Christmas Robin in Oil Pastel

Christmas Robin

Well, folks, it’s nearly here, so I thought I’d show you my Christmas Robin. In fact, this is the second version and I did enter them both into the Birdmas challenge. It was hosted by the Triwing Art Challenge blog on Mewe. Honestly, the artwork presented for this fun project was first class – Draw Twelve Birds for Christmas. And, I’m pleased to report that I did complete it in twelve days, running from December 1st till Dec 12th!

Robin in a Thorn Tree

So, here’s version one- a quick watercolour sketch in my art journal. And the super photo I used for inspiration was taken in my daughter in law’s garden. You see, she loves feeding the birds who visit and some of them become quite tame, like this lovely little Christmas robin.

The Abstracted Version of my Christmas Robin.

A Christmas robin,  drawn in oil pastel,  perching on a little branch in a thorn tree.
The Christmas Robin

After I had drawn a couple of straight up, realistic birds, I suddenly felt that I wanted to branch out a bit and use my imagination a bit more. So I drew this alternative version, and really enjoyed myself! Because I chose oil pastels from the very first sketch , I knew the lines would be a bit unpredictable. But, that’s ok – I really did want to create a loose drawing. So, this is my Christmas card to you – have a good one, in the circumstances, that is .

The Crazy Bird

A quick sketch in acrylic  marker.  Drawn from my imagination,  a bird in green and red feathers with a crest on its head, to keep my Christmas Robin company.
The Crazy Bird

Finally, here is my ten minute, acrylic marker crazy bird, created purely to cheer us all up! If you want to see more of the birds I painted for the challenge, see here and here.

Two Acrylic Practice Paintings – Works in Progress

A dreamy view over the beautiful Australian countryside to the distant Mountains m, in the early morning light , one of my acrylic practice paintings.
The Red Path

As some of you may know, I am following an online course on painting at the moment. And I’d like to show you two of my acrylic practice paintings. In fact, the painting above is almost completely finished and I decided to leave it a while. To be honest, I am learning such a lot on this course. And I want to think a bit more about the techniques and design ideas I now know about. Then, later I will bring the painting to completion. However, I am fairly pleased with the stage I have brought it to. Incidentally, this method of working is quite new to me. Actually, I usually work in a more impulsive manner, but I do always put a lot of thought into my paintings.

New Techniques and Design Ideas in my Practice Paintings

In this painting, I used a different choice of colours on the palette, following the instruction given. And, this took me right out of my comfort zone, which can be a good thing! But, as you can see, these were the right choices for this dreamy Australian landscape. Secondly, I attempted to blend the colours in the sky – again something I never try to do. Admittedly, I need to practise this more, but then, hopefully, I will have acquired a new skill.

The Tribute to Monet Acrylic Painting

A spectacular deep lily pond with pink and white blossoms - one of my acrylic practice paintings.
The Lily Pond

Again, I must make it clear that this one of my acrylic practice paintings just lacks the final finishing touches. And , I’m prepared to leave it a while before I decide how much extra detail to add, if any. As you can see, there were plenty of challenges in this. Including, naturally, the subject – reflections on still water, a subject I have skillfully avoided until now! Well, I did do my best, but there’s room for improvement. On the other hand, I managed to suggest perspective in the floating flowers and leaves. That is, to put it simply, the furthest ones smaller and the nearest ones bigger and all at the correct angle to suggest they are lying on the water. Baby steps I know, but it’s very valuable to a self taught artist like me ! I really can’t wait to see what else I can learn. If you want to see a painting that I completed with the tutor’s help, see this post here . I will post another update soon!

My Online Learning – Gouache Landscape Painting

A sunny landscape in Australia with a small river flowing through a limestone gorge - a gouache painting done as part of my online learning.
The Creek

Good morning, everyone. I’d like to tell you about the online learning that I’ve been spending time on these past two weeks. Well, it was a free five day challenge. But I could take my time with it and that was much more doable. Actually, it was very well structured and each unit was almost self contained.

The Colour Mixing

The Colour Chart

So, we started off experimenting with colour mixing using a restricted palette – ultramarine blue ( my favourite ! ) , crimson red and yellow ochre. The yellow ochre was a bit of a surprise as the primary yellow. However, I was pleasantly surprised by how many lovely colours I could mix with this combination. Of course, white was also allowed. In fact, the main benefit of this exercise for me was that I actually sat down and did the chart. To be honest, I’ve always been too lazy to do it before!

