Good morning everyone. Today I’d like to tell you all about our Solstice exhibition – now on show at Fronteer Gallery in Sheffield, UK. Well, we had a great launch on Monday evening, despite the Covid regulations. Of course, we had to wear masks and only ten people were allowed in the Gallery at one time. Nevertheless, I managed to have a good look around the show. And to have a nice chat with Michael and Sharon, who set the whole thing up. Actually, it’s not been the best time to open an art gallery in the pandemic, but they have done it!
I took this snap in a sort of an open space in front of the gallery which is traffic free. In fact, it’s an ideal performance area. And we watched a bit of street theatre by Pink and grAy. Sun Circle, referencing Ra, the sungod, bringing light to the world. Incidentally, this is the theme of my gouache painting too! Also, the abundance of food produced by its energy, represented by a basket of oranges.
The Artwork in Our Solstice Exhibition
Honestly, it was a real pleasure to see my own painting up on the wall in this super gallery. It’s been so long since I could chat to people looking at my work. In addition to that I had actual contact with the other artists too! Here is just a taster of the wonderful artwork on display. I did take lots of photos, but the lighting in the rooms was too much for my little phone camera!
At last, my artworld is slowly returning.
The solstice exhibition is on this week and next. Just see the poster for the dates and times it is open. And, with its wide variety of media and interpretation of the summer sun, it’s well worth a visit.
If you want to have a look at the beautiful exhibition catalogue, see here.
Last Friday I went to a brilliant exhibition at the Millennium Gallery in Sheffield. ‘ Lines of Beauty ‘ and this got me thinking about drawing. I saw some fabulous Old Master Drawings from the Chatsworth House collection like this one by Van Dyck.
In addition to these works of art, there was also interesting information about the artist’s materials available back in the day . And I was very taken by the drawings on toned paper made with black or brown ink, and , then coloured with watercolour wash . Finally, highlights were added in white chalk . Amazingly, these materials were often made by the artist and his or her assistant. To be honest, it made me feel very grateful for how easy it it is nowadays to buy chalk, ink, charcoal and paint ! If you want to see more pictures of the exhibition, have a look at the latest post on our Art Society Facebook page here .
Reserving the White Paper
However, to get back to thinking about drawing, I did the drawing above last year. And, I think it shows very clearly how when you draw on white paper, you add the medium tones first. Then you strengthen some of them up to create dark areas . And, all the time you are quite cleverly ‘reserving’ the white paper for the light tones and the highlights. This means, plan the drawing carefully and leave the paper white in all the right places! To be honest, it took me a while to manage to do this properly.
Toned Paper – Thinking about Drawing
Now comes the difficult bit – for me anyway. You see, when you use toned paper( that is, not white ) you can leave the paper showing for the mid tones. And this works well with beige or stone coloured paper. Then you can use darker pastel pencil or watercolour wash for the darks. Of course, you can then add white pastel or chalk for highlights. Obviously, this sounds straightforward but it took me a while to get my head around it . However, with the guidance of a good tutor , I managed to produce this drawing at art class.
The Old Church
This was another exercise we did in class , thinking about drawing on grey toned paper.
As you can see, I had to be very disciplined about the different shades of grey. Because I wanted to show the shapes of the building and landscape as the light fell on them . Actually, all this at the same time as looking at a colour photo of the scene , which can be confusing. In truth, it’s a real workout for the brain !
Drawing from Life
Finally, I would suggest that when you are thinking about drawing, the very best thing you can do is to draw from life . So, here’s some of our pumpkin harvest , drawn very quickly at my allotment yesterday. Just think of all that roasted pumpkin ( with garlic ) that we shall enjoy all winter !
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 !
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
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! )
As you may remember, I promised to post another more detailed report on the Joana Vasconcelos sculpture exhibition at Yorkshire Sculpture Park. See post here for the short version and my quick sketch of this cheeky chicken !
The Sculptures in the Underground Gallery
The sculptures in the park were fabulous. But the ones in the famous Underground Gallery were just as impressive. To explain, the image above shows a huge soft sculpture, sumptuous fabrics covered in embroidery and collage. Actually, it represents a mythical female warrior you may have heard of – a Valkyrie.
As you can see, the massive stiletto shoes above were made out of saucepans! You’ve probably worked out that the overall theme of the exhibition is female identity
In contrast, the chilling Beretta handgun sculpture in the image above is put together using old , black telephones!
To be honest, this is just a small snapshot of the glorious sculpture exhibition by Joana Vasconcelos. And, if you are in the area ( West Yorkshire, UK ) , it really is not to be missed. If you want to see more just click here
Artist’s Inspiration at Yorkshire Sculpture Park from the Sculpture Exhibition
To tell you the truth, I visit the park quite often. And I have lots of sketches of the grounds and the exhibitions in my sketchbooks . So, to finish off with, I would like to show you some of them
It’s a permanent installation by Ai Weiwei. And if you look closely, you can see the rusty metal structure bolted together.
