Good morning everyone. We went away for a short break last week, but not very far away from home. Actually, we have been very busy lately and we really needed a holiday. So, it seemed easier to stay in Yorkshire and go and look at a few places fairly close by. Perhaps you know the feeling, places you never got quite round to seeing, but always wanted to visit. Anyway, we packed three such places into our break and they didn’t disappoint! So we stayed in Bingley and spent a day at Shibden Hall. It was the home of Anne Lister, also known as Gentleman Jack of the TV series.
In fact, this is the hall/dining room where Anne Lister used to conduct all her business in this beautiful house. The TV programme was filmed for the most part in the house, with the story beginning in 1832. As you can see, Shibden Hall retains a lot of its original features.
After a good look around this small, stately home, we wandered around the grounds.
Of course, I couldn’t resist painting and I finished this in about 40 minutes.
To be honest, we had a lovely three days rest and also saw Cartwright Art Gallery, Bradford. And the famous 5 rise locks at Bingley. But, that’s another story! Meanwhile, when I got home, I created another sort of scene at our Art Society meeting using collage and gouache paint. There’s never a dull moment here!
Good morning everyone. Last Saturday I went out with my art buddies for a day of plein air sketching in Greasebrough. And we walked from the village down a narrow walled path. Actually I guess that it had been created many years ago as a direct path to the church. Then we walked through a beautiful flower meadow and arrived at the end of the dam.
As you can see, the water level is quite low, we haven’t had any rain for a few weeks. But the view was still beautiful.
At this point, I tried to zoom in a bit with my eyes. Otherwise, the vista was very wide – I often end up trying to draw the whole world on a small sketchbook page! When I got back home, I zoomed in with my camera and you can see here what I was aiming at.
So here is the quick watercolour sketch (40 mins) that I produced.
By the way, the sun was very strong in a cloudless sky and the glare made it difficult to judge colours. But we all pressed on and it was a delight to be in such a lovely place together painting. After painting this, I rewarded myself with a cup or two of strong coffee from my flask. Also, a little sweet pastry! What a gorgeous day to be out plein air sketching in Greasebrough.
Good morning everyone. I thought I would update you about our Curiosities exhibition – we’ve moved it to our space in Rotherham market. Maybe you remember I’m a member of a brilliant group of artists called Rotherham Roar. And we had our opening event on Saturday, a chance to talk to fellow artists and shoppers!
This is me and my art buddy, he really liked my painting of a human body cell. (You can just see that one on the left. In fact, that was the one that was chosen for the article in n the Arts supplement of the Rotherham Advertiser. I was so surprised and pleased! You can see it in the top image.
This is my ‘Ocean Girl’ and she was a late addition to the show. If you look closely, you can see all the sea creatures that like to to be with her. And her hair and clothing is made of sea weed.
Finally, here we have a dragon, a hawk moth and Medusa, with snakes for hair. To be honest, it’s been a real pleasure to be a part of this quirky exhibition with my buddies from Rotherham Roar.
Good morning everyone. My apologies for not being around very much, but I have been very busy with arty stuff. There’s a lot more going on now and I don’t want to miss an opportunity! Anyway, Penistone Arts Weeks is over now and I’m pleased to report that I made a few sales with my flower paintings. For example, these two here, the Sea Thistle and the Sunflower went to new homes almost straight away. Then I sold my poppies painting ( in the image below). Despite the fact that it was on display in quite a shady spot, as you can tell in this photo!
However, it was a great experience to be in a lovely, busy cafe in the middle of town. Happily. being involved in this art festival with other creatives has lead to other exciting events. For example, our group have been invited to show work in a gorgeous florists and gift shop in town! So, I chose another of my flower paintings to go on display.
Actually, I think that this will look good in the beautiful surroundings of Hacketts, which is right next to St. John the Baptist’s church, in the old town centre. Of course, I will report back on that soon. Meanwhile, I haven’t stopped painting! And, I couldn’t resist following along a free online tutorial on watercolour painting. And this dreamy portrait of a rose was the result! Since then I have painted a vase of carnations, but I’ll save that for another post! You could have a look at more flower paintings in this post here.
Good morning everyone. This week at our art society we did a session of figure drawing with our lovely model Suzi. And I was very rusty, but I gradually warmed up. The pen and wash sketch above was 25 minutes. First of all we worked on some quick sketches, 5 and 10 minute ones like these below.
At the moment, we have an interesting exhibition in our local gallery of the drawings of the sculptor Henry Moore. And I love the way his drawings emphasize the three dimensional quality of the figure.
To help me out with the technical side, I did a drawing exercise on figure drawing before I went to the class. Every little helps!
And here is just a reminder of work that I was doing with my friend Suzi before the pandemic. Because I went to Life Drawing every week, I was much more comfortable and creative. Anyway, this was something based on a Jack Vettriano painting. Happy Days!
