Gouache Landscape – High Viewpoint

A dramatic gouache painting of a turquoise blue fjord in a craggy landscape.
The Fjord

Hello everyone. I thought I’d show you a gouache landscape that I did for my Beginner Gouache group. You see, this month’s theme is Norway and I found a fab high viewpoint photo by Alexey Topolyansky on Unsplash. Honestly, it just blew me away- it’s so dramatic. I’ve never been to the country so, of course, I’m not familiar with this type of scenery. But I think it’s quite beautiful with its craggy peaks and deep, still mountain lakes. However, it still posed a challenge to capture the subtle changes of colour in the sky and water in gouache. Also, the layering of textures on the rocks. Nonetheless, I am still persevering and I will continue because I love the pure, clear colour I can achieve using this medium. And, today’s takeaway is : remember to let the first layers dry overnight and then continue your layering next day!

Another Recent Gouache Landscape

Down by the River

Now, fortunately, I don’t have to remember to give a credit for the photo this time. Because this scene was painted from my imagination. As you can see, it’s just a simple view – a bit reminiscent of the Lake District in the UK. Happily, a place where I have spent many lovely holidays. Of course, it was a good opportunity to practise painting with gouache. And, on this occasion, I decided to concentrate on getting a full range of tones. So that it would appear to recede into the background. Perhaps you may remember from a previous post that I am working on this aspect of composition – see here . It’s all part of a great online course that I am working through. But, maybe more of that later ! There are plenty more gouache landscapes to be attempted – so come along with me on my artistic journey!

Another High Viewpoint View

An acrylic painting of a deep blue lake in gentle, rolling Derbyshire  hills.
Ladybower Reservoir

This is a view over the moors towards the reservoir in the Derbyshire Dales. But this one is in acrylic paint, on paper. Obviously, a more rounded, gently rising view, if you compare it to the Norwegian scene. But, in my opinion, both equally wonderful and ideal for virtual travelling in these restricted times!

Curved shapes in Acrylic Abstract Painting

An abstract composition, soft organic  shapes in coral contrasted with interlinking lines in teal.
Trapped

Hello everyone. This morning I thought I’d like to show you the latest in my series of acrylic abstracts. And this one, yet again is largely made up of curved shapes. Perhaps you can see in this painting how I was influenced by the present situation. In a sense, you could interpret it as organic creatures confined behind the mesh structure. Possibly a reflection of lockdown ? But, that’s not the whole story. To be honest, I was also thinking about my ‘stained glass ‘ theme which I was developing a few months ago. And, as you can see, I really got carried away with the beauty of the soft, amorphous coral coloured masses . And, what a glorious contrast they make against the teal blue.

More Curved Shapes

Curved Shapes in Gouache

This is just a quick doodle in gouache – part of my experiments to understand how to handle the paint. However, I was struck by the fact that I automatically draw rounded shapes, inspired by nature or imagination . Very rarely do I want to include many geometric or straight edge shapes in my compositions. And , I must admit, I do sometimes feel out of step with the modern trend in abstract painting . Because it seems to be composed of squares, rectangles, angles and straight edges. In fact, the very opposite of my soft, curved shapes !

The First Big Rounded Abstract

Breakthrough  - an abstract composition in yellow, gold and vibrant blue.
Breakthrough

I wonder if you remember this one from July this year ? Actually, this is the one that set me off on my mission to go larger with my round, gestural shapes. If you want to see more of the story behind this acrylic abstract see here .

Art for Sale

Trapped – in Coral and Teal

But, to go back to the star of the show, this painting is now for sale ! It’s in acrylic on paper, 16 by 20 inches, unframed. And, it’s at the very reasonable price of £60 plus shipping . I’m based in the UK and you can pay by PayPal. So, just go to the Contact page here and send me an email. Then you can have this in your home and look at it and lose yourself in the calm, comfortable, soothing atmosphere.

Halloween Paintings- Past and Present

A ghostly bride waits in the lonely graveyard, one of my favourite Halloween paintings.
Waiting at the Church

Hello everyone. I thought I’d do a quick round up of my Halloween paintings from the last couple of years. And it took me quite a while to find them in my chaotic ‘filing system’ , also known as the piles of sketch books, canvases etc. in the spare bedroom! However, the one above was easy to find because I only just completed it . You see, I painted this for an online Halloween challenge for Artists Free Reference Photos. The original photo was of a peaceful graveyard scene by Fiona Evans. But, I decided to inject a bit of melodrama into it by adding the ghostly bride, waiting at the church. Of course, this is my tribute to Tim Burton’s ‘Corpse Bride’, an image I’ve been longing to paint for a while.

