Gouache Painting of a Barn
Good morning everyone. I’m really pleased with this gouache painting of a barn – it was half finished for a couple of weeks. And, I was a bit nervous to add details to the first version, not wanting to spoil it! Actually, I don’t like to keep paintings hanging on because it’s easy to lose the thread. In particular, with this one, I liked the loose way I had sketched out the field. And I didn’t want to loose the fresh, rhythmic movement of the grasses and so on. So, added minimal detail to those areas. However, I deliberately put the barn into sharp focus as it’s the main idea in the picture. And I want the viewer’s eye to be drawn to it. Hopefully I have succeeded in this to some extent. By the way, gouache paint seems to be the perfect medium for detail.
Anyway, when I think about it, I have done another painting of a barn recently. And I do think it’s a nice subject which allows me to concentrate on a small area of landscape. Normally, left to my own devices, I try to paint a wide panoramic view. So this makes a very pleasant change.
New Show for Arts Week
Hi everyone. I know it’s been a longish time since I posted. But I’ve got two good excuses – I’ve been very busy with arty stuff. And there are still problems with my website. Anyway, this image shows some of my paintings in the new show that we have installed at the lovely Generations Cafe Bar. And it’s for the arts week. Happily, I was invited to take part in the Arts Week in Penistone, a little town near where I live. And we have created a High Street Gallery, so you can see our art in shops, windows and cafes etc.
As you can see, there’s lots going on. And I was so pleased to be allocated a busy, welcoming cafe right in the middle of the art walk for my new show.
Actually, this one is all about the wool industry here in Yorkshire, UK. And I was so pleased to have the opportunity to show this painting again for the arts week.
Finally, you might remember this one from recently, when I had it displayed in the fab Urban Commune Gallery in Wakefield. That’s all for now and I’ll show you even more soon!
My New Show at Commune
Good morning everyone. Well, I’m back for now! This is my new show. But I’m still struggling with my website. Incidentally, if you’re wondering who madpainter is, it’s me!
Anyway, I’ve been very busy in the meantime and this image shows my new show at The Urban Commune. I love the place, and I was thrilled for the opportunity to show my paintings on canvas in this gallery.
In fact, it didn’t take us too long to install this, we’re getting better at it now!
To be honest, I’ve been very busy recently with my arty stuff. But when opportunities come up, I can’t say no! For example, this morning we went to suss out a lovely cafe to display my work in. I can’t wait to set it up! More of that later.
Finally, if I were to chose a favourite painting in my new show, it would be this one . The Silk Princess. To be honest, I really would like to refer you to another post which tells the backstory of this acrylic painting. However, I can’t do that at the moment. Here’s hoping that things will only get better!
A Walk in the Quarry Garden
Good morning everyone. A couple of days ago we went for a walk in Brodsworth Hall gardens. They have evolved over the years, being brought gradually back to their Victorian splendour. And I particularly love this section, the quarry garden. The day was quite cold and the gardeners had been busy planting winter bedding which looked very healthy. I have painted just here a few times en plein air. But quick watercolour sketches don’t seem to be enough, so, on this occasion I took a few photos. Then I invented a scene and painted it in gouache at home, a small work only 8 by 11 inches.
Happy Christmas to you All
Good morning everyone. This is the ‘Happy Christmas’ acrylic painting I chose for my card this year. Actually, I didn’t think it printed out so well, but friends and family seemed to like it! Perhaps as artists we are sometimes too critical of our own work. Obviously a little bit of objectivity about our own work is helpful. But I do know a few amateur artists who have no confidence at all and that can be toxic. Anyway, I enjoyed painting the cool colours of the ice and snow, contrasted with the warm brown and gold of the cottage.
I don’t think I’ve posted this before, something from a few years ago. In fact, at that time I had a great tutor. And I learnt such a lot in the years I went to Simon’s class. As you can tell by this painting, which I would have struggled to do on my own then.
