Our Solstice Exhibition Now On

Good morning everyone. Today I’d like to tell you all about our Solstice exhibition – now on show at Fronteer Gallery in Sheffield, UK. Well, we had a great launch on Monday evening, despite the Covid regulations. Of course, we had to wear masks and only ten people were allowed in the Gallery at one time. Nevertheless, I managed to have a good look around the show. And to have a nice chat with Michael and Sharon, who set the whole thing up. Actually, it’s not been the best time to open an art gallery in the pandemic, but they have done it!

I took this snap in a sort of an open space in front of the gallery which is traffic free. In fact, it’s an ideal performance area. And we watched a bit of street theatre by Pink and grAy. Sun Circle, referencing Ra, the sungod, bringing light to the world. Incidentally, this is the theme of my gouache painting too! Also, the abundance of food produced by its energy, represented by a basket of oranges.

The Artwork in Our Solstice Exhibition

Egyptian Temple

Honestly, it was a real pleasure to see my own painting up on the wall in this super gallery. It’s been so long since I could chat to people looking at my work. In addition to that I had actual contact with the other artists too! Here is just a taster of the wonderful artwork on display. I did take lots of photos, but the lighting in the rooms was too much for my little phone camera!

Julie Massie
Nicky Scott-Francis

At last, my artworld is slowly returning.

The solstice exhibition is on this week and next. Just see the poster for the dates and times it is open. And, with its wide variety of media and interpretation of the summer sun, it’s well worth a visit.

If you want to have a look at the beautiful exhibition catalogue, see here.

Sculpture in the Open Air

This is just a short post today . And , I’d like to tell you a little bit about the fantastic huge sculpture of a cockerel at Yorkshire Sculpture Park , sculpture in the open air.

The glorious , huge sculpture of a rooster at Yorkshire Sculpture Park, sculpture in the open air.
‘Pop Galo ‘ ( Pop Rooster ) at Yorkshire Sculpture Park

This beautiful monumental installation is part of the exhibition by renowned Portuguese artist Joana Vasconcelos . It’s covered in brightly coloured ceramic tiles and it is a symbol of Portugal . As far as I could see, it brought a smile to the face of everyone who looked at it. And that includes me ! And , best of all , it’s sculpture in the open air.

Social Distancing

Do you know , it was absolutely wonderful to go out and see some art . Although we had to pre-book our tickets , it was quite easy to do on-line. Of course , we wore our masks when inside the gallery spaces and the main reception area. Honestly , I think it is second nature now to manoeuvre yourself around others in public spaces. And , more importantly , most people are quite polite. In short , I think it is a small price to pay in order to have the pleasure of seeing art face-to-face.

View of the Sculpture from the Cafe Terrace

We sat on the lovely shady cafe terrace with coffee and cake . And it was very pleasant to sit under the trees and look out over the parkland at the monumental installation . Then I took out my sketchbook and watercolours to do a twenty minute sketch. So , if you look closely, you can see a figure . I think he is trying to get a good photo on his phone . Anyway , it gives an idea of the scale of the piece . Just watch out for a post with more detail on this glorious sculpture in the open air . ( See more of my bird art here )

Online Exhibitions in August 2020

A watercolour sketch of the impressive Piece Hall in one of my online exhibitions.  The golden sandstone glows on a sunny day .
The Piece Hall at Halifax

The lovely people at the Skelmanthorpe Community Library Gallery have given me the opportunity to display my work on their Facebook page here . I’m the featured artist for a fortnight with one of my online exhibitions ! They are doing their very best to support and showcase local artists during the pandemic . I’m sure that as soon as it is safe , the gallery will be open again. Until then , we can enjoy taking part and also looking at other artists’ work in this way .

The Piece Hall – in my online exhibition

A detail from The Piece Hall watercolour sketch

The Piece Hall is a very famous site in Halifax, West Yorkshire. It is a Grade 1 listed building . It was the place where handloom weavers sold their pieces of woollen cloth in the 18th Century. As you can see , the building itself is very beautiful . So I couldn’t resist standing on the first floor balcony and doing a small watercolour sketch . Afterwards , at home I used the sketch as a reference along with a couple of postcards to create this larger piece . But , I worked fairly quickly and tried to keep the plein air feeling .

A Reworking of an Old Acrylic Painting – now in one of my online exhibitions

Coffee and Cake

Perhaps you have seen this acrylic painting in one of my blog posts . Or , if not , you might want to go and have a look at the story behind the picture here.

A Spring Painting in one of my Online Exhibitions

An early Spring painting  , showing a walker admiring snowdrops in a picturesque park . On show in one of my online exhibitions
Snowdrops

I painted this acrylic painting just after Christmas, earlier this year for the Springtime in Yorkshire exhibition at Skelmanthorpe Gallery . But of course , as it was due to open in March it was cancelled due to the pandemic . So , it was a great chance to show the picture in my featured fortnight on the Village Art Facebook page in one of my online exhibitions. It shows a figure ( my husband actually ) on a cold day in February, admiring the Snowdrops in the big rockery at Wentworth Castle Gardens . This is a beautiful place where we quite often like to walk.

