Friday, July 31, 2020

Happy Painting with Colour!

Original painting by Bee Skelton

I've been working on the second, of what may turn out to be a series of paintings about where I live.  'The Barn' is a social club down the valley road in Marlow Bottom.  You're always sure of a welcome there, and during the Covid lockdown, Shelley Robson and her team have been feeding vulnerable members of the community each Sunday.  Lots of wonderful inspiration for a painting.  Now summer is here, outside the Barn hanging baskets and planters are overflowing with gorgeous begonias, which I just had to include of course.

Please contact me for price and further information if you'd like to purchase the original painting.  Limited edition prints will shortly be available to buy via my website

Here's an impression of how a print could look framed:

My commission order book is currently open for a limited period.  You're welcome to contact me if you'd like me to discuss a painting personalised for you.

Friday, July 17, 2020

Painting village community during Lockdown

Happy Valley acrylic painting by Bee Skelton

Still in semi-Covid 19 Lockdown mode, and having comforted myself with paintings of holiday destinations, I've now returned closer to home for subject matter.  Marlow Bottom, the village where I live has been a hugely positive and strong community during these tough months.  The churches, schools, shops and even the brewery have kept us all going.  It was difficult to decide what to include, and what had to be left out for compositional requirements.  I hope to make a series of paintings illustrating other special local places and people.  I'm open to ideas and commissions from elsewhere.
As usual I began by making preparatory drawings in my sketch book.
The initial composition sketch will make no sense to anyone other than myself.  But that's the whole point of a sketchbook. It's a work book for your own eyes only.

Here are some process images:

I'm very pleased that the completed painting is now being used to raise money for local good causes.  See here for more details on my Facebook Page.

Saturday, June 06, 2020

Puffin painting & Farne Islands Northumberland

I've been having fun on a virtual holiday escaping lockdown again.  This time I've been recalling time spent in Northumberland a few years ago.  While there we sailed to the Farne Islands, which is supported by the National Trust, to see the puffins, other sea birds and seals.  Well worth a visit, as is Bamburgh Castle, at top of the painting.  We hope to return again when circumstances allow to visit the Longstone Lighthouse. 

As usual, the painting began with a few scribbles in a sketchbook, to remind myself of the subject and roughly work out a composition.
Then fun with paint on the easel.
First a background.

Archival quality prints in two sizes are now available from my Etsy shop.  More information about my work at

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Virtual Vacation on Lockdown

Normally at this time of year I'd be planning a holiday. But with Covid19 lockdown that's sadly not possible.  So instead I'm taking a virtual trip to one of my favorite seaside locations with a bit of imagination and paint.

I'm using up an old sketchbook (waste not, want not 😊) for preparation doodles. 

Mousehole in Cornwall holds so many memories for me and the family. I could fill a whole sketchbook with drawings of it's buildings and harbour features. But I'll concentrate on just a few. At this time I'm trying to simplify the way I work.

I worked a rough composition sketch of part of the harbour.  This painting will be about the fondness I feel for the place and memories, not physical or naturalistic accuracy.  

A blank canvas can be a intimidating thing to some artists. I find painting quickly with a big brush is an exciting way to kill the  white and create a background.  It's just a start and most of it will be painted over eventually.

I'm using acrylic paint on yupo paper for this painting.  It's smooth and doesn't buckle, no matter how many layers of paint get added.

Referring to my sketchbook preparatory doodle, I drew buildings and features. I like to draw with pastel, chalk or charcoal at this stage, so if I change my mind about something I can simply rub it off.

When reasonably comfortable, I went over lines with black paint. Buildings are wonky, inaccurate in any natural sense. Marks are loose and imprecise, which is just the way I want them.

Now it's time to start having fun with colour.  

Unable to get to the studio because of leg injury.  A few boat doodles in sketchbook best I can do in preparation for when painting resumes.
At last I got back up to the studio for a short while and made a little progress on the buildings in this painting.
Using white soft pastel I sketched in where positions of some boats and surf boards might go.  Then roughly went over the outlines with black paint. 
The painting is now finished, complete with a name for the boat in the foreground.

