Bad Planning and Good Planning

Peace

Good morning everyone. Today I wanted to show you this abstract design, which required quite a lot of planning. Obviously, it’s just a modest little watercolour abstract painting, but, first I had to think hard about the background. You see, I kept the colours soft so there is not too much eye catching contrast. At the same time, I introduced a subtle sense of movement with the white paint. Honestly, I really had to restrain myself from adding loads of busyness all over the place! Anyway, I achieved it and now I could choose a motif to put over the top. But, what to choose? Not wanting to experiment on the page, I used my I pad trick and scribbled a few ideas over the image on the screen. After a few tries, I settled on a mandala.

The I pad trick

So then I felt confident enough to paint my mandala in black paint (don’t laugh, it’s an abstract one!) Actually, I haven’t got the skill or the patience to paint a good one. However, I think it’s quite effective. And the main point of the exercise for me is to take some time and thought when planning an abstract.

Peace

Bad Planning

Sunny Morning

Next, here is a glorious example of bad planning, more like my usual style! Here’s the story, l wandered into my ‘studio’ after showering one morning. And there was the usual view over the roofs, all bathed in gentle sunshine. Well, I couldn’t resist grabbing a pad and a black marker for a quick sketch. Then I used my new oil pastel pencils for the colour which didn’t of course cover the lines. So, not the best laid plan, but a real delight to record my response then and there! To sum up, I suppose I think that there is a time for careful planning and also for spontaneous response. Maybe you missed another quick response I made to this view, in a spectacular winter sunrise last year here.

Look at my Framed Abstracts

Up

Good morning everyone. I finished this small watercolour painting yesterday and, with a bit of magic, it’s now one of my new framed abstracts. Isn’t science wonderful? Only a few minutes work, and there it is , in a frame and on the wall of a virtual room!

Up in the Dining Room

Not only does it boost my confidence to see my work displayed on the wall. But also I can then easily assess the work and make mental notes how to progress in the next one.

Perhaps you might not be aware, but I can see quite a lot of influence here from the Painting with Yvette course I am following. For example, the general movement of the colour red across the paper. Also, I have used both thin, washy paint and more thickly applied coats in this composition. In addition, I have applied patches of fine surface pattern on the top layer. Obviously, this might not be all that easy to see in these images of one of my framed abstracts. But, close up it is more effective and I learned all this from this excellent course.

In the Shadows

Finally, I couldn’t resist ‘hanging’ this little abstract on the wall. And I like the way the dark, moody colour of the background complements the mysterious feeling of the painting. In fact, when I look at it now, I think of a passage back into the light from a dark place, perhaps a cave? However, it was an intuitive composition, with no planning beforehand. If you would like to see more of my abstract work, see here.

New Pale Abstracts to See

Something Blue

Good morning everyone. As you may know if you read my blog, I am at present working my way through an excellent online course by Yvette. And I am learning how to create pale abstracts, which are completely different in style to my usual paintings. In fact, in this module we are taking the approach of first creating a background of patterns in dark paint, then applying layer after layer of colours and shapes. Have a look at this image below first to see the process half way through. Then see how it ends up in the next image.

Misty Landscape, half way through
Misty Landscape, finished

In fact, this was my first attempt and I relied quite heavily on the tutor’s version. But this next one I really consider to be my own. And I think it looks well presented in this virtual room. However, my paintings are small and the blown up images really demonstrate how effective large scale abstract paintings can be. See what you think.

Something Blue

Well, I’ve been very busy with these new pale abstracts – they do take some time to do for smallish paintings. Actually, I’m half way through the third one just now, but you’ll have to wait a bit longer to see that one! Meanwhile, here’s a link to a post showing some of my ‘old style’ abstract compositions.

My Abstracts in Virtual Rooms

Blue and Gold 2

Good morning everyone. I thought I would show you the progress I have been making in my abstracts. Actually, these examples are from a lesson I was following last week . And, Yvette’s course is excellent, so I am plodding my way steadily through all the modules.

