....A Very Happy New Year to Everyone!
This is a painting of Mallyan Spout, one of Yorkshire's most famous waterfalls. It is quite a tricky descent to get this dramatic view of the spout but I was younger then...! So here it is to wish you all a Happy New Year and may it bring you all that you hope for.
It's been a busy few weeks for us preparing for our daughter's birthday and wedding, as well as getting ready for the Christmas Holidays. The upshot is that I picked up my iPad after quite a few months as it was difficult making time to get in my studio for any length of time. The iPad is so convenient when you are busy - no mess, no fuss just get straight on with it. I have to produce a couple of paintings featuring animals for an exhibition at Gallery Forty-Nine from 7th March to 31st May so this was an ideal way to practise some ideas before getting back in my studio in January. If you have looked through my paintings you will have noticed that I hardly ever put animals (or people for that matter!) in them. Two reasons - first I want it to be 'your' painting peopled or animaled(?) by your imagination, and second - if you put especially an animal in - it has to be right or the whole thing can be ruined. So a great way to work some things out here on the iPad. I have tried to replicate the colours and techniques I use in my watercolours hence the title - "Rainbow Paintings". This is "Rainbow Winter" and if you want to see a very speeded up version of how I did it please have a look at this YouTube video:
My featured painting this week is "Cottage in the Snow" and I would like to take this opportunity to wish all my family and lovely friends a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. The painting itself has been far and away my most successful image in terms of prints and cards sold, so perhaps it touches a chord in all of us particularly at this time of year. I have told the tale many times of how and why it came to be painted but for anyone who doesn't know - here it is again. It was December 2005 and I was working at the original Gallery 49. Merice was the gallery manager and I had a studio in the back. It was a perfect situation to be in - a new thriving gallery and brilliant facilities to paint in. Liz who owned the gallery had organised an evening of folk music and poetry to be held at the gallery one evening. Merice had to be there so I did too. Now I won't tell a lie - I wasn't especially keen on an evening of folk music and poetry, but I thought I would just have to grin and bear it and then have the long drive back to York to contend with. Earlier in the day Margaret popped in for a quick visit. She also exhibited in the gallery and had a lifetime (literally) of experience in the art world. We were chatting and she told me to do a simple painting of a cottage in the snow - "It will sell!", she promised before she left. I got to work. Some paintings just flow and this was one of them. I had only the barest idea of what I was going to do but it began to paint itself. Perhaps I drew on subconscious memories of all the happy Christmas times I had shared with family and friends I loved - wherever it came from, it made me feel happy when I had finished. And guess what - it did indeed sell - that very same night! One of the guests at the function wandered into my studio before the event started, and bought it as a present for her sister - so Margaret was right (she usually is!). And the folk music and poetry? Well to my immense surprise it was brilliant. I knew the singer and expected him to be good but I was knocked out by the poets reading their own work in the exact manner in which they wanted it doing. So enjoy the painting and I hope it gives you nice seasonal feelings of love, joy and peace.
...FEATURED PAINTING OF THE WEEK
For this weeks featured painting I have chosen "Evening Falls". My 30"x 22" watercolour was based on a copy of an oil painting by Benjamin Williams Leader RA. He was an interesting character. Christened plain old Benjamin Williams he added 'Leader' when he found out there were other painters called Benjamin Williams. His father was a friend of John Constable who supposedly gave young Benjamin some lessons and tips. He certainly must have listened! His paintings epitomise the golden era of Victorian art. They may have romanticised a bit but we are indebted to their skills as a record of a bygone age in pre-photograph times. Imagine my delight when I found out that the original painting was in the custody of the Ferens Art Gallery just down the road in Hull. I had to make arrangements for a private viewing as it is not on public display. How sad to find this great work of art languishing in the vaults! The original is 6' x 4' which makes my effort look like a thumbnail but it is in need of some repair and Leader's reputation has sunk so low, in common with so many other Victorian painters, that the gallery cannot justify the cost of renovation from the public purse so there it stays. I was pleased with my painting and felt it did his work some justice so I dedicate it to Leader and all the other forgotten painters of that time.
....THIS WEEKS FEATURED PAINTING
I thought I'd choose a 'blue' piece as my featured painting of the week. This is "Midsummer Night's Dream" a welcome antidote to the coldness outside. Blue is traditionally accepted as a cool colour but for this painting I injected subtle reds and yellows to give a warming suffused effect. As a painter I was soon drawn to the way that moonlight can transform a mundane scene into something magical. This is a painting with no hidden agendas - any mysteries are yours and only yours - if you enter into this Midsummer Night's Dream!
Professional artist now semi retired and enjoying being eccentric!