New show – ‘Tranquility’ (post 1 of 2)

My new show has just opened at Argyle Fine Art in Halifax! This is my first display of new work in over a year, and when we decided to go ahead I confess I was worried I would be a little rusty; the creative juices hadn’t been flowing much during Covid times. However, I was really pleased with the results! I thought, in an effort to make a good start with this blog, I would share the pieces that are in this show and a little about them.

It seems only fitting to start with one of my favourites, and one which everyone else seems to like as well. This piece is called ‘Guiding Light’ (20″x28″ acrylic on panel). It took a while to find a name…. I felt like there was the hint of a path, wending it’s way into the distance, so I was trying to find something that connected with this, as if the light was leading you down the path, or marking the start of the path. It’s funny how some names can take a long time to come, but when they do they immediately fit.

Our little house is in a small pine forest, and in the winter, when snow is on the ground, I go outside with a selection of lanterns, jars and candles. I wander around – but not for too long, twilight is fleeting – looking for the ‘right’ tree with the ‘right’ branch and the ‘right’ backdrop. I set up a variety of lanterns and candles on different trees, and take a lot of photos (digital photography is a game changer).

Sooner than I would like the light fades too much and the moment has passed. This usually leads to some unsettling moments walking back through the woods in the dark!

I hope to share more about my process here on the blog, but we need some snow before that can happen (not too soon please….)

This painting is titled ‘The End of the Day’ (12″x12″, acrylic on panel). A few years ago I did another painting of a sunset through trees, and I really loved the end result, so I wanted to have another go. While I love the sun blazing through the trees, my favourite thing about this piece is the colour of the clouds! I just love that bruised blue/purple colour, with the pink underneath. I’m definitely going to be trying a few more skies with similar colours.

This painting it called ‘Two Friends’ (20″x16″ acrylic on panel). When I started the paintings for this show, this was the first one I started. I got about one third of the way through, and got stuck. Because I had a deadline for the show, I started working on other pieces instead, and slowly but surely the other pieces were finished while this one sat, waiting. I kept looking at it, seeing if it was it’s time, but no. And so it sat there, until all the other pieces were finished!

I picked it up again and put it back on my painting table, and got back to it. And still I didn’t like it. I almost scrapped it entirely, but about a week before the show was due to open I sat and painted and didn’t let up. I knew the painting was in there, it just wasn’t cooperating, but after 2 days of solid work it was finally done, and I was really pleased with the end result.

This painting is titled ‘Beacon’, and it’s the smallest of the show, at 9″x12″ (acrylic on panel). When I got stuck on ‘Two Friends’, this was the painting I started instead, and I’m not sure I’ve ever had one roll off my brush and on to the surface as smoothly. It was meant to be, and let me know that, despite a stall on the first painting, my creativity was still working and I could put the pieces together for the show.

So the name ‘Beacon’ is very fitting, both because the lantern looks like a beacon in the night, but also that I see it as a beacon to me, letting me know that my creativity is this way 🙂

The show consists of 7 paintings, I will post about the last 3 next time (I don’t want to make these blog posts too long). If you find these posts interesting please consider signing up for my mailing list – no spam, just regular updates about my work. Thanks!

2 thoughts on “New show – ‘Tranquility’ (post 1 of 2)”

  1. Dear Isobel, your paintings take me back to my youth in Kansas at night, catching fireflies in a jar with my Dad, lanterns hanging in the trees, candles in jars…the perfect NOCTURNE. I LOVE THEM and you have mastered that technique. I’ve tried it myself but can’t get the right ‘look’, however I will keep trying. I have a collection of old types of lanterns we used at the cabin so will start again. Looking forward to your blog and new paintings. I’m in Arizona, USA, lots of sunshine, beautiful sunrises and sunsets. If you want, I’ll send some photos for you to play with! Let me know. Let’s keep painting, good for the SOUL, too! I lost my partner of 21 years in September and haven’t painted for months. I need to pick up a brush again and relax my brain….you just gave me inspiration, thank you!

    1. Thanks very much for your comment Judy! And I’m sorry for your loss… painting can definitely be a relaxing thing to do – even if it doesn’t seem that way at first you do feel the benefit :o) I’m glad I could inspire you, and I hope you do pick up that paintbrush! I also love fireflies; we don’t get them in Scotland, but I have seen them here in Nova Scotia and love them. This summer I was trying to work out how to capture them in a painting but I haven’t worked it out yet. I just love the sound of your lantern collection, feel free to send me some photos if you like!

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