Blue and Gold 1, inspired by Yvette St Amant

To be honest, this is a copy of the tutor’s work. Because that was the only way I could really understand the techniques used. Consequently, I don’t consider the painting as one of my own. However, it was a good learning experience – I experimented with using a palette knife properly. In addition, this was the first time I applied gold paint with some confidence. But I then needed to produce my own compositions, using the style and colours suggested. As a result, first I painted the one in the virtual room you see above. And this is more close up so that you can hopefully see the textures.

Blue and Gold 2

After that, I just had to try out the method in another painting, this time introducing some soft green. And downplaying the gold. What do you think?

Blue and Gold 3

By the way, it’s quite tricky to photo the gold paint and make it shine. Often it appears to be brown. Maybe I’m using the wrong acrylic paint! Anyway, that’s my little catch up on my abstracts and there will be more to follow. If you missed this post here, an earlier report of my new learning, you may wish to have a look.

New Watercolour Techniques in Flowers

Bright Tulips

Good morning everyone. As you may know if you read my blog, I do like to follow online art courses. And I love to work in all sorts of media, and try out new watercolour techniques. So I thought I’d show you some more updates from the Watercolours Made Simple lessons.

Well, the idea is to paint flowers in a more general way than carefully including each detail of a particular flower. Actually, this is more difficult than it sounds. Because my visual memory is not too good, I had a photograph in front of me here. However I tried to view the general shapes of the blooms of the whole bunch and sort of invent newer versions of them. Obviously, such intense scrutiny of the flowers should feed into my memory. Which will help me next time I try this exercise in painting generic flowers. But why do I need to do this, you may wonder? Because then I can concentrate on placing the individual elements in a pleasing design. Afterwards it could be used for a greetings card, for example. Or just simply for a different kind of floral painting.

Alstromerias

Now, in this attempt above, I did in fact have the flowers in front of me, which made the exercise easier. Of course, I shall need a lot more practice, but it is quite enjoyable And a pleasant way of spending time on the new watercolour techniques I’m studying. Have a look at this post here for a realistic portrait of a bunch of flowers. Finally, I’ll leave you with an example of another way of painting flowers – semi abstracting from reality.

Pansies

Another Muted Abstract in Gouache

Waves

Good morning everyone. Just a short post today, I’m very busy sorting out my new solo exhibition due to open next week. Actually, there always seems to be a lot more work to do than you plan for! Anyway I did manage to finish this muted abstract, the fourth in my series in the online course I’m following. To tell the truth, I did struggle with getting it right. But, at the same time I did seem to know a bit better where I was going!

Waves- a draft

Well, this is one of the earlier stages of the painting. Perhaps it’s not as easy for you to see these details on the screen, but I studied it long and hard. Then I toned down the little dots and dashes and brightened the white areas. Finally, I was satisfied and called it finished. Now I must learn how to use the wax medium I bought, in order to give it a protective coat. Because it’s painted in gouache and I learned the hard way that this is really necessary (don’t ask!). If you want to see the other paintings in the muted abstract series, look here and here.

Here’s a sneaky peek at my exhibition poster – more of this later!

More Abstract Experiments in Gouache

Moving On

Good morning everyone. As I promised, here is the next one of my abstract experiments in gouache. And, you wouldn’t believe how many different versions I painted until I arrived at this final one!

To begin at the beginning, our tutor asked us to sketch potential compositions using shapes. I chose rectangles and a spiral and I painted in some of the soft colours suggested. And this is how it went.

Moving On – version 1

Well, this was ok but it didn’t look all that different from my usual type of abstract. Also, I thought it looked too busy. And so I decided to make more of the painting a restful creamy white.

Moving On – version 2

Now, I thought this looked better, but it still wasn’t right. So I added some gold – this is the part I love!

