Beautiful Sunset in the snow

The End of a Winter’s Day

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

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

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

Ken
A Customer in the Cutler’s Arms

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

Painting with Pen and Wash

First Snow

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

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

The Cottage

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

Beautiful Dales Landscape in Gouache

A Sunny Day in the Dales

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

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

Pinks and Blues in Oil Pastel

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

Exhibition Launch at Rotherham Market

Swaledale Barn

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

The Exhibition Launch Poster
The Artists

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

Art in the Market

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

A Castle in Portugal
A Walk in Spring

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

Me at the Exhibition Launch

A Week of Arty Stuff

Mary River, Queensland

Good morning everyone. Well, the title says it all – a week of arty stuff! For example, today I went to two galleries in Wakefield where some of my work is on display. And I was particularly pleased to see this one – Mary River, Queensland, on show with two other Australian landscapes. Actually, we took them down from a pop-up exhibition at another gallery. And now they are on show in our Northern Fringe Gallery artists display space in the Ridings Shopping Centre.

In Our Gallery

Then we went to the lovely volunteer led Urban Commune Gallery in another part of town, to help out a bit and show support. Actually, I have two mini displays on show at the moment , see this post here. And it’s a real pleasure to be part of a group of artists, dedicated to the promotion of art in the community.

My Story Pictures
The Boy and the Bird

Finally, I’ll just say that tomorrow I’ll be going to the launch of the Rotherham Roar exhibition in the indoor market. And I’m really looking forward to meeting my fellow artists and chatting to interested members of the public. More arty stuff. After all, that’s what it is all about!

A Castle in Portugal

This Week’s Art Therapy Paintings

Cells

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

Halloween Date Night

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

New Paintings, Finished at Last

On the Beach

Good morning everyone. I’d like to show you these two new paintings, finished at last! Firstly, this beautiful Mediterranean scene, based on a photo from Landscape Reference Photos for Artists, here , by Penny Wohler – Stone. And this was such a pleasure to paint! In addition, gouache paint seems made for a scene which cries out for delicious textures and vibrant colours. Of course, this painting also fits in with my theme of hot, dry landscape and Australian scenes. (See here ) In fact, it’s turning into a collection now! To be honest, I couldn’t really see the point of doing a series before. But this one seems to have grown itself! Now I’ll have to think about displaying it together somewhere. Anyway, I’ll just paint a few more first.

Encounter

Secondly, a completely different intuitive abstract in watercolour, pencil and marker pens. Actually, I found this little painting when I was tidying up some sketchbooks. And, I remember trying out a tip about keeping watercolours moist – I think I proved here that it does work. Because, as you can see, the paint didn’t need much encouragement to wander across the paper nicely. So, I was pleased with it, and when it was dry, I stashed it away.

Anyway, I looked at it from all angles and embellished it with patterns and markings. Then I noticed something in it that suggested a face to face composition – I wonder if you can see it too?

Encounter – a close up

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

On the beach – a close up

Sketching in the Industrial Museum

The Chimney House

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

Making Files

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

Machinery

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

Progress of Mankind – New Show

The Progress of Mankind

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

Paradise

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

Hell on Earth

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

Flying Away in my New Show

Free Spirit

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

The Light at the End of the Tunnel

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

Connections

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

Looking at Free Spirit

Painting Big Pictures in Small Sketchbooks

Autumn in the Hills

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

In the Desert

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

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

A Small Folding Sketchbook

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

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

Drylands

Mini Exhibition at Urban Commune Gallery

Still Standing

Good morning everyone. I’d love to show you my new mini exhibition at the Urban Commune Gallery in Wakefield, UK, see here . Well, it’s a small exhibition really over two panels in this gorgeous new Gallery, but it feels a lot bigger!

Urban Commune Gallery

Actually, the commune was founded by a group of artists for the purpose of encouraging creativity in the community. And also to provide a place for local artists to show their work. In addition, they are partnered with the charity Uthink, dedicated to supporting young people in poverty. What a brilliant idea! So, I had to be a part of this and I booked some space for my new mini exhibition.

Setting Up

By the way, it didn’t take us long to set up. Then it was time for a cup of coffee and a look around at all the fab work on the walls and on the shelves. And chat with the artist volunteers who make all this possible.

