Watercolour and Mixed Media Painting of a Bird in Flight
Lockdown Art Anyone ?
I started off this watercolour sketch as a response to a challenge for an art group I belong to. And , it was called ‘ Bird in Flight ‘ . Then I changed it into an art journal page , expressing some of my feelings about being in lockdown . Well, in this mixed media piece I used pen , pencil , collage, watercolour and oil pastel. To be honest , I always knew art was my therapy ! Does anyone else feel as strongly as I do about benefiting so much from creating art when times are hard ? For me , artwork that I have done in this time of social distancing has been a great help in the last few weeks . See more watercolour and collage work here in my post about life under the sea .
Barnsley Town Hall at Christmas 2019 – Bright Lights
At last , I’ve managed to paint my acrylic painting of one of the fabulous light installations we enjoyed in our town at Christmas. Obviously , really bright lights ! This one lit up the iconic building by illuminating all the windows. As you can see , they were sometimes red and sometimes pink. At the same time the stonework was washed over with shades of blue . To be honest , it was very inspiring and moving. And , at times it showed the War Memorial silhouetted in black against the bright colours. Also , during the sequence , it was drenched in blood red . There’s a full account , plus the photos I used for inspiration in my blogpost here back in December 2019 . Ever since then , I was longing to paint the scene. Really , the lockdown has , ironically , given me the opportunity. However , I know I haven’t finished with this idea yet and I’d like to try another abstract painting .
Harbour Lights – Reflections on the Sea
This acrylic painting is a completely different interpretation of the idea of electric light dominating the scene. As you can see, in this case it’s a harbour scene . It was inspired by a photo which I altered a great deal. Because I gradually became engrossed in the abstract shapes of the buildings and the reflections of the light on the water . I also managed to indulge my love of bright blues , red and yellow . Any excuse to show my World of Colour ! It’s a good job we can all go virtually travelling like this , in this time of lockdown . Stay safe .
You can see this painting in my Exhibitions page here – it was on show in the Art Cafe
Acrylic Painting of a Sci-fi Landscape with Colour Abstraction
I’ve finished my little acrylic painting at last, my sci-fi landscape. Despite all this extra isolation free time , I still haven’t done much art . Well, I have actually been finishing off another large canvas – so that’s my excuse. And I’ve also started an art journal ( more for art therapy than anything else) .
This was an exercise we did a couple of weeks ago at Art Group. We all looked at the same copyright free photo and produce your own version . And then we tried to make as many changes as we wanted to or to add anything to it . So I changed some details such as omitting the bench and moving the cliff .Then I tried changing all the colours , which was surprisingly difficult , if you wanted to make it look harmonious . ( Apparently this is called colour abstraction ) . I also found patterns in the leaves, rocks and waves and exaggerated them . Of course , I am quite used to doing this when I paint my semi-abstracts. And I have been told that it now resembles a sci- fi landscape ! In fact , it was quite enjoyable to do , if you like a little challenge.
What changes would you make? You could see more abstracts in this post here .
Sir Gawain and the Green Knight in an Exhibition of Story Pictures by Northern Fringe Artists
We had to cancel the launch of our latest exhibition this week due to the present situation. But the artwork is now on the walls of our pop-up gallery at the Ridings Centre , Wakefield. And , it’s all ready for the time when we can safely open it to friends , family and the general public . Our exhibition of story pictures.
Actually, I belong to the Northern Fringe group of artists . And this latest show is all about Yorkshire Makers inspired by Yorkshire Writers. Of course , I chose Simon Armitage from Marsden , near Huddersfield. As you can tell from my painting Simon reworked a medieval poem about the Knights of the Round Table . In doing so he created a superb piece of his own in modern English. To be honest , it was so easy to picture the scene. You see, the Green Knight is waiting for Sir Gawain to continue the fight . But I’ll not give away the ending , you’ll have to read it yourself !
Another Story Picture
As you might have heard me say before , I love painting story pictures. And it’s really good to take up challenges from groups I belong to for fresh inspiration . For example, last year I responded to an artist’s call-out on the theme of ‘ Iconic ‘. And I came up with this semi-abstracted view of a ring of standing stones in the Lake District , England . In actual fact, I found it wasn’t too difficult to imagine the stories connected to the site . Somehow just being there makes you think about the lives of the people who built this monument . And also those who looked after it all those years ago .
Happily, this one was on display last year so I can’t really complain. Anyway , that was another exhibition of story pictures.
I just finished the fourth in my flowers in acrylic on small canvases – so I can’t call it a triptych anymore ! Do you know , I always find such a lot of inspiration in flowers . And I think that these purple flowers are some kind of ornamental thistle . Anyway , I’ve just bought three 8 by 8 inch canvases so I can paint some more . Happy Days !