Moving On – version 3

Actually, I was quite pleased with this result of my abstract experiments. However, meanwhile, I had read the next lesson in the course. And I had begun to think about areas of colour forming the composition, as well as shapes. Honestly, I put down so many layers of gouache paint that I thought it might crack. Nonetheless, I struggled on and gradually eliminated the spiral, bit by bit. Until I arrived at the final version.

The Final Version of my Abstract Experiments

Moving On – the end result

Now I’m happy! Perhaps you’ve noticed that I also rotated it to find the best view. Immediately after that, I started painting two more! Of course I will show you these later. But I must point out that the moral of this story is: don’t change direction midway into a painting! Because it costs an awful lot of paint and also, it makes your brain hurt! Ah, let’s go back to the carefree days of quick, intuitive abstract painting like this here ! Only joking, I love it really.

Two New Style Abstract Paintings

Waves

Good morning everyone. Well, as I promised, I’d like to show you the first abstract composition I painted from Painting with Yvette. And it’s a new style abstract painting, for me, that is! Actually I found out about this course by chance, just at the very time I was feeling that I needed a change of direction. To be honest, as you might have noticed, the shapes and composition are not all that different from the ones I often use in my paintings. But, first of all, the colours are very different, or, in different combinations – see this post here. Secondly, there is a lot more empty space between the elements. As you might say, a bit more breathing space. Lastly, there are more definite calligraphic marks. In fact, our tutor Yvette St Amant is very generous with her advice and guidance. So I try not to reproduce her work, but to use the ideas and develop them into my own style.

However, I find it quite difficult to achieve and, I spend a few hours on each painting, but I do feel that I am learning. Indeed, I think this is the only way to achieve progress, to spend time practising.

Another New Style Abstract

Pink and Gold

Actually, have a look at the image this way round, I’ve just this minute noticedthat in this view, a totally different idea springs to mind. To me it suggests new things on the horizon.

A New Horizon

I think I like it better this way! And, putting gold paint on a painting and having it make sense in an abstract way is a first for me! So, I’m working on a couple more of these new direction abstract compositions at the moment. But quite slowly. And I will show you when they are ready. (By the way, these are gouache not acrylic)

Two More Nice Bright Abstracts

Sunshine and Rain

Good morning everyone. I did this one of my nice bright abstracts before Christmas and I’m quite pleased with the way if turned out. Again, I had no plan beforehand, except perhaps to incorporate lots of lovely, juicy colour! And, on this one I particularly enjoyed splashing the flashes of white across the gold and bronze.

Sunshine and Rain – a closeup

In fact, I noticed that I have been featuring a lot of round, globe shaped objects in my abstracts lately. Of course, if you paint them yellow your mind interprets them as the sun. And dark clouds creeping up in the background can then suggest imminent rain. So, that’s how I found the title! Anyway, I suppose this led me to thinking that it was time for a bit more development of my abstract work. However, more of that in later posts. Meanwhile, here is another of my nice, bright abstracts, completely intuitive and in a watercolour sketch book.

Afternoon in the Garden

Now, this was a lovely art therapy exercise – a quick watercolour sketch in a few spare moments. And then, some flourishes with oil pastel, ink and white gel pen. I wonder if you can see anything in it? I wonder if you see the same as me? There’s another intuitive abstract in this post here for you to puzzle out!

If you like my abstracts, I just updated my abstracts page in the gallery here. And, don’t forget, I shall be showing you some new style compositions soon.

Best Trees I Ever Painted

Tree Study 1

Good morning everyone. Actually, I’m really quite pleased with these watercolour studies – they’re my best trees ever! As it happens, I do paint trees often, either in landscapes or in urban sketching. And, I don’t think I paint them all that well. So, I decided to invest in a short online course by Watercolours Made Simple . To be honest, I’ve only looked at a lesson or two but I have been pleased with what I’ve learned so far. Otherwise, I might have continued to make it up as go along, a particular drawback of watercolour for me, I find. In fact, I think it’s really necessary to study techniques to improve. More so than in acrylic, for example. But, that’s just my opinion and I can’t claim to be particularly gifted at watercolour painting.

