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!

Revisiting Old Sketches for Inspiration

Burbage Valley

Good morning everyone. This is a gouache painting I did before Christmas and I had a look at some old sketches for inspiration. Actually, I remember this day very well – we had gone for a short walk in Derbyshire. And we were in the beautiful Burbage valley on a hot August afternoon, when my son was small. The heat was shimmering up from the moorland grass and there were no trees to sit under. In fact, this beauty spot was quite busy with people who had come out for some fresh air. But, everyone seemed a bit subdued in the heat. As we neared the car park, my husband and son went and queued for ice creams. Meanwhile, I sat on a rock and sketched the view in my tiny sketch book.

Burbage Rocks

As I worked quickly, I thought about the ancient peoples who once lived here. Incidentally, behind me there was an Iron Age hillfort a field away. So it’s not difficult to imagine figures walking the paths all those years ago. By the way, that brings to mind a painting of mine showing a prehistoric man walking home at dusk. I must find it to show you. Anyway, if you look at this post here, you will see another sketch of the area that I did recently. Or, have a look at my page Gallery – Landscapes for more country scenes. (I’ve just updated the page). As you might have realised, I have many old sketches done over the years. Happily, I find them quite inspiring to repaint. Not to mention the lovely memories they bring back.

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!

Green and Gold Gouache Landscapes

On the Lakeshore

Good morning everyone. Now that everything is getting back to ‘normal ‘ after the festive season, I am catching back up. So, here is a little green and gold scene I painted in gouache, back in November. As I recall, the reference photo was a touristy one I saw somewhere. But I altered it quite a bit and added a figure. That’s me, standing on the rock in the cool morning air with my cagoul hood up. And, I’ve probably got my field sketching kit in my rucksack. Perhaps you’ve noticed that I’m looking at the leafless tree on the left. Unfortunately, a much more common sight now when we’re out walking. Anyway, I still managed to fit in plenty of green and gold to cheer me up. Also, it was good practice to paint in gouache and I am gradually getting more used to manipulating the paint.

In a Park, Somewhere in Wales

Actually, the title says it all! For this scene, I used an old watercolour sketch I did when we were in Wales. However, I can’t remember the location other than it was a lovely ornamental park in North Wales. And, we had the place practically to ourselves. Because the season had been quite wet, all the late spring flowering shrubs were really blooming.In addition, the foliage was glistening after a brief shower. On the technical side, the paint was gouache and I built the painting from my watercolour sketch and , surprisingly, a bit of memory. In fact, it’s really addictive and I have a huge archive of sketches to mine!

The Flowering Shrub in my Green and Gold Gouache Landscape

Incidentally, there’s another uplifting green and gold painting in this post here , this time a woodland scene.

As ever, all my work is for sale at reasonable prices. Just go to the Contact Me page and send me an email for further details.

Some New Small Sketchbook Abstracts

Good morning everyone. Well, I don’t know about you, but I didn’t seem to have much time to start on big projects lately. So, I thought I would show you some of the small sketchbook abstracts I managed to squeeze into my busy days. Actually, I find it quite a comfort to grab the nearest small sketchbook, relax in my armchair and paint!

Just Breathe

However, this first one started life as a rapid ink sketch, intuitive really. Then watercolour, but this time I made an effort to keep the colours very clean. That is to say, adding glazes on top of the three basic colours to add tone, instead of creating mixes on the palette. Also, having seen something online about adding depth to abstract shapes, I tried to think of them as 3d objects. Incidentally, this is very pleasurable to try. In fact, I’ve just realised these small sketchbook abstracts are arty experiments, as well as being good for stress management.

Watercolour pencil experiment

As you can see, this small sketch book abstract has been built using watercolour pencils. Actually, I haven’t played around with these for ages and I was considering taking them on an outdoor sketch trip. So I wanted to remind myself how easy it is achieve quick, bright colour. Obviously, it is very easy and so I took a couple of pencils with me when we went to the Danum museum, before Christmas. And I really enjoyed using them.

Objects in Doncaster Museum

Above all, I really love painting intuitive abstracts, whether they are small or larger, like this one in this post here.

