Monday, 31 December 2012

Have You Ever Felt Like Starting Your Own art Group?

Some 20-25 years ago, I took a short nightschool class in painting. Afterwards I wanted to continue in a less formalised group but found that local groups did not cater for what I required. A few other students from the class felt the same way and so we decided to start our own group. A momentous decision since none of us had any experience of thjis sort of thing.

This was to be called The Knowle Art Group, read our web page to find out about us

I have been involved in running that group for most of this time, and in fact also joined a second group for a few years where I was involved with committee work and so had my share of experiences from there. This was a learning experience, I had never done anything like this before but it has worked out very well and that first group has become a successful, not-for-profit undertaking. It has gone up and down in numbers ( 6 to 40 at various times) but has proved an ability to last the course. Only last month a similar, small art group requested to amalgamate with us as they could no longer finance themselves due to a fall off in numbers. This has improved our own situation and so we were glad to agree for them to join us.

How do you start such a group, and how do you manage it? With this experience I thought I could answer the main questions and so have written an article on Squidoo to explain how we did it and also how you could too. Read: How To Start And Run You Own Art Group. This covers deciding on the aims, the venue, financing, administration and building the membership.

I did it, you can too

Some of the members concentrating on their latest art work.

For us one of the biggest benefits is the ability to hire professional demonstrators three or four times a year to help with development of our skills. This supplements the support and encouragement we provide for each other. But there is nothing like hanging your art in an exhibition for the world to see and admire and maybe even buy the odd piece of art. In order to make it easier (and less expensive) to hold exhibitions the group designed and created  our own exhibition boards. I have also written a Squidoo article explaining how and why these have proved very useful and giving details if you find that you would like to make some for yourselves. Read: An Inexpensive Display Board For A Leisure Painter's Group.
The boards in use at an exhibtion:

Hope these articles help you to start your own group successfully.

Sunday, 30 December 2012

How to use the colour wheel - for artists

Well as it is the holiday period I have not managed to get any painting done, but I thought that I would remind you of a squidoo lens, How to use the colour wheel for beginners. Use it for a little revision, to bring some sparkle into your paintings.

And on the subject of revision - do you paint abstract art? It is a great practice genre for ensuring that you fully understand and make use of composition, including the use of colour. Try this simple introduction if you need any help to get started.

I have also created two squidoo lenses on a technique or methodology which you can use to practice abstract painting. Let yourself go - its great for relaxation anad surprisingly it really does help to loosen up your art work. Try:
I do stress that they are not intended to create masterpieces (and I have deliberately used poor paintings as examples) ; rather it is a method for helping to free up the way a painter used to realistic representation creates art. It is purely for practice.

Of course, it could be used for finished work but then the artist could probably have done it anyway.

Hopefully more new work next time.

Sunday, 16 December 2012

Pastel Painting -Spring

This painting is in my normal style for pastel paintings but the subject is not one which I am really happy with. The background and water are fine but the bank on the LHS contains many individual flowers. I have not drawn/painted them in any botanical detail but still I was not in my comfort zone.

I have attempted to vary the size and tone to create some recession but not sure wether I am happy with the outcome, also it is far too divided into the four zones; forest on the far bank, sky, water and the yellow flowers on the near bank. I have used colour, sparingly, to try and bring some sort of overall belonging to these four zones. I am not however sure that the compostion works. Still, I am always happy to post my failures as well as my imagined successes. Let me know what you think.

Saturday, 24 November 2012

New page on Squidoo, Texture with Pastels

I have just published a new article (=lens) on Squidoo. I have posted a number of times on here about pastel paintings and the wonderful texture that it is possible to obtain. I have decided to share this technique more widely and have written the article with examples of my own art work to demonstrate the technique.

The article can be found under the title, Creating Texture With Artist's Pastels.

Of course I have posted all of the examples in this blog before but I have written a much more joined-up article to describe the technique in detail. From an overall initial layer, often in a complementary colour to the process od adding details and texture a little at a time. Sometimes using a little blending, but always fixing the pastels right up to the very light, final stages so that mixing of colours on the paper does not happen.


I mentioned that I had had difficulty finding another source for the ATC sized canvasses which I have been using lately. Problem solved, the original supplier has now got replcement stocks. I am going to stock up with them, enough to last me for sometime to come.