Learning how to paint your best trees

Anyway, this learning was good fun too, so it wasn’t a chore. Simply explained, the tutor taught us to start with the foliage first. (Who knew?). So I painted three or four irregular ovals with a watery mid green mix, leaving little patches of paper white. Then use a mix of a darker shade of the colour and a lighter one too. And, describe the shapes of the clumps of foliage, not individual leaves, with lighter colour in the sun . And, darker colour in the shade. It does help to look at a tree or a photo when doing this. After that, put in the trunks and branches, using a watery mix of lightish brown and add patches of darker shade.

Tree Study 2

Here I practised mixing lots of tree greens using yellows, blues, brown and red – see top row. Then we stayed with the greens to paint conifers and another deciduous tree. I really liked doing a row of trees on the horizon, something I always botched before. Finally, I attempted to show how some trees recede into the background when you paint a forest, mainly using the paler shade of the original green. Now, I do hope I can remember that when I’m sketching en plein air!

Big Tree in my Garden

Or in my back garden for that matter, as I did here last summer. And , even though this one was in acrylic, some of these principles would help with other kinds of paint. If you want to see some of my winter trees, see here.

Some New Small Sketchbook Abstracts

Good morning everyone. Well, I don’t know about you, but I didn’t seem to have much time to start on big projects lately. So, I thought I would show you some of the small sketchbook abstracts I managed to squeeze into my busy days. Actually, I find it quite a comfort to grab the nearest small sketchbook, relax in my armchair and paint!

Just Breathe

However, this first one started life as a rapid ink sketch, intuitive really. Then watercolour, but this time I made an effort to keep the colours very clean. That is to say, adding glazes on top of the three basic colours to add tone, instead of creating mixes on the palette. Also, having seen something online about adding depth to abstract shapes, I tried to think of them as 3d objects. Incidentally, this is very pleasurable to try. In fact, I’ve just realised these small sketchbook abstracts are arty experiments, as well as being good for stress management.

Watercolour pencil experiment

As you can see, this small sketch book abstract has been built using watercolour pencils. Actually, I haven’t played around with these for ages and I was considering taking them on an outdoor sketch trip. So I wanted to remind myself how easy it is achieve quick, bright colour. Obviously, it is very easy and so I took a couple of pencils with me when we went to the Danum museum, before Christmas. And I really enjoyed using them.

Objects in Doncaster Museum

Above all, I really love painting intuitive abstracts, whether they are small or larger, like this one in this post here.

A Country Walk in Watercolour

A Country Walk

Good morning, everyone. I’d like to show you this watercolour painting, ‘A Country Walk’. Because it’s the third exercise I have done from Paul Talbot-Greaves excellent book, 30 Minute Landscapes. And I’m really pleased with the result. But I’m well aware that I’m not yet at the stage where I could make such a beautiful, striking composition as this from a simple scene. So, I’ll keep on practising!

However, this painting was an excellent way to practise the new techniques I’m learning and have fun at the same time! For example, I practised stippling, as I explained in my last post here. Also there’s spattering of paint, created by flicking a paintbrush, loaded with paint. Please wear protective clothing! Seriously though, see if you can spot these two techniques in this closeup of a holly bush.

Trees in Closeup

A Country Walk-a closeup

And I also had the chance to practise painting nice fine branches and twigs by gradually changing brush size. Yes, I know I should have thought of that myself, but I didn’t! Finally, you might also see the shadows on the road are carefully painted by following Paul’s method. To be honest, I was very nervous about this part of the painting. Mainly, I think because I am so used to manipulating acrylic paint which very generously allows you to paint over your mistakes. In fact, I might now have a bit more confidence when painting shadows in a landscape. Instead of just fudging it and hoping for the best. Here’s a closeup of branches and shadows.