See Father Christmas in Green

Good morning everyone. I’m back after three days of technical difficulties – don’t ask! And I reckon there’s just enough time to show you my gouache painting of Father Christmas, before it all comes to an abrupt end. Well, this is the way Santa was portrayed traditionally, before he was changed into red. And I’ve tried to show him as a quiet, kindly old man, on his way through the woods. Obviously delivering a sack full of gifts to some hopeful children. Happy Holidays to you all. See this post here for last year’s festive images.

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.

A Pink and Blue Intuitive Abstract

A pink and blue intuitive abstract,  organic shapes, swirling about in a sea of grey.
Pink and Blue

Good morning everyone. I been trying to catch up a bit recently and finish off some paintings that I had left midway. For example, this pink and blue painting first started life as a quick abstract sketched out in marker pens. In fact, I was in my studio early one morning watching the sunrise through my window. And the glorious colours – pink, soft blue and turquoise really inspired me. So, I grabbed a pack of cheap felt tip pens and a drawing pad, and created this.

The first drawing of the idea.

As you can see, I added greys to tone down the brightness. And these became quite a feature in my acrylic version on canvas board.

Pink and Blue – the Acrylic Version

Well, I really enjoyed applying the paint thickly and creating texture in this acrylic painting on board. However, it still didn’t seem quite right and so began the long wait! Actually, I looked at it everyday ( there’s stuff all over the house being “looked at”!) And then I got busy! Does this story sound familiar? Finally, I quickly finished it with some subtle marks, so, lots of thinking led to quick painting.

And, I was fairly pleased with it, so I put it on the dresser and I’m still looking at it. But now it’s stopped talking to me, so that’s ok.

You could see more of my abstracts here in my gallery . And all of my work is for sale at reasonable prices, email me via the Contact Me page for details. And here is another pink and blue abstract, acrylic on board.

Northern Fringe Exhibition Now Open

Good morning everyone. Well, as I write this, it’s not quite true because we are opening the show tomorrow, see poster above for dates. Anyway, we have waited a long time to put on our Northern Fringe exhibition. Obviously, due to lockdowns and so on, so I’m really looking forward to going tomorrow to see everyone’s work.

As I have mentioned before, the theme is a really meaty one that you can get your teeth into! In my opinion, at least, ‘Inspired by Yorkshire Writers’. Perhaps you have seen my first entry already. But, here’s another chance.

The Green Knight, Waiting for Sir Gawain at the Doorway of his Church

And, I felt inspired to paint this by the poem ‘Sir Gawain and the Green Knight ‘ by Simon Armitage. In fact, he reworked the medieval poem about King Arthur and his knights. And it’s a really good read too.

The House on the Moor

Secondly, I painted this view of the ruined farm house on the moors near Howarth, probably the setting Emily Bronte chose for her novel, Wuthering Heights. But, I was also inspired by the poem by Ted Hughes about the day he and his wife, Sylvia Plath walked up to Top Withens.

Top Withens

Now, after having painted both of these, I was tidying my stash, and I found my Egyptian Temple painting. Actually, I did it a year ago, when I did a series of gouache paintings about Egypt. And, I had forgotten that my imagination was fired up by the exhibitions put on by Joann Fletcher in our town. Joann, born locally, is a well-known Egyptologist – her exhibitions were very good, as were the documentaries on tv. In particular, I remember her striding around the sites in baking heat, with the sun striking off the white stone.

I explain all about this painting here, it has just come back from an exhibition.

Two More Paintings for our Northern Fringe Exhibition

Egyptian Temple

Finally, just before I had to take the paintings to the gallery, I had an idea about one of Ebenezer Elliott’s poems, Trees at Brimham , in North Yorkshire. You see, this Victorian poet lived all his life in my area. And I especially like his poem about this area of rocky outcrops. As he says, the rocks and trees are shaped by each other, and live in ‘union strange’.

Brimham Rocks

Literally, I painted this acrylic painting on Saturday, Sunday and Monday and then delivered it on Tuesday! As our exhibition themes are usually ongoing, I’ve got time to paint more! Watch this space….

