York Minster C1930’s

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Blog Post No 46 This image is an amalgamation of an old photograph and my more recent photo. Nowadays the trees on the right have grown to such an extent that much of the Minster is obscured. The Minster itself I have treated in an Impresionistic manner which I consider gives it more ‘ life ‘ and colour.

It is an oil painting created in the period when I was using that medium. Also it is so long ago to remember from where I obtained the image of the stylish open topped roadster. I just liked the look and style of it and placed it where it gives a whole new dimension to the composition. But it sets the tone for a C 1930’s feel, and gives a ‘dynamic’ to a mainly static scene apart from ‘people( s )’ which usually inhabit my scenarios.


From my Scrapbook ( 1 )

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Blog Post No 45. This image and writing by an unknown hand was posted in the Yorkshire Evening Post on Saturday 22 December 2001. I thank the unknown writer for his kind and perceptive comments. However in my opinion it is a great pity that there are no trams on the streets of Leeds in the 21st century.

The picture was one of a number commissioned over a period of years by Heather Hilder, daughter of the famous artist Roland Hilder for Kingsmead cards. Nearly all these of snowy Northern city centre tramscapes.

Each beautifully produced card was either for a hospital charity or in the case of several Leeds images, as far as I know for St Gemma’s Hospice.

This picture will appear again in a future Blog Post, but in full colour together with my own comments regarding time and place. Other images of Leeds and Cities for cards produced by Kingsmead cards will also be the subjects of further Blogs. Copyrights for all all these images were all returned to me following the termination of the contract requirements.


Heritage Trams Running in Blackpool

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Blog Post No 44 This image like others derives from 35 mm images on transparencies taken by myself. I would have waited at the same spot to take several photos featuring different trams in various places. When I came to create this painting an amalgam was made using elements required to make the composition. As RECONSTRUCTIONS of tramways were my ‘stock in trade’ at this time it was my normal practice but using extracts from old photographs.

The completed painting was again photographed on a transparency by me.

Neither Rose nor I could remember the time or circumstances surrounding this visit to Blackpool but it has to be about the 1990’s. Another coincidence, but a few days ago a TV programme featured this Bolton tram in immaculate condition at the Blackpool tram sheds. A date of 1901 was given for it’s original construction presumably then as an open topper.

Behind that tram is an Edinburgh tram in it’s purple with white stripes and further back two Blackpool trams so I have portrayed a ‘ spread’.

No picture of Blackpool would be complete without the TOWER. As well as giving detail to the trams as always I pay attention to buildings and to the tower.

As well as the conductor and people on the Bolton tram there are about twenty and a half ( due to cropping ) persons on the promenade, some taking a keen interest in the vintage transport.

And finally the web of tram sites reached by tram trolley poles to collect the electrical energy required to make them go. I loved the sound made by the bow collectors ( we did not have trolley poles in Leeds ) as the trams approached. Nostalgia. ! ! !

Malton Marketplace (1

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Malton is a busy town with a cattle market almost midway between York and Scarborough. With rail and good bus links and shops it hosts a regular market in a triangular ‘ square’ alongside the church.

Due to a request I photographed and completed two paintings of a vibrant market in full sway. This view No 1 faces north. Like some other market and town scenes, here I use two distinct methods of painting, one for the structures and another for the market stalls plus the action. I apply as much colour as seems reasonable for the latter.

Compensation in the church tower has to be made for photographic parallax problems which can cause more difficulties to correct than is apparent in creating ‘ verticality. Fortunately this is no different than usual in the type of work that I used to do.

Now to comments about the present. In the past few months l have started a small art group at my local library with full permission from the trustees and helpful assistance from the volunteers.

The express object was and is for members to ‘do their own thing’ but as a social group to be encouraged to TALK and DISCUSS paintings and the creating of a painting. It seemed a tough ask and I had no idea regarding any response. But with such a lovely group of enthusiastic and intelligent people the response has been brilliant. Everybody joins in, and the progress and confidence gained in a relatively short time has been beyond my expectations.

All members of the group are happy that I shall continue to mention our activities in my forthcoming blogs over time.

This is my way of freely giving my time and years of experience to create a SOCIAL and enjoyable interaction with a purpose.

Musicians Part (1)

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Blog Post No 42. Occasionally I go ‘ off the rails ‘ and decide to create some form of ‘Modern Art’. Sometimes it has been ‘ Fauvism ‘, another a golfing melange, or exploring the possibilities of a doodle. Then enhancing the doodle with COLOUR.

This is only one portion of the WHOLE painting as I have cropped out and created from it several mini compositions to fit a 4 : 3 format.

