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.

Art Work Inspired by Japan

Full Moon, inspired by Hiroshige

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

The Great Wave

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

Another Art Work Inspired by Japan

Mount Fuji

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

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

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

Virtual Travelling to Queensland, Australia

A Hot Day in Queensland, Australia

Good morning everyone. Today I thought I would feature some of the paintings at present on show in the Buzz Gallery at Rotherham Roar. And I think this must be my favourite, the tin roofed little house in the Outback. Actually, I did feel the heat as I was painting it, in my imagination at least. This was just one of my adventures in virtual travelling in Australia.

The Morning Sun on the Crags

Another one of the paintings I enjoyed painting was this beautiful view over the rocky, exposed crags . To be honest, I learned a useful tip from our tutor Rod Moore here. In order to achieve that effect, I painted the red rock colours with horizontal strokes and then dragged a dry brush downwards, carefully over the paint.

The Australia Section

Incidentally, I painted the Mary River picture on Rod’s course too. But this time in gouache, not acrylic. However, it didn’t make the final cut into the show. So, here it is for you to see.

The Mary River, Queensland, Australia

Well, I hope you enjoyed my virtual travelling along with me. It certainly lifted my spirits during the past two years, as you can see in this post here.

All my work is for sale at reasonable prices. For example, the Mary River painting is £40 plus shipping, unframed. Just go to the Contact Me page and send me an email for more details.

Old and New Style Abstracts

The Path of Life

Good morning everyone. Today I’d like to show you the way my abstract painting is changing. The image above is one of my new abstracts, experiments I am creating as I follow a great online course. It’s called Painting with Yvette. And, I’m really enjoying it. Because the colours and compositions are quite different from my own intuitive abstracts.

The Abstract Section of my Exhibition

The picture above is one of the sections in my current solo exhibition at Rotherham Roar. Actually, I am pleased with the way they came together. And each one has a particular meaning to me which evolved as I painted it. In contrast to that way of creating, my new abstracts are of course suggested by the tutor. Nonetheless, the brush marks are full of significance to me the artist. Perhaps in a more subtle way than in my earlier paintings. For example, the painting at the top of this post, The Path of Life, developed out of the suggestions by Yvette on colours to choose and techniques to use. I’m very often out of my comfort zone but I do feel that I am moving on.

The Path of Life

Another of my New Abstracts

Dominant

Anyway, I’m learning new approaches and techniques on this course so that I can apply them in my own work. So, it’s all part of a learning curve and I love it!

Pink and Blue 2

What do you think, is this old or new? Find out more in this post here.

Northern Fringe Exhibition at Castleford

Top Withens

Good morning, everyone. As I promised, here is my report on our exhibition at Castleford. Actually, we put this show on at Mirfield Creative Arts Hub last November and December, see this post here. But, several of the group, me included, added new work. So, it’s not quite the same show. Here is my new acrylic canvas that I just completed in time to hang up!

Looking towards Heaven- Whitby Abbey

This is a view through the ruined church of the abbey, a fabulous English Heritage site in Whitby on the Yorkshire coast. And the literary link is Caedmon, a monk who lived there in the 7th century. When he experienced a vision of heaven there in a dream, he composed a hymn praising God as the creator of heaven and earth. Because this appears to be the first poem in Old English, Caedmon is remembered in history. Actually, the bit I like best in this short poem is the reference to heaven being the roof for Mankind.

As I mentioned in my first post, my other paintings were based on works by Ted Hughes and Emily Bronte, Joann Fletcher, Simon Armitage and Ebenezer Elliott. After all, the exhibition was called ‘Yorkshire Makers Inspired by Yorkshire Writers!

My ‘Yorkshire Writer’ Paintings

Exhibition at Castleford, in the Queen’s Mill

Anyway, the highlights of this show were: firstly the fact that it was opened by Yvette Cooper, local member of parliament and shadow home secretary.

Yvette with Eddie, our chairman

And, secondly the fabulous location in the restored 19th century flour mill on the edge of the River Aire. Incidentally, there was a mill on this site over nine hundred years ago. And, possibly back to Roman times!