One of the strange creatures from the KAWS exhibition – about 10 foot high and painted in pastel pink and white.
And, finally, a view over the park to the Longside Gallery, which also belongs to the sculpture park. I did all of these sketches in place and fairly quickly!
I hope that this report whets your appetite a little for the spectacular sculptures on display at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park
This is just a short post today . And , I’d like to tell you a little bit about the fantastic huge sculpture of a cockerel at Yorkshire Sculpture Park , sculpture in the open air.
This beautiful monumental installation is part of the exhibition by renowned Portuguese artist Joana Vasconcelos . It’s covered in brightly coloured ceramic tiles and it is a symbol of Portugal . As far as I could see, it brought a smile to the face of everyone who looked at it. And that includes me ! And , best of all , it’s sculpture in the open air.
Do you know , it was absolutely wonderful to go out and see some art . Although we had to pre-book our tickets , it was quite easy to do on-line. Of course , we wore our masks when inside the gallery spaces and the main reception area. Honestly , I think it is second nature now to manoeuvre yourself around others in public spaces. And , more importantly , most people are quite polite. In short , I think it is a small price to pay in order to have the pleasure of seeing art face-to-face.
We sat on the lovely shady cafe terrace with coffee and cake . And it was very pleasant to sit under the trees and look out over the parkland at the monumental installation . Then I took out my sketchbook and watercolours to do a twenty minute sketch. So , if you look closely, you can see a figure . I think he is trying to get a good photo on his phone . Anyway , it gives an idea of the scale of the piece . Just watch out for a post with more detail on this glorious sculpture in the open air . ( See more of my bird art here )
This is my latest mixed media experiment an abstract composition using collage, acrylic , watercolour and oil pastel . In fact , there’s even some marker and pencil in there – although the pencil might be a mistake as it is too shiny. I wonder , do you happen to know how how to apply a few sharp , precise marks over mixed media layers without using pencil ? Because I’d love to know . Anyway, I don’t really know what I’ve painted here . It was quite instinctive really . But I think it has something to do with wanting to escape from the anxiety and threat of this virus ! And it’s painted on brown paper which I bought at David Hockney’s Gallery on a trip to Saltaire ( more of that later ) .
The toned paper in this case is a rather nice brown paper. You see , I have admired other sketching friends’ drawings on brown paper sketchpads so I bought one . However, I don’t really like the effect of acrylic paint on this paper . Perhaps it was the colours I chose . But they don’t seem to have the sparkle that I like when I use white paper.
Sketching on Brown Toned Paper – the Hockney Gallery Connection
Now for the interesting par – I bought this sketchpad at David Hockney’s gallery at Saltaire . At the time , I was taking part in an Urban Sketchers crawl back in February. Maybe you remember my post all about it . Anyway , we spent the morning in a small brewery/pub and I sketched the brewing equipment in mixed media . As you can see , I used pen , pencil and watercolour . See my blog post here
To be honest , it was great fun – perhaps one day soon Urbansketchers Yorkshire will be able to meet up again .
David Hockney’s Gallery at the Saltaire World Heritage Site, Shipley , near Bradford , UK
Salt’s Mill is actually a complex of woollen mill buildings established by Titus Salt . Also , he built the model village alongside it in the 1850’s . In effect , the village included neat, tidy terraced cottages , a church and a Sunday school . And then there were allotments , a school , a park and much more alongside the river Aire . Really , it’s quite fascinating, so go and have a look if you get the chance .
The downstairs floor of Salt’s Mill shows an exhibition of earlier Hockney artwork . Do you know, David Hockney was born and brought up in Bradford , just down the road from Saltaire .The downstairs floor is also where you can find the art shop where I bought the toned paper sketchpad . And , upstairs there’s a museum room about the history of the factory . But the star of the show is the David Hockney Gallery. In fact , it now displays some recent work from the Spring exhibition of locations in East Yorkshire . This , of course , is where the artist used to live . Enough said , just have a look at the fabulous pictures !
The Coming of Spring in Yorkshire – 2011 in David Hockney’s Gallery
Our First Visit
The first time we visited the gallery was thirty years ago . And we were lucky enough to see the large drawing that David was sending by fax across from California ! The drawing was arriving piece by piece. Then the very large drawing was re-assembled from pieces of copy paper and displayed on the wall . This was revolutionary at the time . I love the way this artist always enjoys using the latest technology to create his work .