Online Learning – the Tonal Sketch

A quick sketch of the landscape in black, white and grey to show the light and shade, part of the online learning.
The Tonal Sketch

Again, for me this was very helpful. Because I am always in too much of a hurry to plan out a light and shade version of my subject. Despite knowing that it is a Good Thing to do ! Anyway, we concentrated on five tones between light and dark. As you can see, I struggled with the ones in the middle. But, my excuse is that gouache paint is quite difficult sometimes. In fact, it can dry a different shade from the one you thought you had mixed.

The Blocking in Stage

Again, this section of the process was done quite methodically, instead of haphazardly, which is my usual method of working. In my own defence, I am a self-taught artist and it’s good to get some proper tuition.

The Finished Painting

The Creek

Finally, after two more excellent sessions, I produced this thoroughly finished off gouache painting of a summer landscape in Australia. I really did enjoy the online learning and the end product. And, I must say a big thank you to Rod Moore of the Learn to Paint Academy see here . Imagine, all this top class tuition was a fab free gift and I appreciate that. Happy Painting!

If you would like to see more of my attempts at showing light and shade in the landscape , see here . There’s another bright, sunny woodland scene in that post too, to cheer us all up!

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.

Landscapes in Gouache Paint – New Experiments

An atmospheric view of the sunrise over the sea in tones of greys and blues.
Sunrise

This is my first attempt at a very small painting in my experiments on landscapes in gouache, 6 by 4 inch. You see, I watched a lot of great videos online about this medium . And I was very impressed by the amount of beautiful detail in these little paintings. So, here’s my first try – just ignore the botched border . ( I’ve had some issues with the tape I used, anyone got a good recommendation? ) Anyway, this photo was given to me by a friend and it’s a sunrise scene from New Zealand. Actually, I also tried to concentrate on tonality, and I struggled with the different tones in the cliffs and hills. But, it was a good exercise and I think I did learn a bit about seeing the values of colours in the landscape Just to make it clear, this means identifying where the shadows and colours are light, darker and darkest.

A Second Attempt – Landscapes in Gouache

Down the River

As you can see, this was the second of my landscapes in gouache on a smaller scale. In fact, it’s one more super scene from a trip to New Zealand. And again, I foolishly set myself two challenges on this. Firstly, the small size (6 by 4 inch ) and secondly how to capture the quality of light on the water. To be honest, working in this way tends to make me paint more tightly and carefully. And that’s not really my style but, again, I did call this a series of experiments. Realistically, I can see how my practice on the tones of faraway hills did help here. As did the use of white gouache to create convincing water in this wide river !

A bright, cheerful gouache painting of a small stream, shaded by trees in a sunlit wood.
The Brook in the Wood

Finally, in this piece, I treated myself to a slightly larger sheet of paper 6.5 by 6.5 inch ( in a mixed media journal). The photo is by Nicola Soricelli Boerer on Artists Free Reference Photos. I must admit, I do feel a bit more comfortable with the paint now. However, I’m still learning all the time about how to paint layers without making mud! To explain, the paint never dries which makes washes and detail over a previous layer tricky ! But, I must confess, I find it quite addictive and I’m looking forward to more experiments. If you want to know more, there is a good video by Sarah Burns here .If you want to see a wood that is atmospheric in a different way (The Boy and the Bird ) have a look at my Gallery here. In fact, I almost included this one in my Halloween post here , but then I thought that might have been a bit over the top!

Autumn Colours- a Gouache Painting

A beautiful old tree in autumn colours,  next to St. Mary's church in churchyard.
St. Mary’s

Hello everyone. Don’t you think the autumn colours have been beautiful this year ? Happily, this charming church in its tranquil garden churchyard is about five minutes walk from my house. To be honest, you wouldn’t think it was right in the middle of a busy town . Yes, I know it isn’t as busy as usual right now. But even when there are no restrictions, it still has that air of peace and quiet.

In fact, there are some glorious trees in the garden , each with its own unique character and shape . Of course, I can enjoy the sight of them all year round, in every season. However, the trees in their autumn colours have to be the most impressive sight of all.

The Dancing Leaves in Autumn Colours

The Dancing Leaves

So, in this closeup of my gouache painting, I really tried to show how the subtle yellow green leaves flickered and gleamed in the autumn sunshine. Well, I tried but it was an impossible task really.

More Autumn Colours

A basket of ripe, red apples in a basket - autumn colours in the harvest.
The Apple Harvest

As it happens, this is an oil pastel drawing of last year’s harvest. But the tree is very reliable and we usually get to eat these delicious fruits all winter ! Actually, this painting was on display for a few months in the Rotherham Art Cafe here .