The Churchyard after Dark

A digitally altered sketch of a sinister looking graveyard - one of my Halloween paintings for this season.
The Churchyard at Night

Actually, you might recognise this painting above from a recent post I wrote here . Except for the fact that I took the plein air watercolour sketch and tinkered about with it. And, in fact, this is the first time I used the editing tools on my tablet to change the colours on a piece of my own work. And, I must admit, I’m quite pleased with the outcome. Spooky or what ?

More Halloween Paintings

Which Way to Go ?

I must admit that I painted this sketch ‘Which Way to Go’ a couple of years ago. Initially, I had the idea when I was doing a series of ‘scary trees ‘ pictures. As you might know, I find a lot of inspiration in trees and this was a project to let my imagination run wild. But, at the time, I became engrossed in another theme and this painting didn’t quite get finished ! However, I’m going to include it as one of my Halloween pictures. And, I will get around to completing it soon. Because I rarely leave anything unfinished – that’s just the way I work.

Anubis

Finally, I’ll show you a little watercolour sketch I did when I visited the Ancient Egypt exhibition at our town museum .The exhibition was curated by Professor Joann Fletcher of York University, who actually comes from Barnsley. And there is an interesting review of the exhibition here . Well, the ceremonial mask of Anubis, the god of death with his jackal head looked threatening enough to me! So, I had to include it in my Halloween themed show of paintings.

Floating on Air – an Acrylic Painting

A peaceful scene , beautiful white flower-like shapes floating on air in a warm, pink sky.
Floating on Air

Hello everyone. I finished this acrylic painting quite recently. But I had started it a few weeks ago . And I had begun seeing pictures in my mind a little while before that. Pictures of things floating on air – first of all fluffy, cold snowflakes drifting down from a peaceful , warm sky . Then I visualized white flowers or petals slowly sinking on to a dry, dark landscape. To be honest, the inspiration for this idea was easy to see. Because every time I look out of my kitchen window, I see glorious, blooming begonia flowers in the windowbox. Actually I was inspired earlier by my flowers in another planting arrangement here – a painting in a very different mood.

Blooming Begonias

Begonias in the Windowbox

As you can see, these beautiful flowers with their delicate layers of petals are very appealing. However, when I picked up my paintbrush, I had decided on the main idea of something white , drifting down. Also, I was clear that that I wanted a subtle pink sky above a grey expanse – perhaps landscape or rolling waves ? After all, that’s the image that came to me. But, I kept seeing snowflakes or clouds, balloons or parachutes. And that’s what took me so much time to plan this painting. Well, a long time for me anyway.

The Close Ups

Floating on Air

I hope that I managed to capture the light, drifting quality of these white objects. In effect, I was thinking of all of the ideas I had at first. For example, clouds, snowflakes and petals, and so on. Although, obviously, the actual form they took was the shape of flowers.

A Flower Floating on Air

A close up of a flower with ruffled,  layered petals , floating on air.
White on White

As it happens, the actual painting of the white flower shape was quite difficult. In order to give it some idea of form, I had to introduce other colours to suggest the layers of ‘ petals ‘. Hopefully, you can see this in the detail above. Well, I tried ! But , I don’t think this particular inspiration has finished with me yet. And, I might have to work with it again !

New Paintings for our Exhibition

A bright, colourful abstract composition in orange and blue. One of the new paintings for our exhibition
Sunshiny Day

Last Friday I went to look around our gallery in the Ridings Shopping Centre in Wakefield. Perhaps you may remember that I am a member of an artists group called Northern Fringe Artists. And we have a lovely gallery in a shop unit there. So I took some new paintings for our exhibition. Obviously, we like to change things around so that visitors have something fresh to look at. Actually, I’m quite fond of this painting – Sunshiny Day . In fact, I painted it quite simply to cheer myself up last year . Because we were in the middle of a dark , damp winter and I was longing for some sunshine! Incidentally, I borrowed the title from the lyrics of a song by Bill Withers ‘ Lovely Day ‘, an old favourite of mine.