Finally, this is an on the spot watercolour sketch of the snow of last year’s winter. And, I couldn’t call it ‘plein air’ because we were sitting in the car! Happy Christmas everyone and keep on painting!
Christmas Fair at the Urban Commune
Good morning everyone. I’ll just make this a short post because I’m not sure whether it will succeed. In fact, I’m having loads of trouble with my blog and I apologise if I don’t see and like your posts. Actually, I’m very limited with what I can do, with no hope of any progress until the beginning of January. Anyway, we went to the Christmas fair at Urban Commune and, for the first time ever, I had a stall! And this is a gouache painting that I finished while I was minding the stall.
As you can see, I had a great time – met some lovely people and connected with new artists. I even got a chocolate sweet from Caribbean Santa!
Also, there was some fab live music (even some dancing!). So, what a great start to Christmas.
Not Much Time for Painting
Good morning everyone. Well, the title says it all – I’ve not much time for painting at the moment. So I’ll just show you my works in progress. For example, I’ve spent about an hour and a quarter so far on this Australian landscape. Perhaps another 30 minutes will complete it and it’s 7by 9 inches, gouache on paper. Note to self: I must dull down the colours a bit more!
Please don’t laugh (yet!) This was done very quickly at a charcoal drawing workshop. And I’ll tell you all about it later, in my next post. Oh, by the way, this was drawn in very low light, in order to cast strong shadows on the face. So, that’s another excuse! Anyway, I’ll show you both of these when they are finished.
Beautiful Sunset in the snow
Good morning everyone. This is my latest little gouache landscape, and, I feel cold just looking at it! Actually, I’m quite pleased with this one because the original free reference photo showed an overcast day. But I wanted to paint a beautiful sunset, and this is the result. In fact, that’s the first time I have changed the weather and time of day so completely. Anyway, I improvised ok for the sky, but I overdid the bright reflections on the water at first. However, gouache paint will help you to correct mistakes, but you only get one attempt! After that, it’s all downhill! At any rate, that’s how it seems to me!
Well, as I painted I thought about this beautiful sunset as a possible for next year’s Christmas card, what do you think? I find it less stressful to design a card and enjoy painting something seasonal. And then, use one I did the previous year for cards – it’s nice stress free method.
On a very different note, last night I went sketching with my Rotherham Roar artists group. And we went to an old pub, a listed building with tiles and stained glass panels. Also ornate glass lampshades and an open fire. So, we sat together quite contentedly and sketched each other sketching. Plus, any unsuspecting customers who kept still enough! To be honest, I am a bit out of practice in figure drawing, but it was all good fun.
Incidentally, did you spot the name on the window? If you want to see more quick, figure sketches, see here.
Painting with Pen and Wash
Good morning everyone. I painted this scene in a pen and wash workshop last week. And we invited Gary, one of our favourite tutors, to art society to work with us. Also to show us some pen and watercolour techniques. Actually, it was a very enjoyable evening and everyone was pleased with their own version of this snow scene. After a quick pencil sketch of the main shapes, we tried to ink the lines in, using sketchy, gestural marks. Then, for me, the difficult part, using two colours only and being very restrained with the paint brush! Honestly, I was dying to pile on more and more texture and detail. But, I’m really glad I followed Gary’s instructions.
And, I took away from this workshop the idea that sometimes less is definitely more! However, as our tutor explained, this is really a basic scene – you can add more style to your liking. Preferably after learning the method. By the way, we also added more pen marks at this point if we felt we needed them. Plus a few dabs of white gouache for snow on the trees.
Perhaps you might be interested to see this pen and wash painting I did a few years ago. In fact, I did this after another of Gary’s workshops on pen and wash, I felt so inspired that I painted a few more. Incidentally, in this picture, the pencil sketch and watercolour come first. Then detail is added later in pen, again trying not to overdo things. And, here is a post showing how I use this technique when I’m painting in plein air.
