One More Quick Watercolour Abstract

Golden

Good morning everyone. I’m very busy at the moment, arranging exhibitions, visiting galleries and so on. So I don’t seem to have had much time to do any bigger painting projects. And I have also been finishing art society projects. Not to mention planting things at the allotment garden. But I did complete this quick watercolour abstract, thank goodness. As you may know, I hate leaving work unfinished. Anyway, this is quick abstract number 8. Actually, for this one I had a picture in my mind beforehand of hexagonal shapes. And, that along with the golden colour made me think of the shape of honeycomb. However, that was as far as the similarity went. As I painted, I got more interested in blending the gold and mauve together harmoniously. Of course, these two produce a range of soft browns. Therefore, brown was my third colour – I prefer to restrict myself to a few colours in abstract work now.

Areas of soft blending in my quick abstract

Then I decided to do the surface pattern over the soft background. On another day, in a ten minute slot of free time. Perhaps you can see that I used oil pastel, coloured pencil and markers for this stage. Frankly, the problem is knowing when to stop! Well, I added an accent of red and scribbled in some small pattern with black ink. Incidentally, I don’t think I am quite finished with this idea, so I may visit it again. Possibly with acrylic paint this time. As you may have seen on this post here, I am quite fond of the yellow and purple combination!

Finally, I can’t sign off without a mention that our Northern Fringe Gallery exhibition ‘Yorkshire Makers Inspired by Yorkshire Writers ‘ opens tomorrow at Skelmanthorpe Library Gallery. And it’s presented by Village Art. To be honest, this is the third venue on our tour! And this is one of my pieces – Top Withens, the ruined farmhouse near Haworth. Widely agreed to be the inspiration for Wuthering Heights, the famous novel by Emily Bronte.

Top Withens

New Painting at Halifax Gallery

Warm Afternoon in Queensland

Good morning everyone. I’m so delighted, my new painting has been accepted for the Summer show in the Open Gallery in Halifax! And this is a new gallery, so I’m really looking forward to seeing it and the current show on the walls. By the way, the theme actually is Summer, so I thought that this painting would fit in very well. In fact, I created this while I was studying a module in an online course. And the tutor, Rod Moore lives in Queensland, Australia. So, most of the reference photos he provides are of his local area. Maybe you can see that I tried to create an atmosphere of heat rising from the fields in the late afternoon. And a hint of heat haze on the distant mountains.

Of course, we have to deliver it soon, so we can spend a morning walking around historic Halifax. And perhaps potter around the wonderful Piece Hall, as I described in my post here. And you can read all about this Grade 1 listed building.

The Piece Hall, Halifax

If you’re in the area, please join us at the opening event on Saturday 25th June, 5 till 7pm.

Three More Quick Little Abstracts

Quick Abstract 5

Good morning everyone. I’m showing you a catch up post about my series of quick little abstracts. Well, if I call them a series it makes it sound more serious! But it’s really because I’m so busy at the moment, and only seem to have time for small works. In retrospect, in this one I must have been greatly influenced by dark thoughts about the war in Ukraine. Perhaps it’s a cliche, but the red looks like blood to me, with something scary raining down on the city from above. Actually, I mentioned in my last post in this series that I only notice these things after the sketch is finished.

Quick Abstract 6

In fact, you may have seen this watercolour sketch before, as I included it in my post about our holiday in Scarbrough here. And I painted it after having paddled in the cold North Sea. Honestly, I found it fascinating to spot the different patterns created by the receding tide on the shore. So I had a lot of scope for decorative patterns in ink over the top of the background.

Quick Abstract 7

Finally I painted this one after a day’s work at the allotment garden, Where I immersed myself in greenery, vegetation etc. Obviously, I don’t have to tell all you gardeners out there about the rapid growth. And how all plants grow so quickly in the UK at this time of year. Admittedly, we have to work very hard weeding and cutting back, but it’s quite glorious really. If you want to see more of the greenery in my plot of land, look here. Just another one of my quick little abstracts for the series.

