Mood and Atmosphere in Abstracts

An abstract composition,  reminiscent of a bright woodland scene with a paved path to follow. A cheerful mood and atmosphere.
Down the Path

Good morning everyone. Today I’d like to talk about mood and atmosphere in intuitive abstracts. And, just to make it clear, by intuitive this is what I mean. Simply that I sit down to paint a smallish abstract work in my art journal. And I don’t have any idea about the colours and shapes I’m going to use in the composition. In other words, I work instinctively. On the other hand, that doesn’t mean to say that I am not influenced by what’s happening around me.

Also, I notice more and more often that I unconsciously choose colours and sometimes styles that I may have admired in other artist’s work. In addition I seem to include the contrasts and textures I have noticed in the natural world. But, as I said before, none of this is by deliberate choice.

Bright Mood and Atmosphere

In this little piece, I think my mood must have been upbeat. Because I went for cheerful yellow and glimpses of blue sky. Then trees and branches popped up so I went with the idea of a forest, one of my favourite motifs, actually. And, although I worked on this by rotating it round all four ways, the path was clearly obvious. So I guess my subconscious was showing me that there’s still a way to go. So, keep on keeping on!

Cheerful Optimism and Determination?

A close up of the paved path, stretching out before you, leading to the sun.
The Path

Incidentally, I wonder if this scene makes you feel the same as me? Because, of course, I have only discussed the intention and reaction of the artist. However, the reaction of the viewer is also very important. And, with a loose work like this, you can interpret it any way you like. I am sometimes quite fascinated when I talk to friends who visit my exhibitions. Naturally, at the moment this is not possible in the real world. Thank goodness I can show you my work virtually like this! And, we have all got to walk down that path a little bit further yet. Stay well.

If you want to see more of my little intuitive abstracts in mixed media, see this post here.

A Covid Art Journal – Work in Progress

Good Day – Bad Day

Hello everyone. I’d like to tell you all about the Covid art journal we are putting together. When I say we, I mean the Rotherham Roar group of artists that I am a member of. Obviously, we have not been able to hold our meetings in person since March now. And, as for the exhibition we were planning to put on together, that’s been put on hold. However, we’ve been meeting on Zoom. And we decided to make a record of our feelings during this strange time. For most people this has taken the form of work on paper in a sketchbook.

My Contribution to the Covid Art Journal

A bright , cheerful abstract gouache painting. My Covid art journal page.
Good Day

This is the first half of my double page spread. You see, I decided to highlight the way my mood fluctuates from one day to the next. So here we have ‘Good Day ‘ and it shows optimism, hopefully. Perhaps this day the sun is shining and I’ve been out for a walk in the fresh air. And I’ve been counting my blessings and feeling confident that things will work out well. To explain, I tried to show the beauty of the world and hope for a bright future.

The Second Half of my Pandemic Art Journal Contribution

A dark, sinister abstract with spiky shapes,  dark shadows and uncomfortable contrasts of colour. Showing the mood of a bad day for my page in the Covid art journal.
Bad Day

As you can tell, this gouache painting represents those unhappy feelings that we have probably all experienced recently. To be honest, I had fairly sad things on my mind when I painted this . And I tried to show this in the spiky shapes, gloomy shadows and uncomfortable atmosphere of the piece. Anyway, that’s enough of doom and gloom for the moment. But, I must admit that the situation and free time has given me the opportunity to do a lot of creative work. So, it’s not all bad!

Some Happy Pages from my Own Covid Art Journal

Under the Sea
Cheerful

This mixed media piece ‘ Cheerful ‘ was painted back in March, and it certainly cheered me up at the time ! You might like to have a look at more of my art journal ideas here .

See myThree Art Journal Abstracts

Frantic

Hello everyone. This morning I’d like to show you some of the art journal abstracts that I’ve been painting over the past week or so. My art journal has been such a lifeline to me during the pandemic. For example, when I felt that everything was beyond my control, I would turn to my journal. Then I would grab the nearest materials to hand and just randomly create. Invariably, I would have some precious time engrossed in painting or drawing and not dwelling on problems. And , afterwards, I would feel better !

The Ceramics Patterns One

A softly coloured,  calming abstract composition in watercolour and gouache.  Muted palette of green, gold purple and fawn. One of my art journal abstracts.
Patterns

I painted this one above very quickly in watercolour and gouache. Actually, it was only afterwards that I realised how much I had been influenced by the beautiful ceramics on display at Cannon Hall. In fact, I can also see echoes of the colours in the pieces – soft green, gold, purple and fawn. As it happens, that’s quite an attractive combination of colours to inspire feelings of calm, I think.

