My New Show at Commune

New Show

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.

The Setup

In fact, it didn’t take us too long to install this, we’re getting better at it now!

Me, Looking Delighted

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!

The Silk Princess

A Walk in the Quarry Garden

A Walk in the Quarry Garden

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

The Quarry Face and a Mighty Yew Tree

Happy Christmas to you All

Christmas Eve in the Mountains

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.

The Call of the Wild

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!

The View from Woolley Edge

Christmas Fair at the Urban Commune

The Path Through the Fields

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.

Painting at the Christmas Fair

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!

Caribbean Santa and his Chief Helper at the Christmas Fair

Also, there was some fab live music (even some dancing!). So, what a great start to Christmas.

The Knight in the Chapel

Not Much Time for Painting

Australian Landscape – unfinished

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

Scribbly Drawing – unfinished

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

Beautiful Sunset in the snow

The End of a Winter’s Day

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

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

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

Ken
A Customer in the Cutler’s Arms

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

Painting with Pen and Wash

First Snow

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

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

The Cottage

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

Beautiful Dales Landscape in Gouache

A Sunny Day in the Dales

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

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

Pinks and Blues in Oil Pastel

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

Exhibition Launch at Rotherham Market

Swaledale Barn

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

The Exhibition Launch Poster
The Artists

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

Art in the Market

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

A Castle in Portugal
A Walk in Spring

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

Me at the Exhibition Launch

A Week of Arty Stuff

Mary River, Queensland

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.

In Our Gallery

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.

My Story Pictures
The Boy and the Bird

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!

A Castle in Portugal

This Week’s Art Therapy Paintings

Cells

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

Halloween Date Night

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

New Paintings, Finished at Last

On the Beach

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.

Encounter

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?

Encounter – a close up

So, there you have it – two new paintings, finished at last.

On the beach – a close up

Sketching in the Industrial Museum

The Chimney House

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

Making Files

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

Machinery

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

Progress of Mankind – New Show

The Progress of Mankind

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

Paradise

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

Hell on Earth

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

Flying Away in my New Show

Free Spirit

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

The Light at the End of the Tunnel

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

Connections

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

Looking at Free Spirit

Painting Big Pictures in Small Sketchbooks

Autumn in the Hills

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

In the Desert

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

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

A Small Folding Sketchbook

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

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

Drylands

Mini Exhibition at Urban Commune Gallery

Still Standing

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!

Urban Commune Gallery

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.

Setting Up

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.

My New Exhibition

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

The Valley

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

Leaves Falling

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

Autumn Garden

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

A New Autumn Picture

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

Realistic or Abstract – Your Choice!

Silver Surfer

Good morning everyone. I wanted to ask you a question – do you choose to paint in realistic or abstract style? Or, if you aren’t an artist yourself, which style do you prefer to look at and admire? Actually, this is what we were discussing last week at a ROAR artists meeting. Well, to be honest, it was a topic I introduced when it was my turn to show my artwork.

Silver Surfer on a Virtual Wall

Perhaps it isn’t so obvious in these images. But this started off as an intuitive abstract and morphed into a seaside themed painting. However, in no way could it be called realistic.

Pink Blossom

Now this one was intended from the outset to be realistic, it’s an Australian landscape. If you read my blog you have probably seen me write about the course I’m following by tutor Rod Moore. And this is the result of one of his tutorials using his own photo. In fact, in addition to learning loads of useful stuff, I found my painting style was really tightening up. Of course, this wasn’t due to the excellent teaching at all. Just an outcome of concentrating very hard on accuracy of detail. Anyway, for me, this is an extremely realistic style .

Showing my work at the meeting

So, realistic or abstract – which do you find yourself drawn to? Or, which do you spend most time painting? If you want see more of my abstract paintings, have a look at my gallery here – I’ve just updated it.

New Countryside Scenes in Gouache

The Red Barn

Good morning everyone. I’ve finished another of my small countryside scenes at last! Actually, I left this one lying around quite a while, it didn’t seem quite right. Thanks to Regina Shrively for the lovely reference photo, on this site here . In fact, I accentuated the red colour of the barn and put more sunshine into the weather. Just because I wanted to (artistic licence!). And I think it makes a very pleasing and colourful composition. Anyway, the most difficult bit was the sky, I still find this tricky with gouache. But, it’s fun to practise.

The Old Tree

Next I’ll show you the latest of my countryside scenes, one from my Australian photo gallery, thanks to Rod Moore. To be honest, I really enjoy doing these dry landscape scenes. Although, this one looks pretty green and luscious. Actually, I’ve never been to Australia, so I feel a little unselfconfident. However, one or two visitors to my shows have said my paintings remind them of visits to that country. So, I can’t be too far off the mark. Anyway, I enjoyed painting the variations of colour of the bark on the tree. Also, the patches of sunlight on the path, but they are more realistic in real life than in this image.

Please have a look in my gallery if you like this. All my work is for sale at reasonable prices. For example, I’m letting The Red Barn go for £30 plus shipping , it’s 11 by 7 1/2 inches, on paper, unframed and without a mount.

Two More Small Landscape Paintings

Small Barn

Good morning everyone. At last I managed to buy a decent watercolour pad! And I just had to paint two small landscape paintings to try it out! To be honest, I discarded the first two attempts. Because I had literally forgotten how to use the paint on good paper Actually, the old paper was not cheap at all, and strangely poor quality for this paint. Anyway, after my little practice, I really enjoyed creating pools of colour, without any effort. The paper is delicious!

By the way, this is another of those small barns in the Yorkshire Dales . And this time I have painted a backdrop of sunlit hills. Perhaps you can smell the sweet scent of warm grass, like me.

Poppy Time

Well, here is the second of my small landscape paintings, 9 by 7 ins. And, I’m definitely still experimenting here. But, I’m quite satisfied with it, especially because I put the composition together from a couple of photos and my imagination. And it’s a lovely colourful scene. However, I think I could improve on the scale and size of the flowers. In fact, that’s something I find tricky in a made-up scene like this. Of course, the only way to improve is practice, and, luckily, I enjoy painting so much, so, no problem!

By the way, all my artwork is for sale at reasonable prices. So, go to the Contact Me page, if you see anything you like. And send me an email.