Some Beautiful Old Stone Buildings

Kirkham Priory

Good morning everyone. I thought I would show you the last of the three watercolour sketches I did on our mini holiday. ( See the other two here) Perhaps you have noticed how much I love painting old stone buildings. So, here’s another one! In fact, I did this as we were driving home from the coast. And we stopped for an hour to eat a sandwich at Kirkham Priory, a beautiful ruin looked after by English Heritage. Well, this was the view from the picnic table and we we were in the old gatehouse. Obviously, I couldn’t resist sketching this section of the massive wall and a glimpse through the door. Meanwhile, my husband walked around the site with a guidebook, trying to imagine the splendid buildings as they once were.

Conisbrough Castle

Actually, we seem to do a lot of this, trying to imagine what old stone buildings once looked like. But, just to show you the exception to the rule, here is the keep at Conisbrough castle which is completely restored. As I recall, when we visited in November last year, we saw all three floors. Then we climbed up to the viewing platform at the top, to see a glorious view over the town. If you want to see another historic English castle, see this post here.

See my Small Watercolour Abstracts

Doodle 3

Good morning everyone. This is a quick catchup post, just to show you more of my small watercolour abstracts. Well, I’m still producing quite a few of these. And I’ve noticed that they definitely reflect my painting interests and colour choices at the time. But I don’t notice this till afterwards! For example, in this one above I’m exploring more restrained and sparse patterns, as a contrast to the busier designs of the previous little abstracts seen here.

Doodle 4

On the other hand, I noticed after I had completed this one above that it was connected to my current large acrylic. And also, the softer colours and bold black calligraphic marks are in the style on my online course. Who knew? Actually, my subconscious painting brain surprises me more every day, especially in my small watercolour abstracts!

Doodle 4 – a closeup

A Day by the Sea

North Landing, Flamborough

Good morning everyone. We’ve just spent a lovely few days by the sea. And I painted this quick watercolour sketch looking down at North Landing Bay at Flamborough on the Yorkshire coast. Although it looks deserted in my sketch, there were actually some families playing on the beach. And the snack bar was open and doing a roaring trade. Also, a small boat came back to the shore, with a few crates of fish. Then they pulled the boat up the ramp to the boat house. After I had finished my sketch, (about 30 minutes) we walked a short way along the cliff path on the headland. Actually, we were looking out for puffins, but they were all hiding! What a beautiful way to spend an afternoon.

In fact, I had paddled in the sea on the beach at Scarborough that morning, in freezing cold water. And when I got back to the flat I decided to do an intuitive abstract. So I painted an impression of the movement of the water, as the tide receded around my feet. If you look at this post here from last year, you’ll see another sketch of this coast.

The Tide

See my Spare Time Abstracts

Doodle 1

Good morning everyone. I think the title says it all, really, because I’m very busy at the moment. And, this is all the art I can manage to fit in at present – spare time abstracts! Actually, I saw a few things online about doodling, which seems to be very popular just now. But, to be honest, I’ve been scribbling little designs and patterns all my life. So, it seems to be quite natural to me. However, I noticed lots of ideas suggesting doing these small drawings over a background of watercolour marks. So, nothing could be easier, I use my little travel set of colours and it dries fast. Then, a little bundle of markers to choose from, and off I go!

Although, I must say the notion of using lots of surface pattern over paint is still new to me. But, that’s the fun part. And, as most of my marker pens are waterproof, it seems natural to add a bit more emphasis on top with thicker paint. Next, I have a look at the design for any ugly bits and correct them. And now I’ve done another spare time abstract! Right, back to the allotment gardening! There is some more fun doodling in this post here, using a slightly different technique.

Doodle 2

Bad Planning and Good Planning

Peace

Good morning everyone. Today I wanted to show you this abstract design, which required quite a lot of planning. Obviously, it’s just a modest little watercolour abstract painting, but, first I had to think hard about the background. You see, I kept the colours soft so there is not too much eye catching contrast. At the same time, I introduced a subtle sense of movement with the white paint. Honestly, I really had to restrain myself from adding loads of busyness all over the place! Anyway, I achieved it and now I could choose a motif to put over the top. But, what to choose? Not wanting to experiment on the page, I used my I pad trick and scribbled a few ideas over the image on the screen. After a few tries, I settled on a mandala.

