Catching Up with my Paintings

Pumpkin Seedlings

Good morning everyone. At last, I’m really pleased that I managed to do some catching up and finish this gouache painting. In fact, I started it off about four weeks ago at our art society meeting. And the subject was “food” so I chose to paint these pumpkin seedlings we were growing. Well, I called it future food, so it fitted in! Anyway, the way it almost looked like an abstract composition seen from above inspired me. Because of the circles, I suppose. But I didn’t let it take over, and I made sure I painted in quite a realistic style. Another goal I had in mind was to apply the paint more thickly and I did succeed to some extent. However, I will need more practice on this. If you want to check up on the progress of the plants, they are all now in the ground, flourishing and underneath some netting. It’s a rabbit problem, don’t ask! If you want to see a drawing of last year’s harvest, have a look at this post here .

The Last Tree

Finally, more catching up,here’s one of my new style abstracts, using passages of colour to provide interest in the background. So, the first stage was done ages ago and was sitting on my dining room table, reproaching me. For, I couldn’t think of a suitable motif to be the top layer. Nonetheless, inspiration eventually came, and I quickly drew in a lifeless tree. See more live trees here .

Some Beautiful Old Stone Buildings

Kirkham Priory

Good morning everyone. I thought I would show you the last of the three watercolour sketches I did on our mini holiday. ( See the other two here) Perhaps you have noticed how much I love painting old stone buildings. So, here’s another one! In fact, I did this as we were driving home from the coast. And we stopped for an hour to eat a sandwich at Kirkham Priory, a beautiful ruin looked after by English Heritage. Well, this was the view from the picnic table and we we were in the old gatehouse. Obviously, I couldn’t resist sketching this section of the massive wall and a glimpse through the door. Meanwhile, my husband walked around the site with a guidebook, trying to imagine the splendid buildings as they once were.

Conisbrough Castle

Actually, we seem to do a lot of this, trying to imagine what old stone buildings once looked like. But, just to show you the exception to the rule, here is the keep at Conisbrough castle which is completely restored. As I recall, when we visited in November last year, we saw all three floors. Then we climbed up to the viewing platform at the top, to see a glorious view over the town. If you want to see another historic English castle, see this post here.

See my Small Watercolour Abstracts

Doodle 3

Good morning everyone. This is a quick catchup post, just to show you more of my small watercolour abstracts. Well, I’m still producing quite a few of these. And I’ve noticed that they definitely reflect my painting interests and colour choices at the time. But I don’t notice this till afterwards! For example, in this one above I’m exploring more restrained and sparse patterns, as a contrast to the busier designs of the previous little abstracts seen here.

Doodle 4

On the other hand, I noticed after I had completed this one above that it was connected to my current large acrylic. And also, the softer colours and bold black calligraphic marks are in the style on my online course. Who knew? Actually, my subconscious painting brain surprises me more every day, especially in my small watercolour abstracts!

Doodle 4 – a closeup

A Day by the Sea

North Landing, Flamborough

Good morning everyone. We’ve just spent a lovely few days by the sea. And I painted this quick watercolour sketch looking down at North Landing Bay at Flamborough on the Yorkshire coast. Although it looks deserted in my sketch, there were actually some families playing on the beach. And the snack bar was open and doing a roaring trade. Also, a small boat came back to the shore, with a few crates of fish. Then they pulled the boat up the ramp to the boat house. After I had finished my sketch, (about 30 minutes) we walked a short way along the cliff path on the headland. Actually, we were looking out for puffins, but they were all hiding! What a beautiful way to spend an afternoon.

In fact, I had paddled in the sea on the beach at Scarborough that morning, in freezing cold water. And when I got back to the flat I decided to do an intuitive abstract. So I painted an impression of the movement of the water, as the tide receded around my feet. If you look at this post here from last year, you’ll see another sketch of this coast.