Elephant Festival

Another One of the New Paintings for Our Exhibition

To be honest, this was great fun to do. In my opinion, elephants are fascinating animals to paint. I could really go to town on the pinkish tinge of the skin on the elephant’s face and ears. Actually , I’ve done another sketch of a model of an elephant in battle armour . It’s somewhere about -I’ll find it and show you soon. As I recall, I was at the Leeds Armouries Museum, back in January, with Urban Sketchers Yorkshire. Do you remember those days when being out with a group of friends was a pleasant, stress-free experience?

The Apple and Pear Harvest

A semi abstract scene showing apples rolling on the grass under the tree - green and red.
Apples Falling

When Inspiration Strikes

As you can probably see, I used this painting for one of the online posters I made for my solo exhibition. Have a look at this post here to see the other paintings on show in January this year. However, this painting does have a nice back story. Well, we went to Cannon Hall Museum, Park and Gardens last year to join in the celebrations on Pear Day. There are lots of heritage varieties of pear trees in the Walled Garden there. And, it’s usually quite a jolly day. As usual, I took my sketchbook with me. And , in spite of all the luscious pears on display, a box of apples, spilling out over the grass caught my eye. A couple of watercolour sketches and a few photos later, I went home and started painting an acrylic painting of the scene. You see, when inspiration strikes, you’ve just got to go with the flow!

Playing with Gouache Paint

Bathing in the River – Early Morning – reference photo by Frank Holleman from Unsplash

Hello everyone. I thought you might be interested to know what else I have painted while playing with gouache paint. First of all, I tried using a better quality watercolour paper. Because I wasn’t really satisfied with the mixed media paper I used for this painting here of a woman, carrying water home . To be honest, I put so many light washes on places that I rubbed the surface off ! So, I experimented on a small piece of smooth watercolour paper in this painting below.

Playing with Gouache Paint on Smooth Paper

A colourful abstract in gouache applied with watercolour techniques.
Abstract Gouache Experiment

As you can see, I put several washes on some areas to darken and strengthen them. And, the paper would easily take three or four. Also, I tried to apply dark colours over light too and that was quite successful. I must admit , I might use this as an idea for a larger, acrylic painting. And, people seemed to like it on my Instagram account here . So, next I used good watercolour paper for this painting of a figure bathing in the river. Actually, this was done for the India theme we are following in the Beginner Gouache group I belong to.

Gouache Experiment for India Theme

More Experiments – Acrylic Style

I was quite pleased with this painting and I enjoyed trying to show the early morning light on the water. In fact, I think it might be the Ganges river but I’m not sure. Anyway, I’m not really a watercolourist, so my next painting is different. And, this time, I’m using the gouache paint more as I would use acrylic paint . Obviously, gouache paint is very versatile. And, I am much more in my comfort zone when putting on thicker layers of paint ! Of course, I’ll show you the picture when it’s finished . So, that’s all for now.

From Sketch to Acrylic Painting

Scarlet Flowers

Well, here it is, as promised . A step by step demonstration of the runner bean plant in my allotment – from sketch to acrylic painting! To be honest, it really seems a long time ago now when the growth was at its height. Of course, I’m talking about August, when I did this quick, plein air sketch.

The Working Sketch

The Working Sketch of Runner Beans

As you can see, (if it’s not too faint) I wrote myself a few notes about colours. Actually, I often do this, if I plan to paint the scene later. But, on this occasion, I did find another few minutes later that day to add watercolour to the sketch . Although I took a few photos as well, a colour sketch at the scene is much more helpful.

From sketch to acrylic painting.  This is the working sketch in pencil with added watercolour.
The Runner Bean Plant in Colour

So far, so good. Perhaps you may have seen these sketches in a post I wrote a few weeks ago. And, I drew our cabbage and sprout plants too here . Really, I find my garden very inspiring. But, I’m often far too busy working on the plants to do much artwork. But, when I got home, I drafted this painting in acrylic in a couple of sessions.

From Sketch to Acrylic Painting – the First Draft

The Runner Bean Painting – First Draft

At last, some time to paint! In fact, I had already done a lot of the editing and designing of the composition in the working sketch. To explain, I had to decide which of the shapes of leaves and so on I wanted to include in the final version. Because the design would have looked too busy if I had included them all. Also, I tried to give the arrangement of the stems, beans and flowers some movement across the page. After all, this would give a more pleasing picture. Well, that’s the theory, anyway!