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

More Zazzle products with the same pastel painting - Moonlight

I posted my new painting in the last post, called "moonlight" and showed it on a stretched canvas available from Zazzle. I have now put it on a few more products of which here is a small sample.

Moonlight Birthday card
Moonlight Birthday card by artyfax
Design unique personalized note cards from

I would usually not include so many examples of products but I am very pleased with this painting and have started designing many products using the image. You can of course see a much larger image of this painting on my flickr account.

Although it is typical of the way I use pastels to create texture in the painting, in the large image you can actually see the texture as the fixing agent has dried and shrunk if you look carefully. Almost like a crackle paint finish. This in itself is not typical and I put it down to the paticular ground I have used for this painting. I am not careful about the board that I use, often using any old card that happens my way. Sometimes these can be around for a very long time and I forget where they come from. Maybe this is not a good approach?

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Texture in pastel paintings

I am writing an article on the way that I achieve texture in my pastel paintings. I have posted many of them here on my blog but do not often include images of work in progress. In the article there are at least two with more than four stages included and some with two stages. It should be available in the next few days on Squidoo. I will include a link to this as soon as it is complete. In fact it will be here but will not be available until it is published.

I work in layers so that I can work the colours of the layers against each other as I build up the painting. It is a process I found for myself whilst learning how to use pastels but it is probably not new or unique but does give excellent results. As I worked it out for myself I like to think of it as "mine" but don't bite my head off.

My work space at the art group
set up for pastel work

note the pastel sticks, I always work with a limited palette
This shows the work after two layers of pastel, note the texture

After red and purple and black colours added, the start of the detail layers
At this point all layers are fixed

The moon is painted 
The sillouette of the tree is painted (these last details are not fixed)

You will be able to read fuller details in the article on Squidoo, I hope you will find it interesting.

This painting is now available on Zazzle as a canvas print and will soon be available on posters and other products.

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Beach Scene: miniature acrylic canvas

I am still going strong with these miniatre canvases, only one this week but the group had an influx of fourn new members and I had a little "admin" to take care of. A small group, even smaller than us, had decided to wind up as it was difficult for them to pay their Hall rental. Still wanting to paint every week they had decided to ask if they could join us. We of course were delighted to welcome them into our fold, as it eases the financial issues for us of course.

Anyway back to the point of this posting, an empty beach with a stand of trees in the near distance. there should have been a couple of bathers but I am still wondering how to best depict them on such a small scale. I may pluck up courage next time and will update the image if I do.

The one thing that I have to say about this image id the overall lack of contrasts of tone. Colour contrasts are fine but we all know that tonal contrasts are what makes the image zing. I toned down the beach and the clouds and am unhappy. Here again, I will be trying to make up for this. Something that can be done in acrylic I am happy to say. Maybe I had other things on my mind.

What do you think?

So there it is: more tonal contrast on the beach and in the clouds and a couple of bathers in the mid-distance. Shouldn't be too much to ask?

I think I now have enough of these to write a Squidoo lens on the subject. My experience with a new medium and how I approached painting miniatures. Why not? Oh and yes they will be going up for sale sometime soon, just trying to settle on a selling price - or in the case of Ebay an opening bid. I will be posting results when (and if) I sell my first miniature canvas.

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Two more acrylic miniatures on canvas, ATC size

I really am finding these fun, lost my sense of time tonight at the art group and all the tables disappeared around me whilst I finished the second of the two paintings - in a hurry; can you guess which one it was? I will touch it up later, something that you couldn't do with watercolour.

just a quick post to put up the two paintings tonight. Here they are. One is a generic and the other is from a work in the lake district which I used as a reference.

Running out of the miniature canvases, will have to see if I can get some more.

One of the members at the club tonight was painting a very large oil painting about 10-12 times larger than my miniatures, I very nearly suffered an inferiority complex. However he was kind enough to praise my work so all's well that ends well, LOL

Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Autumn - acrylic, miniature paintings

Oh boy, I really am having fun with these aceo / atc sized paintings. It has been so long since I used a brush - except to brush away the pastel dust - and I am feeling a little awkward but I will persevere. I have used a relatively large brush for the paintings in the last couple of posts, hence the lack of details. I have tried using an 00 size brush fo a couple of details in these paintings but have been having problems with the viscosity of the paint - I need more practise.

