New Exhibition of Story Paintings

New Exhibition Poster

Good morning everyone. This is the fantastic poster for our new story paintings exhibition at Creative Arts Hub, Mirfield in West Yorkshire, UK. Actually Mark Milnes, the curator put this poster together back in 2018 when I arranged the exhibition. And when Covid intervened, the show was postponed until now! So, we are really looking forward to seeing the work up on the wall. It’s all about story pictures. And we would like to invite you to the launch on Saturday morning 18th June, 1.30 till 3pm. If you are in the area, of course!

The Boy and the Bird

This is one of my paintings for the show and I decided to put the explanation all in the title. Then, people can look and make up their own story, there is plenty of inspiration there, I think. In addition to this one, I have entered a few more without any further text. But, I have added a short explanation for some of my work. Because I feel that they will be better appreciated that way. For example, you may know this story, or you may not. Let’s see!

The Silk Princess, one of my Story Paintings

The Silk Princess

Perhaps you know this legend about the princess in China a long time ago? When she travelled to another country to marry the ruler there, she hid silkworms in her large headdress. And smuggled them out of China, effectively taking the secret of silk making with her. Because you see, until then it was known only to her people. Anyway, it’s a good story. And, using artistic licence, I added to it here by showing the ‘silk’ road leading to Bradford, Yorkshire UK. Where there still stands the Manningham Mills building, once the largest silk mill in Europe.

Manningham Mills

Incidentally, can you spot the silk worm, the silk moth and the white roses of Yorkshire in these two paintings?

Maybe you would like to read more about this painting here.

Painting Old Houses in Watercolour

Old Houses in West Yorkshire

Good morning everyone. I don’t think I have shown you this watercolour, where we were painting old houses at art society. Actually, Tony Burke, a local artist, came to our evening meeting and led us through this painting step by step. It was quite a challenge but very enjoyable. And we found this curved row of houses in a small village very unusual and inspiring. So, the perfect subject for painting old houses. In fact, this was the first time for ages that we invited a guest artist to work with us. Of course, the society was closed a long time during the pandemic. And it’s taken us a while to get back to normal. Anyway, in this exercise I learned how to blend a sunset colour into my sky. Also, Tony taught us how to add character into trees by twisting the brush when painting foliage.

Top Withens

This is another old house in West Yorkshire, but this time it’s a more famous one! Perhaps you remember this post here. Where I explained that this ruin is widely accepted as the inspiration for ‘Wuthering Heights ‘ by Emily Bronte. And I painted it for our Northern Fringe Gallery exhibition, Yorkshire Makers Inspired by Yorkshire Writers. Firstly we showed our work in Creative Arts Hub, Mirfield. Then in Queen’s Mill, Castleford. And now Skelmanthorpe Library Gallery have invited us to exhibit in a week’s time. It was a lovely surprise. What a shame you can’t all come to our preview event – you would be very welcome!

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”!

Experiments at Beginner Printing Workshop

Which Way Up?

Good morning everyone. This is just a quick catchup post, I’m quite busy with two exhibitions at the moment, so, more of that later! Anyway, we did an in house beginner printing workshop at Art Society last week. And we carved out designs on cheap polystyrene tiles. Honestly we really did have a great time. Firstly I concentrated on a simple star shaped design.

Stars 1
Stars 2

Then I went a bit more fancy, added two colours, reversed the block for the second print and used cardboard to print on ( breakfast cereal packet, actually!

Which Way Up?

Finally, I went mad and printed white, black and orange on black paper. And I tore up the two blocks into pieces and over printed with them till the paper was saturated with ink! Perhaps you can see how the protective sheet of paper I placed on top ripped out chunks of the print. All because it wasn’t dry as I took it home. In fact, it didn’t dry for a week!

Black on Black

Anyway, it was great fun and we went home full of ideas to try out on our next printing workshop. You could have a look at more mixed media experiments in this post here.

Painting Houses for our Street

John Knox House

Good morning everyone. On Tuesday evening at our art society meeting we started a new project – painting houses for ‘our’ street. In fact, we are each taking a sheet of paper and painting or drawing a house or building. Then we will make a folding, concertina book of our street. Actually, we do a group project like this once or twice a year. And, it feels very good to be involved in something together. Especially a book which we can enjoy looking at and showing off afterwards.

Anyway, I chose this scene as my contribution – I’m guessing it’s in Edinburgh, Scotland (image from Unsplash). If you’ve got very good eyesight, the placard reads John Knox House. And now the original dwelling serves as a museum, no doubt telling the story of this religious leader in the 1500’s.

John Knox House – a closeup

As you can see in this image, I applied the paint lightly and delicately in a watercolour technique, but it was actually gouache paint. Usually with gouache I layer it on thickly and use lots of white paint to achieve that gorgeous chalky look. Instead, I painted wet on wet and encouraged the paint to be more transparent. And here are some houses in gouache, using the thicker technique.

Painting Houses in Gouache

Harbour in Norway

As I was looking at all the photos of my paintings, I realised I had actually painted loads of houses and other buildings. So, that gave me the idea to make a section for them in my gallery here – I let you know when it’s ready. Meanwhile, there are more houses here and here.

A Fascinating Little Local Museum

An old fireplace, with an oil painting hanging over the mantelpiece, and a fine wooden clock - a watercolour sketch completed on the spot.
The Mantelpiece

Good morning everyone. I did this watercolour sketch when we visited our local museum. In fact, the beautiful Maurice Dobson Museum is stuffed full of antiques and interesting objects. And, it’s quite difficult to zero down on something to draw. Actually, I’ve been there on several occasions on a sketch visit, and this time I chose the mantelpiece in the upstairs room. And, the volunteer staff call this the Domestic Life room. Because it is laid out like a normal, fairly well to do sitting room, in the past. Of course, it’s also full of many more fascinating objects than you find in a real house.

The Maurice Dobson Museum – our Local Museum

The Wash House

I like this area in the museum most of all, I think. And it’s actually in the courtyard outside. Obviously, there is a roof over this section, and the rest of the courtyard is a beautiful outdoor extension to the little cafe. (Incidentally, the cottage style planting in the borders is quite appealing). And, now we’re on the subject of the cafe, that’s where you’ll find the art by local artists on the walls. We’ve exhibited our work here several times recently, Barnsley and District Art Society, that is.

A photo of two visitors, admiring our art exhibition in the museum cafe gallery.
Admiring our Show at our Local Museum

Honestly, everyone enjoyed showing their work in such a pleasant setting, especially over a good coffee and some homemade cake! Not to mention the the warm, friendly welcome we get whenever we go. As I recall, we have had one or two great, little tea parties here on exhibition opening days!

If you want to get a better look at my ‘tomb sculpture ‘ painting (that’s the one on the wall), see here. As you may know, I painted this using sketches I made in the church at Silkstone village.

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