Our Exhibition Poster

Well, we spent quite a few hours in the gallery on the second floor. And the view over the river was spectacular. As the river was very high after some heavy rains.

The River Aire in Full Flood

And, I just couldn’t resist sketching the scene!

The Torrential River Aire

New Solo Exhibition Now Open

The Poster

Good morning everyone. My new solo exhibition is now open, until the end of March at the Buzz Gallery, Rotherham Roar. What a pleasure it was to put it together and then to see it actually on the wall. Actually, I haven’t displayed works on paper unframed before. And I was surprised at the immediacy of the paintings without glass or frames. In my opinion they made much more of an impact. And I could see this in the strong emotional reactions of the visitors. Admittedly, we did it this way because the walls weren’t suitable for hanging. However, it was a bright, lively display which demanded attention. Exactly what I wanted!

The Three Sections of my New Solo Exhibition

As I was choosing acrylic paintings on paper , I realised that they fell roughly into three categories: British landscapes, Australian scenes and abstracts. So, that was how I displayed them. For example, in the general landscape section I placed this painting, a scene inspired by enjoyable holidays in the Lake District, UK.

Next, here I can show you the Australian group of paintings. And these are some of the results of an online course tutored by Rod Moore from Queensland. When two of my artbuddies said how much it reminded them of trips to Australia, I was delighted!

The Red Path

Finally, my favourite section – the abstracted and semi abstracted landscape. In fact, I kept changing my mind what to include here. But, I had to make room for this one, which certainly commanded a lot of attention!

Jagged

Well, there certainly was a great deal of work in mounting my new solo exhibition, but I had a blast! And, to top it off, the minute the show was live, a very delighted customer took my ‘Bluebell Wood ‘ painting to a new home! If you want to have a look at the last solo exhibition I did before the pandemic, see this post here.

Bluebell Wood

Quick Sketch in Oil Pastel

Movement

Good morning everyone. Today this is a short post because I’m insanely busy this week! Incidentally, have you ever noticed how everything happens at once?. Not only is my show opening this week, but I’m helping to put up our group exhibition at the weekend. And, I did squeeze in an oil pastel workshop at the weekend, which was brilliant. What a difference good quality materials make. In fact, it was quite a revelation to use artists quality pastels and paper on Saturday. Not to mention learning from our excellent tutor how to blend colours and create textures. So, I promptly ordered some pastel and oil pencils online and can’t wait until they arrive. Actually, the work we produced at the class will be on display for a short while, so more of that later. And there’s a cute little bird in oil pastel here , from a while ago.

Anyway, this is an enthusiastic little oil pastel sketch I did when I got home, to practise some of the techniques. Finally, here’s a taster of the work in my new exhibition, more of that in my next post.

Jagged

Another Muted Abstract in Gouache

Waves

Good morning everyone. Just a short post today, I’m very busy sorting out my new solo exhibition due to open next week. Actually, there always seems to be a lot more work to do than you plan for! Anyway I did manage to finish this muted abstract, the fourth in my series in the online course I’m following. To tell the truth, I did struggle with getting it right. But, at the same time I did seem to know a bit better where I was going!

Waves- a draft

Well, this is one of the earlier stages of the painting. Perhaps it’s not as easy for you to see these details on the screen, but I studied it long and hard. Then I toned down the little dots and dashes and brightened the white areas. Finally, I was satisfied and called it finished. Now I must learn how to use the wax medium I bought, in order to give it a protective coat. Because it’s painted in gouache and I learned the hard way that this is really necessary (don’t ask!). If you want to see the other paintings in the muted abstract series, look here and here.

Here’s a sneaky peek at my exhibition poster – more of this later!

Still Life in the Kitchen

Old Kitchen Scales

Good morning everyone. I really enjoyed painting this gouache portrait of old kitchen scales at art group last week. One of our members brought in loads of fascinating old objects to inspire us to do a still life. And I decided to paint quickly, like I do when I’m out urban sketching. First I did a very quick pencil sketch to set the general shape. Then I drew with the brush, something I love to do. Also, I tried to show the grime and wear and tear on this well used weight scale. Which wasn’t all that easy , actually! And it felt good to paint from life – photos obviously have their place in my art practice. But, I feel that observing and recording an object sharpens up my drawing skills.