The Final Version

From sketch to acrylic painting  - the finished version.  A runner bean plant climbing up a cane support .
The Runner Bean Plant – Acrylic Painting

Well, this is the version I decided on. First of all, I painted in too much detail in the background. So , all that had to be calmed down so it did not take attention away from the plant . Then, I made some decisions about the different shades of green and tried to be more consistent with them. Finally, I made sure that the focal point – the scarlet flowers – were as red as I could paint them . So , I really hope you like my painting! By the way, we ate the last helping of runner beans last night at dinner. So, all the work is really worthwhile!

All my work is for sale at reasonable prices. This painting is acrylic on paper, 16 by 20 inches. Unframed and without a mount. Price – £ 60 plus shipping. I’m based in the UK . You can pay by PayPal. Just go to the Contact Me page and send me an email

In the Churchyard

A pen and watercolour sketch showing gravestones in the churchyard.
The Churchyard at Old Holy Trinity in Wentworth

At last ! I managed to get out on a sketch crawl with some art buddies . In effect , we hadn’t seen each other since March . Because , naturally , our indoor sketch group had been closed down back at the beginning of Lockdown . So we sat in the churchyard on our own garden chairs , properly distanced , of course . It was bliss to sit together and to just sketch the surroundings . Honestly , I don’t know why it’s more enjoyable to sketch in a group. But it really is . Possibly because you can inspire each other to greater efforts. And , as you might imagine , some people have more confidence when they are not alone . Finally, there is the pleasure of looking at each others work , at the end of the session.

In the Churchyard at the Old Holy Trinity Church at Wentworth village , South Yorkshire

A sunlit photo of the ruined building and the gravestones in the churchyard.
In the Churchyard

Well , you can see how beautiful the church is , with the glow of the mellowed sandstone in the sunshine But we were sitting in the churchyard a bit further back , looking out through the trees in the green shade .

The Marble Tomb .

Unfortunately , the church was closed when we were there last week . But , I have been inside and it is very impressive, in a quiet , atmospheric way . Anyway, this is the tomb of two members of the Wentworth family which is inside the old church. Obviously , a very important local family- the family that the village is named after .You can find out more about the church here

Another Wentworth Tomb

Rest in Peace

You can find this tomb sculpture in another , beautiful local church – All Saints at Silkstone village , a few miles away . This couple are Sir Thomas Wentworth and his wife .In order to complete this acrylic painting, I sketched this sculpture in the church first when on a sketchcrawl with some art buddies. And then I used some of my own photos as well for reference when I was painting this acrylic back home . After that , I did a watercolour sketch too , whilst sitting outside , in the churchyard. So , as you can see , I really do find these places very inspiring , especially when in good company ! This painting was on display in my first solo exhibition, back in January – see here . If you look closely , you can see Mike , the curator at Skelmanthorpe Gallery, hanging this picture on the wall !

Online Exhibitions in August 2020

A watercolour sketch of the impressive Piece Hall in one of my online exhibitions.  The golden sandstone glows on a sunny day .
The Piece Hall at Halifax

The lovely people at the Skelmanthorpe Community Library Gallery have given me the opportunity to display my work on their Facebook page here . I’m the featured artist for a fortnight with one of my online exhibitions ! They are doing their very best to support and showcase local artists during the pandemic . I’m sure that as soon as it is safe , the gallery will be open again. Until then , we can enjoy taking part and also looking at other artists’ work in this way .

The Piece Hall – in my online exhibition

A detail from The Piece Hall watercolour sketch

The Piece Hall is a very famous site in Halifax, West Yorkshire. It is a Grade 1 listed building . It was the place where handloom weavers sold their pieces of woollen cloth in the 18th Century. As you can see , the building itself is very beautiful . So I couldn’t resist standing on the first floor balcony and doing a small watercolour sketch . Afterwards , at home I used the sketch as a reference along with a couple of postcards to create this larger piece . But , I worked fairly quickly and tried to keep the plein air feeling .

A Reworking of an Old Acrylic Painting – now in one of my online exhibitions

Coffee and Cake

Perhaps you have seen this acrylic painting in one of my blog posts . Or , if not , you might want to go and have a look at the story behind the picture here.