Beautiful Dales Landscape in Gouache
Good morning everyone. Here’s another beautiful Dales landscape in gouache, Yorkshire Dales, that is. Actually, this is just a quick post today, to keep you all updated on the artwork I have finished. And I really enjoyed painting the luscious foliage in this sunlit view. To be honest, it reminds me of many walks that we did in this part of the world. Because we have returned to this delightful place over many years, camping and staying in youth hostels. And, now, renting cottages. In fact, the area is not really so big, but each small area is very distinctive and the landscape is quite varied.
As you can see, this view is of the valley bottom, but still quite high up. Of course, the hills are not far away and the view is, in my eyes, very pleasing. At times, the weather can be challenging, even in summer. However, in my painting you can almost feel the heat rising from the grass. Also, in my imagination, I can hear the insects busily buzzing around. Incidentally, the last walk we did in Wharfedale this summer was in sun till halfway round. Then hailstones and heavy rain for the other half! But, that’s part of the charm, I suppose. Anyway, in my opinion, you can have a beautiful Dales landscape in any weather.
Now this is something quite different, a quick intuitive abstract made in marker pen, oil pastel and pencil. And it took me about three sessions of ten minutes each while I was doing chores. And, I felt a great deal better when I finished it! How satisfying to do some art therapy in snatched moments of time. As you may know, if you read my blog. I do rely upon these abstract sketches to cheer me up. See another post here for more examples of occasions when I only had time for sketches.
Exhibition Launch at Rotherham Market
Good morning everyone. We had our exhibition launch on Saturday morning and there was work by thirteen artists on display. And this was the first time Rotherham Roar had a group show in a long while. Well, we had a great party, had coffee and donuts too! Happily, I met up with old friends and made some new ones.
And this all took place in a unit at Rotherham market. In fact, it was an interesting mix of paintings in watercolour, gouache, acrylic and oil. Also, there were prints, textile art, digital prints, ceramics and sculptures. Really, something for everyone!
Actually, I entered three gouache paintings into the show, the one at the top of the post ‘Swaledale Barn’ and these two as well.
To be honest, it’s also quite a while since I went to a meeting where we could chat and relax. (See this post here for a report of my own solo show in our HQ gallery a while ago) And, more importantly, share ideas, plan projects and show our work to fellow artists. So, I came home with my head full of ideas, plans and a lovely feeling of encouragement. My idea of heaven!
A Week of Arty Stuff
Good morning everyone. Well, the title says it all – a week of arty stuff! For example, today I went to two galleries in Wakefield where some of my work is on display. And I was particularly pleased to see this one – Mary River, Queensland, on show with two other Australian landscapes. Actually, we took them down from a pop-up exhibition at another gallery. And now they are on show in our Northern Fringe Gallery artists display space in the Ridings Shopping Centre.
Then we went to the lovely volunteer led Urban Commune Gallery in another part of town, to help out a bit and show support. Actually, I have two mini displays on show at the moment , see this post here. And it’s a real pleasure to be part of a group of artists, dedicated to the promotion of art in the community.
Finally, I’ll just say that tomorrow I’ll be going to the launch of the Rotherham Roar exhibition in the indoor market. And I’m really looking forward to meeting my fellow artists and chatting to interested members of the public. More arty stuff. After all, that’s what it is all about!
This Week’s Art Therapy Paintings
Good morning everyone. This is just a quick catchup post of my art therapy paintings this week. Well. that’s what my art sometimes feels like, when my life is busy and demanding. But, I’m really glad that I can turn to creating art to calm my nerves. Honestly, I wouldn’t be without it! Anyway, this painting is probably a portrait of all the different thoughts taking up space in my head. And, this time, instead of editing out some of the busyness and explosions of colour, I left everything in. Normally, I keep an eye on the design and overall shape of the composition. And prune back quite a lot to streamline it. So, here is the un- edited version and it means more to me now, but I might feel differently tomorrow.