These ‘paintings ‘ are all actually prints of iPad drawings and I think they are absolutely stunning ! I hope that you have enjoyed my little exhibition review .
This acrylic painting , along with the other two I will show you, were chosen to be on display in a ‘Springtime in Yorkshire ‘ exhibition . And , this would have taken place at Skelmanthorpe Gallery featuring local artists ,in the month of April . But , of course , the exhibition was cancelled due to social isolation . This painting shows a sweet view of my allotment, complete with gardener and a row of daffodils , my favourite spring flowers .
I’ve just started working in the veg garden (a little bit late I know ) . For example , today I sowed rocket and radish seeds . Then I picked a stir fry of little shoots and things for dinner.
This painting was proving to be quite popular with my art friends and supporters and would have been for sale . But, they didn’t get to see it , nicely framed and in a gallery setting.
It’s bluebell time at the moment here in Yorkshire, UK . Of course , this makes all the little pieces of woodland around us shimmer with that heavenly blue. So perfect for a vibrant , colourful painting .
Spring Flowers in the Big Rockery – Springtime in Yorkshire
I must confess , Snowdrops in the Big Rockery is one of my favourite paintings .Probably because we often go walking in the grounds and park at Wentworth Castle Gardens and I love the place . So this painting shows the very end of winter and the beginning of spring last year. If you look carefully, you can see small clumps of snowdrop flowers, shining in the low light of late afternoon. If you would like to see more of my flower paintings , look here .
I was really looking forward to seeing all the original artwork from my fellow artists for this exhibition – Springtime in Yorkshire. Alas , it didn’t happen , but , maybe next year ! I hope that you enjoyed my exhibition review .
Sir Gawain and the Green Knight in an Exhibition of Story Pictures by Northern Fringe Artists
We had to cancel the launch of our latest exhibition this week due to the present situation. But the artwork is now on the walls of our pop-up gallery at the Ridings Centre , Wakefield. And , it’s all ready for the time when we can safely open it to friends , family and the general public . Our exhibition of story pictures.
Actually, I belong to the Northern Fringe group of artists . And this latest show is all about Yorkshire Makers inspired by Yorkshire Writers. Of course , I chose Simon Armitage from Marsden , near Huddersfield. As you can tell from my painting Simon reworked a medieval poem about the Knights of the Round Table . In doing so he created a superb piece of his own in modern English. To be honest , it was so easy to picture the scene. You see, the Green Knight is waiting for Sir Gawain to continue the fight . But I’ll not give away the ending , you’ll have to read it yourself !
Another Story Picture
As you might have heard me say before , I love painting story pictures. And it’s really good to take up challenges from groups I belong to for fresh inspiration . For example, last year I responded to an artist’s call-out on the theme of ‘ Iconic ‘. And I came up with this semi-abstracted view of a ring of standing stones in the Lake District , England . In actual fact, I found it wasn’t too difficult to imagine the stories connected to the site . Somehow just being there makes you think about the lives of the people who built this monument . And also those who looked after it all those years ago .
Happily, this one was on display last year so I can’t really complain. Anyway , that was another exhibition of story pictures.
Local Artist’s Story Pictures at the Millennium Gallery, Sheffield
I went to see a great exhibition at the Millennium Gallery, Sheffield a couple of weeks ago . And it was called Nomadic Tales by Richard Bartle , including lots of story pictures .
Honesty , we were so delighted to be able to walk round with Richard himself . Because he told us the fascinating stories behind his huge paintings . As you can see , they were painted on canvas material , just like banners . I know that Richard took inspiration from the medieval illustrations of a 14th century artist and storyteller Siyah Kalem . Interestingly, the artist used the motifs of men and demons in his paintings . In this way , he could comment on the everyday life of the nomadic tribes .He concentrated mainly on those who lived on the Silk Road in Asia .
Living in Istanbul
Richard lives part of the year in Istanbul , Turkey. And he has put his own interpretation of the life and political turmoil of the area into his story pictures .
Its a really inspiring show – try and catch it if you are in the area . So , I hope you enjoyed my exhibition review !
To tell the truth , I do enjoy painting story pictures myself . And , funnily enough , I painted the story of how the secret of making silk was smuggled out of China . Actually, it was done by a Chinese princess . To explain , she hid the silkworms and cocoons in her huge headdress , according to the legend . ( See more Story Pictures here )
My Story Pictures
This is a romantic version of history , of course . But I am also drawn to putting social comment into my pictures . In fact , I have painted a series particularly highlighting the problems of women in our modern world . Just like this one in the image below.
This one ‘ Caged Bird ‘ was painted for the exhibition ‘Vote 100 – a Century of Change ‘ for the Cooper Gallery ,Barnsleyhere .Now , the exhibition was last year and all about the suffragettes and their struggles to get the vote . Incidentally, I was lucky enough to sell this one to a lovely lady at the exhibition !