Good morning everyone. I’ve been very busy with arty stuff this week, so I turned to small scale art works. Just to stop me from going completely potty and suffering too much art deprivation! However , I took a great deal of pleasure in completing this in three very short stages. Actually, I think it succeeds because of the days in between the bursts of painting which I spend looking and assessing. And I created it using biro, watercolour, oil pastel, ink and oil pastel on this small sketchbook page.
Here are two of the small scale art works I did at our art society meeting this week. When we concentrated on simple, quick drawings of objects and the surroundings of the church hall. In fact, I thought it was useful to spend some time drawing without looking at a photo or a screen. To be honest, lots of artists don’t draw on the spot. So this was good practice on conveying the illusion of 3D objects on flat paper. And a good time was had by all, creating small scale art works!
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.
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 ?
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!
Good morning everyone. This is the ‘Happy Christmas’ acrylic painting I chose for my card this year. Actually, I didn’t think it printed out so well, but friends and family seemed to like it! Perhaps as artists we are sometimes too critical of our own work. Obviously a little bit of objectivity about our own work is helpful. But I do know a few amateur artists who have no confidence at all and that can be toxic. Anyway, I enjoyed painting the cool colours of the ice and snow, contrasted with the warm brown and gold of the cottage.
I don’t think I’ve posted this before, something from a few years ago. In fact, at that time I had a great tutor. And I learnt such a lot in the years I went to Simon’s class. As you can tell by this painting, which I would have struggled to do on my own then.
Finally, this is an on the spot watercolour sketch of the snow of last year’s winter. And, I couldn’t call it ‘plein air’ because we were sitting in the car! Happy Christmas everyone and keep on painting!
Good morning everyone. On Saturday I went with Urban Sketchers Yorkshire to the Tutankhamun exhibition in Experience Barnsley Museum. And I sketched this bust of Nefertiti, who was his father’s chief wife. Actually, this is not the original – it’s a very good replica. But there were lots of original artefacts, arranged in sections telling the life of the pharaoh. For example, the food he ate, members of his family, education and so on. Although the Tutankamun exhibition was small, it was quite fascinating.
After some time sketching, we then went down to the bustling town centre. In fact there was so much to observe and sketch – market stalls, a brass band playing. And then we ended up at the food court in the covered market for refreshments. Happily, from our table there was a delightful bird’s eye view of the main street below.
This was a very quick sketch in pen and watercolour. And I did it on the table, between pie and peas and cups of hot coffee! And the Tutankamun exhibition was a lovely bonus. Another lovely day with my sketching buddies. By the way, I have missed out all the difficult bits, like all the people! If you want to see what else we sketch, see this post here .
Good morning everyone. I painted this scene in a pen and wash workshop last week. And we invited Gary, one of our favourite tutors, to art society to work with us. Also to show us some pen and watercolour techniques. Actually, it was a very enjoyable evening and everyone was pleased with their own version of this snow scene. After a quick pencil sketch of the main shapes, we tried to ink the lines in, using sketchy, gestural marks. Then, for me, the difficult part, using two colours only and being very restrained with the paint brush! Honestly, I was dying to pile on more and more texture and detail. But, I’m really glad I followed Gary’s instructions.
And, I took away from this workshop the idea that sometimes less is definitely more! However, as our tutor explained, this is really a basic scene – you can add more style to your liking. Preferably after learning the method. By the way, we also added more pen marks at this point if we felt we needed them. Plus a few dabs of white gouache for snow on the trees.
Perhaps you might be interested to see this pen and wash painting I did a few years ago. In fact, I did this after another of Gary’s workshops on pen and wash, I felt so inspired that I painted a few more. Incidentally, in this picture, the pencil sketch and watercolour come first. Then detail is added later in pen, again trying not to overdo things. And, here is a post showing how I use this technique when I’m painting in plein air.
Good morning everyone. This is just a quick catchup post of my art therapy paintings this week. Well. that’s what my art sometimes feels like, when my life is busy and demanding. But, I’m really glad that I can turn to creating art to calm my nerves. Honestly, I wouldn’t be without it! Anyway, this painting is probably a portrait of all the different thoughts taking up space in my head. And, this time, instead of editing out some of the busyness and explosions of colour, I left everything in. Normally, I keep an eye on the design and overall shape of the composition. And prune back quite a lot to streamline it. So, here is the un- edited version and it means more to me now, but I might feel differently tomorrow.