Anyway, I do think this study will help me to progress my painting. And , to finish off with, have a look at this acrylic painting from a couple of years ago, with a similar composition. Of course, this is an imaginary scene and seems to me not quite finished. Perhaps I will feel more inspired to finish it now, who knows?

Another Country Walk

Which Way Now?

Australian Landscape, Painting in Acrylic

Early Morning

Good morning everyone. As promised, here is my Australian landscape, finished only yesterday afternoon. And, I must admit, I’m really quite pleased with it. Actually, I feel now as if the tuition I’ve had access to on this course is finally coming together. If you’ve been following my blog, you will have seen many of my practice paintings of Australian landscape. I will confess that I felt out of my comfort zone with some of them. Perhaps the advice on using a restricted palette and simplifying the shapes was a lot to take in at first. Not to mention the unfamiliarity of the Queensland countryside. However, I would fully recommend this course, the Moore Method of Painting here.

Early Morning – a close up

At last, I’m beginning to pay attention to the pattern of light and shade in the scene. Also to use different kinds of brushstroke to indicate grasses, leaves and so on.

Early Morning – a close up of the rough grasses

Anyway, I definitely feel like I’m making progress, at last and I’m really looking forward to my next project, possibly an English landscape scene. Incidentally, there are some interesting paintings in my Gallery. And, if you like this one, it’s for sale. Acrylic on paper, 12 by 16 inches, unframed and without a mount. Go to the Contact Me page and drop me a line. Affordable Art, at reasonable prices. It’s £50 plus shipping , free in UK.

Painting Small Boats in Watercolour

A peaceful scene - the view over an expanse of water, with three small boats, tied up to a jetty.
Small boats on Ulley Dam

Good morning everyone. Last week I went out with some art buddies from our Rotherham Roar group, here . And we found this charming scene down the path from the visitors centre at Ulley Reservoir. And, I spent some time painting small boats. Although it was quite cold, we were all entranced by the beautiful view over the calm water. Partly because there were three brightly painted pleasure boats bobbing about, safely tied up to the jetty. Perhaps they are only available at the weekend, I’m not sure. But, I think they lead the eye quite naturally to the far hill in my composition. And, over the hill you’ll find the village of Ulley.

As you can see, the late Spring foliage on the trees is still a fresh, bright green. And it contrasts quite nicely with the blue and red paintwork of the boats. Of course, this is only a rough, quick, plein air sketch of the scene. But I hope it captures a little of the tranquillity and beauty of the morning.

Painting Small Boats at the Seaside

A man in a life jacket getting ready to push his small yacht off the beach, into the sea.
Getting Ready to Set Off

Actually, I found this acrylic painting in my stash when I was attempting to tidy my studio. In fact, I painted it from a little postcard photo. (Really, in order to get this viewpoint in real life, I would have been standing in the sea!) And it shows the picturesque Edwardian seaside resort of Filey, on the Yorkshire Coast. Incidentally, the tutor on the online course I’m following was recently encouraging us to look back at our old paintings. And, the intention was to critique them, carefully noting both the good as well as the poorer aspects of the painting. It’s all good practice in the grand plan. ( That is, of becoming a better artist!) So, wish me luck!

If you want to see a more recent example of me painting small boats, see this post here. And have a look at my tribute to artist Raoul Dufy.

Small Landscape Painting for Sale

View over the Park

Good morning everyone. Today I’d like to show you my new small landscape painting. As you may remember, I am following an online course, on Learn to Paint Academy, at my own pace. And our tutor, Rod Moore suggested something I hadn’t thought of before – small studies, brought to a finished state. Of course, this is a great way to practise techniques and experiment with composition ideas. However, it doesn’t take anywhere near the same amount of time as one of my larger works. And, it’s just as satisfying to do. But, although it sounds simple, I never thought to try it!

The painting above is 7×9 inches, acrylic on paper and I’m offering this mini landscape at £15 plus shipping, (in UK free!). So, if this quiet, end of winter, English scene appeals to you, go to the Contact Me page and email me. Then you can pay by PayPal.