The I pad trick

So then I felt confident enough to paint my mandala in black paint (don’t laugh, it’s an abstract one!) Actually, I haven’t got the skill or the patience to paint a good one. However, I think it’s quite effective. And the main point of the exercise for me is to take some time and thought when planning an abstract.

Peace

Bad Planning

Sunny Morning

Next, here is a glorious example of bad planning, more like my usual style! Here’s the story, l wandered into my ‘studio’ after showering one morning. And there was the usual view over the roofs, all bathed in gentle sunshine. Well, I couldn’t resist grabbing a pad and a black marker for a quick sketch. Then I used my new oil pastel pencils for the colour which didn’t of course cover the lines. So, not the best laid plan, but a real delight to record my response then and there! To sum up, I suppose I think that there is a time for careful planning and also for spontaneous response. Maybe you missed another quick response I made to this view, in a spectacular winter sunrise last year here.

Look at my Framed Abstracts

Up

Good morning everyone. I finished this small watercolour painting yesterday and, with a bit of magic, it’s now one of my new framed abstracts. Isn’t science wonderful? Only a few minutes work, and there it is , in a frame and on the wall of a virtual room!

Up in the Dining Room

Not only does it boost my confidence to see my work displayed on the wall. But also I can then easily assess the work and make mental notes how to progress in the next one.

Perhaps you might not be aware, but I can see quite a lot of influence here from the Painting with Yvette course I am following. For example, the general movement of the colour red across the paper. Also, I have used both thin, washy paint and more thickly applied coats in this composition. In addition, I have applied patches of fine surface pattern on the top layer. Obviously, this might not be all that easy to see in these images of one of my framed abstracts. But, close up it is more effective and I learned all this from this excellent course.

In the Shadows

Finally, I couldn’t resist ‘hanging’ this little abstract on the wall. And I like the way the dark, moody colour of the background complements the mysterious feeling of the painting. In fact, when I look at it now, I think of a passage back into the light from a dark place, perhaps a cave? However, it was an intuitive composition, with no planning beforehand. If you would like to see more of my abstract work, see here.

Drawing the Figure in Movement

Figure in Movement

Good morning everyone. This is another page in the art journaling course Sketchbook Revival by Karen Abend. And I really enjoyed this tutorial by Barbara Baumann all about the gestural method of sketching the figure. That is, concentrating on the figure in movement. Basically, you sketch out the direction of the limbs, the torso and the head. Most importantly you study the angles of the tilt of the head and torso. Also, the direction of the outstretched arms and legs. Obviously the photo reference for this sketch was ideal – the pose was quite extreme. Also, unbelievably high off the ground!

The Proportions of the Body

After that, the really hard part! To be honest, I already knew about planning out the shoulders, elbows and knees as circles. But in the lesson I learned about the shapes of the upper and lower torso. And that is new to me and extremely helpful. In addition, I appreciated the tips about creating a background of dynamic lines and splodges. In my opinion is does suggest the figure in movement, which is not easy.

Ballerina in Flight

As you may know if you follow my blog, I have attended life drawing classes for a few years now. And I’ll finish up with one of my favourite drawings, done from life when we were also thinking about Matisse. In fact, a lot of his later cut- out work is very gestural. So, here’s my tribute to that great French artist. Actually, you could see more of my paintings of the figure in People, a section of my gallery.

Model in Blue

Two Paintings from my Archive

The Road to the Mountains

Good morning everyone. As part of my grand tidy-up, I looked through this old sketchbook to check for any empty pages. And I found these two paintings from my archive. Admittedly, I am not very organised, I have several sketchbooks on the go at once, with no particular plan! But the time comes when I must fill them up and put them away. Actually, I found that I had filled up this book and, in the process, I discovered these two mixed media pieces.

Over the Bay

Although I love them both, I must confess that I can barely remember doing them! Except, I do recall that it was round about the time that I was busy experimenting with coloured pencils. Perhaps six or seven years ago, possibly. And, me being me, I also couldn’t refrain from using watercolour pencil, oil pastel and marker pen too! Anyway, I am certain that I drew them from postcards or magazine cut-outs, not plein air. However, when I examine them now, I can clearly see bits that remind me of places I love to draw from life. For example, Over the Bay is definitely influenced by the hours I have spent looking and sketching at the Bay at Scarbrough on the north east coast of Yorkshire.