Art for Sale

All of these paintings, along with eleven more , are available to see on the display on Village Art Facebook page and to buy . If you see anything you like , send me an email , using the form on the Contact Me page

The Lockdown Art Exhibition

Family

And , finally , I was so pleased to be included in this Fronteerlockdown art exhibition on Instagram. This is my intuitive abstract and I’ve called it ‘Family’. You see , Fronteer are a husband and wife team who promote the arts in Sheffield see here. You certainly ought to look up the whole exhibition on Instagram if you can . It’s top class and , if I’m lucky , I might be included in the real life show selection as soon as it can be staged in their Gallery. I’m keeping my fingers crossed ! That’s all the news on my online exhibitions for now , but , I’ll keep you posted !

David Hockney’s Gallery – a Trip to Saltaire

Mixed Media Abstract Composition

Mixed Media Abstract composition in pink,  purple , ochre with black  and  white .Organic shapes with a face and some vague bird like shapes
Mixed Media Abstract Composition – Bird man by Margaret Hall

This is my latest mixed media experiment an abstract composition using collage, acrylic , watercolour and oil pastel . In fact , there’s even some marker and pencil in there – although the pencil might be a mistake as it is too shiny. I wonder , do you happen to know how how to apply a few sharp , precise marks over mixed media layers without using pencil ? Because I’d love to know . Anyway, I don’t really know what I’ve painted here . It was quite instinctive really . But I think it has something to do with wanting to escape from the anxiety and threat of this virus ! And it’s painted on brown paper which I bought at David Hockney’s Gallery on a trip to Saltaire ( more of that later ) .

The toned paper in this case is a rather nice brown paper. You see , I have admired other sketching friends’ drawings on brown paper sketchpads so I bought one . However, I don’t really like the effect of acrylic paint on this paper . Perhaps it was the colours I chose . But they don’t seem to have the sparkle that I like when I use white paper.

Sketching on Brown Toned Paper – the Hockney Gallery Connection

Pencil drawings on  brown  paper.  Patterns observed on objects in David Hockney's Gallery in Saltaire
Patterns seen at the Museum

Now for the interesting par – I bought this sketchpad at David Hockney’s gallery at Saltaire . At the time , I was taking part in an Urban Sketchers crawl back in February. Maybe you remember my post all about it . Anyway , we spent the morning in a small brewery/pub and I sketched the brewing equipment in mixed media . As you can see , I used pen , pencil and watercolour . See my blog post here

Watercolour and pen sketch of vats at a small brewery
The Brewery – Urban Sketching

To be honest , it was great fun – perhaps one day soon Urbansketchers Yorkshire will be able to meet up again .

David Hockney’s Gallery at the Saltaire World Heritage Site, Shipley , near Bradford , UK

A view from the gallery window across to the allotments and the model village

Salt’s Mill is actually a complex of woollen mill buildings established by Titus Salt . Also , he built the model village alongside it in the 1850’s . In effect , the village included neat, tidy terraced cottages , a church and a Sunday school . And then there were allotments , a school , a park and much more alongside the river Aire . Really , it’s quite fascinating, so go and have a look if you get the chance .

The downstairs floor of Salt’s Mill shows an exhibition of earlier Hockney artwork . Do you know, David Hockney was born and brought up in Bradford , just down the road from Saltaire .The downstairs floor is also where you can find the art shop where I bought the toned paper sketchpad . And , upstairs there’s a museum room about the history of the factory . But the star of the show is the David Hockney Gallery. In fact , it now displays some recent work from the Spring exhibition of locations in East Yorkshire . This , of course , is where the artist used to live . Enough said , just have a look at the fabulous pictures !

The Coming of Spring in Yorkshire – 2011 in David Hockney’s Gallery

A beautiful Ipad drawing of a wild flower meadow from David Hockney's Gallery
By David Hockney
By David Hockney
A painting of East Yorkshire in Springtime showing a leafless old tree and a tree in May blossom from David Hockney's Gallery
By David Hockney
By David Hockney

Our First Visit

The first time we visited the gallery was thirty years ago . And we were lucky enough to see the large drawing that David was sending by fax across from California ! The drawing was arriving piece by piece. Then the very large drawing was re-assembled from pieces of copy paper and displayed on the wall . This was revolutionary at the time . I love the way this artist always enjoys using the latest technology to create his work .

These ‘paintings ‘ are all actually prints of iPad drawings and I think they are absolutely stunning ! I hope that you have enjoyed my little exhibition review .

By David Hockney

Abstract Acrylic Painting on Canvas

Abstract Acrylic Painting in Red and Purple

An abstract composition in acrylic on canvas , in swirling shapes in red , purple and white . It looks like a huge red sun over a sci-fi burned out landscape.
Red and Purple – acrylic painting on canvas

This is an intuitive abstract acrylic painting on canvas from a few weeks ago on a 2 foot square canvas . Actually , this is the largest size I have ever painted. It took me a while to learn how to adapt the size and shape of the design to the square format . But , that came after the initial free expressive part of the painting . Of course , some semi-abstracted shapes crept in , but that was ok . Mainly because it fitted in well with the story I was developing over three canvases . These form a triptych which I entered in a commission to produce artwork for a chapel gallery in a local stately home . Unfortunately , I wasn’t successful but I felt it was a very useful exercise and I learned a lot about describing and presenting my work whilst doing the submission .

