January Sale in Wakefield Gallery

Going for a Swim

Good morning everyone. Things are still a bit dodgy here, so I’ll hurry up and write this post while I can! Actually, I don’t think that I showed you this acrylic painting before. In fact, I almost forgot that I had painted it. And I found it while going through my stash. Because I was looking for work to put in our January sale at The Urban Commune.

The Face of the Sunflower

This one was a study in watercolour for a series on flowers, seen close up. Perhaps you remember four small canvases in acrylic – sunflower, oriental poppy, cone flower and pansy in this post here ?

The Pink Pig

While I was looking for unframed stuff for the January sale, I pulled out my pink pig! And I do remember the fun I had painting this, with the help of Simon, our tutor. Happy Days!

Painting a Colourful Abstract Together

Colourful Abstract 1

Good morning everyone. I went to a collaborative painting workshop at The Urban Commune Gallery here on Thursday. And we created this colourful abstract together. Actually, it was on the walk route of Artwalk Wakefield so we had plenty of visitors. Perhaps you can’t tell from the photo, but this is not the finished version. Because I had to leave before the end, I haven’t seen it yet.However, I think you’ll get the idea. Firstly, our tutor Gavin had painted a neutral background on this large piece of paper, to kill the white. Then we scribbled out marks and shapes to warm up. After that we started adding stuff, each using one colour at a time, to give some cohesion. Also, we continually switched places around the paper to prevent anyone from getting too cosy!

Working Together

Then we had to step back and consider the painting as a whole. Unfortunately, that’s just when I had to leave so I didn’t see the colourful abstract completed! But it was a great workshop, thanks to Gavin. And, if you’re ever in the area, it’s a brilliant gallery and artists cooperative to visit.

My Covid Story at Urban Commune

Maybe you have seen this photo before, if you read my blog. And it is one of my displays in the gallery, see this post here. Anyway, this is an example of my semi-abstract and abstract style. But, it’s only one of the styles I paint in. Because, as you may know, I like to change things up a bit, as I did in this abstract here.

On the Path

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)

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

Why Do I Love Red?

The Backs

Good morning everyone. Why do I love red? Well, that’s a good question, and I’m not really sure of the answer. But I thought I would show you this acrylic painting from a few years ago and try and explain. For example, I was inspired by an old black and white photo of children playing on ‘the backs’. That is, behind the terraced row of houses in a pit village where they live. Obviously the colours were black, grey and white. However, I wanted to show the brightness and hope children bring to a community. So I painted them in colour. In my opinion, the touch of red draws the eye most and makes my point perfectly.

Perhaps you may be wondering how I chose this subject for this post? Actually, it was the theme for our latest meeting at our art society. And, it really inspired us all, so picked out some of my own paintings featuring red. Incidentally, this is my unfinished effort from Tuesday’s meeting. And it is a farm building with a tin roof, in gouache. When it’s propenly finished, I will show you . Anyway, in my opinion, the redness forms a strong focal point and also makes the scene look cheerful!

A Touch of Red

So, why do I love red? Because it can be cheerful and it helps the composition by being a strong focal point. In fact, it can also heighten the drama of a scene. How about the effect in this one?

Zig Zag

Personally, I think this is quite dramatic! Finally, of course, red can suggest blood and danger. And I do have some drawings done in the pandemic which reflect this. I’ll show them in another post, I think.

All my work is for sale at reasonable prices, simply email me on the Contact Me page for further details.

Industry and Yorkshire, New Exhibition

A Long Shift

Good morning everyone. If you follow this blog, perhaps you may know that I belong to a great group called Northern Fringe Gallery. And we have just decided to start a new group project ‘Industry and Yorkshire’. However, that’s only a working title, this project will probably evolve as it goes along.

Anyway, this is my version of a very evocative black and white photo from a book all about coal mining. Actually, my dad was a miner all his life, but not quite in conditions like these, thank goodness! Well, I painted this a few years ago, but I think it fits our theme very well. So I had it framed all ready for our show. Now have a look at the second one.

The Wool market at the Piece Hall

In fact, I have posted this watercolour painting before, see here. However, I’ll just explain that this World Heritage site in Halifax was originally a place where weavers sold their cloth. And, because the cloth was called a ‘piece’ that’s the origin of the name, Piece Hall. So you can see why I chose this for the theme. By the way, weaving was a very big industry in West Yorkshire, just as we were all about coal mining here in South Yorkshire where I live. However, spinning and weaving were also practised here too and my auntie worked in a wool spinning mill.