I thought it fitting to include the name of this vessel because of the brave story surrounding her and crew:
PZ107 Renovelle. Was a 54.4 ft long 1st class lugger built in Mousehole in the year 1902.  Operating at Newlyn around 1932 and later.  Her crew included Edwin Madron and son (who was drowned at sea), Grandson James 'Jimmy' Bassett Madron later drowned on the Penlee lifeboat.  The Renovelle was one of the Newlyn fishing boats in naval service during the 1939-45 World War 2.
Paintings and art prints for sale can be seen on my website or in my shop.

Monday, April 27, 2020

Let Art be your Escape from Lockdown cont'd - 3

In this third post in my arty escape from lockdown series, we get busy with paint on your chosen surface.  Remember you only need a few colours and virtually any surface to paint on (See first blog post for suggested list of materials).

 Refer to your doodle sketches (see second blog post). Using a large damp brush and whatever colours you like, loosely lay down the background to simply describe the location for your picture.  Imagine it's a stage before the actors arrive.  Some acrylic colours are translucent, but if you add a little white, they become opaque.

Word of caution, when using acrylic paint take care not to get it on clothing.  Lay protection on furnishings etc., because when dry it will NOT wash off.  It is plastic and when dry becomes waterproof.  Clean brushes thoroughly in your water pot, or with a baby wipe when not in use.  They will be ruined if allowed to dry.

When your background is dry you can paint over it adding other features and people.  I used a small damp brush and black paint.  You'll notice my painting is beginning to change compared with my previous pencil sketches.  Allow yourself to change your mind.  Move things around, take things out.  Leave gaps to fill in later, like I did in the bottom left corner.  Acrylic paint allows you to paint over as many times as you like.  So relax.

When comfortable with the composition, begin colouring-in adding layers to describe the people and place.  Don't fret about detail.  Colours don't need to be accurate.  Sky doesn't have to be blue, nor grass green.  Trees can be purple....why not!  There's no painting policeman standing over you with a big stick saying what's right or wrong's your painting go for it!!!

Close your eyes and think about the people.  Who mows the lawn, plays football, loves cats, takes photos, cooks BBQ, wears sunglasses on top of their head, loves to sunbathe?  Lots of ways to bring life to your characters.  If something doesn't feel right, just paint over it.  Above all paint what makes you feel happy.  

You're welcome to ask questions, comment or contact me.

Happy Painting!  Hugs Bee xxx

Saturday, April 25, 2020

Let Art be your Escape from Lockdown cont'd - 2

Family Garden Party after Lockdown
Naturally it's people we miss most during the Lockdown.  And I've found it helpful to concentrate on looking forward to happier times ahead.  This Family Garden Party is one of the paintings to help me stay positive.

I'm hearing from people who would like to do their own version of this painting.  So I'll try to help you get started by showing a little of my process.

As mentioned in yesterday's post, you don't need much in the way of materials.  

Begin with paper and pencil and jot down in words the people you want to include in your painting;  family, friends, pets etc.  Choose a location that will be the background for your picture.  You may want to use your garden as a setting as I did, but it can be anywhere;  park, playground, theme park, zoo, outdoor cafe, seaside get the idea.  This is important, because although it seems obvious, it will help set the happy story in your mind.

I then like to make a few doodles while thinking about the people, using just simple shapes;  circles, ovals, squares, rectangles, triangles, straight lines. No need for details like facial features.  You might like to show things like beards, sunglasses.  Think about how they dress and what they do;  one of my sons often wears a cap, and the other is rarely seen without a camera.  These are the kind of details that will personalise your picture and make the people recognisable.

Now very roughly draw the location which will form the background to your picture.  If it's to be your garden, does it have a fence?  Are there trees?  Flower beds, pots, steps, child's swing, bench.  Which ever happy place you want to take yourself to in your minds eye, scribble down the main features.  Work quickly, no need to be neat or precise. 

Then you can populate your scene by adding your family, friends and pets.  Have them doing or just being how you might see them.  It's just pencil marks on paper....not written in can make changes at any stage.  Just relax and enjoy the feel of doing it.

Next time we'll get to work on your painting.  Refer back to yesterday's post for a list of suggested materials.