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!

A Walk in the Quarry Garden

A Walk in the Quarry Garden

Good morning everyone. A couple of days ago we went for a walk in Brodsworth Hall gardens. They have evolved over the years, being brought gradually back to their Victorian splendour. And I particularly love this section, the quarry garden. The day was quite cold and the gardeners had been busy planting winter bedding which looked very healthy. I have painted just here a few times en plein air. But quick watercolour sketches don’t seem to be enough, so, on this occasion I took a few photos. Then I invented a scene and painted it in gouache at home, a small work only 8 by 11 inches.

The Quarry Face and a Mighty Yew Tree

Some More Christmassy Paintings

Stained Glass Window

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

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

Christmas Angel

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

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

Sketching at the Tutankhamun Exhibition

Nefertiti

Good morning everyone. On Saturday I went with Urban Sketchers Yorkshire to the Tutankhamun exhibition in Experience Barnsley Museum. And I sketched this bust of Nefertiti, who was his father’s chief wife. Actually, this is not the original – it’s a very good replica. But there were lots of original artefacts, arranged in sections telling the life of the pharaoh. For example, the food he ate, members of his family, education and so on. Although the Tutankamun exhibition was small, it was quite fascinating.

A small figurine found in a tomb

After some time sketching, we then went down to the bustling town centre. In fact there was so much to observe and sketch – market stalls, a brass band playing. And then we ended up at the food court in the covered market for refreshments. Happily, from our table there was a delightful bird’s eye view of the main street below.

Looking Down on Cheapside

This was a very quick sketch in pen and watercolour. And I did it on the table, between pie and peas and cups of hot coffee! And the Tutankamun exhibition was a lovely bonus. Another lovely day with my sketching buddies. By the way, I have missed out all the difficult bits, like all the people! If you want to see what else we sketch, see this post here .

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

Not Much Time for Painting

Australian Landscape – unfinished

Good morning everyone. Well, the title says it all – I’ve not much time for painting at the moment. So I’ll just show you my works in progress. For example, I’ve spent about an hour and a quarter so far on this Australian landscape. Perhaps another 30 minutes will complete it and it’s 7by 9 inches, gouache on paper. Note to self: I must dull down the colours a bit more!

Scribbly Drawing – unfinished

Please don’t laugh (yet!) This was done very quickly at a charcoal drawing workshop. And I’ll tell you all about it later, in my next post. Oh, by the way, this was drawn in very low light, in order to cast strong shadows on the face. So, that’s another excuse! Anyway, I’ll show you both of these when they are finished.

Painting a Colourful Abstract Together

Colourful Abstract 1

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

Working Together

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

My Covid Story at Urban Commune

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

On the Path

Workshop at Left Bank Leeds

In the Old Church

Good morning everyone. I had a great day sketching on Saturday at Left Bank Leeds. And we worked with a super artist, Paul Digby, who first showed us some inspiring drawings by Piranese and Seurat. Also, Hopper, Jenny Saville and Barbara Walker. Actually, he used these examples to illustrate some of the things to keep in mind when drawing. For instance, perspective, tone, atmosphere and simplicity of line. Next Paul demonstrated different ways of deepening tone with graphite. Then he taught us some simple rules of perspective. All in all, a very interesting and useful session. Then we were encouraged to find a corner of this impressive Edwardian former church and draw. In fact, it is now a very welcoming arts and community hub, the Left Bank Leeds. (Sorry about the quality of this photo, no natural light, just a desk lamp!)

A finished version

This is the finished version (just completed) and I deepened the darker tones, as Paul advised. And I think it looks more three dimensional now. As you may know, I don’t usually spend this much time on a drawing. Because my work with urban Sketchers is of necessity short, usually 20 minute sketches,completed on the spot. So, this was something new for me and very good practice. If you want to see an example of creating tones in black and white paint, see this post here.

Beautiful Sunset in the snow

The End of a Winter’s Day

Good morning everyone. This is my latest little gouache landscape, and, I feel cold just looking at it! Actually, I’m quite pleased with this one because the original free reference photo showed an overcast day. But I wanted to paint a beautiful sunset, and this is the result. In fact, that’s the first time I have changed the weather and time of day so completely. Anyway, I improvised ok for the sky, but I overdid the bright reflections on the water at first. However, gouache paint will help you to correct mistakes, but you only get one attempt! After that, it’s all downhill! At any rate, that’s how it seems to me!

Well, as I painted I thought about this beautiful sunset as a possible for next year’s Christmas card, what do you think? I find it less stressful to design a card and enjoy painting something seasonal. And then, use one I did the previous year for cards – it’s nice stress free method.