The Preliminary Sketch for my Small, Landscape Painting

Cannon Hall Park

Actually, you may have seen this sketch before. If I remember, the day was icy cold – the park was looking great, peaceful and dignified. Surprisingly green for the season. And some families were calmly taking their daily Lockdown exercise in superb surroundings. Unfortunately, I only managed a quick pencil sketch and then the cold defeated me. So I had to go home and warm up and I didn’t add colour at the scene, as I prefer. Anyway, after studying with Rod for a while, I now have the confidence to paint a small, landscape painting later. In fact, that’s a departure for me because I didn’t feel I could trust my visual memory. But, now it seems to be improving! Consequently, expect to see more little paintings based on my treasure trove of sketchbook pages made en plein air. ( I made some this week, but, that’s another story, perhaps for my Tuesday blogpost!)

So, enjoy this glimpse into my world, and let me know if you would like this piece of more affordable art for yourself.

The View Over the Park

‘Floating’ Shapes – an Abstract Composition

A colourful abstract composition in crimson, blue and ochre. Shapes floating through the air or swimming.
Floating

Good morning everyone. Today I’d like to show you an acrylic abstract painting ‘Floating’ that I have just finished. Of course, now that it’s complete, you can see all kinds of motifs. But, I assure you, these were not planned or anything. And, as I painted, after the first impetuous, free stage, I began to see shapes developing. So I just helped them a little bit to emerge more clearly. Actually, what is weird is that I rotate the painting round when I do this. And still something recognisable appears! Incidentally, this is quite a contrast to how I created this post here all about floating objects. As you can perhaps see, this was carefully constructed and planned.

What do You see, Floating in Air or Swimming?

A closeup of the strange face floating up close to the viewer.
Floating – a closeup
Floating – another close up

Obviously, there is a face appearing and that’s because I sort of painted the lips while the painting was upside down. (From the way it was started, I mean). And then I just went with the flow! And, in order to explain away the fishy detail in the second closeup, I can’t! But those fish just seem to find their way into lots of my abstracts.

However, I do remember reading somewhere that the human brain is programmed into finding patterns in what we see. Particularly, we perceive faces and people very readily everywhere. Perhaps it’s some kind of survival instinct. Personally, I do enjoy looking at abstract and semi abstract work more when I can see shapes and make a story. As if this way of seeing allows me into the picture more easily. Instead of feeling that I am blocked from entering.

Straight Lines and Curved Shapes

Finally, I’d like to explore the concept of design a little. Or, to put it more simply, how to decide where to put things, and how to arrange them on the page. Naturally, this element of composition is important for figurative and abstract paintings alike. In my own case, I think about the design about half way through the process in abstract work. To be honest, I have been watching stuff recently on line about various types of composition design. And I read all about the combination of straight lines and curved shapes.

In fact, I realised that I use this style of design quite a lot in my abstracts (see here ) And, I didn’t really know I was doing it! But, I shall carry on because you can create strong compositions with a lot of movement this way. However, now I can think about trying out some more design schemes as well. Well, it’s all part of the lifelong learning plan!

Painting Portraits in Acrylic and Watercolour

Painting portraits- this is a face from my imagination,  painted in subtle shades of green and yellow.
A Green Man

Good morning everyone. Over the past few weeks I’ve been thinking about painting portraits. As you can see, for this one I took the slightly unconventional idea of deliberately not using flesh coloured paint . And I used watercolour which is not as forgiving as acrylic. So I had to think carefully about where I placed the brush strokes. Actually, I wanted a chance to practise using tones to model the flesh, something I learnt on an online tutorial. And, because I didn’t use skin tones like pink , orange and brown, this allowed me to be a bit detached. Probably because I could just treat the task like a problem to be solved, instead of wanting to create a lifelike portrait. Anyway, I had a go, my watercolour skills are a bit basic, I know. On the other hand, I do feel like I learnt something from the exercise.