I would recommend any form of ‘ Artwork ‘ for relaxation or stress relief. Whilst one is so occupied the person will possibly be in the ‘ zone ‘ and other problematical thoughts banished.

At this point I must admit that at the moment BLOGGING is the only method that I can cope with to communicate with you the viewer and / or reader. I am really pleased that so many have logged in, and according to my web designer have stayed with the site. It is my hope that you all have enjoyed at least some of my paintings. And my scribblings have given encouragement to some who might be finding ARTWORK hard going.

Remember, I am totally SELF TAUGHT and have had many setbacks to overcome along the way. Only now after about fifty years painting am I analysing all these past works as I have had no reason to do so previously.

There are many more paintings to follow as soon as I find the time to write them up.

Awaiting the Train Muncaster Mill R &E R

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Blog Post No 41. It is many years since Rose and I plus dog travelled on the delightful Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway to commence a walk finishing at Muncaster Mill.

I have delayed writing about and posting this image because the name of the station we had started from had escaped me. And then on the television a few days ago appeared Sir Tony Robinson doing one of his series of walks which we watch and thoroughly enjoy. In this instance he was concentrating on Roman remains on his way from Penrith to Ravenglass. He travelled on the R & E R and alighted at IRTON ROAD station which I recognised immediately as the same starting point for the walk we had done years ago.

Staying at an excellent caravan site in Ravenglass we walked to the terminus station and boarded an open carriage behind the engine. The dog loved travelling. The delightful miniature but powerful real steam Pacific type locomotive whizzed us up the valley being an experience to be savoured. We disembarked wind blown but happy at IRTON ROAD station to begin our walk.

Wonderful views as we progressed along the high ground before descending to Muncaster Mill and the station there. In this painting one of the Pacifics approaches my wife, standing with Pip the collie on the platform.

In previous blogs I have spent much time explaining aspects of my paintings. This time I shall leave you with our experience of a wonderful day out in a lovely place.

Bolton Abbey from the cliff

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Bolton Abbey with it’s large estate is in Wharfedale, West Yorkshire, not to be confused with Castle Bolton which is in Wensleydale, North Yorkshire. This I have painted many months ago and will be posted in due time when I have done the writing or it.

This image is to be found after crossing the river which runs between the Abbey and the foot of this cliff. Most people cross the river over the footbridge but there is an option of crossing by way of the stepping stones when the water is running low. Then it’s up the hillside and the photograph composed from the top of the cliff.

Early Spring, I have endeavoured to make the painting light and airy with the Abbey to stand proud, strong in it’s skeletal and vertical remains.

Trees and tree branches frame this main focus. Tree foliage in the mid background varies from dilute washes to more opaque but lighter markings to lift the gaze upwards to the right. The skyline stand of trees then reaches out to the opposite side, embracing the light pasture.

The strong diagonal branch then closes off this pasture bringing you back eventually to the Abbey via the light, just off horizontal markings in the grass.

Otley Weir West Yorkshire

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Blog Post No 39. Having lived in Leeds for a large part of my life I can remember being brought here by my parents as a child of about eight. Whilst they played a tennis match on the nearby courts I was free to play on the river bank below the weir. This was of course was at a time when the flow over Otley weir was merely a trickle.

This image is of a time following heavy rains on the catchment area of the Pennines. The photograph from which this image was painted would have been taken probably in the 1990’s when Garnett’s mill was still in existence.

As I often say, one of my interests is to paint WATER in it’s many guises. In this instance it is to depict the effect of rushing, sliding waters going over the lip of the weir, cascading down it’s slope, and then crashing into a lower level, foaming and continuing it’s headlong dash to the sea.

The time of year has given shades of Autumn to the trees and is created by me with washes of colours through the branches already painted and lower foliage.

Lake Steamers Bowness-on-Windermere

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Blog Post No 38. The purchase of a Bay Window camper in the 1990’s enabled us to become more free in the direction of our holidays. As well as staying in various destinations in Yorkshire we spent time more frequently in the Lake District. Always we used good quality Club and other sites from Bowness-on-Windermere to Ravenglass.

As well as using the local bus services to give us end to end walks we enjoyed going on the lake steamers. In this instance I think that we had spent much of the day ‘ on the water ‘ and were returning into Bowness-on-Windermere pier.

It had been a sunny day and I had taken several photos whilst on board. I was hoping for ‘ something good ‘ on our run in.

There was the Tern, the oldest of the the three steamers. Built in 1891 as a ‘ steamer ‘ it was later converted to diesel but still retained it’s graceful and charismatic looks.