A Spring Painting in one of my Online Exhibitions

An early Spring painting  , showing a walker admiring snowdrops in a picturesque park . On show in one of my online exhibitions
Snowdrops

I painted this acrylic painting just after Christmas, earlier this year for the Springtime in Yorkshire exhibition at Skelmanthorpe Gallery . But of course , as it was due to open in March it was cancelled due to the pandemic . So , it was a great chance to show the picture in my featured fortnight on the Village Art Facebook page in one of my online exhibitions. It shows a figure ( my husband actually ) on a cold day in February, admiring the Snowdrops in the big rockery at Wentworth Castle Gardens . This is a beautiful place where we quite often like to walk.

Art for Sale

All of these paintings, along with eleven more , are available to see on the display on Village Art Facebook page and to buy . If you see anything you like , send me an email , using the form on the Contact Me page

The Lockdown Art Exhibition

Family

And , finally , I was so pleased to be included in this Fronteerlockdown art exhibition on Instagram. This is my intuitive abstract and I’ve called it ‘Family’. You see , Fronteer are a husband and wife team who promote the arts in Sheffield see here. You certainly ought to look up the whole exhibition on Instagram if you can . It’s top class and , if I’m lucky , I might be included in the real life show selection as soon as it can be staged in their Gallery. I’m keeping my fingers crossed ! That’s all the news on my online exhibitions for now , but , I’ll keep you posted !

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

An Old Acrylic Painting Repainted

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 . I say that because it definitely would fit the theme of loneliness and isolation . In fact , I have painted a few with similar themes recently . Perhaps I’ll gather them together into a post one day soon . Anyway , I did this as part of a series last year on the problems of modern life as a woman ( but that’s another story ). And , what I really wanted to talk about was the way this came about . It is an old acrylic painting repainted !

Old Acrylic Painting – Pink and Green Abstract

An old acrylic painting . an abstract composition in pink and green
Pink and Green Abstract

This is how it began ! In fact , this old acrylic painting was 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 , I can achieve this much more easily with acrylic paint than with watercolour or mixed media . Because 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 definitely seemed to fit my theme .

A woman wistfully looking out of the window . Semi abstract style , repainted over an old acrylic painting .
Woman at the Window

I hope you enjoyed reading about how I used one canvas to create another by repurposing an old acrylic painting . It was an interesting experiment . If you did find it interesting , 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 .

Art for Sale – Coffee and Cake

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 to you at a reduced price – art for sale ! You see , I have done quite a lot of artwork over the years . And , as a result , there are paintings everywhere in the house , just waiting for a new home to go to !

Anyway , 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 . My camera didn’t pick up the vibrancy and richness of the colours, I’m afraid .

I painted it last summer when I was exploring the technique of painting over an existing finished painting . I created a semi-abstract composition using the same colour palette and atmosphere, if you like .Unfortunately , I didn’t keep a record of the original acrylic painting in this case ( see another example of this technique here )

As you can see , I was very interested in all the wooden objects in the cafe . For example , 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

David Hockney’s Gallery – 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 . In fact , there’s even some marker and pencil in there – although the pencil might be a mistake as it is too shiny. I wonder , do you happen to know how how to apply a few sharp , precise marks over mixed media layers without using pencil ? Because I’d love to know . Anyway, I don’t really know what I’ve painted here . It was quite instinctive really . 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 which I bought at David Hockney’s Gallery on a trip to Saltaire ( more of that later ) .

The toned paper in this case is a rather nice brown paper. You see , 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.

Sketching on Brown Toned Paper – the Hockney Gallery Connection

Pencil drawings on  brown  paper.  Patterns observed on objects in David Hockney's Gallery in Saltaire
Patterns seen at the Museum

Now for the interesting par – I bought this sketchpad at David Hockney’s gallery at Saltaire . At the time , I was taking part in an Urban Sketchers crawl back in February. Maybe you remember my post all about it . Anyway , we spent the morning in a small brewery/pub and I sketched the brewing equipment in mixed media . As you can see , I used pen , pencil and watercolour . See my blog post here

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

To be honest , it was great fun – perhaps one day soon Urbansketchers Yorkshire will be able to meet up again .