My New Exhibition

Perhaps you have seen some of this work before, if you read my blog. So, I’ll just feature this one – take a closer look at my watercolour portrait of a valley in the Yorkshire Dales

The Valley

Anyway, that’s all about this show, but I’m preparing another in this gallery. And I think it will look good, displayed the way I’ve dreamed of, so, watch this space! If you want to see more of my landscape paintings, have a look at my gallery here.

Not Inktober – My Small Sketches

On the Table

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.

Perplexed
Headache

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.

Travelling
Machinery

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.

The Beautiful Colours of Autumn

Leaves Falling

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

Autumn Garden

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

A New Autumn Picture

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

Realistic or Abstract – Your Choice!

Silver Surfer

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

Silver Surfer on a Virtual Wall

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

Pink Blossom

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

Showing my work at the meeting

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

New Countryside Scenes in Gouache

The Red Barn

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

The Old Tree

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

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

Two More Small Landscape Paintings

Small Barn

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

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

Poppy Time

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

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

Our Industry Exhibition Now Open

The Winding Wheel

Good morning everyone. This is my latest addition to our Northern Fringe Gallery Industry exhibition which opened this week. As you may recall, we are at the Ridings shopping centre in Wakefield, UK. (See this post here ). To be honest, it was a low key opening at our own gallery. Because we are displaying the pictures as they are finished, on a sort of rolling programme. When we have received a decent amount of entries, we will look for a suitable gallery to exhibit.

The Winding Wheel – now in the Industry exhibition

The Winding Wheel

This is my interpretation of an image of the machinery that powered the winding wheel at a local colliery, now closed. To be honest, I don’t know much about this. Except that the men went down the shaft to work in a lift operated by this machinery. And, I remember my dad telling me that they called the lift the cage! However, I felt inspired by the image itself. I perceived it as a powerful abstract image. And I painted the various bits of it as shapes, not really knowing what they were!

Spinning Jenny

Finally, I will show you the last of my four paintings for our Industry exhibition – Spinning Jenny. Actually, I painted this for an art competition in an industrial town in the North of England a couple of years ago. Unfortunately, the gallery didn’t accept it, but it’s perfect for our theme. Just to explain, I have interpreted an invention called Spinning Jenny in a rather fanciful way. And the real Spinning Jenny was a frame operated by one person to run four wool spinning wheels at once. In effect, the beginning of the mechanisation of the spinning industry. But, I reimagined the machine as a strong, capable working woman, still spinning over the North Pennines where it was invented.

As you might have noticed if you read my blog, I do love painting a story picture! Please look me up again to see what else I might come up with on this interesting theme.

Last Chance to See Show

A Castle in Portugal

Good morning everyone. This is your last chance to see my solo show in the cafe gallery at Darfield Museum! So I thought I would choose three of my personal favourites to spotlight. Firstly, A Castle in Portugal – and the way this one turned out really pleased me . As you might have noticed, it’s in gouache paint. And I love the texture and chalky quality to the paint. However, it does have its challenges and I’m working on it! To be honest, you have to develop a lightness of touch with the layers. Otherwise, if the top layer is a little bit too wet and you are heavy handed with the brush, the colours will merge.

Swaledale Barn

Now this one I really enjoyed painted and I started it during our holiday in the Yorkshire Dales in July. If you don’t know the area, it’s a series of rivers running through pretty valleys. And this barn is in the vale of the River Swale and it’s a very typical scene. In fact, you can see these small barns almost in every field. Apparently, the tradition was to try and grow two crops of hay each season. And store it conveniently in the barn in the field, so that the farmer and the animals had easy access to the winter feed.

Last Chance to See Top Withens

Top Withens

Anyway, I am very fond of this one too. And, I’m very pleased to say that someone bought it! To be honest, I’m thrilled that someone really loved it enough to take it home. Particularly because it almost sold at another gallery, but mistakes were made. Unfortunately, that potential customer went home disappointed. However, now it will be hung somewhere where it will be appreciated, and that’s all I want. But, I will miss this large framed picture, it does remind so much of the brooding moors up near Haworth. If you want to know the story, read this post here. So, tomorrow really is your last chance to see this show!

Sketches from Heritage Open Day

Open Door at St. Mary’s

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!

The View Towards the Altar

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.

Patterns and Colours in the Church

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.

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.

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