Yorkshire Writers Exhibition in Progress

Top Withens

Good morning everyone. This Saturday I took my big acrylic painting to our gallery at the Ridings centre in Wakefield. Because we are getting our show ready for the 29th September – Yorkshire Makers Inspired by Yorkshire Writers. Perhaps you remember that we started this project in 2019, but the pandemic stopped it in its tracks, with only half of the artwork in the gallery.

My First Painting for our Yorkshire Writers Exhibition

The Green Man Waiting for Sir Gawain at the Doorway of his Green Church

As you can see, here is my first piece for our current Northern Fringe Gallery exhibition and you can read all about it here. Actually, we do have super themes for our exhibitions – have a look at my Exhibitions page here. And you will see some of the work I did for the Northern Fringe Gallery exhibitions.

Top Withens

Anyway, just a word of explanation about this painting in which I felt inspired by poet Ted Hughes. In fact, I like many of his poems but I really loved the one entitled ‘Wuthering Heights’. And this location, Top Withens, is a ruined farmhouse on the Pennine moors near Haworth in West Yorkshire. Because it is presumed to be the setting for Emily Bronte’s novel Wuthering Heights, it’s quite a famous spot. Well, Ted Hughes and his wife, the American poet Sylvia Plath lived nearby. And they hired a local guide to take them to the house. Both poets wrote a poem about the moving experience and I chose Ted’s piece. Here he describes the wild, now abandoned spot where the story of Cathy and Heathcliff took place. As well as his wife’s reaction to the experience. You can see both poems here.

Top Withens – a closeup

Finally, here’s a closeup so you can see the ghostly figure in the window, as described in the poem.

We are launching this exhibition 29th September at the Ridings, then it moves on to Mirfield Creative Arts Hub in October. And, I must admit that I just love being involved in art projects!

Lonely Farm in the Dales

A Lonely Farm in the Dales

Good morning everyone. I’ve just finished this acrylic painting of a lonely farm and I’m so pleased! Because it was really bugging me, and I couldn’t work on it until I came back from my short break. Incidentally, I wonder if you feel the same way when you have some unfinished work lying around? As I recall, I read somewhere that a painting isn’t finished until it stops speaking to you. And I think that pretty much describes the situation for me. Anyway, that conversation is now over, so I can start planning my next big painting.

The Lonely Farm on the Dales

However, this painting is loosely based on a photo I took a couple of years ago. And I vaguely remember the walk – it was limestone country in the dales. To be honest, I can’t be sure whether it was in Derbyshire or the Yorkshire Dales. But, in any case, the walking was gentle and we passed a few settlements like this. In fact, these buildings are probably barns, and we had probably just walked past the house and outbuildings. Possibly further down this hill, in a more sheltered location.

Lonely Farm in the Dales- a closeup

Actually, the thing I remember most about the walk was the quiet peaceful feeling of the place. And the intense green of the grass. Although these buildings are modern barns, I still remember the sense of timeless farming of the land. And, of course, walking in the footsteps of many people from the past on these ancient paths.

Finally, I can see with hindsight that this composition was quite influenced by pieces I have done in my online course. Although, obviously, the location is very different! See one of my Australian landscapes here.

All my artwork is for sale at reasonable prices. Please go to my Contact Me page and email me for more details. It really is Affordable Art!

Morning Sunshine on the Crags

The Crags

Good morning everyone. I suddenly realised that I hadn’t shown you my latest Australian landscape. Actually, I finished Morning Sunshine on the Crags a couple of weeks ago. But my life is quite busy just now and it slipped through the net. However, I like to use this blog as a record of my painting life so I had to find a space for it.

Apparently this location is Kenilworth Bluff, somewhere in Australia, but that’s all I know! If you know more, please tell me. Anyway, I sort of projected my own story on to it. And I imagined myself going out for an early morning walk across the sun burned grass of the fields. Obviously, this is where the path enters the cool inviting trees and then on to the slopes.

The Path into the woods

As you can see, the rocky crags sparkle in the sunshine – the view must be spectacular from up there. Unfortunately though, I must turn back, go home and get started on my chores. So, perhaps another day I’ll walk up to the tops.

Morning Sunshine on the Crags

That’s it for today – all of my artwork is for sale. Just go to my Contact Me page here for enquiries. Of course, there are lots more landscapes with stories in my Gallery here.

Our Solstice Exhibition Now On

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

Egyptian Temple

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!

Julie Massie
Nicky Scott-Francis

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.