Anyway take a look and see what you think. I have now done seven of these and am considering trying to sell them on Ebay or Etsy. I have received some complimentary comments on Flickr and Facebook. No one seems to read this blog though, note the lack of comments. That's not quite true I know that I do get readers from the stats supplied by Blogger perhaps these are people who come here from those two sites (Flickr / FB) and feel that one comment is enough, LOL.

Here they are:-

Red Sky At Night

The Way Home

As you can see the detail work, especially, leaves a lot to be desired. I will be practising with that brush which may even be a 000. It does not seem to have much in the way of hairs in it, and my old eyes have difficulty with using it. The images are just about life size, on my screen anyway.

If you would like to see some of my watercolour ACEO / ATC's from a while ago then take a minute to watch this video, well it is actually 7 mins but you dont have to stay until the end. The sountrack is also by me. Composed and created on the PC.

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Miniature acrylic landscape painting - Autumn

I have been having fun with the miniature paintings on stretched canvas. being so small of course does mean that there is a very noticeable weave pattern when taking a photograph.

This one is a little disappointing in that the pathway does not have enough tonal contrasts, but see what you think. Of course one of the beauties of using acrylics rather than say watercolour, is that if I am not satisfied, I can of course go back over it, even starting again by painting a white layer over the whole thing. I sometimes forget this as I paint only making the point to myself when it is finished.

I am not sure whether it is teaching me anything but at least I am getting away from the pastels which seem to have taken me over. I do love soft pastels though but I have of late been painting with them to the exclusion of  other media. Therefore, this project is very welcome as it is making me question where I am going

I was looking thru some You Tube videos, acrylic demos in a loose style and came across this one by Jennifer Perez. Caught my attention because she takes a landscape which didn't work, covers it with white and some texture and then starts another painting. Also she is painting from sketches which she does in quiet moments from her mind / memory. Just like I often do. Many times I will simply draw something without using any refernce material. I can do this because my paintings are kept very simple. I do not like to add too much detail as you will have noticed if you have read any of my previous posts. One other point she seems to like colour, and uses colour because she likes it, not necessarily because it is in front of her. Here is the video:-

Loose and colourful painting, just my kind of art. Another artist I noticed was Robert Joyner, one to go back and watch another day.

Saturday, 20 October 2012

Painting Art To Sell

I wonder how many artists select themes or subjects to paint because of a wish to sell their art? I have always painted for myself but realise that it is possible for an artist wishing to make a living from their work to wish to paint subjects ( at least some of the time) which will sell and make a living.

A recent pastel landscape

I found a report recently about the top themes for art which sells, I may even have posted about it on this blog, and decided to write a Squidoo lens on the subject. It was not a new report, possibly 2-3 years old but I found it interesting.

In fact my favourite themes of abstract landscapes and local views came out well up in the list. I often wonder whether I should be stretching myself a little more and getting out of my comfort zone once in a while. I did at one time and have some decent portraits to show for it, but skills need practice and these days I do not paint enough to keep up with all the skills I would like let alone find new ones.

Sketches from life, from the past

Take a look at the Squidoo lens and make up your own minds about the usefulness of such a listing, is your favourite theme there and if not why not?

I would love to know what you think, leave me a comment on the lens or here on the blog

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

John Hopkins Demonstration at Knowle Art Group

I have mentioned my art group (Knowle Art Group) many times, mostly it is a way of providing a little discipline into a very busy life. Once a week at least I sort out a few supplies, get into the car and drive to a meeting with some fellow artists where we all sit around and paint. Oh and we also put the world to rights while busily painting it. There is no formality, we all simply get on with painting anything that takes our fancy and the group uses, individually, a number of mediums. Oil, acrylic, pastel and of course watercolour are all represented. It is a small and happy group and we enjoy our Tuesday evenings. I am afraid that I have too many distractions these days to find time to paint in a very busy life, so attendance is the spur to create art.

However, four or five times a year we have what we call one of our special nights. These take the form of demonstrations or workshops, as many of them as possible with professional artists in the lead. Being a smallish group, we have to watch the pennies, after paying for the rental of the premises, exhibition expenses, refreshments for out meetings and various other fees we spend any surplus on demos by professional artists. One such artist, who gave us a very interesting and inspiring demonstration yesterday, is

John is a local professional artist with a very informal approach who is always willing to fully answer all the questions put to him. The group has in fact received several demos from John (see another) and one or two members know him from classes which he holds locally. You can see some of his watercolour paintings in his site gallery.