And, just for a bit of fun, here is my Halloween painting, a bit late, I know. However, this is it, I tried hard to make it look scary. But me and my art buddies have decided to call it ‘Halloween Date Night’. (Not really one of my art therapy paintings, but, a great pleasure to paint)
New Paintings, Finished at Last
Good morning everyone. I’d like to show you these two new paintings, finished at last! Firstly, this beautiful Mediterranean scene, based on a photo from Landscape Reference Photos for Artists, here , by Penny Wohler – Stone. And this was such a pleasure to paint! In addition, gouache paint seems made for a scene which cries out for delicious textures and vibrant colours. Of course, this painting also fits in with my theme of hot, dry landscape and Australian scenes. (See here ) In fact, it’s turning into a collection now! To be honest, I couldn’t really see the point of doing a series before. But this one seems to have grown itself! Now I’ll have to think about displaying it together somewhere. Anyway, I’ll just paint a few more first.
Secondly, a completely different intuitive abstract in watercolour, pencil and marker pens. Actually, I found this little painting when I was tidying up some sketchbooks. And, I remember trying out a tip about keeping watercolours moist – I think I proved here that it does work. Because, as you can see, the paint didn’t need much encouragement to wander across the paper nicely. So, I was pleased with it, and when it was dry, I stashed it away.
Anyway, I looked at it from all angles and embellished it with patterns and markings. Then I noticed something in it that suggested a face to face composition – I wonder if you can see it too?
So, there you have it – two new paintings, finished at last.
Sketching in the Industrial Museum
Good morning everyone. A few weeks back I went out for the day with Urban Sketchers Yorkshire. And we went sketching in the industrial museum at Kelham Island in Sheffield, UK. Actually, the name is slightly misleading because it is an old preserved industrial area in the city centre. Because it is alongside the River Don and some of the water is diverted to power a mill, a small area becomes an island! Now, as well as the museum in an old electricity generating station for city trams, there lots of lovely buildings. To be honest, they are now blocks of flats and pubs and so on. But still beautifully restored and picturesque.
This is an old drawing on display in Kelham Island Industrial Museum. And it shows the sort of work which was carried out in the small shops typical of the area. For example, making tools, in this case metal files. So, I spent an hour or two wandering around the interesting exhibits, looking for inspiration. As I am at present painting industrial subjects for our Northern Fringe Gallery exhibition, see this post here.
Anyway, this is a quick pencil abstract I did later, after spending some time making working drawings in a workshop. In fact, it was an enterprise where the men cut out shapes from sheets of steel, for machinery parts. However, I’m still gathering ideas for a finished painting for our show. If you keep reading this blog I’ll post as soon as it’s finished.
Progress of Mankind – New Show
Good morning everyone. This is my new show. And I was delighted to see my five part series ‘ The Progress of Mankind’ displayed at Urban Commune gallery in Wakefield. In fact, I had dreamed of seeing it like this all through the pandemic when I painted it. Of course, I didn’t see it as a story when I painted the first piece ‘Paradise’.
As I painted this intuitive abstract, I realised it was an attempt to portray an idyllic world, completely unspoiled by man. If you look closely, you can spot hints of a bird, an insect, foliage and flowers.
Maybe this piece needs no explanation, it’s a scene of pollution and destruction on an overheated planet. Perhaps you can feel the heat from the monstrous red sun and smell the toxic smoke.
Flying Away in my New Show
Actually, I created this acrylic painting ‘Free Spirit’ out of my subconscious. Because I finished it completely and then afterwards understood its significance. If I can explain, I painted my dream of floating away from all the worry and trouble, just like a kite in the sky.
Now this one is the only one of the series that was partly planned. Really a bit later on when we were aware of vaccines being developed. So I thought of a painting trying to show the feeling of seeing a light at the end of the tunnel. And I decided to use the figure of a young man to represent the human race, naked and vulnerable.