The Ink Drop Art Journal Abstract

A chaotic jumble of shapes, half glimpsed figures and patterns in orange and red acrylic inks, fineliner and watercolour wash. One of my art journal abstracts.
Frantic

To tell you the story behind this picture, I had watched an interesting documentary about the British artist Maggie Hambling. And she explained how, every morning she sat down and ‘ doodled ‘ or scribbled very quick sketches using acrylic inks. Interestingly, without pen or brush – just moving the ink around with the dropper in the bottle. But, as she explained, this was an exercise to loosen up before spending the rest of the day painting. As you can see, my small abstract clearly reflects my agitated state of mind ! However, I really enjoyed the process, especially adding marker and watercolour afterwards. So, having a sketchbook and a few art materials handy enables me to follow any inspiration straight away and on the spot ! ( The dining table, actually )

The Graphite Mark Making One

Making Marks

Obviously, my mind was still running on pattern in this one. But I had also been looking at art blogs online where people had been experimenting with pencil and marker. So, I had a go and, I must say, it was very soothing to do. And, I quite like the black and white movement around the page in this example of my art journal abstracts. Well, that’s another reason to keep an art journal – a little safe space to experiment and practice different media and techniques. And I was also quite pleased with some of the collage that I experimented with in my journal. See here – my underwater scene. To be honest, my journal is almost full up, but I’ve got another one, all ready in the wings and waiting to be put to good use!

Experiments in Gouache

An abstract in  bright jewel like colours divided by a diagonal line. One of my Experiments in gouache.
On Either Side of the Divide

This is the very first of my experiments in gouache paint. Because, as you might know, I paint mostly in acrylic and also sometimes in watercolour and mixed media. Anyway, I picked up a couple of very cheap starter sets of gouache paints. Actually, as far as I can tell, the paint is watercolour as a base and then body colour is added. Hopefully, I’ve got that right – I’m no expert! In fact, the combination of the two elements makes the paint opaque instead of translucent. And then, obviously, it doesn’t behave on the paper exactly like watercolour. As you might be able to see, I tried to apply it as acrylic on this painting. But , it isn’t acrylic either, so I couldn’t layer it on thickly as I tried to do. I’m not sure where this leaves me, which is why I am calling these paintings experiments in gouache!

More Experiments in Gouache

Fetching Water – reference photo by Ibrahim Rifath in Unsplash

This is a little painting I did on unsuitable paper in my art journal for a great new group I have joined. Well, it’s called ‘Beginner Gouache’ and it’s on a new media platform MeWe – new to me , anyway. To be honest, I like it because we can pass on useful tips to each other about the painting process . Also, because it’s a lovely group, we can encourage and support each other at the same time. However, to get back to the unsuitable paper, it’s mixed media paper in my art journal. And it does a pretty good job of handling most of what I throw at it – see this post here . But very wet gouache paint is a step too far for it, as I have found out in my experiments in gouache. And, if you want to watch a good tutorial on using gouache, click here . As you will see, the medium is very versatile ( and the artist Shari Blaukopf is very good too! )

Another Abstract in Gouache

Doodle Abstract

I really enjoyed working on this. Actually , I was reading a good book on abstract composition which reminded me about the ‘ doodle and fill it in’ approach. But the book also taught me about the importance of colour balance in abstracts. And I tried to put it into practice in this painting. To sum up, I really like using gouache. However, I do consider myself to be a beginner. And I’ll probably show you a few more of my experiments as I go along!

Acrylic abstract painting – Break Through

Abstract Composition in Acrylic

Acrylic abstract composition in lemon,  green , ultramarine blue and a touch of maroon.  Big , gestural marks.
Break Through acrylic abstract painting

I’m very proud of this painting – let me explain why . It’s been about six or seven weeks since I felt like painting anything bigger than a small journal page. To be honest , after finishing off a large acrylic abstract begun before Lockdown and then creating just one more ( because the idea wouldn’t give me any peace until I did , see here ) I found that I could only work in a small art journal given to me as a gift . It was an absolute godsend . I could use it to make me feel calmer , and , also to express some of the feelings that I couldn’t say in words , as in this one .

Bunch from the Allotment – watercolour

Back in the studio

However , I really missed painting and , this Monday , I dragged myself to the ‘studio ‘ ( just a small bedroom really ) and , once I started working , I couldn’t stop ! A break through ! It was glorious- painting all day . I’ve decided to work larger now , I was feeling too cramped , trying to work too small so this piece is 16 by 20 inches , on paper . I completed it in two sessions of an hour and a half, on the same day . This abstract composition has been rattling around in my head about four weeks or so . So now it’s finished , I can relax .