Summer Painting for Sheffield Exhibition

Egyptian Temple

Good morning everyone. Well, ok, I have shown you this gouache painting before. But, I am really pleased with myself because I entered it in a Summer painting open call. And Fronteer Gallery in Sheffield, UK accepted it! Then they will actually hang it on a wall, for two weeks in June. Somehow, I can’t quite believe it will really happen, but I’m keeping my fingers crossed.

My Summer Painting – All Framed and Ready

Back from the Framer’s

Of course, we are planning a launch, but it will all depend on government regulations and infection rates. But, I can look forward to it anyway. Honestly, it feels so good to be involved in shows and sketch trips again.

In fact, Fronteer Gallery opened up just before the pandemic and they’ve worked very hard to keep it open. To be honest, I really enjoy being able to support a gallery like theirs. Because they are giving us, the ‘little’ artists, a chance to show work.

The Goddess Isis

Finally, I have created lots of Egyptian themed paintings over the past two years. And, I chose this for my favourite, which I based on a photo of a wall decoration in a tomb. Another hot, summer painting. Just like this one here, but in quite a different interpretation.

I sell all my work at reasonable prices. If you see anything you like, go to the Contact Me page and send me an email to find out the details – there’s no obligation to buy!

Stories of Strong Women in Acrylic

A symbolic view of a woman with wings confined in a cage, ready to break free. one of my strong women.
The Caged Bird

Good morning everyone. Today I’d like to delve into the archive and show you some of my paintings of strong women. These are from a couple of years ago. And as I looked at loads of images, I realised that I quite often work on themes, sometimes without really being aware. Actually, I did this painting ‘The Caged Bird’ for an exhibition ‘Vote 100 – A Century of Change?’ . And it was to mark the one hundredth anniversary of votes for women in the UK. Honestly, I was so thrilled to be included in the show (and even more thrilled when it sold!) But then the curator asked me for more images of women for another exhibition. And I realized how many paintings and drawings I had on this theme of strong, brave women.

Purple, Green and White – the Colours of Strong Women

Incidentally, in this painting I wanted to show how the suffragettes broke free of a confined, stifling life. And then they led the way for all women to claim equal rights. Of course, this was just the beginning of female emancipation here in Britain. As you might have noticed, she is reaching out to a flower painted in the suffragette colours of purple, green and white. Just before she breaks out of the cage. Apologies for the poor image – I have since thrown that camera away!

The Problems of Modern Life

A mixed media painting of a modern woman struggling with the problems in her life - one of my strong women.
Woman Fighting Chaos

Finally, this is a mixed media piece, including oil pastel, chalk pastel, acrylic and ink. And I created it in response to a callout for a show about women facing the problems of modern life. In fact, I did the basic drawing at Life Drawing class – back in the day! Oh how far away that time seems now! Anyway, I found this model very inspiring and I made a few works based on her really dynamic poses. But, perhaps I’ll do another post with those pieces, plus more paintings of strong women. (You could look at Gallery – People for a sneak preview) Watch this space!

New Beginnings – a Story Picture

A fantasy scene of a lonely figure  about to set off on a new path, leaving her old life behind for new beginnings.  An acrylic painting.
A Different Path

Good morning everyone. Well, I thought I would show you this story picture all about new beginnings. Actually, the reason why I held back was that I never really felt that I had finished it. Just to wind back a bit, I went into this project quite blindly. To be honest, for the first time ever, I painted this narrative painting quite intuitively. And all I knew was that I wanted to do something with the idea of making a new start. Probably I started thinking about this after hearing stuff on the radio about the recovery from the pandemic . Apparently, this might be an ideal time to rethink the way we run our world.

How to Create a Story Picture on New Beginnings (Badly !)

Firstly, I sketched in a lonely figure and then I imagined surroundings that don’t quite look familiar. Next, I added a moody sky to set a slightly threatening atmosphere.Then I painted various elements like luxuriant plants, a stony path and a mysterious castle. Finally, I changed everything around, including the type of foliage, the sky and the colour scheme! In fact, I wouldn’t recommend this process at all!

An earlier version of the story picture with a stronger, moodier atmosphere.  New  Beginnings for this young woman.
A Different Path – one of the earlier versions

Unfortunately, I didn’t manage to get photos of all the different attempts I made to improve the composition. And I painted them all in acrylic paint on the same tired old piece of paper! Well, at least I taught myself to understand the importance of planning a complex composition in advance. Even if I chose the hard way to learn!

What’s the Story?