As for the mountain one, I can see in it the vegetation that grows on the moorland around where I live. So, I do remember happy days when I look at these paintings from my archive after all! You could see some more evocative landscape paintings in my gallery here.

Two Birds in One Week

Royal Tern, inspired by Shari Blaukopf

Good morning everyone. This is a cheeky little bird I painted from a good tutorial by Shari Blaukopf in the Karen Abend ‘Sketchbook Revival ‘ series. And it was great fun, so that makes two birds in one week! (More of that later). Anyway, the reference photo and the tuition were excellent, and I learnt how to make the feathers look more realistic. Hopefully the bird then doesn’t seem too ‘solid’, a pitfall I have fallen into sometimes. In the case of this watercolour sketch, things were a bit more tricky because of the windy weather. Perhaps you can see that the wing and breast feathers are ruffled up into a fluffy ball by the breeze. In fact, the bit I am most proud of is the effect of the reflections of the legs. Unfortunately, I know nothing about the bird itself, how about you?

The Reflections

Two Birds in One Week

A Mallard

Well, I did say two birds, so this is the other one! Actually, there were plenty of birds to spot on our quiet walk around the Dearne Valley Country Park . But this one very obligingly stood still for me to do a quick pencil sketch, as we sat in front of the small lake. By the way, we did go to see the bluebell display in the ancient woodland. And, Nature didn’t disappoint – I really love this time of year. ( You could see more of my bird sketches in this post here . )

Discover Shapes in Paint Doodles

Flight

Good morning everyone. This is a fun exercise I did in the tutorial by Charlie O’Shields in the Sketchbook Revival course by Karen Abend. And I tried to discover shapes in simple paint doodles, following the method described by Charlie. To be honest, it was easy to follow. First, scribble some marks with clean water on your brush, on watercolour paper. Most importantly, leave some blank spaces and don’t cover all the sheet. Next, quickly drop in some very wet paint and allow it to mingle. As you can probably tell, my paint blotches did start to dry a little. So I added more and ‘grew’ a few cauliflowers! But, it didn’t matter and just added to the design. When it’s thoroughly dry, take a bit of time to study it. Then pick out the outlines of anything you see in pen or fine marker. Just let your imagination go wild!

Actually, I did enjoy this playing with paint and ideas, and I felt it was a good antidote to worrying about all the sad things I hear on the news. So, if you want a little chuckle, have a look at the other daft doodles I produced.

In the Depths of the Sea
Night Time
Puppy

Finally, here’s an example of a ten minute doodle (done last night). And this shows my usual method of doodling abstracts and how to discover shapes. In fact, I draw or paint colours and shapes at random and then develop it from there. In this case, first, chop courgettes for the dinner, then sit down with marker pens, oil pastels, a biro and tiny notebook!

Courgettes for Dinner

Trying New Approaches with Flowers

The Tulips on the Table

Good morning everyone. Lately I have been working my way through the excellent tutorials in the free Sketchbook Revival course with Karen Abend. Actually, it’s finished now, but I will certainly look out for it next year. In particular I have enjoyed the sections on painting flowers. And I have been trying the new approaches introduced by several of the tutors. For example, using a looser painting technique when observing flowers from life.

Bouquet with Roses

To be honest, this was quite difficult to do, as I have always observed each flower carefully before. And then attempted to paint all details on each bloom separately. But here I observed closely first. And then tried to paint the different elements and shapes into flowers that were pleasing in the overall design. Anyway, this was my first attempt and things can only get better! In fact, this exercise ‘Mixed Media Floral Study’ was led by Joy Ting.

Trying New Approaches in Design

Flower Design 1

This was another exercise that I enjoyed, a simple flower design by Viddhi Saschit. And the tutor broke it down into easy steps, so that I created this reasonably attractive design. Afterwards I felt that I could try to paint another little pattern by myself.

Finally, I just wanted to show you The Tulips on the Table, which I did quite spontaneously in watercolour and oil pastel. And, I like to think that I put into practice some of the new ideas that I learnt. You could see more of my flower pictures here.