Old Saucepan

If I remember correctly, I painted this in the Victorian kitchen of our local stately home . Back in the day when sketching groups were encouraged to linger and draw ( about two years ago!) Anyway, I used pen and watercolour and chose this little group of utensils on the old shelf near the big, black range. By the way, one of the best days to visit is when they fire up the range and demonstrate baking for the big house.

Still life in my Kitchen

Finally, here’s a painting of a fish, caught at sea by a friend of a friend and being prepared for cooking. Acrylic on box canvas, I put it on my kitchen wall! And here’s another food still life you might like to see, this time fruit.

Fish

In fact, making this post reminded me that it’s high time I updated my Still Life and Flowers section in my gallery. Oh well, that will have to be something for another day- I’m far too busy painting today!

Two More Nice Bright Abstracts

Sunshine and Rain

Good morning everyone. I did this one of my nice bright abstracts before Christmas and I’m quite pleased with the way if turned out. Again, I had no plan beforehand, except perhaps to incorporate lots of lovely, juicy colour! And, on this one I particularly enjoyed splashing the flashes of white across the gold and bronze.

Sunshine and Rain – a closeup

In fact, I noticed that I have been featuring a lot of round, globe shaped objects in my abstracts lately. Of course, if you paint them yellow your mind interprets them as the sun. And dark clouds creeping up in the background can then suggest imminent rain. So, that’s how I found the title! Anyway, I suppose this led me to thinking that it was time for a bit more development of my abstract work. However, more of that in later posts. Meanwhile, here is another of my nice, bright abstracts, completely intuitive and in a watercolour sketch book.

Afternoon in the Garden

Now, this was a lovely art therapy exercise – a quick watercolour sketch in a few spare moments. And then, some flourishes with oil pastel, ink and white gel pen. I wonder if you can see anything in it? I wonder if you see the same as me? There’s another intuitive abstract in this post here for you to puzzle out!

If you like my abstracts, I just updated my abstracts page in the gallery here. And, don’t forget, I shall be showing you some new style compositions soon.

Best Trees I Ever Painted

Tree Study 1

Good morning everyone. Actually, I’m really quite pleased with these watercolour studies – they’re my best trees ever! As it happens, I do paint trees often, either in landscapes or in urban sketching. And, I don’t think I paint them all that well. So, I decided to invest in a short online course by Watercolours Made Simple . To be honest, I’ve only looked at a lesson or two but I have been pleased with what I’ve learned so far. Otherwise, I might have continued to make it up as go along, a particular drawback of watercolour for me, I find. In fact, I think it’s really necessary to study techniques to improve. More so than in acrylic, for example. But, that’s just my opinion and I can’t claim to be particularly gifted at watercolour painting.

Learning how to paint your best trees

Anyway, this learning was good fun too, so it wasn’t a chore. Simply explained, the tutor taught us to start with the foliage first. (Who knew?). So I painted three or four irregular ovals with a watery mid green mix, leaving little patches of paper white. Then use a mix of a darker shade of the colour and a lighter one too. And, describe the shapes of the clumps of foliage, not individual leaves, with lighter colour in the sun . And, darker colour in the shade. It does help to look at a tree or a photo when doing this. After that, put in the trunks and branches, using a watery mix of lightish brown and add patches of darker shade.

Tree Study 2

Here I practised mixing lots of tree greens using yellows, blues, brown and red – see top row. Then we stayed with the greens to paint conifers and another deciduous tree. I really liked doing a row of trees on the horizon, something I always botched before. Finally, I attempted to show how some trees recede into the background when you paint a forest, mainly using the paler shade of the original green. Now, I do hope I can remember that when I’m sketching en plein air!

Big Tree in my Garden

Or in my back garden for that matter, as I did here last summer. And , even though this one was in acrylic, some of these principles would help with other kinds of paint. If you want to see some of my winter trees, see here.

