Saturday, 24 November 2012

Swaledale Winter

I have now finished my big painting, 80 x 80 cm, of my favourite breed of sheep, the hardy Swaledale. This picture shows them during a harsh North Yorkshire winter to which they are so well adapted. They look so stoic as they stand against the cold North East wind and are always curious to see a visitor or two. 

Swaledale Winter

I liked the little group on the hill so much I decided they deserved to feature in their very own painting and so this little painting 50 x 40 cm was born.

Swaledale Hill

The feel of the painting is quite different, much warmer so maybe I am already looking forward to spring! This will be my last painting of sheep for 2012 but I am really looking forward to visiting The North Yorkshire Moors in 2013 for more inspiration.

Saturday, 10 November 2012

Continuing The Swaledale Theme

New Swaledale Painting stage 1
As all my followers know I love painting and drawing Swaledale sheep. They are the sheep of the North Yorkshire Moors and the ones I am most familiar with since childhood picnics on the moors with my family.
Stage 2, added another ewe
 I just love the way they stare at passers by and they don't appear timid at all....tough tykes!
Stage 3 Adding background and detail
I am keeping my palette very muted and the shapes strong but simple
Stage 4 More detail and colour
Some of the background blocking in I am allowing to show through. I have painted these sheep before and the photo was supplied by a great photographer on RedBubble, Rickster, Rick Bransby. He supplied me with two photos to use for painting.
Tough Up North
Tough Up North was the first painting I chose from the photos. I was really attracted to paint Rick's photo because of the sheep that is cut in half. It gives such an edgy feel (sorry) to the composition and I refer to it as my marmite painting as viewers either love or hate it. It sold very quickly and i could have sold it over and over so more lovers than haters!

Etching and Drawing

I enrolled for a printing course which began in September and I am so enjoying the opportunity to return to etching, something I haven't been able to do since art college days.
etching plate

the print
Getting a good print is much more difficult than I remember as there are so many variables! I am very pleased with this print and just hope I can get another 25, equally good. I am also etching a ewe to compliment the ram and both will be available as signed, mounted limited editions.

Drawing of Swaledale Ram

Drawing of Swaledale Ewe

I have been drawing a lot more and have two sketch books that are lovely to draw in. One is square and small so very handy to carry around and the other is rectangular, both open completely flat so it is possible to do a double page spread. 
The above drawing are both in the larger book and are done with a graphite pencil and using my electric eraser to do the highlights.

Monday, 15 October 2012

Finished Today!

I think I have finished the two paintings I have been working on over the last few weeks. I will 'live' with them for a week or two and see if I still feel they are finished after that

Standing Stones, Machrie Moor, Isle of Arran

It is a good idea to 'live' with your work for awhile as things begin to stand out that you haven't noticed whilst at the easel, sometimes these are good things but more often things which need a little tweaking. My motto is never be satisfied, always strive to be that bit better than the last time, and your next painting should always be the best yet!

Grindstones, Stanage Edge

The above painting is one I have done to be auctioned for a cancer charity. The auction will be in I will worry about no one bidding!
Is is difficult to get a good photo of the Stanage edge one as the hills are made up of layers of subtle glazes which don't show up well in a photo.

Saturday, 13 October 2012

Work in Progress

Grindstones, Stanage
I am working on two pieces at the moment the one above is Grindstones on Stanage. I was asked to donate a painting to be auctioned to raise money for the Weston Park Hospital Cancer Charity. As I have friends who have been effected by this dreadful disease I am only too happy and honoured to be given the chance to help in this small way.

Standing Stones, Machrie, Arran
The above painting is one that I began after my holiday to Arran and is still a work in progress as I have been very busy putting up an exhibition with some other artists at the Workstation, Sheffield.
Workstation, Sheffield

The exhibition will be on for the whole of this month and I have eight works on show but  it is a mixed exhibition which includes, photographs, sculpture, glass, ceramics and paintings. The private View was very well attended and we have had lots of positive feedback.

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

A Week On The Isle of Arran

What a beautiful inspiring place Arran is. It is described as Scotland in miniature and it certainly is with mountains, standing stones, rivers, lochs and stunning views wherever you turn.
We had perfect weather for photographers and painters, lots of sunshine but with heavy showers producing sparkling scenes, great skies and rainbows. I think this photo is probably the best of the whole holiday and was taken on Machrie Moor.  I painted it en plein air as well as now in the studio. I am also working on a lino print of it....very much value for money!
Below my painting sketches completed in situ.
Standing Stones, Machrie Moor

                                                                                            We were really lucky to see lots of local         wildlife too, red squirrels, golden eagles, common and grey seals as well as red deer..magic.

Machrie Moor

Friday, 14 September 2012

Off To Arran

I am going on a painting trip to Arran tomorrow. Got everything packed. Hope to keep a daily blog of my stay with sketches and paintings. Well, that is the plan.

Friday, 7 September 2012

A Busy Time

Sorry I haven't been up dating my blog much recently but my son and his wife have been over on a visit from Siberia where they live. They were only here ten days so wanted to spend as much time with them as possible so not much time for painting, but a lovely break.
I did manage to complete one painting which is a little different from usual style. A fishing boat coming in to the harbour of Staithes from a night's fishing. I wanted to show what they might have caught and as there was a lot of space at the bottom of the canvas I decided to do a sort of abstracty collagy thing with paintings of a mackerel, cod and herring gulls. As I still had some space I added two familiar icons in the village, smuggler's cottage and the end of the northern breakwater. I am quite pleased at how it worked out and may use this technique some more in the future.
Hope you like it.