With only a ‘ one shot at a time ‘ camera, and not in control of the angle of approach, luck plays a part in the photo you get and it’s composition.

Bridges Lower Slaughter the Cotswolds

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Blog Post No 37. In the time before the cancer Rose and I would travel every year to visit family ‘ down south ‘. To break the journey we would stay at a Caravan Club site in or near the Cotswolds for two or three nights. When using the Fosse Way the whole distance from Leicester to Cirencester the most convenient stop was the site at Moreton in Marsh.

Sometimes we would take the train to visit more distant locations but more often we would use the camper to tour around the local area to spend time in the charming villages. Amongst these were Upper and Lower Slaughter. Only a short distance apart never the less they were both completely different.

In this watercolour the river had just flowed past the mill and is about to go under clapper type bridges giving me the opportunity to photograph then eventually paint one of my favourite subjects —– water.

The juxtaposition of the mellow Cotswold stone houses, the trees and vegetation edging the slow running river made it well worth the framing up.

At Play Sandsend Whitby

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Blog Post No 36. Sandsend, within view of the pier at Whitby. On a warm sunny day like the one in the painting, a charming location for children to play and adults to relax. Another busy beach scene full of colour and activity.

An acrylic. A versatile medium as previously mentioned, fast drying and permanent. If varnished it has all the appearance of an oil. In this image mostly the paint has been applied thickly or in several layers. Only small areas have been covered in a watercolour consistency as in the yellow overpainting of the child’s shirt on the left, and of the light blue of the sky.

Whilst the foreground grouping of the children at play is a focus of activity, the man standing in the water draws the gaze upwards towards the opposite side of the stream and the colourful jumble of canvas screens.

The stonework of the sea wall takes the interest across to the distant cliffs and a glimpse of the sea. The man on the right taking the photo brings the focus back to the children playing in the foreground. The aforementioned child on the left in the yellow shirt and wearing the red cap prevents the gaze exiting left, whilst the man taking the photo, the standing child in front of him together with the man and child with spade in the mid distance provide the same function on the right.

Small details like the white post play an important part in the design, in this case continuing the verticality created by the standing characters.

Derwentwater from the Caravan Site Keswick

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Blog Post No35 This painting is a very infrequent change from working with or translating photographs. Here I am working ‘ en plein air ‘ at the Keswick Caravan and Camping Club site which borders the edge of Derwentwater. A watercolour completed at one session sitting by the lakeside.

Clearly this painting identifies the difference between the simple outdoor created composition and my usually more complex images. It follows the often used compositions of a foreground beach, water, then hills or mountains in more diluted washes as they recede into the distance.

Painted probably in the 1990’s I cannot say with any certainty how I organised it’s progression. It does look as if there was coordination of some colour in the foreground beach with the mountains which means that they would have been painted using the same mixes at the same time. My usual method of painting on the whole surface at one time.

The dramatic dark area of sky was probably created firstly by lightly wetting the surface with water. Then letting it flow a little, inverting the image to let a light grey wash percolate skywards. A darker mix is added at the top of cloud whilst still damp.

Why I did not use this same mix at the same time on the waters as I would now, could have because working ‘ en plein air ‘ was a ‘ one off ‘ and I was concentrating on ‘ one thing at a time ‘ However yellow from the foreground was incorporated in the sky.

The addition of the red sailed boat gives the focal point and recession to a hopefully atmospheric painting.

Reflections on the Lake Scampston Hall N Yorks

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Blog Post No 34 Scampston Hall is found some few miles east of Malton along the A 64 towards Scarborough. There is a good parking area and Garden Cafe. The planting within the walled garden was designed by the renown plantsman Piet Oudolf.

Also there are the spacious grounds to explore created by ‘ Capability ‘ Brown within which is the subject of this painting.

Rose and I have visited on several occasions. One hot summer day seated on the Palladian bridge spanning the lake watching the wildlife I realised what an attractive picture this would make.The reflections on the languid waters gave a real depth to the image. The brightness of the colours make a good contrast to the darks in the background, the trees and their reflections.

How useful it is to have a camera small enough to have in one’s pocket to be taken out for that insightful image which would otherwise be missed.

Deckchairs and Lighthouse South Bay Scarborough

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Blog Post No 33. I am revisiting this scenario from Collection 3 of my website. An extended observation in a Blog that I can now produce and Publish myself. This image is slightly cropped to a 4 : 3 format.

A sunny day on a crowded beach with many people enjoying themselves on the sands and in the sea. The main focus of attention are the three striped deckchairs in the fore ground, two occupied, the last strewn with towels and belongings awaiting the return of it’s occupant.

