A Little Gouache Story Picture

Good morning everyone. Well, this story picture is finished at last! In fact, I started it back in August as a response to an open call, online. But, I didn’t like what I produced at all. And, it has been hanging around the house ever since, staring at me reproachfully. And whispering, ” Why won’t you finish me?” Anyway, I gave in on Sunday and repainted it, changing the figure into something I like. By the way, as well as the original reference photo, I looked at this image a lot for direction ( see below)

By Hugo Scheiber

When I looked him up a bit more, I really like this Hungarian artist’s expressionist painting. Hugo Scheiber 1873 – 1950. And to me, still modern and fresh looking.

The Book

What’s the story? Actually, this story picture is quite an open image and full of possibilities, what do you think? And, here’s another of mine, still waiting for its story to be told.

Stories of Strong Women in Acrylic

A symbolic view of a woman with wings confined in a cage, ready to break free. one of my strong women.
The Caged Bird

Good morning everyone. Today I’d like to delve into the archive and show you some of my paintings of strong women. These are from a couple of years ago. And as I looked at loads of images, I realised that I quite often work on themes, sometimes without really being aware. Actually, I did this painting ‘The Caged Bird’ for an exhibition ‘Vote 100 – A Century of Change?’ . And it was to mark the one hundredth anniversary of votes for women in the UK. Honestly, I was so thrilled to be included in the show (and even more thrilled when it sold!) But then the curator asked me for more images of women for another exhibition. And I realized how many paintings and drawings I had on this theme of strong, brave women.

Purple, Green and White – the Colours of Strong Women

Incidentally, in this painting I wanted to show how the suffragettes broke free of a confined, stifling life. And then they led the way for all women to claim equal rights. Of course, this was just the beginning of female emancipation here in Britain. As you might have noticed, she is reaching out to a flower painted in the suffragette colours of purple, green and white. Just before she breaks out of the cage. Apologies for the poor image – I have since thrown that camera away!

The Problems of Modern Life

A mixed media painting of a modern woman struggling with the problems in her life - one of my strong women.
Woman Fighting Chaos

Finally, this is a mixed media piece, including oil pastel, chalk pastel, acrylic and ink. And I created it in response to a callout for a show about women facing the problems of modern life. In fact, I did the basic drawing at Life Drawing class – back in the day! Oh how far away that time seems now! Anyway, I found this model very inspiring and I made a few works based on her really dynamic poses. But, perhaps I’ll do another post with those pieces, plus more paintings of strong women. (You could look at Gallery – People for a sneak preview) Watch this space!

New Beginnings – a Story Picture

A fantasy scene of a lonely figure  about to set off on a new path, leaving her old life behind for new beginnings.  An acrylic painting.
A Different Path

Good morning everyone. Well, I thought I would show you this story picture all about new beginnings. Actually, the reason why I held back was that I never really felt that I had finished it. Just to wind back a bit, I went into this project quite blindly. To be honest, for the first time ever, I painted this narrative painting quite intuitively. And all I knew was that I wanted to do something with the idea of making a new start. Probably I started thinking about this after hearing stuff on the radio about the recovery from the pandemic . Apparently, this might be an ideal time to rethink the way we run our world.

How to Create a Story Picture on New Beginnings (Badly !)

Firstly, I sketched in a lonely figure and then I imagined surroundings that don’t quite look familiar. Next, I added a moody sky to set a slightly threatening atmosphere.Then I painted various elements like luxuriant plants, a stony path and a mysterious castle. Finally, I changed everything around, including the type of foliage, the sky and the colour scheme! In fact, I wouldn’t recommend this process at all!

An earlier version of the story picture with a stronger, moodier atmosphere.  New  Beginnings for this young woman.
A Different Path – one of the earlier versions

Unfortunately, I didn’t manage to get photos of all the different attempts I made to improve the composition. And I painted them all in acrylic paint on the same tired old piece of paper! Well, at least I taught myself to understand the importance of planning a complex composition in advance. Even if I chose the hard way to learn!

What’s the Story?

A Different Path – a closeup

Anyway, I eventually chose this version, I don’t think I could give the paper any more punishment! But, all the time I was painting I was thinking of fresh starts and a chance to break out of the old rut. And, I wonder if other people are having the same thoughts as me right now. So, what do you think this woman’s story is?

Incidentally, I have some other interesting story pictures in my Gallery here. For example, you might like to see the enigmatic Silk Princess here or the Green Knight in his rocky church here .

Through the Trees – Recent Paintings

An acrylic painting of a warm, sunny landscape  - through the trees, looking at the light of the sun.
Afternoon Sunlight

Good morning everyone. Yesterday I was having a look at all the paintings I’ve been doing since last March. And I noticed that quite a few of them feature light shining through the trees. For example, the image above is my latest acrylic done for the online course I’m following. To tell you the truth, I just love the way the shadow of the trees is laid down in stripes with the rays of the late afternoon sun.

