After a visit to Heaton Park a few weeks ago the place still inspires me. This time I am using a limited palette of only seven colours and white. Hopefully this will allow the painting to achieve a greater balance with easy colour harmonies. It is supposed to make you think about the tone and composition.
I can use warm and cool colours to achieve contrast rather than adding more colour.
It's said that Monet sometimes only used about three colours; a warm and cool of each, to achieve his masterpieces. These were;
After an enjoyable visit to Oldham Art Gallery I moved on to Rochdale. The weather had changed for the worse but uplifted by this visit I pioneered on.
I was not disappointed; the gallery had been updated since I exhibited there in 1989 and featured a diversity of artists.
The first room featured Women Artists from 1861 to 2015 and there was some excellent work. The second gallery had a variety of paintings from a private collection of 20th century and contemporary art. As always this was a mixed bag often open to interpretation. You had to go through a curtain as there were scenes of an adult nature. One of these was a video of a naked woman with a cardboard house on her head banging her head against two walls! I often feel the same way when viewing some of these exhibits!
The last room featured work by Louise Giovanelli. She had researched the fine art collection and re-configured these casting them in a different light and suggesting new narratives. The ceiling dome was impressive in this room.
One of the reasons I visited these galleries was looking at exhibition spaces for future shows. This has become a lot harder and I feel sorry for artists starting out. I began by showing my work in a local library. The curator of Salford Art gallery Mike Leiber saw my work and invited me to exhibit in Swinton art gallery; a small place but influential. From this he took a keen interest in my work, as he had in the past with L S Lowry and Harold Riley, and I was invited to have two major exhibitions over the years at Salford Art Gallery.
Nowadays these small exhibition places for local artists starting off in their careers have vanished and it is becoming increasingly hard to exhibit your work. Several of the major galleries have either closed their lists altogether or have a waiting list stretching several years. Because of cutbacks shows are now on for longer to save on advertising and changeover costs.
This is why it was inspiring to see somewhere like Oldham, where one gallery is kept to one side for local artists. I hope this is a growing trend.
A fascinating day visiting the two galleries
It is about thirty years since I visited and exhibited in these galleries and I was amazed how much they have changed.
At one time they were small traditional buildings but now are a hive of activities. Whereby some areas aren't investing in the arts these two have expanded and are superb.
Gallery Oldham has a huge modern extension, housing a range of galleries and is looking to develop the older building it is linked to.
There is a traditional gallery featuring the collection of water colours including ones by W M Turner. As a contrast in one gallery there is an exhibition by Ian Beesley, where he has used the giant camera to take stunning pictures on a range of subjects and has included poetry with these.
The other gallery features work by Ann Sutton, a cutting edge textile artist, who has ventured into making three dimensional work. Again an exhibition that makes you think especially with the contrasts in the other rooms.
Finally, there is a community gallery where there is an old fashioned shop and paintings of the area and local people. At the far end of this room, there is a hanging space where people who work or live in Oldham can exhibit their work. This is an excellent concept and one I believe should be followed by other galleries.
Finally there is an excellent cafe to have a drink and a meal at the end of your visit.
An excellent start to the day.
A really good turn out for Salford Art Club's exhibition. It was good to see so many local people at the show. It was also nice to meet some of my Facebook friends and put faces to the people I talk to on the site.
I have been a member of the art club since the late 70's although I did have a long break because of work commitments until rejoining three years ago.
It is fascinating to see how the membership has changed with only a couple of the past members from the 80's still attending the meetings. There is still a great variety of talented artists in the club and they have provided a fascinating exhibition.
This year the Ceremonial Mayor of Salford, Karen Garrido, opened the exhibition and Charles Hickson, a professional artist whom I had exhibited with in the past, selected the work. Geoffrey Key a well known artist and president of the club was there to offer his support.
I am exhibiting one of my landscapes and one of my digital drawings, so a complete contrast in styles.
After a busy preview it will be good to go back and view the exhibition in a peaceful environment.
Once again thank to all those who attended and if you fancy a good day out, the exhibition is on for two months.
I hope this goes someway to showing my working method. I seem to use the same technique each painting so thought it would be a change just to show the colour palette I use.
This scene appealed to me as there was a range of colours and some good contrasts.
My thinking is to go from right to left, with warm colours on the right and cooler colours on the left.
I also use the same system with lights and darks. Although neither of these are exact, it just helps me to find the colours automatically.
As the painting progresses the centre becomes more congested as I mix the colours. The odd bleed into the mixing I believe helps to bring the colour scheme together.
I use mainly Flake White, Lemon Yellow, Cadmium Yellow, Yellow Ochre, Cadmium Orange, Cadmium Red, Alizarin Crimson, Cobalt Violet, Burnt Sienna, Coeruleum Blue, French Ultramarine and a pinch of Viridian. (Sounds like a cooking program!)
Although I put all these out I sometimes limit my palette depending on the subject matter. Although I put Viridian out I tend to mix my own greens as I find this a little harsh.
Most of these landscapes are done with a palette knife as I like the effects I can get. I tend to use the middle one (see picture) and complete most of the painting with this.
I hope this goes some way to explain my working methods. I did a lot of research into colours etc in the past and this method suits my style and technique.
Demonstrations at the art club always inspire me in different ways. Sometimes I go away and want to try out the medium or subject matter, other times I need to find out more about a style or artist.
After the recent fascinating demonstration by Rosemary Carter on encaustic painting with wax I was reminded of an inspiring exhibition many years ago I attended at Salford Art Gallery many years ago which showed work by an artist using wax as a medium. This memory had been logged away and forgotten until this week.
The show had been fascinating as I had never seen work using wax crayon and was amazed by the effects he had achieved.
Fortunately I still had the catalogue from the 1986 exhibition and was then able to do some research on the internet to find out more about this man.
I hadn't realised that he was a local artist or that he was so talented in several fields. It seems a shame that he isn't better known.
It shows why demonstrations and talks are well worth attending and can lead you off at a tangent and inspire different feelings and results.
Samuel (Sam) Rabin, originally Samuel Rabinovitch 1903-1991
Sam was an interesting local character listing being an: artist, sculpture, teacher. singer, wrestler and Olympic Bronze medalist.
Born in Cheetham, North Manchester his family moved to Salford where he grew up. He was encouraged to draw by his parents and at 11 years old won a scholarship to Manchester Municipal School of Art, becoming the youngest pupil ever to attend the college. Here he was taught by Adolphe Valette.
Later he went to the Slade where he studied under Henry Tonks.
After a busy few weeks it was good to get back to the easel. Although no paintings have been completed the time has not been wasted.
I have visited several galleries ( and some were actually open) and have being doing some studies as reference for future paintings.
I started in the usual way blocking in some larger areas with light colours before adding some darks to bring the composition together.
Next I covered the top section before turning the picture over to add the water. This also gives another view of the work to help to see areas that can be improved.
Finally adding the detail to finish the picture.