And, just for a bit of fun, here is my Halloween painting, a bit late, I know. However, this is it, I tried hard to make it look scary. But me and my art buddies have decided to call it ‘Halloween Date Night’. (Not really one of my art therapy paintings, but, a great pleasure to paint)
Good morning everyone. I’d like to show you these two new paintings, finished at last! Firstly, this beautiful Mediterranean scene, based on a photo from Landscape Reference Photos for Artists, here , by Penny Wohler – Stone. And this was such a pleasure to paint! In addition, gouache paint seems made for a scene which cries out for delicious textures and vibrant colours. Of course, this painting also fits in with my theme of hot, dry landscape and Australian scenes. (See here ) In fact, it’s turning into a collection now! To be honest, I couldn’t really see the point of doing a series before. But this one seems to have grown itself! Now I’ll have to think about displaying it together somewhere. Anyway, I’ll just paint a few more first.
Secondly, a completely different intuitive abstract in watercolour, pencil and marker pens. Actually, I found this little painting when I was tidying up some sketchbooks. And, I remember trying out a tip about keeping watercolours moist – I think I proved here that it does work. Because, as you can see, the paint didn’t need much encouragement to wander across the paper nicely. So, I was pleased with it, and when it was dry, I stashed it away.
Anyway, I looked at it from all angles and embellished it with patterns and markings. Then I noticed something in it that suggested a face to face composition – I wonder if you can see it too?
So, there you have it – two new paintings, finished at last.
Good morning everyone. Today I’d like to show you how I have been painting big pictures in small sketchbooks. Well, they are fairly small, 7 by 5 inches but the pictures I try to cram into them are definitely big! Actually, it seems to be a habit I can’t break. Whenever I pick up a small sketchbook, either sketching outside or from a photo, I paint everything! That is to say, I’m not very good at zooming in and choosing a small, neat subject.
However, I do prefer to finish the painting in one session en plein air, or quite quickly if I’m at home. Of course, this is do-able with a little piece of paper. And it’s also less daunting if I’m short of time and feel a desperate need to create! If you want to see another dryland painting, see here.
Anyway, I have upgraded my watercolour paper now. In addition, I have learned to keep my paints more moist. So, now I’ll turn my attention to my worn out, scrubby brushes. Then, I’ll not be able to blame my tools any more!
Finally, this is one of two folding sketchbooks that my friend gave me (the other one is even tinier!). So, now I will be able to do more painting big pictures in small sketchbooks!
I do paint bigger pictures too, and they are all for sale! See more landscapes in my gallery here. And email me for more details.
Good morning everyone. It’s that time of year when dedicated artists draw in ink, guided by a list of suggested prompts, Inktober. But after feeling too much pressure to keep up last year, I decided to do Not Inktober! Actually, I was missing doing small, sometimes silly drawings, where I could play! So, I invented Not Inktober, that is, draw when you like and what you like. And then choose a title.
Of of course, this last one doesn’t need any explanation, I think! However, when I was researching for this post, I found out that there is a challenge called Inktober 52, see here . Perhaps this is worth thinking about too – making a more developed sketch over a week, different prompts. And taking the whole year to take part.
Well. this is the last of my Not Inktober sketches ( there may be more!). Perhaps you would be interested to know that I did this one after a great day out with Urban Sketchers Yorkshire. In fact, we went to Kelham Island Industrial Museum and I found it very inspiring. But the best bit is that I’ve now got loads of ideas for an Industry project. Maybe you remember our Northern Fringe Gallery group of artists exhibition on this theme. It’s an ongoing project, so I have plenty of time to create an abstract composition based on this drawing. Anyway, I shall still find time to do small, quirky sketches too as it is so enjoyable. If you want to look back at my Inktober efforts last year, look here.
Good morning everyone. I have felt so inspired lately by the beautiful colours of autumn and I wanted to show you my latest gouache painting. Actually, we were working on the theme of The Colours of Autumn at Art Society this week. So, I decided to do an impressionistic design of leaves drifting to the ground, whilst still keeping their glorious colours. Of course, these colours only last a short while, so, enjoy them while you can. Perhaps you can tell that this little painting is in gouache. Because the creamy texture and soft blending are typical of this medium. Incidentally, can you spot the gold-coloured paint on the two brown leaves? If you would like to see the very. very simple, short video I made about this painting, look here.
Maybe you have seen this plein air watercolour before? In fact, I painted this whilst sitting in my son’s garden last year. And, I particularly wanted to capture the vibrant copper leaves of the Virginia Creeper. Happy Days, sitting on the patio, painting, coffee and cake and good company! Or, here are some more of my happy memories from the year before. When we were admiring the colours of the pumpkin harvest in Wortley Hall gardens, in this post here .
Well, this is just a glimpse of an acrylic painting I started yesterday, based on a fabulous photo by Viktoria Stockmal from Landscape Reference Photos for Artists. And I’ll show you the progress as I go along, I haven’t painted in acrylic for a while. And I’m really enjoying being creative in this simply gorgeous season of the year.
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.
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.