On a very different note, last night I went sketching with my Rotherham Roar artists group. And we went to an old pub, a listed building with tiles and stained glass panels. Also ornate glass lampshades and an open fire. So, we sat together quite contentedly and sketched each other sketching. Plus, any unsuspecting customers who kept still enough! To be honest, I am a bit out of practice in figure drawing, but it was all good fun.

Ken
A Customer in the Cutler’s Arms

Incidentally, did you spot the name on the window? If you want to see more quick, figure sketches, see here.

Painting with Pen and Wash

First Snow

Good morning everyone. I painted this scene in a pen and wash workshop last week. And we invited Gary, one of our favourite tutors, to art society to work with us. Also to show us some pen and watercolour techniques. Actually, it was a very enjoyable evening and everyone was pleased with their own version of this snow scene. After a quick pencil sketch of the main shapes, we tried to ink the lines in, using sketchy, gestural marks. Then, for me, the difficult part, using two colours only and being very restrained with the paint brush! Honestly, I was dying to pile on more and more texture and detail. But, I’m really glad I followed Gary’s instructions.

And, I took away from this workshop the idea that sometimes less is definitely more! However, as our tutor explained, this is really a basic scene – you can add more style to your liking. Preferably after learning the method. By the way, we also added more pen marks at this point if we felt we needed them. Plus a few dabs of white gouache for snow on the trees.

The Cottage

Perhaps you might be interested to see this pen and wash painting I did a few years ago. In fact, I did this after another of Gary’s workshops on pen and wash, I felt so inspired that I painted a few more. Incidentally, in this picture, the pencil sketch and watercolour come first. Then detail is added later in pen, again trying not to overdo things. And, here is a post showing how I use this technique when I’m painting in plein air.

Beautiful Dales Landscape in Gouache

A Sunny Day in the Dales

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

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

Pinks and Blues in Oil Pastel

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

Exhibition Launch at Rotherham Market

Swaledale Barn

Good morning everyone. We had our exhibition launch on Saturday morning and there was work by thirteen artists on display. And this was the first time Rotherham Roar had a group show in a long while. Well, we had a great party, had coffee and donuts too! Happily, I met up with old friends and made some new ones.

The Exhibition Launch Poster
The Artists

And this all took place in a unit at Rotherham market. In fact, it was an interesting mix of paintings in watercolour, gouache, acrylic and oil. Also, there were prints, textile art, digital prints, ceramics and sculptures. Really, something for everyone!

Art in the Market

Actually, I entered three gouache paintings into the show, the one at the top of the post ‘Swaledale Barn’ and these two as well.

A Castle in Portugal
A Walk in Spring

To be honest, it’s also quite a while since I went to a meeting where we could chat and relax. (See this post here for a report of my own solo show in our HQ gallery a while ago) And, more importantly, share ideas, plan projects and show our work to fellow artists. So, I came home with my head full of ideas, plans and a lovely feeling of encouragement. My idea of heaven!

Me at the Exhibition Launch

This Week’s Art Therapy Paintings

Cells

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

Halloween Date Night

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

Sketching in the Industrial Museum

The Chimney House

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

Making Files

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

Machinery

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

Progress of Mankind – New Show

The Progress of Mankind

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

Paradise

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

Hell on Earth

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

Flying Away in my New Show

Free Spirit

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

The Light at the End of the Tunnel

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

Connections

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

Looking at Free Spirit

Painting Big Pictures in Small Sketchbooks

Autumn in the Hills

Good morning everyone. Today I’d like to show you how I have been painting big pictures in small sketchbooks. Well, they are fairly small, 7 by 5 inches but the pictures I try to cram into them are definitely big! Actually, it seems to be a habit I can’t break. Whenever I pick up a small sketchbook, either sketching outside or from a photo, I paint everything! That is to say, I’m not very good at zooming in and choosing a small, neat subject.

In the Desert

However, I do prefer to finish the painting in one session en plein air, or quite quickly if I’m at home. Of course, this is do-able with a little piece of paper. And it’s also less daunting if I’m short of time and feel a desperate need to create! If you want to see another dryland painting, see here.

Anyway, I have upgraded my watercolour paper now. In addition, I have learned to keep my paints more moist. So, now I’ll turn my attention to my worn out, scrubby brushes. Then, I’ll not be able to blame my tools any more!

A Small Folding Sketchbook

Finally, this is one of two folding sketchbooks that my friend gave me (the other one is even tinier!). So, now I will be able to do more painting big pictures in small sketchbooks!

I do paint bigger pictures too, and they are all for sale! See more landscapes in my gallery here. And email me for more details.

Drylands

Not Inktober – My Small Sketches

On the Table

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

Perplexed
Headache

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

Travelling
Machinery

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

The Beautiful Colours of Autumn

Leaves Falling

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

Autumn Garden

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

A New Autumn Picture

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

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!