The Tide

See my Spare Time Abstracts

Doodle 1

Good morning everyone. I think the title says it all, really, because I’m very busy at the moment. And, this is all the art I can manage to fit in at present – spare time abstracts! Actually, I saw a few things online about doodling, which seems to be very popular just now. But, to be honest, I’ve been scribbling little designs and patterns all my life. So, it seems to be quite natural to me. However, I noticed lots of ideas suggesting doing these small drawings over a background of watercolour marks. So, nothing could be easier, I use my little travel set of colours and it dries fast. Then, a little bundle of markers to choose from, and off I go!

Although, I must say the notion of using lots of surface pattern over paint is still new to me. But, that’s the fun part. And, as most of my marker pens are waterproof, it seems natural to add a bit more emphasis on top with thicker paint. Next, I have a look at the design for any ugly bits and correct them. And now I’ve done another spare time abstract! Right, back to the allotment gardening! There is some more fun doodling in this post here, using a slightly different technique.

Doodle 2

Another Fine Day

Another Fine Day

Good morning everyone. I really enjoyed painting this landscape in gouache, Another Fine Day. And it was one more step in my journey in mastering this medium. Perhaps if I painted solid for a few weeks I could get more confidence in using gouache. But, because I adore using all sorts of media and paint all kinds of subjects, my progress will be slow. Actually, what do you think – is this a disadvantage or instead, is this a gift? Anyway, I posted this on our MeWe group and then started another one!

A close up

Bad Planning and Good Planning

Peace

Good morning everyone. Today I wanted to show you this abstract design, which required quite a lot of planning. Obviously, it’s just a modest little watercolour abstract painting, but, first I had to think hard about the background. You see, I kept the colours soft so there is not too much eye catching contrast. At the same time, I introduced a subtle sense of movement with the white paint. Honestly, I really had to restrain myself from adding loads of busyness all over the place! Anyway, I achieved it and now I could choose a motif to put over the top. But, what to choose? Not wanting to experiment on the page, I used my I pad trick and scribbled a few ideas over the image on the screen. After a few tries, I settled on a mandala.

The I pad trick

So then I felt confident enough to paint my mandala in black paint (don’t laugh, it’s an abstract one!) Actually, I haven’t got the skill or the patience to paint a good one. However, I think it’s quite effective. And the main point of the exercise for me is to take some time and thought when planning an abstract.

Peace

Bad Planning

Sunny Morning

Next, here is a glorious example of bad planning, more like my usual style! Here’s the story, l wandered into my ‘studio’ after showering one morning. And there was the usual view over the roofs, all bathed in gentle sunshine. Well, I couldn’t resist grabbing a pad and a black marker for a quick sketch. Then I used my new oil pastel pencils for the colour which didn’t of course cover the lines. So, not the best laid plan, but a real delight to record my response then and there! To sum up, I suppose I think that there is a time for careful planning and also for spontaneous response. Maybe you missed another quick response I made to this view, in a spectacular winter sunrise last year here.

Look at my Framed Abstracts

Up

Good morning everyone. I finished this small watercolour painting yesterday and, with a bit of magic, it’s now one of my new framed abstracts. Isn’t science wonderful? Only a few minutes work, and there it is , in a frame and on the wall of a virtual room!

Up in the Dining Room

Not only does it boost my confidence to see my work displayed on the wall. But also I can then easily assess the work and make mental notes how to progress in the next one.

Perhaps you might not be aware, but I can see quite a lot of influence here from the Painting with Yvette course I am following. For example, the general movement of the colour red across the paper. Also, I have used both thin, washy paint and more thickly applied coats in this composition. In addition, I have applied patches of fine surface pattern on the top layer. Obviously, this might not be all that easy to see in these images of one of my framed abstracts. But, close up it is more effective and I learned all this from this excellent course.

In the Shadows

Finally, I couldn’t resist ‘hanging’ this little abstract on the wall. And I like the way the dark, moody colour of the background complements the mysterious feeling of the painting. In fact, when I look at it now, I think of a passage back into the light from a dark place, perhaps a cave? However, it was an intuitive composition, with no planning beforehand. If you would like to see more of my abstract work, see here.