Of course, I shall paint a couple more for the show too. But, more of that later!

Half Way Through Our Exhibition

A Big Back Garden

Good morning everyone. As it says in the title, we are about half way through our exhibition at the ‎Mirfield gallery. So I thought I would show you one of my paintings that you may not have seen before. Actually, I painted this after a lovely holiday in the English Lake District. And, I’ll tell you the idea that inspired me. When people in the farm house looked out of the window at the back, they would see this glorious view. In fact, this hill is part of the Langdale Pikes, if I recall. And, it would be part of their back garden, in my imagination.

Elephant Festival

By the way, this painting makes me smile every time I look at it. And, I remember how much I enjoyed painting it. Of course, the challenge was to make the skin of the animal appear real, varying the colour from shades of brownish grey to delicate pink. Just to finish this quick post, I include here two snapshots of the launch party. Firstly, me and a friend discussing subtle effects of paint, and how to achieve them.

Animated Arty Chat

And here you can see some of our members, deep in discussion about our exhibition. If you look carefully, you can see my elephant in the background! Perhaps you would like to see my post about the launch here.

Another Arty Chat

Look at this Small Abstract

Big Brain

Hi everyone. This is a very short post indeed, all about a small abstract. To be honest, I’m so busy at the moment, gardening and arty business. Not to mention just running my life! Anyway, I just couldn’t stand missing my art fix another day. So I found my small drawing pad, watercolour kit and a few pencils, oil pastels etc. And then let a few colours run into each other. Next I added some small, precise marks and accents. And all this without a single conscious thought, a small abstract. Afterwards, I found out which way up I preferred it. Only then did I notice a head in profile and I had a strong idea come into my head! Namely, we need someone with a brain this big to get us out of the mess we are all in. Well, on that cheerful note, I’ll sign off and hope to write a longer, more optimistic post soon. (There is a more cheery abstract here !)

Two Paintings of Women’s Stories

The Woman at the Window

Good morning everyone. Here are two more of my paintings from our exhibition ‘Every Picture Tells a Story’, on now at Mirfield. And these two in particular are all about women’s stories. For example, in the one above, I wanted to explore the reality behind living a secluded life. As I painted I thought of the women living where the culture requires them to stay indoors most of the time. Hopefully, you can see the loneliness this woman feels, peering at the outside world through the window. While she always must remain indoors.

Coffee for One

Next I chose to exhibit this painting which highlights another one of my women’s stories. And the story here is rooted very firmly in time – a period of respite in the recent pandemic. In fact, here in the UK, restrictions had been lifted, only to be reimposed shortly after. During that time, people seemed to sit quite nervously in cafes, socially distanced. However, they didn’t stay long and soon hurried out, with a sigh of relief. Just like this woman, with her coffee and cake. You could see more stories about women’s lives here and here.

Coffee and Cake

Look at my Group Projects

Amazonian Waterlily Pond

Good morning everyone. I did a bit of tidying yesterday, because we could hardly move in the living room and hall. And all because I brought my stuff back from two exhibitions and failed to store it away! Anyway, to be honest, the space was already packed to capacity with sketchbooks and loose pieces on paper. And while I was shuffling paper, I came across some work I had done for my group projects. Somehow, this kind of painting ranks a bit lower in my mind than my own self lead creations. Actually, I shouldn’t really think that way, so, to make up for it, here they are in the spotlight.

Gouache Paintings of Brazil – one of our Group Projects

As you can see, the title says it all and this was for our Beginner Gouache group on the Mewe platform. In fact, we are a friendly bunch. None of us claim to be experts and we help each other along the way. And help is very welcome when you’re trying to make progress with this challenging medium!

The House for a Folding Book of a Street Project

While I was tidying up, I found these paintings I created for some of my group projects. I love the variety of inspiration they give me for my art work.
A House for the Street

This is my second offering for the street and it is also in gouache paint. (Because it is so easy to take out and use at our art society meetings). If you would like to see my first house, look at this post here and keep watching this channel for an update on the book. In construction as we speak!

An Unfinished Project

Reading

Finally, here’s a finished painting for one of the group projects I intended to enter, but never quite completed. To be honest, I didn’t think it was quite good enough, the brief for the open call was very restricting. And the image I ended up with didn’t inspire me. So, this princess stayed at home! And now I’ll get back to finding space to store all of these paintings I’ve “tidied”!