Cheerful

In contrast, I did this intuitive abstract in mixed media back in March. You see, that was when our first lockdown started in the UK and things seemed very black. Actually, this was one of the earliest pages I completed in the journal I started. And this really did help me through. As you can see, I instinctively went for a sunlit view through the trees. Nothing was planned beforehand and afterwards I even wrote the word ” cheerful ” on the page to reinforce the optimistic message.

A Light at the End of the Tunnel, Through the Trees

A story picture.  A figure looking towards the light at the end of the tunnel, through the trees in a primeval forest.
A Light at the End of the Tunnel

And finally, I painted this acrylic canvas last April, when we were beginning to talk hopefully about vaccines . In fact, this was the third piece in a triptych telling the story of how the world has been altered by the human race – see this post here if this interests you. ( I subsequently added another two chapters to this story to give it a really happy ending! ) And, I must say, I have continued to paint around the subject of light shining through trees right up until now. But, I’ll save that for another post!

All of my work is for sale. So, if you like what you see, have a look in my Gallery page, and then go to the Contact page to have a chat (by email).

Exhibition of Story Pictures – Cancelled

Sir Gawain and the Green Knight in an Exhibition of Story Pictures by Northern Fringe Artists

A fantastical giant-sized medieval knight with green skin equipped for combat. In our exhibition of story pictures.
The Green Knight, waiting at the doorway of his church for Sir Gawain

We had to cancel the launch of our latest exhibition this week due to the present situation. But the artwork is now on the walls of our pop-up gallery at the Ridings Centre , Wakefield. And , it’s all ready for the time when we can safely open it to friends , family and the general public . Our exhibition of story pictures.

Actually, I belong to the Northern Fringe group of artists . And this latest show is all about Yorkshire Makers inspired by Yorkshire Writers. Of course , I chose Simon Armitage from Marsden , near Huddersfield. As you can tell from my painting Simon reworked a medieval poem about the Knights of the Round Table . In doing so he created a superb piece of his own in modern English. To be honest , it was so easy to picture the scene. You see, the Green Knight is waiting for Sir Gawain to continue the fight . But I’ll not give away the ending , you’ll have to read it yourself !

Another Story Picture

As you might have heard me say before , I love painting story pictures. And it’s really good to take up challenges from groups I belong to for fresh inspiration . For example, last year I responded to an artist’s call-out on the theme of ‘ Iconic ‘. And I came up with this semi-abstracted view of a ring of standing stones in the Lake District , England . In actual fact, I found it wasn’t too difficult to imagine the stories connected to the site . Somehow just being there makes you think about the lives of the people who built this monument . And also those who looked after it all those years ago .

Still Standing

Happily, this one was on display last year so I can’t really complain. Anyway , that was another exhibition of story pictures.

Stay well .

How to Paint an Acrylic Abstract

Acrylic Abstract Painting – Step by Step

Acrylic abstract painting with 
swirling shapes in red , orange and purple with touches of black and white
Red , Orange and Purple Composition

This is my latest acrylic abstract painting. So I thought that I would explain a little bit about how I created this. In effect , how to paint an acrylic abstract ! Firstly, I followed a suggestion online to play with these three colours plus black and white and , literally , just see what happened. I did find this brief quite inspiring – choosing the colours had already been done for me . So if I could ‘ let go ‘ , I thought it might be relaxing. As opposed to the hard thinking and research that goes into , for example , one of my Story Pictures.

A tribute to Hokusai's Great Wave set on a local reservoir in a traditional landscape painting
Great Wave on Worsbrough Reservoir

Anyway, I usually work in this ‘ portrait ‘ format and I didn’t realise how used I was to creating a rectangular composition until a friend of mine gave me some lovely square canvases. So , that was a challenge I set myself and this was the first version.

Step by Step

First version of Red , Orange and Purple,  with lots of white , showing the artistic process
Version Number One

I was pleased with the movement but I realised that the ‘white ‘ shapes were not working so – on to the next version.

A very busy,  complicated development of this restricted palette acrylic abstract 
I
Version 2

So next day, I worked on the painting some more and took away a lot of the white. But meanwhile , I had been far too busy and I had added so many ‘ interesting ‘ little sections . Really, they were cute in their own way , but all together , it was too much and just confused the eye. So, they had to go – it was quite a painful experience to paint them out . In fact, I think this is why some artists find it difficult to judge when an abstract is finished . I certainly do . What do you think ? Is it finished ?

A red, blue and purple painting hung on the garden wall - how to paint an acrylic abstract.
On the Wall

Well , that way of creating an intuitive abstract seems to me completely different to the way I put this next one together

Shocking Pink spiral shape on a royal blue background with accents of  bright green
The Spiral

Believe it or not , this composition came to me as a finished design in my imagination. Actually, this hardly ever happens for me . So it was just a question of trying to put it down on paper ( or canvas in this case )

Well, that’s enough waffling from me. I hope that I have shed a bit of light on how to paint an acrylic abstract . If you want to see more of my abstract paintings , have a look in my gallery here . And , don’t forget , all of my work is for sale at reasonable prices.

How do you paint your abstracts ?

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