A Different Path – a closeup

Anyway, I eventually chose this version, I don’t think I could give the paper any more punishment! But, all the time I was painting I was thinking of fresh starts and a chance to break out of the old rut. And, I wonder if other people are having the same thoughts as me right now. So, what do you think this woman’s story is?

Incidentally, I have some other interesting story pictures in my Gallery here. For example, you might like to see the enigmatic Silk Princess here or the Green Knight in his rocky church here .

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!

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 !

Mixed Media – Raindrops and Hailstones

An abstract mixed media design in blues and greys , representing raindrops and hailstones falling on to the window  .
Raindrops and Hailstones

This mixed media piece was inspired by the relentless rainy weather we had a couple of weeks ago – the raindrops splashed across the glass of the windowpanes in different patterns according to the direction of the wind . Sometimes they just landed softly and trickled down – sometimes they lashed across diagonally and , as in this art journal piece , the hailstones fell at the same time ! What strange summer weather .

Watercolour, pencil and coloured pencil – mixed media

Hailstones – an abstract interpretation

I tried to capture the subdued , melancholy feeling of a drenched world by using soft blues and greys . The gestural marks and shapes I made were at first soft and rounded, but , as the storm became more intense , I drew harder , stronger straight lines . Finally , I added my abstract interpretation of hailstones , making each one different. I don’t know if this is scientifically correct , but it’s how I imagined them – a bit like snowflakes . The hailstones are so fierce as they arrive but they only last a short while and then they quickly melt . Then the sun came nearer to a gap in the clouds and a few rays of orange light filtered through . All this may or may not be obvious when you look at the painting, but it was going through my mind as I created it . Anyway , I hope you like my weather picture : Raindrops and Hailstones.

Raindrops and Hailstones – in mixed media

I hope I have given you a brief insight into the mind of an artist . You can see more abstract compositions in blue shades in my Gallery – Abstracts here

Did you know ?

If you click on the title of any post until it is underlined , you can see the likes and comments and perhaps add your own ! And I will have a better idea of how many visitors are reading this blog .

P.S Have a look at the new gallery of my work in the sidebar of the blog. I shall keep this up to date and , remember , all of my work is for sale at affordable prices.

An Old Acrylic Painting Repainted

Abstract composition in pink and Green, a woman staring out through her window. Atmosphere all dreamy and mysterious.
Woman at the Window- acrylic on paper

You might think that I created this acrylic abstract composition during Lockdown this year . I say that because it definitely would fit the theme of loneliness and isolation . In fact , I have painted a few with similar themes recently . Perhaps I’ll gather them together into a post one day soon . Anyway , I did this as part of a series last year on the problems of modern life as a woman ( but that’s another story ). And , what I really wanted to talk about was the way this came about . It is an old acrylic painting repainted !

Old Acrylic Painting – Pink and Green Abstract

An old acrylic painting . an abstract composition in pink and green
Pink and Green Abstract

This is how it began ! In fact , this old acrylic painting was my very first proper abstract ever – painted for an on-line group on Facebook. It did get quite a few likes , but I was not really very pleased with it . So I decided to try to create another painting out of it , using the same colour palette and some of the same shapes . Of course , I can achieve this much more easily with acrylic paint than with watercolour or mixed media . Because the paint has great covering capacity .

Halfway

This is the halfway stage – the composition is just beginning to emerge. Then I started thinking about the way some women today are not allowed to move around freely . And this image of someone staring wistfully outside definitely seemed to fit my theme .

A woman wistfully looking out of the window . Semi abstract style , repainted over an old acrylic painting .
Woman at the Window

I hope you enjoyed reading about how I used one canvas to create another by repurposing an old acrylic painting . It was an interesting experiment . If you did find it interesting , there is another post I wrote not too long ago, where I describe the same process . Just click on the link here . And you can see more pictures about Modern Woman in my Gallery-People here .

Story Pictures

Do you like looking at Story Pictures ? I love creating them . Some people like to have the explanation to think about , some prefer to make up their own idea of what the painting is about . What do you think ?

All my one-of-a-kind artwork is available at reasonable prices. Contact me by email for further details , using the form on the Contact page .

The Light at the End of the Tunnel – acrylic painting

Hope -The Progress of Mankind , Part 4

We see the back of a naked figure standing in a lush forest  , looking out towards a beautiful green light in the distance - in acrylic . Is this the light at the end of the tunnel ?
Light at the End of the Tunnel – acrylic painting

I painted this picture back in April – I was just longing for some relief from the worry and grief I felt at the height of the pandemic. I’ve waited quite a long while before showing it but perhaps now is the time? The Light at the End of the Tunnel -is there some now ?