A bright, impressionistic sketch of a tree in a beautiful garden, full of autumn colours.
View from the Glasshouse Window

Finally, something completely different. To explain , I went to a printing workshop in the elegant Victorian conservatory at Wentworth Castle Gardens last year . It was part of our Inktober 2019 activities. And, this is my impressionistic painting of the show of autumn colours in the garden, through the window. And, if I remember correctly, I used some acrylic inks to do a quick sketch, while my print was drying !

In my opinion, this time of year is truly beautiful. And, the display doesn’t last so long. So, get out and enjoy it while you can !

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!

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!

Drylands – Art for Sale

Picture of the Month

Drylands

I just finished this acrylic painting today , and I wanted to show it to you straight away ! This painting – Drylands – Art for Sale – needs to be featured all by itself, I think . To be honest, I am quite pleased with it . You see, it’s another experiment with a restricted palette of colour. And this time, I used soft browns, vibrant orange and a touch of gold. In fact, I mixed the shades of brown from blue and a ready made orange. Surprisingly, this combination includes the three primary colours red , yellow and blue. Because, of course, the orange is a mixture of red and yellow. ( In actual fact, it took me a while to figure this out ) . And I had never tried to mix browns before, always using the brown umber straight from the tube. But, I must say, I really prefer the DIY mixtures. And, that’s what I like about these experiments – I always learn something!

Drylands – Art for Sale -The Dead Trees

A detail from ‘Drylands’

Clearly, when I painted this parched landscape with its swathes of dusty foliage, I must have been thinking of the climatic changes taking place in the world. For example, it seems that dry, hot regions seem to be getting hotter and drier. If you would like to see another surreal landscape painting, look at this post here .

A close up of the sky

I’m including this shot in order to try to show the intense and rich colour of the sky . There are also passages of interesting textures, as there are on most of my paintings. Unfortunately, these details don’t show up so well on a screen.

Well, I hope you like my painting ‘Drylands’ . As I said earlier , it is a work in acrylic on paper, 16 by 20 inches, unframed and without a mount. And , it’s priced at £60 plus shipping ( I’m based in the UK ). So you can pay by PayPal and I’ll package it up and send it off to you without delay ! Just go to the Contact Me page here and send me an email for further details. Then you can frame it to suit your taste and enjoy soaking up the evocative atmosphere it seems to create.

Drylands – Art for Sale

Magazine Article about my paintings

Bluebell Wood

At last – I’m famous ! (Well , nearly ). Because there is now a magazine article showing my artworks. To explain, I am a member of the Barnsley U3A group. And this is a great , world wide organisation which is run entirely by volunteers of retirement age . In fact, we are called the University of the 3rd Age . Perhaps you have heard of us – our aim is learning, companionship and fun ! The group in my home town is fantastic . So when Derek , editor of our branch’s magazine asked permission to publish some of my paintings I quickly agreed !

The magazine article

To be honest, Derek had seen my work on this website, which is nice. Hopefully, you can read the text as it is a bit small. There are just over a thousand members in the group now , I think. And our magazine ‘ The Buzz ‘ is also published on our website see here .

More Paintings from the Magazine Article

A soft dreamy painting of a street in the south of France on a hot afternoon- featured in the magazine article
Somewhere in France
A semi abstracted scene of jungle vegetation  - Paradise. Featured in my magazine article
Paradise

These two images above were also featured in the magazine article. In addition to some details about the artist groups I belong to including Northern Fringe. Have a look at this post here to see our latest exhibition ‘Inspired ‘at the Ridings Centre, Wakefield. It’s about the third exhibition down.

To be honest, I did also promote Barnsley Art Society too. Although we are not very active at the moment, obviously. But you might be interested to have a look at our Facebook page here . Who knows , if you are nearby , you may like to take part in our arty activities when we start up again.

Of course, I didn’t forget to say some nice things about the U3A group too ! And they were all quite sincere. Actually . I belong to the painting group which we attend each week. And I also really enjoy the drawing group which inspires me to practise drawing skills . In actual fact , I really do need the practice ! Finally, I’d like to say a big Thank You to Derek for putting together a great Autumn issue during Lockdown ( especially the bit with my feature! )

Watercolour Flowers from my Allotment

A bright bunch of watercolour flowers in a small, glass vase
Watercolour Flowers from my Allotment

When I want to do a quick painting I will often sit down at my dining table to work . Of course, if I have a large chunk of spare time, I go into my ‘ studio ‘ . To be honest, this is also known as the spare bedroom and it’s where my easel is set up. And , this is where the acrylic paints live. So it’s all a tiny bit more serious ! Anyway , I had half an hour – so I gave myself a little treat and just painted. I chose watercolour flowers from my allotment. Actually, I had noticed last Thursday that I wasn’t achieving the results I wanted with watercolour . I was out urban sketching with art buddies in the park – see here . And when I looked at my friend’s lovely delicate sketch of the mansion, I realised I could do better !