Paintings Inspired by Online Tuition

Dominant

Good morning everyone. When I have ten minutes or so spare, I will always do a quick sketch.( In between finishing off online tuition projects!). On this occasion I quickly sketched a doodle in watercolour, limiting myself to three colours. When it was dry, I doodled some more, adding some black calligraphic marks on top. Later on, I strengthened these marks with one of my new soft oil pastels. Of course, you may have realised that this was influenced by the Painting with Yvette course that I am following. Otherwise I never would have tried putting this kind of a motif on top of a background.

Butterfly Wings

Now this idea is something else that I picked up from online tuition. But unfortunately I can’t remember the details, I look at so much lovely stuff online. Anyway, I did in fact take the idea and do my own version. And the method is to take images of motifs you have chosen to use as inspiration for an abstract composition. Then incorporate them into a design, without doing a realistic painting of them. For example, for this piece I sourced good photos of butterflies and flowers. Then I isolated the shapes and colours that pleased me and tried to make a harmonious pattern. Actually, it does fry your brain a bit in the process! But, I’m still keen to do more. See more intuitive abstracts in this post here

Butterfly Wings – a detail

New Watercolour Techniques in Flowers

Bright Tulips

Good morning everyone. As you may know if you read my blog, I do like to follow online art courses. And I love to work in all sorts of media, and try out new watercolour techniques. So I thought I’d show you some more updates from the Watercolours Made Simple lessons.

Well, the idea is to paint flowers in a more general way than carefully including each detail of a particular flower. Actually, this is more difficult than it sounds. Because my visual memory is not too good, I had a photograph in front of me here. However I tried to view the general shapes of the blooms of the whole bunch and sort of invent newer versions of them. Obviously, such intense scrutiny of the flowers should feed into my memory. Which will help me next time I try this exercise in painting generic flowers. But why do I need to do this, you may wonder? Because then I can concentrate on placing the individual elements in a pleasing design. Afterwards it could be used for a greetings card, for example. Or just simply for a different kind of floral painting.

Alstromerias

Now, in this attempt above, I did in fact have the flowers in front of me, which made the exercise easier. Of course, I shall need a lot more practice, but it is quite enjoyable And a pleasant way of spending time on the new watercolour techniques I’m studying. Have a look at this post here for a realistic portrait of a bunch of flowers. Finally, I’ll leave you with an example of another way of painting flowers – semi abstracting from reality.

Pansies

Painting Spring Flowers in Watercolour

A Bunch of Daffs

Good morning everyone. Well, it really feels like spring is here, for this week at least! And I love to have spring flowers in the house. As soon as these daffodils opened up, I just had to paint them! So I practised some of the watercolour techniques I have learned from an online course. In fact, after years of trying, I finally managed to loosen up a little with watercolour. That means, more water in the mixture and just nudge it into place, instead of controlling it more tightly. Actually, I was really pleased with the end result. In fact, I succeeded better conveying the papery texture of the petals this time, I feel. Hopefully, you can see that in my photo.

Daffs at Brodsworth

Because it was so sunny and bright, we went to Brodsworth Hall for a few hours. Perhaps you remember some of the other sketches I have shown you in this blog, we do go to this garden often. As you might know, the gardens are spectacular, in all seasons. By the way, I must admit that I definitely took artistic license with this view. Because I completely missed off the main building , being far too interested in the trees and the daffodils, tiny points of golden light that studded the grass. Perhaps I will use this quick sketch in watercolour and pen in plein air as a study for a larger painting.

Finally, I couldn’t sign off without giving a mention to my acrylic painting of spring flowers. At the moment, Daffs at my Allotment is part of my exhibition Picturing the Landscape at Rotherham Roar , see this post here . Alas, very soon to come down, so there’s just a few days to see it! Well, nothing lasts for ever, not even spring!

Daffs at the Allotment

Northern Fringe Exhibition at Castleford

Top Withens

Good morning, everyone. As I promised, here is my report on our exhibition at Castleford. Actually, we put this show on at Mirfield Creative Arts Hub last November and December, see this post here. But, several of the group, me included, added new work. So, it’s not quite the same show. Here is my new acrylic canvas that I just completed in time to hang up!