I am posting here a couple of watercolour sketches which I did some time ago, I guess that this type of painting still comes over in my pastel work. In fact the second was a painting which I did as a demonstration to the group, once upon a time, because of a large influx of  inexperienced painters and we put on a number of demos to try to encourage them.

But I have not done any water colour painting for some time. However, when we have these demos it is surprising how inspiring they can be. I have a small project on with the miniature acrylic canvases mentioned in the last two posts; I fully intend to do a few more for potential sale on Ebay, etc. I will be dusting off the watercolour paints though and putting in a little practice to get the feel of a brush back. Watch this space!

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

And Then There Were Four - Acrylic Paintings

Again this week I was painting more of the miniature canvasses. I have really enjoyed this and now I am all set to try and sell them on the internet. Not sure if it is going to be Ebay or Etsy, or maybe even both. I have not yet tried Etsy although I have an account on there and then again there is always Ebid, I keep saying that I am going to close the Bonanza account and move the items (all collaged ATC's) to Etsy. Bonanza certainly hasn't done any good at all for me, I think they leave promotion to the individual and Of course promotion is not one of my strong points, which is why I am not sure which of these two sites I should use. Ebay has the more buyers but Etsy is at least specialised. Procrastination strikes again!

OK enough chatter, here are the four canvasses together:-

They make a nice set according to my colleagues at the art group, and I think I agree with them.

Here is number 3 and 4:-

The set is really not a single theme, two are sunset / evening, and the other two are mornings; at least that is my interpretation.

I am intending to buy some more of these because as I said I enjoyed the experience. I love working samll and being able to work "sketchily" and complete a particular piece in an evening / session. And it is certainly very easy to complete these in 40-50 minutes as described in my last post.

As usual larger images are available on my Flickr account.

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Sunset/Sunrise; Acrylic paintings on stretched canvas

Two canvases, each on its own easel, But hang on they are standing on my laptop! No, it's not a composite image, they actually are that small. In fact they are 2.5 x 3.5 inches (64x89mm), the regular ATC/ACEO format. If you don't know what this is read my article on Squidoo titled "Making Artist Trading Cards - 1001 Technique". 

I have been considering creating some art to sell, it is coming up to christmas, and the small ACEO was very profitable for me at one time. I found myself trading work rather than selling and moved into mixed media and collage but there has always been a desire to move back into that activity. Most of the ACEO's that I sold were actually in watercolour but when I saw these dinky little canvas and eaasel sets I thought to myself, "I must get a few and see where it takes me". Last night at my art group I finally decided to make a start and try to capture a few skyscapes. A subject I love painting.

These were the outcome, took me about 45-50 minutes for each one, I do put a lot of myself into these paintings even though they are quite simple and very small. Here is a close up view of both of these paintings. The size of the weave on the canvas is obvioualy quite big relative to the canvas size.

In actual fact, I painted them from imagination so they do not represent any particular place or time but I will still call them sunsets. I have a few more to paint and then I think I will be posting them for sale on Etsy, I have not tried this site yet but I am loathe to go back to Ebay and other sites I have tried have not been very successful.

I will accept offers before they are posted for sale, LOL. Expect more in the near future.

Friday, 7 September 2012

Another African sunset - pastel painting

If you have been following this blog, you will know that I love sunsets. I find the ideal medium is pastel. I have previously painted a series of african sunsets in watercolour, these were actually artists trading cards. For this attempt, I decided to use a little larger format - an A4 sized paper, actually an orange coloured paper. For our American cousins, this size is approximately 8.5 X 11.5 inches or a little less tall than foolscap.

Although there is lots of orange in the painting, I don't think that any of the original surface is left showing through the finished work.
Here is a view of the painting:-

A much larger version of the image can be seen on my Flickr photostream.

As with previous posts, I have included here details of the painting, so that you can see how I use the pastel to achieve the textures. I covered the upper part of the painting with an orangey-brown ( don't know the exact colour as the labels are missing - a good reason for leaving the labels on. However, I tend to use the sides of the broken up sticks so no chance of that. the lower part was covere initially in black. Both areas were blended with finger tips and fixed between coats to cover the paper absolutely. The pastel was again fixed. I find that this provides a fabulous tooth for the the later pastel colours, which I can build up to a significant thickness.