Finally, the last part of my story of my new show – Connections and it’s all about family and friends. Because, this is what I learned during the pandemic, the importance of connections with people. In effect, I painted this without a plan. And, I see here an abstract portrait of me and my nearest and dearest. So, that’s how this work came about and what it means to me. If you like, you could see more of my Story Pictures here.
Painting Big Pictures in Small Sketchbooks
Good morning everyone. Today I’d like to show you how I have been painting big pictures in small sketchbooks. Well, they are fairly small, 7 by 5 inches but the pictures I try to cram into them are definitely big! Actually, it seems to be a habit I can’t break. Whenever I pick up a small sketchbook, either sketching outside or from a photo, I paint everything! That is to say, I’m not very good at zooming in and choosing a small, neat subject.
However, I do prefer to finish the painting in one session en plein air, or quite quickly if I’m at home. Of course, this is do-able with a little piece of paper. And it’s also less daunting if I’m short of time and feel a desperate need to create! If you want to see another dryland painting, see here.
Anyway, I have upgraded my watercolour paper now. In addition, I have learned to keep my paints more moist. So, now I’ll turn my attention to my worn out, scrubby brushes. Then, I’ll not be able to blame my tools any more!
Finally, this is one of two folding sketchbooks that my friend gave me (the other one is even tinier!). So, now I will be able to do more painting big pictures in small sketchbooks!
I do paint bigger pictures too, and they are all for sale! See more landscapes in my gallery here. And email me for more details.
Mini Exhibition at Urban Commune Gallery
Good morning everyone. I’d love to show you my new mini exhibition at the Urban Commune Gallery in Wakefield, UK, see here . Well, it’s a small exhibition really over two panels in this gorgeous new Gallery, but it feels a lot bigger!
Actually, the commune was founded by a group of artists for the purpose of encouraging creativity in the community. And also to provide a place for local artists to show their work. In addition, they are partnered with the charity Uthink, dedicated to supporting young people in poverty. What a brilliant idea! So, I had to be a part of this and I booked some space for my new mini exhibition.
By the way, it didn’t take us long to set up. Then it was time for a cup of coffee and a look around at all the fab work on the walls and on the shelves. And chat with the artist volunteers who make all this possible.
Perhaps you have seen some of this work before, if you read my blog. So, I’ll just feature this one – take a closer look at my watercolour portrait of a valley in the Yorkshire Dales
Anyway, that’s all about this show, but I’m preparing another in this gallery. And I think it will look good, displayed the way I’ve dreamed of, so, watch this space! If you want to see more of my landscape paintings, have a look at my gallery here.
The Beautiful Colours of Autumn
Good morning everyone. I have felt so inspired lately by the beautiful colours of autumn and I wanted to show you my latest gouache painting. Actually, we were working on the theme of The Colours of Autumn at Art Society this week. So, I decided to do an impressionistic design of leaves drifting to the ground, whilst still keeping their glorious colours. Of course, these colours only last a short while, so, enjoy them while you can. Perhaps you can tell that this little painting is in gouache. Because the creamy texture and soft blending are typical of this medium. Incidentally, can you spot the gold-coloured paint on the two brown leaves? If you would like to see the very. very simple, short video I made about this painting, look here.
Maybe you have seen this plein air watercolour before? In fact, I painted this whilst sitting in my son’s garden last year. And, I particularly wanted to capture the vibrant copper leaves of the Virginia Creeper. Happy Days, sitting on the patio, painting, coffee and cake and good company! Or, here are some more of my happy memories from the year before. When we were admiring the colours of the pumpkin harvest in Wortley Hall gardens, in this post here .
Well, this is just a glimpse of an acrylic painting I started yesterday, based on a fabulous photo by Viktoria Stockmal from Landscape Reference Photos for Artists. And I’ll show you the progress as I go along, I haven’t painted in acrylic for a while. And I’m really enjoying being creative in this simply gorgeous season of the year.