David Hockney’s Gallery at the Saltaire World Heritage Site, Shipley , near Bradford , UK

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

Salt’s Mill is actually a complex of woollen mill buildings established by Titus Salt . Also , he built the model village alongside it in the 1850’s . In effect , the village included neat, tidy terraced cottages , a church and a Sunday school . And then there were allotments , a school , a park and much more alongside the river Aire . Really , 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 . Do you know, David Hockney was born and brought up in Bradford , just down the road from Saltaire .The downstairs floor is also where you can find the art shop where I bought the toned paper sketchpad . And , upstairs there’s a museum room about the history of the factory . But the star of the show is the David Hockney Gallery. In fact , it now displays some recent work from the Spring exhibition of locations in East Yorkshire . This , of course , is where the artist used to live . Enough said , just have a look at the fabulous pictures !

The Coming of Spring in Yorkshire – 2011 in David Hockney’s Gallery

A beautiful Ipad drawing of a wild flower meadow from David Hockney's Gallery
By David Hockney
By David Hockney
A painting of East Yorkshire in Springtime showing a leafless old tree and a tree in May blossom from David Hockney's Gallery
By David Hockney
By David Hockney

Our First Visit

The first time we visited the gallery was thirty years ago . And we were lucky enough to see the large drawing that David was sending by fax across from California ! The drawing was arriving piece by piece. Then the very large drawing was re-assembled from pieces of copy paper and displayed on the wall . This was revolutionary at the time . I love the way this artist 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 .And I called this one ‘Paradise ‘ . I think I must have imagined a tropical scene or a scene in a jungle . 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 that I was going to make this this acrylic abstract composition semi-abstracted not purely abstract . But that’s ok. To be honest , I often find that my paintings decide what they want to be . And , sometimes without a lot of input from me ! I even turned this one upside down several times to paint it and the motifs still appeared ! I wonder if you can see any signs of life in this jungle ( as well as the luxuriant foliage , that is ) ?

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 here 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 piece , a mixed media abstract, 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 rule .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. For example, watercolour , acrylic , collage , pen , pencil , oil pastel .

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

Mixed Media 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 acrylic painting on canvas from a few weeks ago on a 2 foot square canvas . Actually , this 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 . But , that came after the initial free expressive part of the painting . Of course , some semi-abstracted shapes crept in , but that was ok . Mainly 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 ‘ . This is 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 , I called the piece ‘Hell on Earth ‘ the second of three paintings on canvas . It’s 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 Abstracts here

How to Paint an Acrylic Abstract

Acrylic Abstract Painting – Step by Step

Acrylic abstract painting with 
swirling shapes in red , orange and purple with touches of black and white
Red , Orange and Purple Composition

This is my latest acrylic abstract painting. So I thought that I would explain a little bit about how I created this. In effect , how to paint an acrylic abstract ! Firstly, I followed a suggestion online to play with these three colours plus black and white and , literally , just see what happened. I did find this brief quite inspiring – choosing the colours had already been done for me . So if I could ‘ let go ‘ , I thought it might be relaxing. As opposed to the hard thinking and research that goes into , for example , one of my Story Pictures.

A tribute to Hokusai's Great Wave set on a local reservoir in a traditional landscape painting
Great Wave on Worsbrough Reservoir

Anyway, I usually work in this ‘ portrait ‘ format and I didn’t realise how used I was to creating a rectangular composition until a friend of mine gave me some lovely square canvases. So , that was a challenge I set myself and this was the first version.

Step by Step

First version of Red , Orange and Purple,  with lots of white , showing the artistic process
Version Number One

I was pleased with the movement but I realised that the ‘white ‘ shapes were not working so – on to the next version.

A very busy,  complicated development of this restricted palette acrylic abstract 
I
Version 2

So next day, I worked on the painting some more and took away a lot of the white. But meanwhile , I had been far too busy and I had added so many ‘ interesting ‘ little sections . Really, they were cute in their own way , but all together , it was too much and just confused the eye. So, they had to go – it was quite a painful experience to paint them out . In fact, I think this is why some artists find it difficult to judge when an abstract is finished . I certainly do . What do you think ? Is it finished ?

A red, blue and purple painting hung on the garden wall - how to paint an acrylic abstract.
On the Wall

Well , that way of creating an intuitive abstract seems to me completely different to the way I put this next one together

Shocking Pink spiral shape on a royal blue background with accents of  bright green
The Spiral

Believe it or not , this composition came to me as a finished design in my imagination. Actually, this hardly ever happens for me . So it was just a question of trying to put it down on paper ( or canvas in this case )

Well, that’s enough waffling from me. I hope that I have shed a bit of light on how to paint an acrylic abstract . If you want to see more of my abstract paintings , have a look in my gallery here . And , don’t forget , all of my work is for sale at reasonable prices.