Artist’s Inspiration for ‘The Light at the End of the Tunnel ‘

The idea for the painting came to me quite instinctively . I was walking through a small park , enjoying looking at the tree blossom and the new growth on all the plants . And I suddenly thought about how vulnerable we are to illness or viruses . So I decided that the figure should be naked to symbolise the defenceless feelings a lot of us have had , during this pandemic . I also pictured him in luxuriant foliage . I was , no doubt , influenced by the scene in the garden I was walking through !

Light at the End of the Tunnel – acrylic painting

I think I was gradually working towards this idea . Just have a look at this mixed media journal page I created in March this year , to cheer myself up. I called it ‘ A Brighter Day ‘ It was very intuitive , but afterwards I realised it was a picture of hope , breaking through like a glorious sunrise .

A semi-abstract view of light seen through the trees - mixed media  blue and orange  . Is this the light at the end of the tunnel ?
A Brighter Dayin acrylic

My ‘ Progress of Mankind ‘ Series

And the other stage in the process was , of course , my ‘Paradise ‘ painting . Here I portrayed the Earth as a wonderful , unspoilt world in the trilogy that I created for a commission proposal earlier this year.

A semi abstract acrylic painting of a lush jungle with insects and birds - pink  , green and golden yellow .
Paradise

You could say that ‘ Paradise ‘ was Part 1 , then ‘ Hell on Earth ‘ Part 2 came next , followed by ‘ Free Spirit ‘Part 3 . You can see the whole story in this post here . But now I can see that ‘Light at the End of the Tunnel ‘ Part 4 comes next in the story . I’ll show you Part 5 in a little while . None of this was planned . But I realise , with hindsight , that my intuitive inspiration was steadily moving through these past events and helping me to cope . I wonder if anyone else has noticed any effects on their art practice ?

Light at the End of the Tunnel – acrylic on canvas .

Art for Sale – Coffee and Cake

Picture of the Month

 This is an abstract composition with the figure of a young woman emerging from the background, sitting in  a cafe with coffee and cake  .
Coffee and Cake

I thought I’d just take this opportunity to showcase an acrylic painting once a month and offer it to you at a reduced price – art for sale ! You see , I have done quite a lot of artwork over the years . And , as a result , there are paintings everywhere in the house , just waiting for a new home to go to !

Anyway , this is an acrylic painting on paper , sized 16 by 12 inches . It’s unframed , without a mount , and sold as you see it . The colours are just very slightly brighter in real life . My camera didn’t pick up the vibrancy and richness of the colours, I’m afraid .

I painted it last summer when I was exploring the technique of painting over an existing finished painting . I created a semi-abstract composition using the same colour palette and atmosphere, if you like .Unfortunately , I didn’t keep a record of the original acrylic painting in this case ( see another example of this technique here )

As you can see , I was very interested in all the wooden objects in the cafe . For example , the window frames , the spokes of the chairs , the panelling and the floor boards. I also concentrated on the textures of the pretty tablecloth and the woman’s pink fluffy sweater . I expect you have already spotted the cup and the dainty , iced cake !

Coffee and Cake – a detail

Art for Sale

Would this painting look good in your kitchen ? Or perhaps in your lounge , something intriguing to look at as you enjoy a cup of coffee and a delicious cake or pastry . I wonder what she is thinking about ? You could choose a frame to match your own decor . I’m offering it at the bargain price of £40 including shipping – I’m based in the UK . Please contact me for more details by sending an email on the Contact page here .

Coffee and Cake – acrylic on paper

A Triptych of Acrylic Paintings

The Progress of Mankind

All now be revealed ! You may remember , a few posts ago , I showed you two large , abstract canvases which formed part of a series of three . A triptych of acrylic paintings Here, as promised , is the final painting .

A turquoise blue kite , soaring free into a glorious,  golden sky .This is the third canvas in the triptych of acrylic paintings
Free Spirit

I entered these three large canvases as a proposal for a commission at a local stately home, to be displayed in the private chapel , inside the big house. Unfortunately, I was not successful on this occasion , but I was really inspired by the idea and I thoroughly enjoyed the process of entering.