Drawing the Figure in Movement

Figure in Movement

Good morning everyone. This is another page in the art journaling course Sketchbook Revival by Karen Abend. And I really enjoyed this tutorial by Barbara Baumann all about the gestural method of sketching the figure. That is, concentrating on the figure in movement. Basically, you sketch out the direction of the limbs, the torso and the head. Most importantly you study the angles of the tilt of the head and torso. Also, the direction of the outstretched arms and legs. Obviously the photo reference for this sketch was ideal – the pose was quite extreme. Also, unbelievably high off the ground!

The Proportions of the Body

After that, the really hard part! To be honest, I already knew about planning out the shoulders, elbows and knees as circles. But in the lesson I learned about the shapes of the upper and lower torso. And that is new to me and extremely helpful. In addition, I appreciated the tips about creating a background of dynamic lines and splodges. In my opinion is does suggest the figure in movement, which is not easy.

Ballerina in Flight

As you may know if you follow my blog, I have attended life drawing classes for a few years now. And I’ll finish up with one of my favourite drawings, done from life when we were also thinking about Matisse. In fact, a lot of his later cut- out work is very gestural. So, here’s my tribute to that great French artist. Actually, you could see more of my paintings of the figure in People, a section of my gallery.

Model in Blue

Two Paintings from my Archive

The Road to the Mountains

Good morning everyone. As part of my grand tidy-up, I looked through this old sketchbook to check for any empty pages. And I found these two paintings from my archive. Admittedly, I am not very organised, I have several sketchbooks on the go at once, with no particular plan! But the time comes when I must fill them up and put them away. Actually, I found that I had filled up this book and, in the process, I discovered these two mixed media pieces.

Over the Bay

Although I love them both, I must confess that I can barely remember doing them! Except, I do recall that it was round about the time that I was busy experimenting with coloured pencils. Perhaps six or seven years ago, possibly. And, me being me, I also couldn’t refrain from using watercolour pencil, oil pastel and marker pen too! Anyway, I am certain that I drew them from postcards or magazine cut-outs, not plein air. However, when I examine them now, I can clearly see bits that remind me of places I love to draw from life. For example, Over the Bay is definitely influenced by the hours I have spent looking and sketching at the Bay at Scarbrough on the north east coast of Yorkshire.

As for the mountain one, I can see in it the vegetation that grows on the moorland around where I live. So, I do remember happy days when I look at these paintings from my archive after all! You could see some more evocative landscape paintings in my gallery here.

Two Birds in One Week

Royal Tern, inspired by Shari Blaukopf

Good morning everyone. This is a cheeky little bird I painted from a good tutorial by Shari Blaukopf in the Karen Abend ‘Sketchbook Revival ‘ series. And it was great fun, so that makes two birds in one week! (More of that later). Anyway, the reference photo and the tuition were excellent, and I learnt how to make the feathers look more realistic. Hopefully the bird then doesn’t seem too ‘solid’, a pitfall I have fallen into sometimes. In the case of this watercolour sketch, things were a bit more tricky because of the windy weather. Perhaps you can see that the wing and breast feathers are ruffled up into a fluffy ball by the breeze. In fact, the bit I am most proud of is the effect of the reflections of the legs. Unfortunately, I know nothing about the bird itself, how about you?

The Reflections

Two Birds in One Week

A Mallard

Well, I did say two birds, so this is the other one! Actually, there were plenty of birds to spot on our quiet walk around the Dearne Valley Country Park . But this one very obligingly stood still for me to do a quick pencil sketch, as we sat in front of the small lake. By the way, we did go to see the bluebell display in the ancient woodland. And, Nature didn’t disappoint – I really love this time of year. ( You could see more of my bird sketches in this post here . )

Discover Shapes in Paint Doodles

Flight

Good morning everyone. This is a fun exercise I did in the tutorial by Charlie O’Shields in the Sketchbook Revival course by Karen Abend. And I tried to discover shapes in simple paint doodles, following the method described by Charlie. To be honest, it was easy to follow. First, scribble some marks with clean water on your brush, on watercolour paper. Most importantly, leave some blank spaces and don’t cover all the sheet. Next, quickly drop in some very wet paint and allow it to mingle. As you can probably tell, my paint blotches did start to dry a little. So I added more and ‘grew’ a few cauliflowers! But, it didn’t matter and just added to the design. When it’s thoroughly dry, take a bit of time to study it. Then pick out the outlines of anything you see in pen or fine marker. Just let your imagination go wild!