Art Work Inspired by Japan

Full Moon, inspired by Hiroshige

Good morning everyone. This is a painting I did for this month’s theme in our Beginner Gouache group, Of course, the theme is Japan and I looked up works by Hiroshige and Hokusai, two masters of the woodblock printing technique. Actually, in this art work inspired by Japan, I did change some of the elements in the design when I painted this tribute to the artist. And I just loved working in this gorgeous limited palette of colours, a couple of blues, black and white. Perhaps you agree with me how effective these choices can be, creating a mood of calm and serenity.

The Great Wave

You may remember seeing this acrylic painting before, if you like to look at this blog. Anyway, I painted this in response to a theme for a Northern Fringe Gallery exhibition a couple of years ago. In fact, we chose from a long list of a hundred objects selected from the marvellous British Museum collection. And I chose that well-known print by Hokusai, The Great Wave. But I set it in a local beauty spot, so that the keen fisherman on the bank was blissfully unaware of the coming deluge!

Another Art Work Inspired by Japan

Mount Fuji

Finally, I couldn’t miss out this acrylic painting of the familiar iconic view of Mount Fuji. It shows the view from over the water. And this painting is at present on display at Rotherham Roar Buzz Gallery. (Incidentally, we take it down next Wednesday, the month is nearly up). So, I found at least three paintings inspired by Japan. And there are two more in existence, if only I could find them!

All my paintings are for sale at reasonable prices. To find out more, go to the Contact Me page and send me an email and we can have a chat.

See Father Christmas in Green

Good morning everyone. I’m back after three days of technical difficulties – don’t ask! And I reckon there’s just enough time to show you my gouache painting of Father Christmas, before it all comes to an abrupt end. Well, this is the way Santa was portrayed traditionally, before he was changed into red. And I’ve tried to show him as a quiet, kindly old man, on his way through the woods. Obviously delivering a sack full of gifts to some hopeful children. Happy Holidays to you all. See this post here for last year’s festive images.

A Little Gouache Story Picture

Good morning everyone. Well, this story picture is finished at last! In fact, I started it back in August as a response to an open call, online. But, I didn’t like what I produced at all. And, it has been hanging around the house ever since, staring at me reproachfully. And whispering, ” Why won’t you finish me?” Anyway, I gave in on Sunday and repainted it, changing the figure into something I like. By the way, as well as the original reference photo, I looked at this image a lot for direction ( see below)

By Hugo Scheiber

When I looked him up a bit more, I really like this Hungarian artist’s expressionist painting. Hugo Scheiber 1873 – 1950. And to me, still modern and fresh looking.

The Book

What’s the story? Actually, this story picture is quite an open image and full of possibilities, what do you think? And, here’s another of mine, still waiting for its story to be told.

Northern Fringe Exhibition Now Open

Good morning everyone. Well, as I write this, it’s not quite true because we are opening the show tomorrow, see poster above for dates. Anyway, we have waited a long time to put on our Northern Fringe exhibition. Obviously, due to lockdowns and so on, so I’m really looking forward to going tomorrow to see everyone’s work.

As I have mentioned before, the theme is a really meaty one that you can get your teeth into! In my opinion, at least, ‘Inspired by Yorkshire Writers’. Perhaps you have seen my first entry already. But, here’s another chance.

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

And, I felt inspired to paint this by the poem ‘Sir Gawain and the Green Knight ‘ by Simon Armitage. In fact, he reworked the medieval poem about King Arthur and his knights. And it’s a really good read too.

The House on the Moor

Secondly, I painted this view of the ruined farm house on the moors near Howarth, probably the setting Emily Bronte chose for her novel, Wuthering Heights. But, I was also inspired by the poem by Ted Hughes about the day he and his wife, Sylvia Plath walked up to Top Withens.

Top Withens

Now, after having painted both of these, I was tidying my stash, and I found my Egyptian Temple painting. Actually, I did it a year ago, when I did a series of gouache paintings about Egypt. And, I had forgotten that my imagination was fired up by the exhibitions put on by Joann Fletcher in our town. Joann, born locally, is a well-known Egyptologist – her exhibitions were very good, as were the documentaries on tv. In particular, I remember her striding around the sites in baking heat, with the sun striking off the white stone.

I explain all about this painting here, it has just come back from an exhibition.

Two More Paintings for our Northern Fringe Exhibition

Egyptian Temple

Finally, just before I had to take the paintings to the gallery, I had an idea about one of Ebenezer Elliott’s poems, Trees at Brimham , in North Yorkshire. You see, this Victorian poet lived all his life in my area. And I especially like his poem about this area of rocky outcrops. As he says, the rocks and trees are shaped by each other, and live in ‘union strange’.