Part One of the Triptych of Acrylic Paintings

I was reflecting on the state of our modern world , right at the beginning of the lockdown . So I thought about the idyllic world mankind lived in , before industrialisation . And I painted this intuitive abstract to show an unspoiled planet , visualized as a sort of tropical paradise. For more details and close-ups of this painting , see here

Swirling shapes in pink green and yellow - a lush jungle paradise. Part one of the triptych of acrylic paintings.
Paradise

The next chapter in the story also came easily to me .I must have been feeling quite pessimistic and I portrayed a burnt-out , desolate world with a huge , red sun Perhaps there are hints of global warming here ?

Hell on Earth

I suppose I must have been thinking about the excessive consumption and the way modern civilisation exhausts the Earth’s resources. I showed this painting in a virtual exhibition on Instagram – see @rotherhamroar . It’s our Washing Line exhibition !

For the final part of this triptych of acrylic paintings, I thought about how the paintings were to be displayed in a church .This is a place where people could sit in quiet contemplation , perhaps hoping for a peaceful resolution of their troubles . So I tried to portray this as a spirit soaring free , away from all difficulties . I think that I also used the motif of the kite to symbolise that feeling of wanting to escape from the ‘ virus ‘ problem. Obviously, this is a feeling that a lot of us have experienced lately . But I painted it instinctively and it must have come from my subconscious.

A turquoise blue kite soaring free into the  glorious golden sky
Free Spirit

I hope that you enjoyed looking at my Isolation Art. There are actually two more large canvases that do take the story forward , when I think about it . But that can be saved for another day .

Paradise – Acrylic Abstract Painting

An Intuitive Abstract Composition in Pink and Green

A colourful acrylic abstract, mainly pinks and greens , suggesting  a jungle or a paradise garden.
Paradise – an abstract composition by Margaret Hall

This is the first painting in a set of three that I mentioned a couple of posts ago .And I called this one ‘Paradise ‘ . I think I must have imagined a tropical scene or a scene in a jungle . The colours I was drawn to – luscious pinks and vibrant greens – definitely fitted into this theme . I tried really hard not to paint anything too figurative and realistic . But when I stood back from my easel, I saw suggestions of a bird , an insect , perhaps an animal, flowers and leaves . So I realized that I was going to make this this acrylic abstract composition semi-abstracted not purely abstract . But that’s ok. To be honest , I often find that my paintings decide what they want to be . And , sometimes without a lot of input from me ! I even turned this one upside down several times to paint it and the motifs still appeared ! I wonder if you can see any signs of life in this jungle ( as well as the luxuriant foliage , that is ) ?

Paradise – Birds , Flowers and an Insect ? – details from my acrylic abstract

a close up of shapes like birds and flowers .
A Bird ?
A shape in stripes of yellow and black suggesting an insect in the paradise garden .
An Insect ?

I believe that the term ‘ paradise ‘ has its origins in a word which meant ‘garden’ , a place with lush growth and plenty of water , a place where you could rest and gaze upon a beautiful scene . When I painted this , I was thinking about the story I was telling in a series of three canvases for a commission proposal : this is the first one ‘Paradise ‘. And the second one ‘ Hell on Earth ‘ was shown in a previous post in May here and it carries the story forward .. All will become clearer soon when I reveal the third part !

Paradise

Abstract Acrylic Painting on Canvas

Abstract Acrylic Painting in Red and Purple

An abstract composition in acrylic on canvas , in swirling shapes in red , purple and white . It looks like a huge red sun over a sci-fi burned out landscape.
Red and Purple – acrylic painting on canvas

This is an intuitive abstract acrylic painting on canvas from a few weeks ago on a 2 foot square canvas . Actually , this is the largest size I have ever painted. It took me a while to learn how to adapt the size and shape of the design to the square format . But , that came after the initial free expressive part of the painting . Of course , some semi-abstracted shapes crept in , but that was ok . Mainly because it fitted in well with the story I was developing over three canvases . These form a triptych which I entered in a commission to produce artwork for a chapel gallery in a local stately home . Unfortunately , I wasn’t successful but I felt it was a very useful exercise and I learned a lot about describing and presenting my work whilst doing the submission .

A large , colourful abstract painting on canvas  in red and purple , pegged out on a washing line .
On a Washing Line

However , now this work can now go public and here it is in a virtual exhibition called ‘ On a Washing Line ‘ . This is presented by a group of local artists that I belong to. We were due to exhibit our recent work in the real world but this is the next best thing . And a lot of fun too !