See ” Floral Art – a Triptych “here to see the other three pictures.
Local Artist’s Story Pictures at the Millennium Gallery, Sheffield
I went to see a great exhibition at the Millennium Gallery, Sheffield a couple of weeks ago . And it was called Nomadic Tales by Richard Bartle , including lots of story pictures .
Honesty , we were so delighted to be able to walk round with Richard himself . Because he told us the fascinating stories behind his huge paintings . As you can see , they were painted on canvas material , just like banners . I know that Richard took inspiration from the medieval illustrations of a 14th century artist and storyteller Siyah Kalem . Interestingly, the artist used the motifs of men and demons in his paintings . In this way , he could comment on the everyday life of the nomadic tribes .He concentrated mainly on those who lived on the Silk Road in Asia .
Living in Istanbul
Richard lives part of the year in Istanbul , Turkey. And he has put his own interpretation of the life and political turmoil of the area into his story pictures .
Its a really inspiring show – try and catch it if you are in the area . So , I hope you enjoyed my exhibition review !
To tell the truth , I do enjoy painting story pictures myself . And , funnily enough , I painted the story of how the secret of making silk was smuggled out of China . Actually, it was done by a Chinese princess . To explain , she hid the silkworms and cocoons in her huge headdress , according to the legend . ( See more Story Pictures here )
My Story Pictures
This is a romantic version of history , of course . But I am also drawn to putting social comment into my pictures . In fact , I have painted a series particularly highlighting the problems of women in our modern world . Just like this one in the image below.
This one ‘ Caged Bird ‘ was painted for the exhibition ‘Vote 100 – a Century of Change ‘ for the Cooper Gallery ,Barnsleyhere .Now , the exhibition was last year and all about the suffragettes and their struggles to get the vote . Incidentally, I was lucky enough to sell this one to a lovely lady at the exhibition !
Women in Modern Society
As you can see , in this painting , I explored the idea of the restricted lives that some women lead . Subsequently , I followed this theme over quite a few paintings . And I sort of brought it to a conclusion with this last one below ‘ Women in Chaos ‘ . Here I show a woman trying to deal with all the pressures and problems modern life can throw at us .
Perhaps this is pretty heavy stuff – I suppose it is . But I like all kinds of art . And that means including the kind that really makes you think and I particularly enjoy a story picture.
This is just a quick post – I wanted to share with you a watercolour sketch I did this weekend . I spent the day with Urban Sketchers Yorkshire. We went to the fabulous Salts Mill ,at Saltaire near Bradford , a World Heritage site. But , first of all , we spent the morning in a craft brewery urban sketching, looking down on the factory from a balcony. See here for some great photos of the Beer Factory.
Well, I did my usual pen sketch and I realised how many gorgeous patterns there were in the view . So , when adding watercolour , I started to emphasize and exaggerate the abstract shapes. At the moment , I’m concentrating on abstract composition in my acrylic painting so I’m a bit obsessed ! But this is the first time I’ve actually put one together while ‘ one the spot ‘ so to speak. This could be addictive !
I used some of the new techniques I’ve learned – putting more contrast in the design and trying to harmonize the colours.
I’ll post something a bit longer soon , when I’ve a bit more time, all about a great exhibition I saw in Sheffield .
Have a look here for more of my urban sketching at Saltaire and other places !
This is my latest acrylic abstract painting. So I thought that I would explain a little bit about how I created this. In effect , how to paint an acrylic abstract ! Firstly, I followed a suggestion online to play with these three colours plus black and white and , literally , just see what happened. I did find this brief quite inspiring – choosing the colours had already been done for me . So if I could ‘ let go ‘ , I thought it might be relaxing. As opposed to the hard thinking and research that goes into , for example , one of my Story Pictures.
Anyway, I usually work in this ‘ portrait ‘ format and I didn’t realise how used I was to creating a rectangular composition until a friend of mine gave me some lovely square canvases. So , that was a challenge I set myself and this was the first version.
Step by Step
I was pleased with the movement but I realised that the ‘white ‘ shapes were not working so – on to the next version.
So next day, I worked on the painting some more and took away a lot of the white. But meanwhile , I had been far too busy and I had added so many ‘ interesting ‘ little sections . Really, they were cute in their own way , but all together , it was too much and just confused the eye. So, they had to go – it was quite a painful experience to paint them out . In fact, I think this is why some artists find it difficult to judge when an abstract is finished . I certainly do . What do you think ? Is it finished ?