Good morning everyone. This is the quick watercolour sketch I did in St. Mary’s church, last weekend on Open Heritage Day. Actually, the event lasts for two weeks and it’s great to have the opportunity to visit buildings that are usually closed. For example, last year we went in the very impressive National Union of Mineworkers Headquarters. Of course, St Mary’s is open several times a week. But it was lovely to be welcomed into this beautiful space by the volunteers and the vicar.
Anyway, I chose this view to sketch, as I wanted to show the tall pillars of white stone. They are so tall that they make the massive door look small!
Next I felt inspired to try and include some of the patterns and colours that really stood out amongst the pale plastered walls and pillars. So I chose an abstract representation of this view down towards the altar.
After that we went to the gallery coffee shop which is just opposite the church, for coffee and cake. And also to look at everyone’s sketches. What a perfect way to spend a morning on Open Heritage Day! Maybe you might like to see the outside of this building in this post here , it is very picturesque.
Good morning everyone. This is my new silver birch painting in gouache. Well, I thought it was about time I created my version of the silver birch woodland scene. Of course, I wanted to make mine a little bit different from the many excellent dark, atmospheric paintings I have seen. So I went for a feeling of slender tree trunks, shimmering in the hazy light. And, the colour of the grass is sharp and bright, just like it is after a shower. As for the sky, I exaggerated the mauve tones, to please myself actually! But, it really makes me want to step into the picture and see what is round the bend in the path!
By the way, I am starting to feel a little bit more confident with gouache paint now, at long last! In fact, I do like painting with it very much. And, I am getting used to the way it moves around on the page and how the colours settle after a while. But, it can still surprise me when one colour can ‘merge’ into another over night! And that’s what happened to these silver birches with the white highlighting. As regards the shift in colour as they dry, I suppose it is becoming a little more instinctive. And, I must have gone through this when learning how to handle acrylic paint. However, I probably forgot about the learning stage as soon as I was through it. But, I must say I am now trying a different type of paper, a more smooth finish. And I’ll show you the first painting when I’ve finished it.
Finally, you must have noticed how much I love painting trees, see this post here . So here are one or two examples. Firstly in watercolour and pen and then in oil pastel and watercolour.
Good morning everyone. How do you like my brand new bright watercolours? Actually, that’s my little joke, because they aren’t brand new at all! Well, I was getting so fed up with the pale colours on my plein air quick sketches, see here.
So I looked a few things up on the internet, and found out that my paints should be ok. Because they are reasonable UK brands. Also, the paper is decent quality, but I’m working on finding something a bit better. Then I tried to remember not to muddy the colours too much. Eventually, I even started using gouache colours for their brightness, but I really prefer watercolours for on the spot sketching. Anyway, I decided to try something I read in a few posts and articles. And that is really wetting the pans of colour with lots of drops of water ( from a water brush). Then I waited ten minutes and painted two examples, this one being an imaginary landscape.
New Improved Bright Watercolours
By the way, my Australian tutor Rod Moore encourages us to paint from imagination to help develop composition skills. But I’ll talk about that in another post. Next, I just had to do a little abstract doodle to test the colours again!
As you can see, these are very bright watercolours. But, just a word of caution, let the paints absorb all the water before taking the box out on a sketch trip. If not, it will leak all over your bag! Perhaps you knew all this already, however it’s new to me. And, I’m very glad I read this advice on line.
Finally, I gave this new system a proper road test this weekend when I went to the allotment. After working hard all day watering, picking and tidying, I just had to do a quick 30 minute sketch. Can you see the pumpkins and the scarlet flowers on the runner bean plants? Happy painting!
Good morning everyone. In my last post I showed you little watercolour sketches from my sketchbooks. And it got me thinking about how many sketchbooks I had filled over the years. Quite a few! So, I looked through one or two and found plenty that I drew whilst on holiday in the Lake District.
For example, this one is a view over to the hills from the garden at the front of Patterdale Hotel, near Ullswater. Actually, we used to stay here once or twice a year, pre pandemic. Unfortunately, I still don’t feel brave enough yet to stay in an hotel. Anyway, the views all around are spectacular. And it was very tempting to sketch while sitting on the patio garden with a cold drink after a walk in the hills.
Well, this is another view from the garden, the majestic Place Fell, which rises to 2154 ft. How could you not draw this? If you’re wondering where the lake is, this view shows the end of the lake, which is rather boggy and soon floods after heavy rain. These two paintings from my sketchbooks are about three or four years old, but, look what else I found! A very similar sort of landscape from 2003. And, I have some even older! How time flies when you’re enjoying yourself!
Please note, these are all plein air sketches done in 25 to 40 minutes, to capture the moment and they are 7 by 5 inches. If you wish to see a white cottage view in the Lakes, all neatly finished off, see here.