White House in the Valley

White House in the Valley

Good morning everyone. This is my latest acrylic painting and I chose a view of a white house in a valley for my inspiration. Actually, this is based on watercolour sketches I made in the Lake District, Cumbria in the UK. In fact, we used to go once a year, usually in spring or autumn. But we haven’t been in a while. Fortunately, looking at my sketches brings back lots of happy memories. For example, I did the two sketches I based this on whilst sitting in the hotel beergarden. A nice cool drink was just perfect after a days walking. And, as you can see, the views were spectacular.

Patterdale, sketch looking left
Patterdale, sketch looking right

Anyway, I also drew on my own memory to create this, remembering the varied colour and texture of the vegetation on the slopes. By the way, lots of the older buildings are painted white in this region. And they do stand out very picturesquely in these views over the rolling expanse of hills.

I seem to quite enjoy painting a white house, as you can see in this post here and here. All my paintings are for sale at reasonable prices. So if you see something you like, just go to the Contact Me page and send me an email for more details.

New Painting in Colour Exhibition

I Dreamt of a House by the Sea

Good morning everyone. Last week I found out that Fronteer Gallery had accepted my painting ‘ I Dreamt of a House by the Sea’ into their Colour Exhibition. And I was so delighted – firstly because it’s always a pleasure to take part in their events. Secondly, because of the theme ‘Colour’. As you might have noticed, I call this website A World of Colour. So, most of my work does suit this theme. However, I chose this particular painting because it seems absolutely bursting with colour.

I Dreamt of a House by the Sea – a closeup

Virtual Travelling for the Colour Exhibition

Actually, I painted this without a plan and it was quite late on in the process before I saw what it was. Perhaps a path leading up to the house with a view of the sea. Then, later on I suggested landscape and some vegetation on the cliff. But, for me, the most striking thing about this is when I made it. Right in the middle of being isolated at home, when I was desperate to spend time by the sea! In fact, the colours, the sunshine and the sparkling air are much more reminiscent of the coast of northern France in August. Ah, those charming, unspoilt little resorts where we spent weeks camping. Happy Days! So it seemed ideal for the colour exhibition.

There are lots of seascapes for you to dream about in my gallery here. And a post all about another of my paintings in the fabulous Fronteer Gallery here.

All my paintings are for sale at reasonable prices. Just go to my Contact Me page and send me an email.

A Beach Day

This is somewhere on the coast of Queensland, Australia. And you can find out more in my post here. Well, virtual travelling is the only way for me to go, at the moment!

Black on Black, Colour Experiment

Black on Black

Good morning everyone. This acrylic painting is painted on a smallish black box canvas that I have had for ages. Frankly, I had no idea what to paint on it, but they were all the rage at the time. Anyway, I decided to have a go, just after trimming this year’s Christmas tree.

And so, as you can see, the colours red, gold and white were on my mind! Well, I put down some shapes intuitively, with the idea that the canvas would stand as the background. My daughter-in-law thought it looked quite festive! However, I hated the effect of unpainted canvas. So, I carried on my usual method of shaping the composition by layering paint. Of course, this included painting over the untouched background. Hence the title.

A close up

Incidentally, I also discovered, or perhaps consciously realised that I prefer colour to be nuanced and subtle. Rather than flat with only one tone, like the black canvas. Sorry about the glare, it’s quite difficult to photograph these colours.

I hope you enjoyed looking at my intuitive abstract – there are loads more on my Abstracts page.

The In Situ Photo

By the way, this is the room I designed the painting for!

Christmas Eve in the Mountains

Christmas Eve in the Mountains

Good morning everyone. Well, obviously it’s not quite Christmas Eve just yet, but it’s been on my mind a bit this year. Because it will be different again, due to restrictions here in the UK. Normally we would visit a big house to see the lovely decorations, but we’re not too keen to be indoors with lots of people. So, just before things started tightening up we we went to the Carding Shed cafe, which is quite large and, luckily, was not crowded. And the coffee is very good! Not to mention the home baked pastries.

The Carding Shed Bar

Incidentally, I’d just like to explain that the business is part classic car repair shop and part cafe with an American diner, fifties style. So, that might help you to make sense of the photos.

Classic Car
Christmas Decs
Christmas Tree and Toy Soldier

Anyway, just to explain, the premises is a renovated industrial building in a Pennine valley, near Holmfirth. And I think the name ‘Carding Shed’ refers to one of the processes in preparing raw wool into yarn. Actually, weaving was one of the main occupations in this area of Yorkshire back in the day.