Painting portraits and modelling the flesh

Painting portraits and making a tribute to artist Mary Cassatt. A beautiful,  red haired woman.
My version of a portrait by Mary Cassatt

Although I haven’t quite finished this portrait, this was the exercise I did during a tutorial hosted by Care Visions. In fact, I found it very helpful and the tutor John Skelcher skillfully guided us through the process. First of all, we sketched and checked that the proportions of the face were reasonably correct. Next we painted the face and neck with a mid tone. And then I added darker paint for shadowy areas and lighter colours for highlights. Finally I understood what I was trying to do, instead of adding too many shades and colours!

Incidentally, there was one other challenge in this session – we had to use the ‘ Zorn’ palette. Just to explain, an artist called Anders Zorn (1860 – 1920) made this choice of colours famous when he created his superb portraits in oils. For your information, the restricted palette consists of red, yellow ochre and black, with white allowed too. You could try it out — it’s amazing how many colour mixes you can create with this combination.

Drawing Faces on Toned Paper

A drawing of a man in red-brown pencil and white pastel on light brown paper.
Portrait in sepia pencil

Well, just to finish off with, in this portrait exercise, I used sepia pencil for the darker tones. Then the fawn coloured paper itself for the mid tones and white pastel for the highlights. Honestly, it sounds very simple, I know, but it’s taken me years to understand it!

By the way, I made this study with the aid of a photo provided by the tutor. Whereas, the first image I showed you – the green man – I created from my imagination. Because I’ve been studying the proportions of the face recently, I think I’ve managed to improve at this. And I made the painting look a bit like a real person! (Even though the eyes are not quite right!) If you want to see my baby angel portraits, see here for my tribute to Raphael.

Rainy Day Painting in Acrylic

A dreamy, misty view through the trees to the hills on a rainy day .
Rainy Day

Good morning everyone. I thought I should show you this rainy day painting today. Because it’s part of the online course I’m following and I have painted a couple since this! Anyway, the challenge in this simple scene is how to make all the different shades of green make sense. In fact, our tutor Rod Moore helped us through this by reminding us of the principles of colour perspective.That is, colours in the distance become cooler in the sense that there is more blue in the mix. In practice, the greens further away are bluey green and those in the foreground are yellowy green. To be honest, it’s actually much more tricky than it sounds and it involves a lot of careful colour mixing.

The Greens in the Foreground

Rainy Day – a closeup of the foreground grasses

The second big challenge in this acrylic painting is how to convey the idea of rain and dampness in the air. Well, I tried to blur the colours and shapes by using some indistinct brush strokes. But, if you go too far with this, you’re in danger of losing too much detail. And then the scene just looks confusing. So, although the features in the composition are relatively simple (trees, distant hills and a path) it wasn’t easy!

The Distant Hills in my Rainy Day Painting

A close up of the line of hills in the mist of a rainy day.
Rainy Day – a closeup of the hills and the mist

Finally, I hope you can see in this closeup how I indicated damp, misty conditions. In order to do this I brought the pale sky colour over the line of the wooded hills. And this really helped with the illusion of misty dampness I was trying to create. In effect, this is the only view of Australia in the rain that we have painted on the course. For example, take a look at this sun drenched scene here that I painted a few weeks ago.

My Abstract Impression of English Rain

Raindrops on the Window

See this post here for the story behind this picture!

Mountain Studies in Acrylic

Good morning everyone. This is the first of a little series of studies from the online course I’m enrolled on. Actually, I’ve been wanting to paint these mountain studies for a while, but my other projects kept getting in the way! For example, here is the post on dogs for my MeWe gouache group . And here is my work on old masters with Care Visions Healthy Aging . Incidentally these classes are free. So you can see I have been busy!

Mountain Studies

Four studies of mountain landscapes

Here is the full sheet of small studies from a module in the course covering landscape features. And, you might remember that I have already completed the sections on skies and trees. Incidentally, I must say that this is a very useful exercise even though I don’t enjoy doing it as much as painting a whole picture.