A Pink and Yellow Abstract

Pink and Yellow

Good morning everyone. This is just a short post today, about pink and yellow! I’m a bit busy delivering and collecting paintings, now that galleries are working again. But, more of that later.

Actually, I think I’ve mentioned before that I sometimes paint a quick watercolour abstract. Usually when I’m pressed for time and I need to be creative. Well, I painted this pink and yellow effort in lovely calming and optimistic colours. This version is the original one turned around. So have a look at the original.

As you can see, in this intuitive abstract, I seem to have created a cartoonish figure with a large smiling face. And yet, turned around, I see a bowl of fruit, perhaps on a table near the window. Or, perhaps you see something different!

Now, I must go and take my paintings to our Northern Fringe Gallery in the Ridings centre in Wakefield. And here is another post about our lovely gallery.

Autumn Harvest in the Garden

The autumn harvest in the walled garden, some big, bright orange pumpkins.
Big Pumpkins

Good morning everyone. I painted this watercolour sketch of the autumn harvest a week ago in Wortley Hall walled garden. Actually, it’s one of our new favourite things to do – walk round and inspect all the crops! Also, we chat to the volunteer gardeners given half a chance. And ask about planting, pest deterrent and so on, only fascinating to fellow mad gardeners!

Anyway, the pumpkins were a triumph, and the earth around them was quite bare. Because all the luxuriant growth of their stems and leaves were withered away, having given their strength to the fruit. And you can see the drying green runner beans on their bamboo supports in the background. Perhaps the red bush beside them is amaranthus – I’m not quite sure. But the nasturtiums right up front, left side are in their prime. Unfortunately, I’ve not been able to get mine to flourish for a few years. When they do, we eat the peppery leaves in salads and make a pickle from the seed pods, like capers. Quite a good autumn harvest, I think.

Our Autumn Harvest, this time Last Year

A quick pencil sketch of three pumpkins, ripening on the soil.
Three Pumpkins

Perhaps you may remember this quick pencil sketch I did last year, showing some of our pumpkins ripening on the soil. Incidentally, this year’s harvest was even better . And we’ve already started enjoying my favourite, pumpkin soup. On a different note, have a look at this post here for glorious autumn colour in the leaves of trees. In effect, quite a beautiful time of year here in the north of England.

Watercolour Experiment in Autumn Colours

Autumn Wood

Good morning everyone. This watercolour experiment started off as a doodle really, then I began testing out different ways of manipulating the paint. After studying Paul Talbot-Greaves’ lovely book, I realised that I needed to practise techniques. And, by making a sample sheet, rather than a ‘proper’ painting so that I felt free to play. And, it definitely worked! So, here you can see wet-in-wet, stippling, spattering, dry brushing dripping and, hopefully, more movement of paint. However, it’s not in my nature not to put a bit of a story into my painting. Consequently, it became a walk in a wood at autumn time. Actually, the choices of colours and shapes must have come from my subconscious.

Autumn Wood, a closeup

In fact, I found this exercise very useful and I think I shall be a bit more confident now when painting in watercolour. Honestly, I wasn’t using enough paint or making it wet enough, so things had to change!

Last Year’s Watercolour Experiment in Autumn Colours

Lovely Autumn Day

Really, I can’t think of a better way to celebrate the season than to sit and drink in the atmosphere of a beautiful autumn day. And then to paint a memory.

You could see more of last year’s autumn plein air watercolour sketches in this post here. And, don’t forget, all my work is for sale at reasonable prices. Just go to the Contact Me page and send me an email for more details.

A Flower Abstract in Watercolour

Coleus Abstract

Good morning everyone. It’s just a short post for you today about this flower abstract composition. Actually, it was a couple of weeks ago that we went to Brodsworth Hall in South Yorkshire.

And we sat in the formal garden a hot late summer’s day in the shade, next to a beautiful display of red coleus.

Fortunately, I had my plein air sketching set in my bag. So I spent a blissful half hour doodling shapes and colours whilst looking at the flowers. And, the result was this flower abstract. What a lovely memory this painting brings me!

If you want to see another ‘flower memory’, look here.