Brimham Rocks

Literally, I painted this acrylic painting on Saturday, Sunday and Monday and then delivered it on Tuesday! As our exhibition themes are usually ongoing, I’ve got time to paint more! Watch this space….

Inktober Project Finished at Last

Good morning everyone. Well, I finished this Inktober project at last! Actually, I’m very pleased that I made it to the end, because that’s the first time ever. And it’s only because I decided to make the sketches just that, quick sketches. Only five or ten minutes (some even less!) in contrast to a lot of the work I saw online. In fact, lots of people did absolutely beautiful finished drawings, and there was plenty of creativity too.

Collide

Anyway, back to my Inktober project – this first image was in response to the prompt Collide. And I immediately thought of stars colliding. So I looked at some astronomy photos online and used them as a starting point. Then my imagination took over! The ink was very easy to push around and layer up to get the effects I wanted.

After that, I simply drew my phone charger for the prompt Connect. Next, the prompt Helmet sparked off a few ideas and I finally settled for this Viking helmet. In actual fact, this piece of armour was found in York, a city in Yorkshire, not far from where I live. It was originally a Viking stronghold and has lots of evidence of Roman activity too.

A decorative fan for my Inktober project

Of course, the prompt for this was Fan and I just had to draw this big red fan on the wall in my hall. But, I found it quite difficult to draw in only black or white. As you may know, I’m really fond of lots of bright colour, so, I must do a coloured version some time.

And, finally, the last image is my response to the prompt Risk. As I had been wading through paperwork to create a risk assessment document for our Art Society, it was very much on my mind!

Maybe you can tell that I enjoyed Inktober – you can see the rest of my sketches on my Instagram margarethallfineart. But, I’m glad it only comes around once year!

Ink Sketches for Inktober 2021

Good morning everyone. Today I thought I would show you some of the ink sketches I have been doing for Inktober 2021. Actually, I have been posting them over on my Instagram account @margarethallfineart. So, if you want to see more of these, that’s where they are – the good, the bad and the ugly!

But, back to these ones. Firstly, the Chinese pagoda or gateway – the prompt was ‘Roof’. And, to be honest, it was a bit of a cheat! It was painted using a brush and some thinned sepia ink. Because I had been looking for a dip pen or a fountain pen locally and couldn’t get one. Honestly!

Then we have one of my favourites – ‘Moon’. Incidentally, the real moon has been visible and very beautiful this month here in the UK. And, I sketched this in biro.

One of my Ink Sketches – prompt ‘Extinct’

Of course, this was the sad one. This beautiful animal, the Western Black Rhino, exists no more. Biro sketch.

Next, we have my answer to the prompt ‘Sprout’. And, it couldn’t be anything else but a Brussel Sprout plant! But, this is the best bit, I drew it from memory and this is how the plant looked then. However, this double row of large plants at the allotment is now being cropped. And, very nice they tasted too for dinner last night! Marker pen.

Lastly, I had a little go at a story picture from my imagination, something I find doesn’t come easy to me. And I thought of how gleefully I picked these three sunflowers, because something ate all the other plants. And this was the first time I managed to grow the blooms successfully for a few years.

Well, these were some of my best efforts on my first try at Inktober. And I decided to do very quick five or ten minutes drawings so that I could commit to it. Wish me luck to complete the whole thing!

A Windmill House in Watercolour

The Windmill House

Good morning, everyone. This is the windmill house in Wentworth village, painted in plein air on a sketchtrip in September. At least, I painted the main part of it outdoors. But, as conditions weren’t great, we dashed off to the garden centre cafe for coffee and a chat. This image below is the first draft that I did outside.

The Windmill House – the first draft

Actually, I was quite pleased with this and I tried to use the techniques I have been learning about recently. However, as we were standing in a field of rough pasture and nettles, behind a 5 foot wall, it wasn’t ideal ! Anyway, at home later that day, I tried to think ‘ plein air sketching ‘ and not paint the picture to death!

The History of the Windmill House

Most of the land and the buildings in Wentworth village were built and are still owned by the Wentworth Estate. And this is now separate from the big house Wentworth Woodhouse, just around the corner from this lane. Perhaps you may remember this post here, where I reported on my visit to the mansion gardens. In fact, the family built this mill here on Clayfield Lane in 1745, obviously to process flour from the grain grown on the estate. Of course, it is now a private dwelling in a charming cottage garden, giving pleasure to everyone who walks by. To be honest, the whole village is full of picturesque views. And, I don’t think this will be the last sketch trip we will make to Wentworth village.

The Windmill House – a closeup

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.