Actually, I did enjoy this playing with paint and ideas, and I felt it was a good antidote to worrying about all the sad things I hear on the news. So, if you want a little chuckle, have a look at the other daft doodles I produced.

In the Depths of the Sea
Night Time
Puppy

Finally, here’s an example of a ten minute doodle (done last night). And this shows my usual method of doodling abstracts and how to discover shapes. In fact, I draw or paint colours and shapes at random and then develop it from there. In this case, first, chop courgettes for the dinner, then sit down with marker pens, oil pastels, a biro and tiny notebook!

Courgettes for Dinner

Trying New Approaches with Flowers

The Tulips on the Table

Good morning everyone. Lately I have been working my way through the excellent tutorials in the free Sketchbook Revival course with Karen Abend. Actually, it’s finished now, but I will certainly look out for it next year. In particular I have enjoyed the sections on painting flowers. And I have been trying the new approaches introduced by several of the tutors. For example, using a looser painting technique when observing flowers from life.

Bouquet with Roses

To be honest, this was quite difficult to do, as I have always observed each flower carefully before. And then attempted to paint all details on each bloom separately. But here I observed closely first. And then tried to paint the different elements and shapes into flowers that were pleasing in the overall design. Anyway, this was my first attempt and things can only get better! In fact, this exercise ‘Mixed Media Floral Study’ was led by Joy Ting.

Trying New Approaches in Design

Flower Design 1

This was another exercise that I enjoyed, a simple flower design by Viddhi Saschit. And the tutor broke it down into easy steps, so that I created this reasonably attractive design. Afterwards I felt that I could try to paint another little pattern by myself.

Finally, I just wanted to show you The Tulips on the Table, which I did quite spontaneously in watercolour and oil pastel. And, I like to think that I put into practice some of the new ideas that I learnt. You could see more of my flower pictures here.

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”!

Paintings Inspired by Online Tuition

Dominant

Good morning everyone. When I have ten minutes or so spare, I will always do a quick sketch.( In between finishing off online tuition projects!). On this occasion I quickly sketched a doodle in watercolour, limiting myself to three colours. When it was dry, I doodled some more, adding some black calligraphic marks on top. Later on, I strengthened these marks with one of my new soft oil pastels. Of course, you may have realised that this was influenced by the Painting with Yvette course that I am following. Otherwise I never would have tried putting this kind of a motif on top of a background.

Butterfly Wings

Now this idea is something else that I picked up from online tuition. But unfortunately I can’t remember the details, I look at so much lovely stuff online. Anyway, I did in fact take the idea and do my own version. And the method is to take images of motifs you have chosen to use as inspiration for an abstract composition. Then incorporate them into a design, without doing a realistic painting of them. For example, for this piece I sourced good photos of butterflies and flowers. Then I isolated the shapes and colours that pleased me and tried to make a harmonious pattern. Actually, it does fry your brain a bit in the process! But, I’m still keen to do more. See more intuitive abstracts in this post here

Butterfly Wings – a detail

New Pale Abstracts to See

Something Blue

Good morning everyone. As you may know if you read my blog, I am at present working my way through an excellent online course by Yvette. And I am learning how to create pale abstracts, which are completely different in style to my usual paintings. In fact, in this module we are taking the approach of first creating a background of patterns in dark paint, then applying layer after layer of colours and shapes. Have a look at this image below first to see the process half way through. Then see how it ends up in the next image.

Misty Landscape, half way through
Misty Landscape, finished

In fact, this was my first attempt and I relied quite heavily on the tutor’s version. But this next one I really consider to be my own. And I think it looks well presented in this virtual room. However, my paintings are small and the blown up images really demonstrate how effective large scale abstract paintings can be. See what you think.