Thursday, 16 August 2012

Boulmer Cottages inspired by Joan Eardley

I so enjoyed painting this of Boulmer Cottages, inspired as I was by reading a biography about the amazing artist, Joan Eardley, who died far too young at the age of 42 just as she was reaching the height of her powers.
I very much decided that less is more with this painting and like the way it almost painted itself, without too much interference from me!

I dedicate it to the memory of Joan Eardley 1921 - 1963

Sunday, 12 August 2012

Work in Progress

I have been wanting to do a painting of the cottages at Boulmer, Northumberland for over a year.  I didn't like my first attempt, and it went the way of any of my paintings that don't make the grade....recycled into another painting. Lately I have been looking at the work of the great Joan Eardley 1921-1963. Her amazing paintings of the cottages at Catterline reminded me of the ones at Boulmer. Inspired by her work I decided to have another go. 

I am sure she just painted straight onto the canvas but I like to draw the important features first. I am trying to keep the painting loose and the colours muted and although I have been inspired by Joan I am very pleased with the fact that the painting is still very much a Sue Nichol!

Saturday, 11 August 2012

Commission Success!

The commission I have been working on for the last three weeks and can now show as the clients have been to view and declared  they love it! The painting is  big, a 5'x4' view of the steelworks from Redcar beach an area my clients and myself know very well from childhood.

Friday, 10 August 2012

Making The Most of a Sunny Day

I have brought my studio out into the garden and I am really enjoying painting these trees with the sun on my back. The warmth is  loosening up my brush and knife strokes and I am just 'going for it', trying to complete a painting in one day. No fussiness no drawing simply painting!

Thursday, 9 August 2012

Latest work update.

After a visit to Staithes for reference material for a new commission which I have now finished. (a little peek, top image)
I am starting to paint other wonderful things that inspired me. Second from top is South Gare Lighthouse which is an amazing place to visit. It is a mixture of stunning scenery, industry and a man made harbour, called Paddy's Hole (above) which is a boat painter's paradise.

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Pre Selected for RSMA

So pleased my painting of Flora Jane in Roxby Beck, Staithes has been pre selected for the RSMA! Now it will go down to London for the next round in the selection process.

Thursday, 10 May 2012

Exciting Week

After a very successful Open Studio weekend life has just kept on being very exciting. I finished my next painting in the Wuthering Heights series, it was my birthday and my lovely family were here to help me celebrate, was a featured in the local paper with other artists in the area, and then was interviewed over the phone for Radio Sheffield! What will next week bring?

Friday, 4 May 2012

Open Up Starts Tomorrow

I am all ready for the big day tomorrow. My studio and gallery will be open for three days to the public along with many others in the area. Hopefully, we will have a great three days with lots of visitors and positive feedback.

Thursday, 3 May 2012

Two Days to Open Up

A little more progress on my wanderings around wuthering, but as I have now only two days left before Open Studios I must abandon Cathy and Heathcliff to their own devices whilst I tidy my studio and add finishing touches to the gallery space.

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Wuthering Wanderings

  • "They DO live more in earnest, more in themselves, and less in surface, change, and frivolous external things. I could fancy a love for life here almost possible; and I was a fixed unbeliever in any love of a year's standing."
The next painting in my Wuthering Heights series. I love remote moorland and although in reality there is little left of Top Withens I am using old stock photos as source for my inspiration. These painting are for a forthcoming exhibition at Harrison Lord Gallery, Pennines, Pathways and Peaks.

To create the effects of moorland grasses I am using texture paste and building up the background with layers of diluted paint which I let run at will to 'just see what happens'.

Now, I have started to use some thicker paint to add depth and detail...have to be very careful at this stage not to lose some of the accidental, serendipity effects. I am enjoying my wanderings around Haworth Moor.

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Getting Ready For Open Up

Four days to go until Open Up Studios, Sheffield and so much to do! Not least finishing a few paintings, putting cards and envelopes into cellophane,tweaking the hanging arrangement and printing out the labels.
Outside it would be nice if it stopped raining and I could cut the grass and set out tables and chairs so visitors could enjoy refreshments in the garden!

Monday, 30 April 2012

Latest Paintings ...working towards Open Studios

 I  have been working on some small paintings to add to my bigger paintings for Open Up Studios, Sheffield. This one is Light On Sea and is an impression of one of my favourite painting locations in Cornwall....Kemyel Crease.

I love painting Gorse, with its spikes and bright yellow flowers. This is at Port Mulgrave near Staithes.

This is still a work in progress, I will be adding some glazes once the heavy, impasto effects have dried.

Gorse, again, but this time at Rame Head in Cornwall.

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Top Withens

This is my latest painting. It shows the path that wanders up to Top Withens the inspiration for Emily Bronte's Wuthering Heights. The two trees and rooks could represent the two haunted lovers, Cathy and Heathcliff. My alternative title is Cathy Come Home!