How do you paint your abstracts ?

Mythical Creatures – including Dragons !

Dragons , Monsters and Angels – a Ceramics Exhibition Review

William de Morgan plate in blue and white with Medieval dragon motif , one of the mythical creatures at Cannon  Hall
De Morgan dragon plate

We went a couple of times to our local stately home Cannon Hall quite recently to look at the “Mythical Creatures” display, taken from their famous ceramics collection.

The Blue Vase with Green Dragon
The Red Dragon

The Dragons – Mythical Creatures at Cannon Hall

It was really very impressive. And I felt quite inspired by the fascinating dragon vase and the plate upstairs in the gallery. In fact , they were produced by the famous Victorian designer William de Morgan . He married Evelyn , whose family lived in Cannon Hall. ( She was , of course a famous artist in her own right ). Actually , this particularly caught my eye as it was a medieval depiction of a dragon . As you can see , it looks like a huge worm or serpent, with no wings. So I painted my own version, first in watercolour [ see above] and then acrylic.

Acrylic painting of a green dragon with no wings surrounded by flames , in a mountain landscape one of the Mythical creatures at Cannon Hall
The Green Dragon

I modelled my acrylic painting on this style of imaginary beast – it still took me a while to figure out how to make the body look realistic without the wings.

Some Other Mythical Creatures

Pencil drawing of the head and shoulders of a ceramic statuette of the  Greek God Pan
Pan , the Greek God

I had a great time sketching the ceramic bust of the Greek god Pan that was also displayed upstairs .Surprisingly ,the porcelain piece was so delicately coloured that the flesh was quite convincing and realistic ! In fact , I really enjoyed the challenge of drawing his crown of leaves, pointed ears and horns too.

Greek style  plate in orange and black with angels - one of the photos in my exhibition review.
Greek style plate with angels
Black and orange bowl with sphinx motif
Sphinx Bowl

Back downstairs, you could see all the mythical creatures you could think of . And a few you never would have thought of . So , there were fairies, gods, dragons, angels, unicorns, sphinxes and other strange hybrids of human and animal origin. To be honest, I was even inspired to paint my own angel this Christmas. To see more angels, look at my December post ‘ Christmas Paintings in Acrylic on Canvas ‘ here

A watercolour sketch  of an angel with golden wings , inspired by the images of mythical creatures in the ceramic collection.
An Angel for Christmas
Salt Cellar

This is a real treasure house of plates, sculpture, vases and tableware. So I’m looking forward to the next display that the curators will, no doubt, put together.

A beautifully illustrated page from an old journal with illustrations of mythical creatures
Imaginary Beasts at Cannon Hall

Finally , the image above is from a sketchbook kept by one of the residents of Cannon Hall , in the past. As you can tell , the beautiful detail on these imaginary beasts is quite exceptional.

To sum up , there was loads of inspiration for creative work, if only I had the time ! I hope you enjoyed my little exhibition review .

Colourful Painting – Sunshiny Days

A Colourful Painting of a Mediterranean Coastal Scene in Watercolour

Colourful painting in watercolour of a harbour and a castle on the  Mediterranean coast .
The Med

This is my latest – a fairly quick watercolour sketch of a harbour scene. Because I was so fed up of all the dark , damp days we were having , I chose something light and sunny to paint. And it really worked ! My mood lifted straight away and , as an added bonus, everyone else who looked at it cheered up too . I really enjoy creating a colourful painting . I don’t know about you , but what I work on always affects my emotions. Art Therapy, anyone ?

An orange and blue abstract composition.
Sunshiny Day

Now , this acrylic painting is another example of my colourful painting that I did to brighten up dark November days . But this was put together in a completely different way from the harbour scene which is carefully detailed . To be honest , Sunshiny Day was painted quite instinctively . And I really had no idea before I started whet it would turn out to be . And it evolved gradually. It was a surprise to me , but I liked it ! I must say , I don’t often produce work this way – but I feel a series coming on. Are there any more Abstract Expressionists out there? ( I added the words afterwards to make it into a poster for my current exhibition – see previous post for details )

You can find this abstract painting with a few more in my Gallery Abstracts here