A large , colourful abstract painting on canvas  in red and purple , pegged out on a washing line .
On a Washing Line

However , now this work can now go public and here it is in a virtual exhibition called ‘ On a Washing Line ‘ . This is presented by a group of local artists that I belong to. We were due to exhibit our recent work in the real world but this is the next best thing . And a lot of fun too !

Hell on Earth

To let you into a bit of a secret , I called the piece ‘Hell on Earth ‘ the second of three paintings on canvas . It’s a story about the difficulties the world seems to be going through just now. A dramatic piece to catch the eye and make a bold statement in a large space. But , don’t worry , the ending is hopeful and I will tell the tale in a while over a couple more posts .

You’ll see more of my abstract acrylic painting on canvas in the gallery section Abstracts here

Story Pictures – Tales of the Silk Road

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 .

A banner , painted with two fierce  demons fighting  - one of Richard's story pictures

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

A Chinese princess in medieval dress showing us the silkworm she has smuggled out of the country . She's standing on the Silk Road . One of my story pictures
The Silk Princess – Acrylic on Canvas

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.

The Caged Bird

This one ‘ Caged Bird ‘ was painted for the exhibition ‘Vote 100 – a Century of Change ‘ for the Cooper Gallery ,Barnsley here .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

A semi-abstract acrylic painting in soft , muted pinks and greens . A woman confined at home -  one of my story pictures .
Woman at the Window

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 .

Woman in Chaos

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.

Mythical Creatures – including Dragons !

Dragons , Monsters and Angels – a Ceramics Exhibition Review

William de Morgan plate in blue and white with Medieval dragon motif , one of the mythical creatures at Cannon  Hall
De Morgan dragon plate

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 Blue Vase with Green Dragon
The Red Dragon

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.

Acrylic painting of a green dragon with no wings surrounded by flames , in a mountain landscape one of the Mythical creatures at Cannon Hall
The Green Dragon

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

Pencil drawing of the head and shoulders of a ceramic statuette of the  Greek God Pan
Pan , the Greek God

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.

Greek style  plate in orange and black with angels - one of the photos in my exhibition review.
Greek style plate with angels
Black and orange bowl with sphinx motif
Sphinx Bowl

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

A watercolour sketch  of an angel with golden wings , inspired by the images of mythical creatures in the ceramic collection.
An Angel for Christmas
Salt Cellar

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.

A beautifully illustrated page from an old journal with illustrations of mythical creatures
Imaginary Beasts at Cannon Hall

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 .

My First Solo Exhibition of Acrylic Paintings

A Walk Round My First Solo Exhibition of Acrylic Paintings

A semi-abstract acrylic painting in red and green showing apples falling from the tree at harvest time.
Apples Falling
Browsing
A photo of plates of biscuits and delicious homemade cakes
The Refreshments

Well – we had a blast at the opening of my first solo exhibition this morning at Skelmanthorpe Library Gallery.

Hanging the Exhibition

Labelling the Paintings
The curator hanging up my exhibition in gallery style
Gallery style hanging

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 !

Spring Blossom in Wales
Elephant Festival

The Abstract Paintings at my Solo Exhibition

A big bright pink Spiral on a vibrant deep blue background  - an abstract in my first solo exhibition  .
The Spiral
A semi abstracted acrylic of a vase of sweet peas in pink , purple and green .This was the image for the poster of my solo exhibition  .
Sweetpeas

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.

A semi abstracted composition portraying Jamaica and Reggae music . The best painting in  my solo exhibition.
Reggae Reggae

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.

2 acrylic paintings from the Landscape section - Still Standing  and Ladybower Reservoir
Boat People and Hadrian’s Wall
Ladybower Reservoir

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 .

I hope you have enjoyed my exhibition review .

The Exhibition Poster

Margaret Hall World of Colour exhibition poster
A World of Colour

Art Cafe Exhibition of Acrylic Paintings

Acrylic Paintings in an Art Cafe Exhibition in Rotherham

A photo of my oil pastel painting Apples and Fantasy Apples  showing bright red apples in the art cafe exhibition .
Apples and Fantasy Apples
My acrylic painting  Harbour Lights  on the wall in the art cafe.A coastal landscape
Harbour Lights

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.

A photo of the arched doorway of Rotherham Minster  - great artists' inspiration.
Rotherham Minster
A photo of the art cafe doorway  in Art Nouveau style - inside you can see my artcafe exhibition.
The Art Cafe

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.

A photo of the River Don in full flow after the floods,  taken in the town centre
The Mighty River Don
A photo of counter, the till and my  painting of apples in the  cafe
Art Cafe

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

Oil pastel painting - red apples in a woven basket on wooden floorboards -part of my art cafe exhibition.
Apples – in oil pastel
Harbour Lights – in acrylic
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