Here is a detail of the left-hand tree foliage:-

You can see here the sweep of the pastel, using the side and skipping across the surface of the sky. the sky had been completed by blending in a darker brown into the corners; two shades of yellow provided the lighter area, and white for the sun. The blending action may have affected the colouring of the various areas. These lighter colours were not fixed prior to the trees being painted on.

The tree branch crossing the sun:-

The actual branch is drawn much lighter than where it crosses a source of light, the sun. And the LH tree near the horizon:-

Here you can see the effect of blending-in various dark greys to produce the ground contours. the vegetation on the horizon itself was painted in with the edges of the sticks and pulled into the ground by rubbing with a fingertip.

The image may be seen on a wrapped canvas or on a number of smaller gifts in one of my Zazzle stores.
For UK based readers, see my UK Zazzle store, Artyfax

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Snowdrops at Painswick in artists pastel

Another tree painting!

Well, I can't resist. We visited Painswick Roccoco Gardens (Cotswolds, UK) this week and I was knocked out by an "art in the garden" exhibition. Mostly sculpture and installations as you might expect but adult art classes are also run during the year. On the day of our visit, there was a small group of artists working with pastels on the subject of architectural paintings in a garden/natural setting. Not really my subject but it did inspire a little sketching and photographs in the gift shop gave me a perfect subject. Apparently, the gardens has the largest naturalistic planting of snowdrops in the UK. I was hooked.

This is a direct result as soon as I got home (well, I did help to unpack first):-

I think I quite like this one, of course I am still using the side of the pastel to create texture in the bulk of the painting:-

as you can see in this detail of trees. But I can't help thinking I may try this again and use this approach for the snowdrops (a maass of colour) rather thata trying to paint them individually as I have here.

Watch this space!

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Across the fields in summer

Another pastel painting ffrom that book, "30 minute Pastels". This time a subject I have historically had problems with. I seem to manage well with aerial perspective - colours are my strongest point but put in any recognisable feature such as the fields here and I never seem to satisfy my own standards. I must admit that I tend to shy away from these sort of subjects and perhaps that is why I am still doing the same things wrong.

The new painting is basically an image of fields, distaant hedges, a track and a few dwellings, the red roofs of the buildings amongst all those yellows and greens is what attracted me to it; this is it:-

As I said this doesn't seem to feel right, I have done this type of scene as in this sketch book page of a view from a hotel we use on Cleeve Hill, in the Cotswolds:-

This at least looks to me as if it is drawn to scale, Maybe I shold persevere and do a lot more distant views. Anyway, here are a couple of details from the painting from the areas of the buildings. Did you notice the tiny red roofs at the top of the far hills - in the center of the horizon?

Youo can see in these details the texture I achieve with the side of the pastel, there are at least two greens in the fields in the lower image, with an added touch of a yellow. One point is that the details may be too detailed for distant objects and do not fit in with the overall effects of less detail with disstance. Again more practice and analysis.

Thursday, 28 June 2012

Spanish Sunset - Pastel Painting

OK, I have painted another pastel, this time not a tree in sight.

It is taken from a book called 30 minute PASTELS. I love the loose style which the author adopts to complete a painting in this short time. Exactly the way I like to paint. I have actually done this once before but the result was not quite as I wanted it. I was at a loose end this week and flipping through one or two books and magazines and came across this particular image. I knew straight away that i had to have another shot at it.

The beauty of this one is the use of the side of the pastel stick to create incredible textures. And of course the redness of it! Makes a fantastically emotive landscape, I feel. The drawing is not as good as it should be but using thick pastel sticks it is difficult to work with any detail.

Anyway here it is for your perusal, I would love to know what you think about it.

The way I approach this sort of painting is to first of all create a background in a suitable colour using the sides of the pastel sticks. I would normally use more than one colour, creating a complementary under-painting which I fix with (shock horror) cheap hair spray. This has two functions:-

  • It prevents the "empty canvas" syndrome and subsequent procrastination.
  • It provides a marvellous tooth for subsequent layers of pastel.
In this case I had already got a background in my satchel, I had prepared a few earlier without any consideration of what the final paintings may look like. The background in question was simply the perfect colour for this piece.

You will notice that it is not made to be uniform, it could have been far more varied but for this subject as I said it seemed perfect.

I then carefully selected a few pastels; yellows, reds and oranges and stroked the paper with the side of the sticks to create the variation of colour in the sky and the water. Light and loose strokes provide the required texture, which can be seen in the following details.

