Langdale Pikes, if I recall. And, it would be part of their back garden, in my imagination.

Elephant Festival

By the way, this painting makes me smile every time I look at it. And, I remember how much I enjoyed painting it. Of course, the challenge was to make the skin of the animal appear real, varying the colour from shades of brownish grey to delicate pink. Just to finish this quick post, I include here two snapshots of the launch party. Firstly, me and a friend discussing subtle effects of paint, and how to achieve them.

Animated Arty Chat

And here you can see some of our members, deep in discussion about our exhibition. If you look carefully, you can see my elephant in the background! Perhaps you would like to see my post about the launch here.

Another Arty Chat

See Australian Landscapes in Gallery

Sunlight on the Crags

Good morning everyone. We had our last meeting before the summer break at Art Society last Tuesday. And, as we usually do we had a pop-up gallery evening. And everyone brought a picture or two to show off to the other members. If you want to see my report on Facebook click here. Even if I say so myself, the work was outstanding! Anyway, I chose two Australian landscapes that I completed on the online course I follow. Actually, I said a few words about the most difficult challenge in this scene, as I saw it. And that was creating the illusion of distance with the crags at the back. Because this is something I find quite difficult to do when the wooded slopes are very green. But, overall I was pleased with the end result, especially the bare rock, visible through the vegetation.

A Beach Day

Next I showed everyone another of my Australian landscapes. And this time it was an idyllic scene of a hot, lazy day spent on the beach in Queensland. However, the main problem for me was the aerial perspective of the lush green headland. And how to give that feeling of it receding into the background when it’s a warm green colour. Hopefully I managed to make it sit back by muting the green.

Secondly, I was pleased with the tiny figures on the beach as I always find people hard to draw. Happily, everyone felt confident enough to say a few words about their artwork in this supportive group. And the evening went very well. Finally, click here to see another one of my Australian landscapes, at present in the Summer exhibition, Open Gallery, Halifax.

Australian Landscape Paintings in New Gallery

A Hot Afternoon in Queensland

Good morning everyone. On our way back from the Yorkshire Dales, we made a detour to Halifax. Because I wanted to see one of my Australian landscape paintings in the Open Gallery. And I was pleased to see it in a good position in a smart new gallery.

The Poster

Unfortunately, we were not able to attend the preview, so it was good to have a chat with Alina, the curator. In fact, the show was full of really interesting works. Also I had the chance to catch up with another artist about the art scene in the north of England. So, all in all, a very enjoyable visit.

In the Open Gallery, Halifax

Finally, we managed to find time to dash to Hoylandswaine church, to see my paintings in the village festival art exhibition. Actually, it’s a very good show. To tell the truth, we haven’t been so active during the pandemic. So I really enjoyed being with fellow members of the Arts Group in the beautiful setting of St. John the Evangelist church.

A Small Harbour on the Isle of Skye
My Paintings in the Church
The Village Art Exhibition in the Church

As you can see, the church is quite beautiful, with a stained glass window by William Morris. And a mural by John Roddam Spencer Stanhope. And I was pleased to show my paintings there, work very different from my Australian landscape paintings (see here for another).

Delivering Paintings to New Shows

The Power of the Waves

Good morning everyone. This is just a quick post today – as the title says, it’s been a busy week delivering paintings. Because not only am I catching up furiously in the veg garden. But also I delivered my paintings to two galleries, well, one gallery and a church! Actually, we went to Fronteer Gallery yesterday with the seascape for their exhibition ‘The Sea’. I can’t wait to see that one, Fronteer exhibitions are always interesting, I love a theme for a show.

The Power of the Waves – close up 1
The Power of the Waves – close up 2

We also went to St. John’s church at Hoylandswaine delivering paintings because the art group in the village invited me. In fact, I have belonged to this group a number of years. Admittedly, I couldn’t go to the meetings during the worst of the pandemic. But, fingers crossed, I am gradually going out more now and things are looking more normal, socially speaking.

Sunshiny Day

To be honest, I am taking part in five exhibitions at the moment (I know!) So a lot of my work is already out on the road, so to speak. However, this abstract is a favourite of mine. And I’d like to see it in a lovely exhibition again, so the village festival show seems like a good thing to be involved in. Got to run, but if you want to see more of my abstract painting see here.

Two Paintings of Women’s Stories

The Woman at the Window

Good morning everyone. Here are two more of my paintings from our exhibition ‘Every Picture Tells a Story’, on now at Mirfield. And these two in particular are all about women’s stories. For example, in the one above, I wanted to explore the reality behind living a secluded life. As I painted I thought of the women living where the culture requires them to stay indoors most of the time. Hopefully, you can see the loneliness this woman feels, peering at the outside world through the window. While she always must remain indoors.

Coffee for One

Next I chose to exhibit this painting which highlights another one of my women’s stories. And the story here is rooted very firmly in time – a period of respite in the recent pandemic. In fact, here in the UK, restrictions had been lifted, only to be reimposed shortly after. During that time, people seemed to sit quite nervously in cafes, socially distanced. However, they didn’t stay long and soon hurried out, with a sigh of relief. Just like this woman, with her coffee and cake. You could see more stories about women’s lives here and here.

Coffee and Cake

New Narrative Paintings for Mirfield

Paradise

Good morning everyone. This is a quick post today, I’m insanely busy right now. Why is it that you wait two years for an exhibition and then five come along at once! Anyway, I wanted to show you another two of my narrative paintings. And, as we speak, this should be hanging on the wall at Creative Arts Hub Gallery, Mirfield. Well, I hope so, it’s the launch of our art society show ‘Every Picture Tells a Story’ in the morning!

Actually, you may have seen this on this blog before, along with the next part of the story, in this post here and here. In fact, I did paint five pieces to tell the tale of ‘ The Progress of Mankind ‘. As illustrated by me! Simply put, this first chapter shows the unspoilt paradise that the earth once was. Perhaps you can see the suggestions of an insect, a bird, a butterfly and a flower.

Hell on Earth

And here is part two – my interpretation of the way our world is almost destroyed by the exploitation of all our resources. Perhaps you think it’s pretty bleak. But by Chapter Five of my narrative paintings, things are a little bit more hopeful.

I’m really looking forward to seeing all the other stories on the wall tomorrow morning.