The little Goldmine

DSC_2364

Saw this in Burslem today. On the main road from Cobridge up to Burslem.

Arthur Berry was an artist based in Stoke-on-Trent where he produced pictures of everyday figures and landscapes with a style of his own. Charcoal and pastels are used to chisel faces out of blackness, strokes of grey and white float on top of murky reds to bring out the dark shapes of buildings.

Arthur was also a writer and poet. We attended several of his plays when they were performed at the Victoria Theatre in Hartshill, Stoke-on-Trent in the 1980’s. We have a copy of a couple of his books. He was a very creative artist.

Portrait with portrait

received_1939046596202009

The exhibition is going well and I had my photo taken with my portrait of my husband as a green man. It’s called my green man. I’m pleased with the composition.

What next? Once this is over I’ve booked to put a show up in another local gallery called the waiting room, in Longport, Stoke-on-Trent. That will be in September, not got the dates yet. I’m also going to do a couple of craft fairs in the next couple of months. It would be good to be commissioned to paint for people but I’m not sure how to break into that sort of work. I am happy to paint for people. Just contact me.

Pastel workshop


I was going to have a quiet day today. But I got up and there was a bit of a disaster in our kitchen. My hubby had decided to brew some beer. But he had added some extra sugar to the brew. Then he has put the bung in upside down. Beer had turned into volcano. Half the brew was all over the kitchen. It had hit the ceiling, there were puddles of ale on the cupboard tops, it was all over the cooker. Basically half the kitchen has been inundated with beer….

After about an hour of cleaning up I decided to go to the pastel workshop with the Orme art group. Basically to escape! The workshop was run by Sandra Orme (no relation).

It’s difficult to describe what we learnt, it was complicated. I’ve added a few photos of the two pictures I did. First you lay down colours in soft pastel on fine toothed pastel paper. Once you have enough pastel on you blend them together, then build up layers using smaller more intricate marks, gradually blending and adding. Sometimes only lightly pressing on the pastel, other times blending more. The direction of the marks can make a difference to how it looks. You can use the edge of your hands, your palms, your fingers or blending tools (like a brush but with the bristles replaced with a rubber tip).

Im pleased with the results. I’m even thinking of getting them framed….

X

My studio

If you want to see somewhere full of paintings you could look round my studio. There are paintings of people, abstracts, animals, landscapes, buildings, cars, plants, or anything else you can think of.

I tend to use acrylic on canvas but also paint in watercolours and gouache. I have worked with pastel and with pencils and ink pens. I like anything that makes marks. Once at college I even drew with boot polish.

I paint on canvas and paper but I have painted on wooden doors when I was a student..

So yes I’m an artist, I can’t stop!

Pastel sea

FB_IMG_1524963647981

I did a pastel workshop a few months ago and I found it quite difficult to get a good likeness of the sea.

FB_IMG_1524963654650

The detail is so hard to reproduce. Especially the soft, spray, and foam areas. The colours are also difficult. As you add pastels to the paper surface it catches in the “tooth” of the paper. The problem is that some of the paper’s are like sand paper, and could take the skin off your fingers! I wonder how to handle the pastels to get a softer effect.

I think I would go back to another workshop to gain more skills. I enjoy trying out new materials and techniques. There will be a charge for it, but it is worth it for the experience.

 

Yesterday’s drawings

It’s been too hectic to post much over the last couple of days, I was getting ready for out makers market at Spode. …I only sold a couple of things, ah well there is always next time.

But yesterday morning I went out with Stoke Urban sketchers to draw the old colliery buildings at Chatterly and Whitfield enterprise zone. A former colliery closed in the 1980’s, I remember visiting when there was a mining museum there. You could walk through some of the old mine workings and he a feeling of what it was like to work underground.

Sadly the museum closed down due to lack of visitors, but I have heard that volunteers are trying to bring something back to the site.

We were outside the perimeter fence, somewhere on the path in the nature reserve that now surrounds the site.

The buildings are very big, there are many stories to them, with arches and windows in the side of the buildings. Huge winding wheels look miniscule where they sit at the top of the building, and guard rails are placed on either side if them. The main building is starting to get covered in foliage, eventually it could end up looking like an ancient relic or monument.

Metal frames and wheels also dotted the horizon, I did a pen drawing, a couple of pencil sketches, and a pastel and ink picture.

Being surrounded by other skilled artists really encouraged me to try and capture the architecture of the landscape. Drawing in a group can help your confidence. Even my partner had a go!

 

Pastel workshop

I went to a pastel drawing workshop today. We were shown how to use various grades of “toothed” paper. It was like drawing on fine sandpaper .

The smoothest grade was used with soft pastels (not the oily sort but the dry powdery ones). You could use a silicone spreader, I think it was called, or your fingers and hands to blend the colours.

First you make broad sweeps of tones, all of similar colours, so a light blue, mid blue and dark blue or grey for instance. You smudge them on the paper, then you add layers, working into each layer and dragging the pastels about with the spreader/smudger. You can get interesting marks and edges using this tool.

Then you overlay other colours to contrast, say an orange or a pink, adding detail as you go. Finally adding the darkest and lightest colours, which seem to float on top of the others.

The second paper was rougher and you must not get it damp or the surface will come away. It was coloured a turquouse blue. This paper was so rough you were not supposed to smudge it as it would destroy the texture. You had to draw with thinner layers of pastel and in a much more impressionistic style.

The third paper was really rough like sandpaper. The tutor said sometimes people fetch the skin off their fingers blending it. Better to swiftly smudge it with the flat if your palm. This paper could be wetted with an alcohol based liquid which allowed the pastels to blend and run. As the liquid quickly dried you could draw over it and smudge it with the silicone spreader. or use a pastel pencil for more definition.

I gained a lot of information from the workshop and will be doing some more work in pastels.