Trying different watercolour paper

You see, I always use the same brand of paper in different , handy sized sketchbooks when I’m out plein air painting. In effect, I was well satisfied with the quality. But, things had changed and the paper was now quite poor. And , it took me a while to notice ! So, out came some better watercolour paper from the stash. And , now I could try laying down pools of colour and wet in wet technique without fighting to drag the paint over the paper !

More Watercolour Flowers

Sweetpeas and other watercolour flowers in a pretty china cup.
Allotment Bunch
Another Allotment Bunch

As you can see , I did manage to find some decent paper for these two paintings of watercolour flowers. These are from a little while ago and , quite by chance it would seem, the paper was better ! Well, now I know and I won’t make that mistake again !

Watercolour Flowers from my Allotment

For those who like to know , here we have cosmos, sweetpeas, marigold, cerinthe and sweet Williams. A real cottage garden bunch. For lots more flowers in all kinds of media , see my gallery here .

Flash – an Acrylic Painting

Three red zigzag lines flash on a soft blue sky  over a strange ochre coloured wave
Flash

This is just a quick post today, to keep you up to date with what I have been painting- Flash. So have a look at my latest 16 by 20 inch acrylic composition. To be honest, I am getting really comfortable with this size of paper. To explain ,it’s not so small as to cramp my gestural style of painting. And also, it’s not so large that it seems a bit of a chore to cover all the canvas with paint. Hopefully, you can see what I mean . In addition, the paintings are done more quickly. And I do enjoy finishing off a piece in roughly three sessions. But sometimes I like to take my time and develop a piece gradually. Perhaps, it’s a sign of the times that I am too restless to commit to anything that will take more time and concentration. I wonder if anyone else has felt that the Covid situation has altered their art practice?

Artist’s Inspiration for Flash

The idea for this piece literally came to me ‘ in a flash ‘ ! Suddenly , I saw some red, zigzag flashes on a beautiful, blue sky. Apparently, there was also some kind of ocean wave or strange sort of rolling landscape underneath it all . So , I just picked up my paintbrushes and started ! I must make it clear that I don’t create all my abstracts in this way. Actually, I might write a post all about it soon – so stay tuned ! Click here to see more abstracts, intuitive or otherwise !

Flash

Please don’t forget, all of my art is for sale at reasonable prices. This painting is acrylic on paper, 16 by 20 inches . It’s unframed and without a mount. I’m selling it at £60 plus shipping. And I’m based in the UK. If you feel like treating yourself . So, go to the Contact Me page and send me an email for more details.

The Tower – Plein Air Sketching

A watercolour sketch of the tower - golden sandstone against a brilliant blue sky.
The Tower at Wentworth Old Church

We spent a glorious morning sketching at Wentworth village yesterday. And I wanted to concentrate on the tower of the Old Church. As you can see , the sky was a brilliant blue and cloudless for a couple of hours. However, I don’t think I captured the full effect of the brightness of the colour with a quick watercolour sketch. ( about 20 minutes ) . But I was pleased with my attempt at painting the soft, glowing sandstone. In fact , you can see a more detailed description of a sketchcrawl at the old church here . That’s when I sat in the shady churchyard and painted the gravestones and a monument. It’s great to be going out plein air sketching with some of my art buddies again .

Flowers in the Rain – Acrylic Painting

A huge bright yellow bloom crowded up against three purple pansies . The colours really glow in the wet weather  - flowers in the rain .

This is just a quick post to show you my latest acrylic semi – abstract painting . You might remember that I have recently ‘ gone large ‘ . That means that I have started painting on bigger canvases and sheets of paper . In fact , this composition Flowers in the Rain is 16 by 20 inches on good watercolour paper

Going Large with Flowers in the Rain

You might think that this isn’t very large . But , you see I felt sort of blocked earlier on this year with all the worrying things that were happening. So now , I feel a bit more relaxed and I am revelling in using paint freely on bigger supports . And , I do hope you can see that joyfulness in this flower picture.

Flowers in the Rain – a close up of the beautiful yellow begonia .

Interestingly , I was fascinated by the soft , folded petals of the large bloom that I indicated here . In fact , I got so carried away with painting it , that it grew larger and larger !

Flowers in the Rain – detail of a deep purple pansy glistening in the rain .