A Country Walk in Watercolour

A Country Walk

Good morning, everyone. I’d like to show you this watercolour painting, ‘A Country Walk’. Because it’s the third exercise I have done from Paul Talbot-Greaves excellent book, 30 Minute Landscapes. And I’m really pleased with the result. But I’m well aware that I’m not yet at the stage where I could make such a beautiful, striking composition as this from a simple scene. So, I’ll keep on practising!

However, this painting was an excellent way to practise the new techniques I’m learning and have fun at the same time! For example, I practised stippling, as I explained in my last post here. Also there’s spattering of paint, created by flicking a paintbrush, loaded with paint. Please wear protective clothing! Seriously though, see if you can spot these two techniques in this closeup of a holly bush.

Trees in Closeup

A Country Walk-a closeup

And I also had the chance to practise painting nice fine branches and twigs by gradually changing brush size. Yes, I know I should have thought of that myself, but I didn’t! Finally, you might also see the shadows on the road are carefully painted by following Paul’s method. To be honest, I was very nervous about this part of the painting. Mainly, I think because I am so used to manipulating acrylic paint which very generously allows you to paint over your mistakes. In fact, I might now have a bit more confidence when painting shadows in a landscape. Instead of just fudging it and hoping for the best. Here’s a closeup of branches and shadows.

Anyway, I do think this study will help me to progress my painting. And , to finish off with, have a look at this acrylic painting from a couple of years ago, with a similar composition. Of course, this is an imaginary scene and seems to me not quite finished. Perhaps I will feel more inspired to finish it now, who knows?

Another Country Walk

Which Way Now?

Trying Out Two New Watercolours

Wandering

Good morning everyone. Firstly I’d like to show you this little abstract I did in my sketchbook. And it was very much a quick, watercolour sketch done between chores with my travel paint set. However, it was also my first chance to try out two new watercolours, Mauve and Payne’s Gray. Actually, I’ve been doing a bit of research on watercolour technique. And I read that Payne’s Gray is a much better choice for a really dark dark, if you know what I mean! Also, it doesn’t seem to muddy the colour mix either, which I was having a problem with when I used black. In addition, I chose to use Mauve in this painting too, which is new for me. And I loved it – the colours seem so fresh and glowing! I wonder if you see the same scene as me- two figures in a cave?

Anyway, this is what my subconscious came up with, seemingly without much intellectual output from me! But, when I’d finished it, I turned it round all four ways, and I liked this one too. Incidentally, do you see anything in this one? You can see more of my intuitive abstracts here.

The Entrance

Finally, if I want to use new watercolours when I’m out and about, I’ll have to sort out the colours in my little paint set or carry extra tubes. Which could be quite awkward. Ideally I need something with more space for colours and larger areas to mix washes. And, at the same time stay compact enough to manage on my knee! Has anyone any good recommendations for this impossible ask?

My Travel Set of Watercolours

New Intuitive Abstract in Acrylic

Flight

Good morning everyone. This is the first intuitive abstract in acrylic that I’ve painted in a long time. That is, apart from a few doodles. But I do know why I didn’t – I was trying to concentrate on landscapes for a couple of months. Actually, I was following the advice of my online tutor, Rod Moore and I think it’s sound. Apparently, studying and practicing one subject and medium leads to more progress. And I think it’s true. But, I was having too many withdrawal symptoms and missing creating abstract composition. So I had to paint this one!

A Closeup of my Abstract in Acrylic

Flight – a closeup

In fact, I had been getting ideas all along for combinations of colours and shapes for an abstract in acrylic. So, I retrieved this idea of interlocking gears from my memory archive. And combined it with a soft colour scheme of misty blues, greens and pinks. Although I followed my usual method of painting from all four angles, the pink figure emerged, and is determined to make its way out of the picture. I’m sure this is another example of art therapy!

A Doodle Abstract in Mixed Media

A mixed media abstract

Finally, here’s one of the aforementioned doodles, this time in biro and pastels. And, I definitely felt better when I’d done it! See more abstracts in this post here.

As you may know, all my artwork is for sale at reasonable prices. Just go to the Contact Me page and email me for more details. ‘Flight’ is acrylic on canvas board, 12 by 15.5 inches, unframed, and I’m letting it go at £50 plus shipping. Affordable art!