Experiments in Gouache

An abstract in  bright jewel like colours divided by a diagonal line. One of my Experiments in gouache.
On Either Side of the Divide

This is the very first of my experiments in gouache paint. Because, as you might know, I paint mostly in acrylic and also sometimes in watercolour and mixed media. Anyway, I picked up a couple of very cheap starter sets of gouache paints. Actually, as far as I can tell, the paint is watercolour as a base and then body colour is added. Hopefully, I’ve got that right – I’m no expert! In fact, the combination of the two elements makes the paint opaque instead of translucent. And then, obviously, it doesn’t behave on the paper exactly like watercolour. As you might be able to see, I tried to apply it as acrylic on this painting. But , it isn’t acrylic either, so I couldn’t layer it on thickly as I tried to do. I’m not sure where this leaves me, which is why I am calling these paintings experiments in gouache!

More Experiments in Gouache

Fetching Water – reference photo by Ibrahim Rifath in Unsplash

This is a little painting I did on unsuitable paper in my art journal for a great new group I have joined. Well, it’s called ‘Beginner Gouache’ and it’s on a new media platform MeWe – new to me , anyway. To be honest, I like it because we can pass on useful tips to each other about the painting process . Also, because it’s a lovely group, we can encourage and support each other at the same time. However, to get back to the unsuitable paper, it’s mixed media paper in my art journal. And it does a pretty good job of handling most of what I throw at it – see this post here . But very wet gouache paint is a step too far for it, as I have found out in my experiments in gouache. And, if you want to watch a good tutorial on using gouache, click here . As you will see, the medium is very versatile ( and the artist Shari Blaukopf is very good too! )

Another Abstract in Gouache

Doodle Abstract

I really enjoyed working on this. Actually , I was reading a good book on abstract composition which reminded me about the ‘ doodle and fill it in’ approach. But the book also taught me about the importance of colour balance in abstracts. And I tried to put it into practice in this painting. To sum up, I really like using gouache. However, I do consider myself to be a beginner. And I’ll probably show you a few more of my experiments as I go along!

Sculpture in the Open Air

This is just a short post today . And , I’d like to tell you a little bit about the fantastic huge sculpture of a cockerel at Yorkshire Sculpture Park , sculpture in the open air.

The glorious , huge sculpture of a rooster at Yorkshire Sculpture Park, sculpture in the open air.
‘Pop Galo ‘ ( Pop Rooster ) at Yorkshire Sculpture Park

This beautiful monumental installation is part of the exhibition by renowned Portuguese artist Joana Vasconcelos . It’s covered in brightly coloured ceramic tiles and it is a symbol of Portugal . As far as I could see, it brought a smile to the face of everyone who looked at it. And that includes me ! And , best of all , it’s sculpture in the open air.

Social Distancing

Do you know , it was absolutely wonderful to go out and see some art . Although we had to pre-book our tickets , it was quite easy to do on-line. Of course , we wore our masks when inside the gallery spaces and the main reception area. Honestly , I think it is second nature now to manoeuvre yourself around others in public spaces. And , more importantly , most people are quite polite. In short , I think it is a small price to pay in order to have the pleasure of seeing art face-to-face.

View of the Sculpture from the Cafe Terrace

We sat on the lovely shady cafe terrace with coffee and cake . And it was very pleasant to sit under the trees and look out over the parkland at the monumental installation . Then I took out my sketchbook and watercolours to do a twenty minute sketch. So , if you look closely, you can see a figure . I think he is trying to get a good photo on his phone . Anyway , it gives an idea of the scale of the piece . Just watch out for a post with more detail on this glorious sculpture in the open air . ( See more of my bird art here )

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

Under the Sea – Watercolour and Collage

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

I started this week’s art journal mixed media piece with no particular subject in mind , except that I wanted to create something light and colourful. Then , without planning it , I sketched out the under the sea scene in watercolour and afterwards added collage. The corals and plants are in fact drawn from my imagination . It was done quite quickly and then I thought about how to make the fish really stand out from the background . So I decided that collaged paper could be the answer . I have seen so many great ideas on line about creating your own collage papers . So l took a sheet of cartridge paper and scribbled some black lines with a marker pen . Then I used a simple template for the cut out fish and arranged them in a pleasing shape . And I have some collage paper leftover for another project !