Well , that way of creating an intuitive abstract seems to me completely different to the way I put this next one together
Believe it or not , this composition came to me as a finished design in my imagination. Actually, this hardly ever happens for me . So it was just a question of trying to put it down on paper ( or canvas in this case )
Well, that’s enough waffling from me. I hope that I have shed a bit of light on how to paint an acrylic abstract . If you want to see more of my abstract paintings , have a look in my gallery here . And , don’t forget , all of my work is for sale at reasonable prices.
Three Flower Paintings on Small Canvas – a Triptych
What’s a triptych ? Basically , it’s a group of three paintings shown together and sharing aspects of subject matter , colour or style – or all three ! In fact , just like these three flower paintings. Originally, I think it described three paintings usually above or on the altar in churches. Actually , it’s a really popular way of presenting artwork at the moment in galleries . And some artists are very creative in the way the pieces are linked together .
Anyway , this is my version of a triptych disguised as floral art. In fact , I had to come up with something for an art group I belong to and I was a bit stuck. Then I remembered that I had decided to paint a series of flower paintings in acrylic on small canvases a while ago . However, life got in the way and I had only completed two, Sunflower and Oriental Poppy.
So , I decided to paint one more – for the art group theme , a triptych of flowers. That is , three flower paintings. This is Cone Flowers.
Easy ! One triptych delivered .
Flowers from My Gallery
I must just mention that I have entered ‘Bluebells’ ( and two other paintings) for an open call for an exhibition. Luckily , Bluebells was accepted ( hurray ! ) .And to my delight, chosen for the publicity image – two reasons to be cheerful, I think !
I must admit , I do love painting flowers. And , if you would like to see more , there’s loads more in my Gallery – ‘Still Life and Flowers’ here
So, to finish up with, here’s my favourite – going to a new home when my solo exhibition finishes today ( the image at the bottom of the page )
Well, there are all kinds of floral art – on canvas, on paper , in vases , in a landscape , as a triptych or stand alone .And , I wonder which kind you like best ? Or , do you like them all , like me .
Dragons , Monsters and Angels – a Ceramics Exhibition Review
We went a couple of times to our local stately home Cannon Hall quite recently to look at the “Mythical Creatures” display, taken from their famous ceramics collection.
The Dragons – Mythical Creatures at Cannon Hall
It was really very impressive. And I felt quite inspired by the fascinating dragon vase and the plate upstairs in the gallery. In fact , they were produced by the famous Victorian designer William de Morgan . He married Evelyn , whose family lived in Cannon Hall. ( She was , of course a famous artist in her own right ). Actually , this particularly caught my eye as it was a medieval depiction of a dragon . As you can see , it looks like a huge worm or serpent, with no wings. So I painted my own version, first in watercolour [ see above] and then acrylic.
I modelled my acrylic painting on this style of imaginary beast – it still took me a while to figure out how to make the body look realistic without the wings.
Some Other Mythical Creatures
I had a great time sketching the ceramic bust of the Greek god Pan that was also displayed upstairs .Surprisingly ,the porcelain piece was so delicately coloured that the flesh was quite convincing and realistic ! In fact , I really enjoyed the challenge of drawing his crown of leaves, pointed ears and horns too.
Back downstairs, you could see all the mythical creatures you could think of . And a few you never would have thought of . So , there were fairies, gods, dragons, angels, unicorns, sphinxes and other strange hybrids of human and animal origin. To be honest, I was even inspired to paint my own angel this Christmas. To see more angels, look at my December post ‘ Christmas Paintings in Acrylic on Canvas ‘ here
This is a real treasure house of plates, sculpture, vases and tableware. So I’m looking forward to the next display that the curators will, no doubt, put together.
Finally , the image above is from a sketchbook kept by one of the residents of Cannon Hall , in the past. As you can tell , the beautiful detail on these imaginary beasts is quite exceptional.
To sum up , there was loads of inspiration for creative work, if only I had the time ! I hope you enjoyed my little exhibition review .
A Colourful Painting of a Mediterranean Coastal Scene in Watercolour
This is my latest – a fairly quick watercolour sketch of a harbour scene. Because I was so fed up of all the dark , damp days we were having , I chose something light and sunny to paint. And it really worked ! My mood lifted straight away and , as an added bonus, everyone else who looked at it cheered up too . I really enjoy creating a colourful painting . I don’t know about you , but what I work on always affects my emotions. Art Therapy, anyone ?
Now , this acrylic painting is another example of my colourful painting that I did to brighten up dark November days . But this was put together in a completely different way from the harbour scene which is carefully detailed . To be honest , Sunshiny Day was painted quite instinctively . And I really had no idea before I started whet it would turn out to be . And it evolved gradually. It was a surprise to me , but I liked it ! I must say , I don’t often produce work this way – but I feel a series coming on. Are there any more Abstract Expressionists out there? ( I added the words afterwards to make it into a poster for my current exhibition – see previous post for details )
You can find this abstract painting with a few more in my Gallery Abstracts here
It didn’t take us too long to put the exhibition up yesterday . Really, we were quite well organised and Mike Roberts [organiser and curator] was pretty nifty up and down the ladders.