To tell the truth , my main inspiration for this piece was the way that the drizzle intensified the colours . The leaves and flowers in the rain were sparkling with light ! I even allowed this to spread onto the fence panels in the background. Of course, they were really a dullish brown . If you want to see some more paintings of lovely flowers, just go to my gallery here .

All my paintings are for sale at reasonable prices. I’m selling this painting for £50 , including shipping in the UK . It’s 16 by 20 inches ( which is not too big , or too small ) . The piece is unframed , so you can choose your own frame . And I think that most people prefer this . If it really calls out you and you need to have it , just send me an email by using the form on the contact page

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 !

Painting Plants At the Allotment

An abstract composition suggesting a tangle of vegetation in a wood. Mixed media.
Among the Trees

We have been working very hard in the garden for a few weeks now . The summer season is in full swing and the crops are growing furiously in this weather . The glorious sunshine and lots of rain have certainly helped ! There’s lots of inspiration for painting plants.

Taking a Break – Painting Plants

Drawing Runner Beans

I don’t often find time to take a break when we are up at the allotment . There are always so many chores to do at this time of year . But , I couldn’t resist it any longer and I just had to draw the tangle of leaves and flowers twining their way up the garden canes ! As you can see in the sketch above , I did a working sketch of the runner beans . To explain , the sketch is a quick record of the scene – about twenty minutes. And it is intended as a reference for me to use later when I have time to do a larger painting.

Drawing Runner Beans – a close up

My Notes on Painting Plants

Hopefully , you can read the notes that I scribbled on my drawing here . They are just reminders of the colours for when I paint the bigger picture . I do also take one or two photos , but the memory of actually drawing this first will be more useful to me . I did observe the shapes of the leaves and flowers quite carefully too .

Tangled vegetation

Painting Plants - a window box crammed full of polyanthus flowers - yellow,  purple and green . Abstract composition
Spring Flowers

I have been quite fascinated by tangled leaves and flowers for a couple of years now . In this mixed media painting of flowers in a windowbox above , I tried to show the crowding of the plants in a small space . And the painting at the top of the page is my impression of how I felt after a walk in a wood in early summer last year. There was a real jungle of growth and I just had to spend some time painting plants . So much inspiration and so little time ! ( see more abstract flower paintings here )

Watercolour and pencil work showing a runner bean plant with scarlet flowers  -painting plants .
Runner Beans in Colour

I took ten minutes later on in the day to add some watercolour to my runner beans . To be honest , I haven’t decided yet whether to turn this into a semi abstracted composition or a design . Stay tuned to find out !

Open Air Sketching at the Reservoir

A quick open air sketch in watercolour of a view over the reservoir,  framed by trees , with a jetty extending over the water .
Open Air Sketching at Worsbrough Reservoir

We went for a lovely walk last Friday at Worsbrough Mill .The day was very hot , so this shady spot was just perfect for open air sketching . I always carry a small sketching kit when I go into the countryside . For me , sketching means using watercolour with perhaps a simple pencil or pen sketch first . But quite often I draw with the paintbrush to get everything into position and then , the best bit , add the colour .This took about twenty minutes .You see , the idea is , not to produce the best finished sketch you ever did , but to make an on the spot record of the scene .

Outdoor Sketching Kit

It’s quite simple really , I fill a medium sized pencil case with a few pens and pencils , plus an eraser and a sharpener . Then I take my little watercolour set . It has twelve colours and the lid of the case is my palette. Three brushes is enough , I find . I use a little plastic travel bottle with screw top for water . The sketch books I take are mainly decent watercolour paper , two different sizes : 10 by 7 inch or , my favourite, 8 by 5 inches .This is quite small , I know , but then there is a good chance of getting the painting finished .

A close up of my hands doing my open air sketching at the scene . You can just see my little  watercolour sketching kit .
Open Air Sketching at the Res

This is a simple phone snap , nothing fancy , just something to record the scene . I can also refer to it if I decide to use this little study and paint a larger picture of the subject in watercolour or acrylic .

A Shady Spot

The reservoir as Hokusai might have painted it .

The Great Wave at Worsbrough Reservoir

There’s a long story attached to this painting – for all the details , see here . But the short version is : this is my favourite beauty spot re-imagined with ‘The Great Wave ‘ appearing on it . It’s my tribute to the great Japanese artist Hokusai ( 1760 – 1849). Just to end on a lighter , more whimsical note !

Why do we do open air sketching ?

Good question .Firstly, I love the freshness of my work when I paint with the subject directly in front of me ( not from a photo ) . Secondly , finishing it quickly like this improves my drawing skills . And , of course , it’s really enjoyable !

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

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 .