A simple mountain view, showing ranges of peaks, in tones of blue.
Mountain Ranges

We began with a vista of mountain ranges unfolding increasingly nearer to the viewer. Admittedly, the acrylic sketch is pretty basic. But the main teaching point was to show aerial perspective by using darker and lighter tones . This makes the faraway peaks look distant and the nearer ones look close. Easy peasy ( when someone explains it to you! )

Mountains with grassy slope in foreground

If you look closely, you can see that I have tried to show how the background hills recede.But the grassy slope although nearer is still a good distance away. In fact, I indicated this by the cool tones of the green. I need more practice here, I think! Please try not to get too distracted by the poor quality paper. ( Note to self : Use the best. )

Alpine Mountain Studies in Acrylic

Snow capped Alpine peaks in blue and white - one of my mountain studies.
Alpine Peaks

Now, this was the fun part! To be honest, I had never tried to paint high peaks and had thought it was too difficult. However, I’m quite pleased with this attempt. And I learnt how to describe form using a dark tone for deep shadow, a dull blue white for the shady side of the snow. And, finally, a brilliant white for the sunlit peaks.

The Rocky Outcrop

A lovely Australian landscape showing a rocky outcrop of red stone - one of my mountain studies.
The Crags

Lastly, a lovely scene of a rocky outcrop, in an Australian landscape where the rock is a strong red colour. Actually, the crags were the challenge in this study and I achieved them using a dragging motion of the brush. And then I modelled them with lighter and darker tones of the sandstone colour.

As you can see, I did learn a lot in this section and I do really appreciate the tutor – Rod Moore of the Learn to Paint Academy. So much so that I was exhausted after it and had to have a rest! Now, back to painting whole landscapes.

Painting in Monochrome in Acrylic and Watercolour

Sunday Best

Hello everyone. Today I’d like to show you some of the monochrome paintings I have done. To be honest, I haven’t actually done a lot of painting in monochrome. But I have done loads of drawings in pencil and charcoal and some of the principles are the same. Just to be clear, monochrome means using one colour only. However, you can create all the different tones of colour to create form and perspective. Of course, this is done by adding water to watercolour and white paint to acrylic to make the original colour progressively lighter. ( I’m sure some of you know this already!)

Painting in Monochrome – a Welsh Valley

A watercolour painting in sepia tones. A beautiful, tranquil landscape of brooding Welsh hills, the valley and the river. After John Sell Cotman.
A Valley in Wales, after John Sell Cotman

Well, this is a watercolour exercise I painted this week , following an online tutorial. We were advised to use sepia coloured paint or ink. But the artist himself used black ink, back in the 19th century and it has since faded to a pleasing soft brown . In fact, I mixed burnt umber and ultramarine blue to create a faded sepia look . As we were doing a study of this master’s work, we gridded up the page to copy the composition. Incidentally, this simple scene is really quite complex!

A close up of the bridge and the cattle

The different tones of the hills and trees were carefully mixed , copying the artistic decisions of the artist. Actually, I really enjoyed the experience but I must just mention how much I struggled with the paper – supposedly a good quality one . But I found that the colour wouldn’t lift off at all and also , it ran down in strange vertical lines! And now the painting pad has been firmly placed in the ‘scrap paper’ pile!

A Nostalgia Painting in Acrylic

An acrylic painting in monochrome, faded tones of brown. A man standing proudly outside his cottage in his Sunday best clothes.
Sunday Best

Finally, here’s one from the archives, inspired by an old photo from a local mining museum. This worker stands proudly outside his humble cottage in his Sunday best clothes. As you can imagine, I was well inside my comfort zone with this acrylic painting, making all my own artistic decisions . And, I’m pleased to say that this nostalgic painting went to a new home last year. But, of course, I have plenty more artwork for sale in my gallery here

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