A detail  of the under the sea painting,  showing the black  and white fish swimming by a pink , fan shaped  coral.
A School of Fish

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

A bonus picture – Sunflowers

Two sunflower heads in watercolour- yellow and green
Supermarket Sunflowers

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

Mixed Media – Raindrops and Hailstones

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

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

Watercolour, pencil and coloured pencil – mixed media

Hailstones – an abstract interpretation

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

Raindrops and Hailstones – in mixed media

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

Did you know ?

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

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

Painting in Red – Three Abstracts

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

This time , I’d like to show you three new abstracts where I was painting in red plus a couple of other colours.

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

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

Painting in Red and Blue – Mixed Media on Paper

Sinking

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

Painting in Red and Purple

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

Hell on Earth

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

More Blog Posts

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

Mixed Media Pigeon – Now Finished

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

Bird in Lockdown – Update

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

As I promised ,here is the finished version of the mixed media pigeon . I first drew this in pen . Then I added thin watercolour washes , and next I strengthened the colours with more washes . And , finally , I added detail with coloured pencils .

Mixed Media Pigeon Spots Something with her Beady Eye !

She’s Spotted Something

As you can see , I like leaving all the construction lines in . To tell you the truth , I actually started this piece off as a doodle , so there are plenty of lines . And then I decided what the drawing should be ! ( see more bird art in this post here )

A close up of Mixed Media Pigeon , showing detail of feathers and grasses .
Feathers and Foliage

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

I sell all the art on my website at reasonable prices . For example, this mixed media piece is 9 by 9 inches square in watercolour , pen and coloured pencil on paper and it’s priced at £25 including shipping in the UK .So , it’s Affordable Art – if you want to treat yourself !

Bird Art in Lockdown

Bird Art in Lockdown 2020

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

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

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

An art journal page painted in Lockdown 2020

A row of seagulls on the sea wall - bird art in acrylic.
Birdman – art in Lockdown 2020

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

Seagulls

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

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

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

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

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

Bird Art Carved in Wood

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

Loose Watercolour Style for Flowers

Flowers in Watercolour

Flowers in Watercolour

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

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

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

Watercolour Detail 1

As you can see , there’s Sweet Williams , euphorbia and verbena in there . And also a ferny sort of plant with delicate heads of pale yellow flowers . But I’m not sure I know what it’s called . It probably planted itself !

Watercolour Detail 2

At least now I have more time to paint when I feel inspired – instead of putting it on a to-do list ! See more flowers in my gallery .

Loose Watercolour Style

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

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

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

Colourful Flowers in Mixed Media

Flowers in Watercolour

Colourful Flowers in Watercolour and Collage

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

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

You’ll find more paintings of flowers in my Gallery ( Still Life and Flowers) here

Lockdown Art – Art Journal Page

Watercolour and Mixed Media Painting of a Bird in Flight

A heron flying over a collaged background  - one of my favourite  art journals pages
Free as a Bird

Lockdown Art Anyone ?

I started off this watercolour sketch as a response to a challenge for an art group I belong to. And , it was called ‘ Bird in Flight ‘ . Then I changed it into an art journal page , expressing some of my feelings about being in lockdown . Well, in this mixed media piece I used pen , pencil , collage, watercolour and oil pastel. To be honest , I always knew art was my therapy ! Does anyone else feel as strongly as I do about benefiting so much from creating art when times are hard ? For me , artwork that I have done in this time of social distancing has been a great help in the last few weeks . See more watercolour and collage work here in my post about life under the sea .