Women in Modern Society
As you can see , in this painting , I explored the idea of the restricted lives that some women lead . Subsequently , I followed this theme over quite a few paintings . And I sort of brought it to a conclusion with this last one below ‘ Women in Chaos ‘ . Here I show a woman trying to deal with all the pressures and problems modern life can throw at us .
Perhaps this is pretty heavy stuff – I suppose it is . But I like all kinds of art . And that means including the kind that really makes you think and I particularly enjoy a story picture.
Dragons , Monsters and Angels – a Ceramics Exhibition Review
We went a couple of times to our local stately home Cannon Hall quite recently to look at the “Mythical Creatures” display, taken from their famous ceramics collection.
The Dragons – Mythical Creatures at Cannon Hall
It was really very impressive. And I felt quite inspired by the fascinating dragon vase and the plate upstairs in the gallery. In fact , they were produced by the famous Victorian designer William de Morgan . He married Evelyn , whose family lived in Cannon Hall. ( She was , of course a famous artist in her own right ). Actually , this particularly caught my eye as it was a medieval depiction of a dragon . As you can see , it looks like a huge worm or serpent, with no wings. So I painted my own version, first in watercolour [ see above] and then acrylic.
I modelled my acrylic painting on this style of imaginary beast – it still took me a while to figure out how to make the body look realistic without the wings.
Some Other Mythical Creatures
I had a great time sketching the ceramic bust of the Greek god Pan that was also displayed upstairs .Surprisingly ,the porcelain piece was so delicately coloured that the flesh was quite convincing and realistic ! In fact , I really enjoyed the challenge of drawing his crown of leaves, pointed ears and horns too.
Back downstairs, you could see all the mythical creatures you could think of . And a few you never would have thought of . So , there were fairies, gods, dragons, angels, unicorns, sphinxes and other strange hybrids of human and animal origin. To be honest, I was even inspired to paint my own angel this Christmas. To see more angels, look at my December post ‘ Christmas Paintings in Acrylic on Canvas ‘ here
This is a real treasure house of plates, sculpture, vases and tableware. So I’m looking forward to the next display that the curators will, no doubt, put together.
Finally , the image above is from a sketchbook kept by one of the residents of Cannon Hall , in the past. As you can tell , the beautiful detail on these imaginary beasts is quite exceptional.
To sum up , there was loads of inspiration for creative work, if only I had the time ! I hope you enjoyed my little exhibition review .
It didn’t take us too long to put the exhibition up yesterday . Really, we were quite well organised and Mike Roberts [organiser and curator] was pretty nifty up and down the ladders.
Update – Spring Blossom in Wales – SOLD!
The Abstract Paintingsat my Solo Exhibition
I was thrilled when Mike invited me to exhibit at this fabulous gallery for the month of January. At last – an exhibition all to myself ! I was also really pleased because Mike had seen my paintings on this new website – so , quick result ! In fact , this gallery is a new idea for the Community Library and it is really well worth supporting. Just remember , the library closes on Tuesday, Saturday afternoon and Sunday.
I would really like to say a big thank you to all my family and friends for their support this morning. You know , it really means a lot. And it was great showing off my work to you all.
All for Sale at my Solo Exhibition
The exhibition is open till February 1st.
These are all original artworks , painted in acrylic on paper or canvas, with the occasional watercolour and mixed media piece. And they are all for sale, with prices ranging from £30 – £150 . Please contact me if you are interested. I’m based in the UK.
Do have a look in my gallery to see more of my acrylic paintings. There’s also a more in-depth report on my exhibition in the Exhibition section on the main menu .
Acrylic Paintings in an Art Cafe Exhibition in Rotherham
This is the first post on my new blog. That is to say , I’m just getting this new blog going. Stay tuned for more. Meanwhile , this is my Art cafe exhibition !
When I was in Rotherham for a meeting on Friday, I popped into a lovely cafe Fitzwilliam and Hughes to have a look at 2 of my paintings that they have very kindly displayed – one right next to the counter! Actually, the cafe is close to the impressive Minster and you get really good views of it through the large windows.
The Floods in South Yorkshire 2019
After enjoying good coffee and seriously good brownies, we walked back to the car parked next to the mighty River Don. Thankfully, the river has now gone down after last week’s floods. But it still seems to be flowing at a slightly alarming rate.
There was lots of lovely artwork on the walls in the café, so I felt very pleased to be included in their current exhibition. And you can see these 2 paintings along with others in my Gallery
In fact, there’s loads more of my acrylic paintings on show now in Skelmanthorpe Library Gallery – have a look at the ‘ My First Solo Exhibition ‘ post here