Something Blue

Well, I’ve been very busy with these new pale abstracts – they do take some time to do for smallish paintings. Actually, I’m half way through the third one just now, but you’ll have to wait a bit longer to see that one! Meanwhile, here’s a link to a post showing some of my ‘old style’ abstract compositions.

My Abstracts in Virtual Rooms

Blue and Gold 2

Good morning everyone. I thought I would show you the progress I have been making in my abstracts. Actually, these examples are from a lesson I was following last week . And, Yvette’s course is excellent, so I am plodding my way steadily through all the modules.

Blue and Gold 1, inspired by Yvette St Amant

To be honest, this is a copy of the tutor’s work. Because that was the only way I could really understand the techniques used. Consequently, I don’t consider the painting as one of my own. However, it was a good learning experience – I experimented with using a palette knife properly. In addition, this was the first time I applied gold paint with some confidence. But I then needed to produce my own compositions, using the style and colours suggested. As a result, first I painted the one in the virtual room you see above. And this is more close up so that you can hopefully see the textures.

Blue and Gold 2

After that, I just had to try out the method in another painting, this time introducing some soft green. And downplaying the gold. What do you think?

Blue and Gold 3

By the way, it’s quite tricky to photo the gold paint and make it shine. Often it appears to be brown. Maybe I’m using the wrong acrylic paint! Anyway, that’s my little catch up on my abstracts and there will be more to follow. If you missed this post here, an earlier report of my new learning, you may wish to have a look.

New Watercolour Techniques in Flowers

Bright Tulips

Good morning everyone. As you may know if you read my blog, I do like to follow online art courses. And I love to work in all sorts of media, and try out new watercolour techniques. So I thought I’d show you some more updates from the Watercolours Made Simple lessons.

Well, the idea is to paint flowers in a more general way than carefully including each detail of a particular flower. Actually, this is more difficult than it sounds. Because my visual memory is not too good, I had a photograph in front of me here. However I tried to view the general shapes of the blooms of the whole bunch and sort of invent newer versions of them. Obviously, such intense scrutiny of the flowers should feed into my memory. Which will help me next time I try this exercise in painting generic flowers. But why do I need to do this, you may wonder? Because then I can concentrate on placing the individual elements in a pleasing design. Afterwards it could be used for a greetings card, for example. Or just simply for a different kind of floral painting.

Alstromerias

Now, in this attempt above, I did in fact have the flowers in front of me, which made the exercise easier. Of course, I shall need a lot more practice, but it is quite enjoyable And a pleasant way of spending time on the new watercolour techniques I’m studying. Have a look at this post here for a realistic portrait of a bunch of flowers. Finally, I’ll leave you with an example of another way of painting flowers – semi abstracting from reality.

Pansies

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!

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Painting Spring Flowers in Watercolour

A Bunch of Daffs

Good morning everyone. Well, it really feels like spring is here, for this week at least! And I love to have spring flowers in the house. As soon as these daffodils opened up, I just had to paint them! So I practised some of the watercolour techniques I have learned from an online course. In fact, after years of trying, I finally managed to loosen up a little with watercolour. That means, more water in the mixture and just nudge it into place, instead of controlling it more tightly. Actually, I was really pleased with the end result. In fact, I succeeded better conveying the papery texture of the petals this time, I feel. Hopefully, you can see that in my photo.

Daffs at Brodsworth

Because it was so sunny and bright, we went to Brodsworth Hall for a few hours. Perhaps you remember some of the other sketches I have shown you in this blog, we do go to this garden often. As you might know, the gardens are spectacular, in all seasons. By the way, I must admit that I definitely took artistic license with this view. Because I completely missed off the main building , being far too interested in the trees and the daffodils, tiny points of golden light that studded the grass. Perhaps I will use this quick sketch in watercolour and pen in plein air as a study for a larger painting.

Finally, I couldn’t sign off without giving a mention to my acrylic painting of spring flowers. At the moment, Daffs at my Allotment is part of my exhibition Picturing the Landscape at Rotherham Roar , see this post here . Alas, very soon to come down, so there’s just a few days to see it! Well, nothing lasts for ever, not even spring!

Daffs at the Allotment
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