It is important to use a light touch and to skim the surface. This leaves the background showing through, so it is important to use a background with the right colours. I did say above that I often use a complementary colour (to the top layer) which gives a really sparkling effect. Here though, The colours are from an analogous (hot) colour scheme.

To complete the painting, one or two details; the sun and its reflections are included with a subtle approach - not too much to stand out uneccesarily. The far shore / mountains are created in a very similar way using a dark brown and a soft black.

Finally the two boats are then drawn in a soft black pastel. As I said, the drawing could have been better and if I do it again (as if I would!) I will use a thin stick of soft charcoal so that I can put a little more detail in here. Not too much just a little more detail.

It always feels good to get out of a rut and this painting has certainly pleased me both in its creation and its final appearance. (offers accepted. LOL)

Saturday, 23 June 2012

My latest pastel painting - more trees

Yep, I am afraid that I am still painting trees,. Although this time I have included a river and colourful vegetation.

I came across a photograph on Redgage, a site I am becoming fond of as I can post articles and pictures and even links to posts elsewhere and earn a little of the hard stuff for each viewing.
The photo was of a winter scene in the Allegheny Mountains by an artist and photographer who goes by the name of paintsonslate.

Again I worked in pastel a medium I am becoming increasingly fond of, I am doing very little in watercolour and acrylic and almost no oils. It was on a card base which was quickly covered in light blue as the sky and water covered a large part of the painting. After this first stage painting was worked around the card with fingers, I fixed it using an inexpensive hair spray. I worked different blues, greys and white into the sky and the area of the water an again fixed. Because the light colours lose their effecct with the fixing, I knew I would have to touch up parts after the trees were painted in.

I worked with several greens and earth colours to model the thicker limbs of the trees, and then outlined some of these areas with much lighter colours to contrast against the background where it was darker.

The reddish reeds/vegetation was put in and then detail added with a brighter red and yellow.

Once I had completed the trees to my satisfaction, I touched up white parts of the sky and painted over the water of the river because the waves and shadows were far too marked.

I mostly finished the painting in one evening at my art group but left it for a week and then looked at it again. It was this second time around that I decided to darken the trees, and the mountains (which were mostly painted before the trees) and to add more white into the sky. I also painted over the river to calm the colour contrasts. This sort of thing is of course quite common. Leave a work for a few days when nearly finished and with a fresh eye you can nearly always see how to improve it.

The completed work:

As usual, a larger version has been posted onto my flickr photostream.

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Painting To Find My Feet Again

Having suffered a bereavement in the family, it has been difficult to maintain interest in art, but going to a weekly art group has been a great help. I have been toying with pastel paintings ( they don't need much setting up - just paper and a few chalks) and although nothing very exciting had been forthcoming from my efforts, the past couple of weeks, I seem to have produced a couple of half decent painting. I thought that they would be worth posting here.
The first was something I dredged up from my own mind, I had started a background to try out some black sketching paper which I had been bought for christmas. Various family illnesses had stopeed me experimenting before then and I found it was not really suited to pastel, at least not for my style - I thought. However, I did not throw the background away, and looking for something to do last week I decided to carry on with it.

Now my approach with pastels is to cover the ground (paper in this case) with one, two or even three colours so as to provide an interesting base to paint on. This is an example:-

I then use an inexpensive hairspray (I am incorrigible!) to fix this layer for two reasons
  1. I can overpaint without colours mixing or smudging
  2. The grittyness of the fixed pastel layer provides a great "tooth" for subsequent painting
Although the black paper did not appear to work well at first, with the added (fixed) layer it became quite amenable to being used by overpainting. I stayed hard at work for about two hours with a short break for coffee and this was the final result.

Now I was very happy with this, and have received some very good feedback. I had at last done something I could feel proud of which wasn't totally abstract. Not that I have anything against abstract art of course, but I felt much better at this. Very atmospheric, I was told by one of my crritics.

Last night, with this in mind, I decided to try and finish a painting with a similar theme which I had started some time ago. Again, I felt pleased with the final result, although not quite so pleased as with the one shown above.

I hope that I have come through what has been a very difficult time, and will be back to enjoying my painting and other artistic endeavours. They say time heals, well time and art may well be helping to do just that. Coming back from a very low point, I am beginning to feel quite positive and optimistic.