Break Through – detail 1
Abstract composition in lemo ,green , ultramarine blue and a touch of  maroon . Big , gestural marks.
Break Through – detail 2

The colours are dynamic and vibrant – they make me feel positive and buoyed up . I don’t think you will be able to see the small , subtle details and texture – perhaps you can see them better in these close- ups .

I hope you enjoy looking at my paintings – all of my artwork is for sale at reasonable prices. There are lots of interesting examples of acrylic abstract painting on my Gallery page too.. If you want to know more about prices and so on , go to the Contact page and send me an email using the form.

Break Through

Mixed Media Pigeon – Now Finished

A close of the pigeon's face , her yellow beak and beady eye .

Bird in Lockdown – Update

A mixed media pigeon in a loose watercolour style  , drawn first in pen , washed in watercolour ( grey and purple  ) and then finished with coloured pencils
Lockdown Pigeon

As I promised ,here is the finished version of the mixed media pigeon . I first drew this in pen . Then I added thin watercolour washes , and next I strengthened the colours with more washes . And , finally , I added detail with coloured pencils .

Mixed Media Pigeon Spots Something with her Beady Eye !

She’s Spotted Something

As you can see , I like leaving all the construction lines in . To tell you the truth , I actually started this piece off as a doodle , so there are plenty of lines . And then I decided what the drawing should be ! ( see more bird art in this post here )

A close up of Mixed Media Pigeon , showing detail of feathers and grasses .
Feathers and Foliage

Actually , I find that the coloured pencils are ideal for soft feathers and grasses .

I sell all the art on my website at reasonable prices . For example, this mixed media piece is 9 by 9 inches square in watercolour , pen and coloured pencil on paper and it’s priced at £25 including shipping in the UK .So , it’s Affordable Art – if you want to treat yourself !

Bird Art in Lockdown

Mixed Media Abstract

Stained Glass Window Effect in Mixed Media

A colourful abstract composition , separated by white strips into geometric shapes . Mixed Media -painted in  acrylic , collage , oil pastel and pen .
Fragments – a mixed media abstract

I wanted to show you one of my lockdown art journal piece , a mixed media abstract, now that it is finished. I had seen a few great ideas online using masking tape to divide up paper or canvas into sections. Then you paint an abstract composition, remove the tape carefully and admire ! Well , I couldn’t find the tape , so , rather than waste time looking, I quickly drew some strips with pencil and rule .Then came the fun part . I treated each shape as an independent unit and just painted instinctively. I will admit to having used a limited palette of colours , but no other planning took place . On this mixed media abstract , I used all sorts. For example, watercolour , acrylic , collage , pen , pencil , oil pastel .

This mixed media abstract gives the impression  of a colourful ,  modern stained glass window.

Mixed Media with Collage

#An abstract composition in acrylic  of swirling shapes out of which emerges a distorted face screaming .
A collage sample sheet in acrylic paint

I really enjoyed using all kinds of media on this piece mixed media abstract – first pen , then lots of watercolour . It might be a bit difficult to see in the image ‘ Fragments ‘, but at this stage , I glued on some cutouts of collage samples I made using leftover acrylic paints ( like the one above ) . After that , I couldn’t resist using coloured markers and oil pastels ( and a bit more acrylic in the strips ) .

Fragments of Landscape

What did I think about during the process ? Well, stained glass , glimpses of landscape through a window and colour experiments . But , to be honest, it took on a life of it’s own and I just painted intuitively . It’s quite small , about 8 inches square and I think it’s time I tried this on a much bigger scale . I wonder , do you ever experiment with mixed media work ?

Actually , I did a few mixed media pieces in my isolation art journal – you can see them on my Instagram account – @margarethallfineart or click on the button right at the very bottom of this post.

Isolation Art from my Art Journal

A  scary semi abstract composition , including a spider dropping from it's web and a large red " Don't Panic " sign in the corner .
Don’t Panic a piece I did back in March

Colourful Flowers in Mixed Media

Flowers in Watercolour

Colourful Flowers in Watercolour and Collage

Six large colourful flowers floating in  a blue sky painted in watercolour, oil pastel and pen -flowers in mixed media
Bursting with Colour

I was quite pleased with this colourful flowers in mixed media piece that I did in my art journal – I used pen ,watercolour , oil pastel, pencil and collage. It was inspired by the beauty of the Spring flowers and colours I could see all around me . I also tried to pay attention to the shape of the design too – a first for me . It cheers me up when I look at it . I hope you like it too !

You’ll find more paintings of flowers in my Gallery ( Still Life and Flowers) here

Lockdown Art – Art Journal Page

Watercolour and Mixed Media Painting of a Bird in Flight

A heron flying over a collaged background  - one of my favourite  art journals pages
Free as a Bird

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 .

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