I love doing busy scenes. On the beach it is the juxtaposition, not only of the many things going on, but also the positioning of the groups, large and small, and the spacing and flow of the open sandy areas which are important.

Even as already mentioned this image has been slightly cropped it but still includes coming in from the left, a man and his boy defining the limits of the painting on that side. And two people talking on the extreme right helping to prevent the gaze exiting on that side. This is a device that I use with various permutations in many paintings.

The diminishing size of the people take the focus to the pier and lighthouse in the background which closes off the rear of the scenario. As it is low tide the replacement Coronia is moored at the outer pier awaiting further custom for trips around the bay.

For me paintings like this are about trying to create the right ambience, and creating people that look real and comfortable in ‘ doing the thing that they are doing ‘ but without too much detail which would stop any action.

Path to Cow and Calf Rocks Ilkley West Yorkshire

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Blog Post No 32 This painting will not be to everyone’s taste but illustrates and disproves an allegation put to me that paintings from photographs must of necessity be slavish copies.

This image is another painting in the style of the Fauvists, ( wild beasts ) a short lived post impressionist group. Colour was often strident and violent embracing a variety of styles and was never subtle. I like some of the Fauvist paintings for the use of bright colour, and I like particularly to incorporate bright yellows, orange and red.

This is an interpretation of one of my photos taken on slopes up to Ilkley moor, the famous Cow and Calf Rocks overlooking the town and the Wharfe Valley. It is but a short walk from the car park which is situate nearly at the top of the long gradient up from the town of Ilkley.

Figures are added to the picture to give scale and that additional ‘ life ‘ and ‘human touch ‘ to the image. Also appearing is that extra touch of pure red in one of the figures which I like to incorporate in my paintings where appropriate. This creates a main focal point and distraction from the main subjects which are of course the Cow and Calf Rocks.

Notice that there are a few strategically placed ‘ DARKS ‘ which enhance and give contrast to the ‘ LIGHTS ‘. My darks are usually created from varying amounts of alizarin crimson and ultramarine blue some times with added white. These colours can be varied depending upon the range of colours use in any particular painting. Paints used in this image are acrylics.

Sailboats Passing Thurn Windmill the Broads Norfolk

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Blog Post No 31. On the occasional visits that we made to Norfolk, Rose and I ventured as far south as the Broads. Like the creeks in North Norfolk, we found that there was often some distance between locations where we could get to interesting places by the waters.

One of these was at Thurn. Apart from the windmill itself surrounded by the golden foreground I noticed like like many other situations on the Broads that the only parts of the yachts visible above their surroundings were the masts and sails. Quite charming. It was as if they progressing by themselves across the scene.

So the combination of the two, the Thurn windmill and the sails made a photographic opportunity not to be missed, and a memory that has stayed with me.

When one finds oneself in a situation that you know is unlikely ever to be visited again, decisions regarding photography have to be sized up and taken without too much hesitation.

Sklddaw from Derwentwater

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Post No 30. On the same bright, early, clear morning that I photographed ” Landing Stages Derwent Island ” I rowed just a short way into this little bay, and was presented with this lovely view. We (our border collie who could not get enough of being in our boat, aTinker Tramp ) and I were now sitting becalmed with a slight swell giving a glorious reflection of Skiddaw shimmering in that early morning light.

Even though this was in the 1990’s I can still remember the stillness, there was no one yet at the Landing Stages with no boats launched to disturb the waters . The hillside of darker green trees gave a good contrast to Skiddaw, and the light green of Crow park divided the mountain from it’s reflections.

This is a watercolour. I had I had spent some time transferring from oils at that stage which I was using only by request, and had not yet introduced myself to acrylics which would be my preferred choicest at the moment.

Magnifying this painting on the computer l realise this is anything but a simple operation to complete.

It is only now many years after doing most of my paintings that I am making a short analysis mainly of their compositions. This is not how I think then or now when I take a photograph. It’s just reflex. I see a situation, preferably in sunlight as I like colour, which might at some time make a good painting, try to get a good angle on it, create one or more compositions, then see if I can find alternatives.

Later at home I delete the unsuccessful and continue to weed out until I find the best.

Thornton le Dale ( Square )

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Post No 29. I am not and have never thoughtful myself as a wordsmith. Nearly all of the paintings shown derive from the many years before the cancer effectively stopped all activity for a while. Eventually by gradually learning to deal with the digital environment, creating the writings has given me the opportunity to use my artwork in a way I could never imagined.