Looking towards Heaven- Whitby Abbey

This is a view through the ruined church of the abbey, a fabulous English Heritage site in Whitby on the Yorkshire coast. And the literary link is Caedmon, a monk who lived there in the 7th century. When he experienced a vision of heaven there in a dream, he composed a hymn praising God as the creator of heaven and earth. Because this appears to be the first poem in Old English, Caedmon is remembered in history. Actually, the bit I like best in this short poem is the reference to heaven being the roof for Mankind.

As I mentioned in my first post, my other paintings were based on works by Ted Hughes and Emily Bronte, Joann Fletcher, Simon Armitage and Ebenezer Elliott. After all, the exhibition was called ‘Yorkshire Makers Inspired by Yorkshire Writers!

My ‘Yorkshire Writer’ Paintings

Exhibition at Castleford, in the Queen’s Mill

Anyway, the highlights of this show were: firstly the fact that it was opened by Yvette Cooper, local member of parliament and shadow home secretary.

Yvette with Eddie, our chairman

And, secondly the fabulous location in the restored 19th century flour mill on the edge of the River Aire. Incidentally, there was a mill on this site over nine hundred years ago. And, possibly back to Roman times!

Our Exhibition Poster

Well, we spent quite a few hours in the gallery on the second floor. And the view over the river was spectacular. As the river was very high after some heavy rains.

The River Aire in Full Flood

And, I just couldn’t resist sketching the scene!

The Torrential River Aire

Still Life in the Kitchen

Old Kitchen Scales

Good morning everyone. I really enjoyed painting this gouache portrait of old kitchen scales at art group last week. One of our members brought in loads of fascinating old objects to inspire us to do a still life. And I decided to paint quickly, like I do when I’m out urban sketching. First I did a very quick pencil sketch to set the general shape. Then I drew with the brush, something I love to do. Also, I tried to show the grime and wear and tear on this well used weight scale. Which wasn’t all that easy , actually! And it felt good to paint from life – photos obviously have their place in my art practice. But, I feel that observing and recording an object sharpens up my drawing skills.

Old Saucepan

If I remember correctly, I painted this in the Victorian kitchen of our local stately home . Back in the day when sketching groups were encouraged to linger and draw ( about two years ago!) Anyway, I used pen and watercolour and chose this little group of utensils on the old shelf near the big, black range. By the way, one of the best days to visit is when they fire up the range and demonstrate baking for the big house.

Still life in my Kitchen

Finally, here’s a painting of a fish, caught at sea by a friend of a friend and being prepared for cooking. Acrylic on box canvas, I put it on my kitchen wall! And here’s another food still life you might like to see, this time fruit.

Fish

In fact, making this post reminded me that it’s high time I updated my Still Life and Flowers section in my gallery. Oh well, that will have to be something for another day- I’m far too busy painting today!

Two More Nice Bright Abstracts

Sunshine and Rain

Good morning everyone. I did this one of my nice bright abstracts before Christmas and I’m quite pleased with the way if turned out. Again, I had no plan beforehand, except perhaps to incorporate lots of lovely, juicy colour! And, on this one I particularly enjoyed splashing the flashes of white across the gold and bronze.

Sunshine and Rain – a closeup

In fact, I noticed that I have been featuring a lot of round, globe shaped objects in my abstracts lately. Of course, if you paint them yellow your mind interprets them as the sun. And dark clouds creeping up in the background can then suggest imminent rain. So, that’s how I found the title! Anyway, I suppose this led me to thinking that it was time for a bit more development of my abstract work. However, more of that in later posts. Meanwhile, here is another of my nice, bright abstracts, completely intuitive and in a watercolour sketch book.

Afternoon in the Garden

Now, this was a lovely art therapy exercise – a quick watercolour sketch in a few spare moments. And then, some flourishes with oil pastel, ink and white gel pen. I wonder if you can see anything in it? I wonder if you see the same as me? There’s another intuitive abstract in this post here for you to puzzle out!

If you like my abstracts, I just updated my abstracts page in the gallery here. And, don’t forget, I shall be showing you some new style compositions soon.

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