Hell on Earth

To let you into a bit of a secret , I called the piece ‘Hell on Earth ‘ the second of three paintings on canvas . It’s a story about the difficulties the world seems to be going through just now. A dramatic piece to catch the eye and make a bold statement in a large space. But , don’t worry , the ending is hopeful and I will tell the tale in a while over a couple more posts .

You’ll see more of my abstract acrylic painting on canvas in the gallery section Abstracts here

Bright Lights – Acrylic Painting

Barnsley Town Hall at Christmas 2019 – Bright Lights

A bright , bold acrylic painting on canvas of Barnsley Town Hall at night,  illuminated by blue , red and pink light  with War Memorial and a blue and silver Christmas tree
Bright Nights – Barnsley Town Hall . Acrylic painting on canvas 24 by 24 inch £80 plus shipping

At last , I’ve managed to paint my acrylic painting of one of the fabulous light installations we enjoyed in our town at Christmas. Obviously , really bright lights ! This one lit up the iconic building by illuminating all the windows. As you can see , they were sometimes red and sometimes pink. At the same time the stonework was washed over with shades of blue . To be honest , it was very inspiring and moving. And , at times it showed the War Memorial silhouetted in black against the bright colours. Also , during the sequence , it was drenched in blood red . There’s a full account , plus the photos I used for inspiration in my blogpost here back in December 2019 . Ever since then , I was longing to paint the scene. Really , the lockdown has , ironically , given me the opportunity. However , I know I haven’t finished with this idea yet and I’d like to try another abstract painting .

Harbour Lights – Reflections on the Sea

A harbour scene at night - semi-abstract acrylic painting with the town buildings and bridge reflected in the water . A riot of electric blue  , vibrant red and yellow.  A World of Colour!
Harbour Lights – acrylic painting on paper framed

This acrylic painting is a completely different interpretation of the idea of electric light dominating the scene. As you can see, in this case it’s a harbour scene . It was inspired by a photo which I altered a great deal. Because I gradually became engrossed in the abstract shapes of the buildings and the reflections of the light on the water . I also managed to indulge my love of bright blues , red and yellow . Any excuse to show my World of Colour ! It’s a good job we can all go virtually travelling like this , in this time of lockdown . Stay safe .

You can see this painting in my Exhibitions page here – it was on show in the Art Cafe

Sci-fi landscape – Acrylic Painting

Acrylic Painting of a Sci-fi Landscape with Colour Abstraction

A view from the bright orange beach over the peaceful , purple sea   - a sci-fi landscape
A Sci-fi landscape with Colour Abstraction

I’ve finished my little acrylic painting at last, my sci-fi landscape. Despite all this extra isolation free time , I still haven’t done much art . Well, I have actually been finishing off another large canvas – so that’s my excuse. And I’ve also started an art journal ( more for art therapy than anything else) .

This was an exercise we did a couple of weeks ago at Art Group. We all looked at the same copyright free photo and produce your own version . And then we tried to make as many changes as we wanted to or to add anything to it . So I changed some details such as omitting the bench and moving the cliff .Then I tried changing all the colours , which was surprisingly difficult , if you wanted to make it look harmonious . ( Apparently this is called colour abstraction ) . I also found patterns in the leaves, rocks and waves and exaggerated them . Of course , I am quite used to doing this when I paint my semi-abstracts. And I have been told that it now resembles a sci- fi landscape ! In fact , it was quite enjoyable to do , if you like a little challenge.

What changes would you make? You could see more abstracts in this post here .

Exhibition of Story Pictures – Cancelled

Sir Gawain and the Green Knight in an Exhibition of Story Pictures by Northern Fringe Artists

A fantastical giant-sized medieval knight with green skin equipped for combat. In our exhibition of story pictures.
The Green Knight, waiting at the doorway of his church for Sir Gawain

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 .

Still Standing

Happily, this one was on display last year so I can’t really complain. Anyway , that was another exhibition of story pictures.

Stay well .

Story Pictures – Tales of the Silk Road

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 .

A banner , painted with two fierce  demons fighting  - one of Richard's story pictures

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

A Chinese princess in medieval dress showing us the silkworm she has smuggled out of the country . She's standing on the Silk Road . One of my story pictures
The Silk Princess – Acrylic on Canvas

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.

The Caged Bird

This one ‘ Caged Bird ‘ was painted for the exhibition ‘Vote 100 – a Century of Change ‘ for the Cooper Gallery ,Barnsley here .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

A semi-abstract acrylic painting in soft , muted pinks and greens . A woman confined at home -  one of my story pictures .
Woman at the Window

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 .

Woman in Chaos

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.