Christmas Eve in the Mountains

However, although we haven’t been very far at all this year, I do travel virtually in my paintings. For instance, I went to a beautiful little valley in the mountains here! Then I came home and painted myself this souvenir. Seriously though, I was very pleased with this as I painted it all from my imagination. And, for me, this is a big deal – something I find hard to do. So, on that note of traditional Christmas card scene, I wish you all a Happy Christmas and a peaceful New Year ( remember, snow is optional). You can find another Yorkshire snow scene in this post here.

New Exhibition at the Market

Neurons

Good morning everyone. As promised, here is a review of our new exhibition at the market in Rotherham. By ‘our’ I mean ROAR – Rotherham Open Arts Renaissance, an artist’s group that I am a member of. And, we have displayed our art on a glass wall in the covered market building in the town centre.

Our New Exhibition at the Market

As you can see, this space was a bit of a challenge to use, but I think we have done well. The windows were actually different dimensions and all landscape orientation. So I could not show two nice life drawings, because they were portrait. And, obviously, framed paintings were not possible. However I think the display is excellent, including prints and some originals. Here are the other three of my paintings on show.

Clematis at Dusk
Daffs at the Allotment
In the Wood

Actually, our work is quite varied, comprising acrylic paintings, contemporary watercolour portraits, prints and mixed media collage.

Matt’s Portraits
Ken’s pencil drawing
Kevan’s print
Mixed media collage
Acrylic painting

Because of the pandemic, we have not been able to meet up so much. So it felt really good to be involved in a project together. And, also to show off our new exhibition at the market. Have a look at this post here when we went out sketching at the Steel Henge.

The Power of the Sea

The Power of the Sea

Good morning everyone. Today I’d like to show you this intuitive abstract in acrylic- it’s all about the sea. Well, it wasn’t about anything at the beginning and I was playing about with colours. As usual, I put the first draft down fairly quickly, in some gorgeous shades of green, gold and blue. Actually, if you follow my blog, you may have noticed that I love this palette. And here is another seaside picture to prove it!

The Path down to the Sea

Anyway, to get back to ‘The Power of the Sea’, I worked on the picture from all four sides next. Then, at the end of this second session, I decided which version I liked best. And I chose the one with hints of waves, a cliff edge and a busy sky. Honestly, I don’t really know how this happens! But,the next hour is spent strengthening these images, And then I do a lot of looking over the next few days( or weeks!) Finally, I spend some time balancing up the composition and adjusting colours and tones. Until the painting says ” I’m done”. So, I suppose I can’t call this only an intuitive abstract. But, also a collaboration between my subconscious and my thinking brain.

Details of ‘The Power of the Sea’

The Waves
The Cliff
The Sky

As I say, I don’t know how it happens, but it’s a lot of fun, and, quite addictive! And just look at the sea in this post here, in a very different mood.

All of my work is for sale, at reasonable prices. Just go to the Contact Me page and send me an email for more details.

Coffee for One, Lockdown Painting

Coffee for One

Good morning everyone. Well, there are only two more days to see my lockdown painting at the Open Art Exhibition by Fronteer Gallery in Sheffield, UK. But it looks really good up on the wall at Exchange Place Gallery – see this poster for details.

Honestly, I was thrilled to bits to be accepted for the Open, this is the first time I got in! And, I decided to enter a lockdown painting in acrylic that I did last summer. Actually, I just sat down to do an intuitive abstract and gradually this figure emerged. So I ran with it and developed a cafe setting around it, with the light emerging through the tall windows, revealing the stripped pine floor. She sits alone at a table for one, covered by a gorgeous pink and yellow embroidered cloth. And you can almost smell the dark brown coffee and taste the dainty chocolate cup cake. In fact, the yearning for cafe society that I suffered from last year probably inspired me to paint this picture!

However, this is what I see, and you can obviously see into it anything you like! Anyway, I’m so glad that the gallery gave my picture its few minutes in the limelight! Have a look at this post here for another intuitive abstract in a similar colour palette.

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