Update – Spring Blossom in Wales – SOLD!
The Abstract Paintingsat my Solo Exhibition
I was thrilled when Mike invited me to exhibit at this fabulous gallery for the month of January. At last – an exhibition all to myself ! I was also really pleased because Mike had seen my paintings on this new website – so , quick result ! In fact , this gallery is a new idea for the Community Library and it is really well worth supporting. Just remember , the library closes on Tuesday, Saturday afternoon and Sunday.
I would really like to say a big thank you to all my family and friends for their support this morning. You know , it really means a lot. And it was great showing off my work to you all.
All for Sale at my Solo Exhibition
The exhibition is open till February 1st.
These are all original artworks , painted in acrylic on paper or canvas, with the occasional watercolour and mixed media piece. And they are all for sale, with prices ranging from £30 – £150 . Please contact me if you are interested. I’m based in the UK.
Do have a look in my gallery to see more of my acrylic paintings. There’s also a more in-depth report on my exhibition in the Exhibition section on the main menu .
It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas. Here are some ideas for Christmas paintings.
I love this time of year but the downside is not having enough time to paint as well as get the house Christmas ready. Of course you have to buy and wrap the pressies, decorate the tree and so on.
So it’s a good idea to : 1] Paint Christmas paintings and card designs the year before and then have them printed in time to send this year.
And the second strategy is to recycle artwork from previous years, dust them off and arrange them somewhere different in the house.
Last year, I took part in the Angel Festival of Hoylandswaine church with my art group. I must say, the church looked brilliant – full of beautiful angels.
Do you know , I got so enthused this year that I arranged an angel painting evening at Barnsley and District Art Society. And it was great fun. See more angels in my January post ‘ Mythical Creatures – Including Dragons ! ‘ here
And I did it all before the festive season to cut down on creative stress.
I went to Barnsley Bright Nights Festival at the weekend . The Christmas lights were very spectacular – there were lots of installations around the Town Hall area. Barnsley Town Hall itself was used for a stunning laser light display, focusing on the windows in this splendid building. My photos don’t really capture the beauty of the changing colours but, even so, they gave me some inspiration for Abstract Art compositions. The two photos above made me want to create a painting based on the idea of extra bright blocks of colour against a jet black background. ( Keep an eye on the Abstract section of my Gallery – you never know what might turn up ! )
The floodlighting of the building in a deep red was particularly effective. The idea of blood dripping down over the scene was quite moving. Especially so as the First World War monument, showing the Unknown Soldier on a tall plinth, was silhouetted against the red.
I think I might combine some of the elements of both of the photos above into one painting. So many ideas, so little time ! But I really ought to get a painting of Bright Nights down on canvas .
The Gaia Installation at Barnsley Bright Nights
The Gaia installation in the Barnsley College was ‘out of this world ‘ if you know what I mean. In fact ,it was suspended in space from the top of the huge atrium. As we walked up the winding staircase, we could see it from all angles. And if that doesn’t convince people of the urgency of our situation, I don’t know what would.
But quite apart from climate change worries, I started thinking about painting an abstract , I was inspired by the beautiful globe of green, blue and quite a lot of brown ( taken from NASA photos ) . I imagined a composition of swirling shapes, wispy clouds and the Deep Blue. Quite a lot of inspiration for one day.
Acrylic Paintings in an Art Cafe Exhibition in Rotherham
This is the first post on my new blog. That is to say , I’m just getting this new blog going. Stay tuned for more. Meanwhile , this is my Art cafe exhibition !
When I was in Rotherham for a meeting on Friday, I popped into a lovely cafe Fitzwilliam and Hughes to have a look at 2 of my paintings that they have very kindly displayed – one right next to the counter! Actually, the cafe is close to the impressive Minster and you get really good views of it through the large windows.
The Floods in South Yorkshire 2019
After enjoying good coffee and seriously good brownies, we walked back to the car parked next to the mighty River Don. Thankfully, the river has now gone down after last week’s floods. But it still seems to be flowing at a slightly alarming rate.
There was lots of lovely artwork on the walls in the café, so I felt very pleased to be included in their current exhibition. And you can see these 2 paintings along with others in my Gallery
In fact, there’s loads more of my acrylic paintings on show now in Skelmanthorpe Library Gallery – have a look at the ‘ My First Solo Exhibition ‘ post here