Here in Thornton le Dale we also have the unexpected. A charming rural village with at it’s centre a triangle not a square. For the visitors there is a is a large carefully tended car park, two tea rooms and a pond with an island. Short walks in the village have benches to rest for the less mobile like myself.

There is a brook which is divided into several streams, each taking their own constructed ways. These waterways with their mini waterfalls were utilised to provide power to several mills from the 13th century.

And now the television programme Bangers for Cash drags many vintage Motörhead’s to the village to wallow in nostalgia at the bygone motive power and perhaps bid at the frequent auctions. I am one !

This watercolour image has off scene the triangle to the right, one stream to the left with one of the ‘ eateries ‘behind which is the church.

I also find it amazing that a Coastliner bus starting in the centre of Leeds terminates at this triangle in a tiny village. Although some buses on this service continue over the spectacular North York Moors to Goathland and terminate inWhitby.

Helmsley Market Place from the Bus

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Post No 28. I have painted several market towns. Rose and I have very occassionally travelled past Pickering and Kirkbymoorside by bus to have a short break in Helmsley. An attractive small town with period features including its castle and walled garden. It was market day.

For our return journey I just had time sitting upstairs at the front to grab from my shirt pocket my ‘ ever ready ‘ small camera. Then very quickly compose and take this image before the bus took off. One has to make use of such opportunities for that different angle on a subject !

Now for a brief note on the painting. Like Leyburn market I have used two styles of painting, one for the buildings and another for the market activity. The former to give a static solidity to the buildings and the latter, impressionism to give colour life and activity to the market.

I deliberately made the background tree and church darker to accentuate the light and concentrate attention on the market scenario.

Ilkley Tarn In Autumn

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Post No. 27. If we did not wish to use our vehicle it was a convenient bus ride to Ilkley from our then home in Headingley. The Tarn is part way up the famous Ilkley Moor above the town. Also a little way from the Cow and Calf rocks. All the various pathways up to it give glorious views both up and down Wharfedale. Much further than I can even dream about walking nowadays !

In this view I have chosen to depict the Tarn looking eastward down the valley of the River Wharfe.

I like colour and always photograph in sunny weather if possible, taking into account where the sun is positioned in respect to the image I wish to photo.

There is a footpath around the Tarn with a couple, one wearing a RED jacket drawing Attention to this and creating a FOCAL point. On this bright, crisp day the sun is creating dark foreground shadows which enhance the richness of the Autumnal colours. Trees and bushes create the verticals, those on the right breaking up the skyline whilst the foreground green upright bush breaks up the Tarn surface and points to the small tree on the left. Both also help to balance the scenario.

The previously mentioned winding path entices the couple and us to slowly walk into the distance enjoying the view, whilst the straight left hand path brings us slowly back.

Kiosks and Landing Stages Bowness-on-Windermere

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Post No 26. As in so many locations I try to get a different angle on my subjects. In this instance while jetties and waterfront are of great interest I have always found this area quite intriguing. From here there is still a good backdrop of the sunlit lake with it’s complement of small boats and across the water the far shoreline highlighted by the much darker higher ground.

Painted probably about the turn of the century, in retrospect I would have moderated lightened and varied the latter somewhat.

The foreground bathed in full sun gives a range of interest so as not to leave the kiosks on the right to dominate the scene. Whilst the open Ice Cream and Postcard kiosk with the young man making his purchase does draw our gaze to that area, the number of visitors ‘ doing their own thing ‘ and especially the lady on the left walking out of the picture encourages a circuit of the space and helps to balance the bulk of the kiosks.

Then the verticality of the aforesaid lady leads us to the water area and the black and white cafe on the lakeside. And the white sailboat masts lead us further to the far bank of the lake.

Coble Trips North Landing Flamborough

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Post NO 25. This Composition is completely different from ‘ North Landing ‘ from the car park. The first consideration for this painting was to encompass the cove with the cliffs at both sides in view. And now that there are so few cobles still remaining is to fill the foreground space.

It was important that the mast was kept clear of the cliffs giving an essential vertical to the scene. I can assure the reader that this scenario, as all my others is carefully considered which is why my wife,Rose is positioned descending the steps on the right. This provides one of my ‘ stop ends ‘ preventing an exit to the edge of the picture and also using the figure as another vertical.

The Coble is loading for the next trip, but as there was only one working I waited at the same spot and filmed it again returning which also added interest to that space. More people were added to those already there.

Notice can be taken of the detail in and around the two foreground boats and the strata and tide lines on the cliffs.

Canal Boat Approaching Uppermill

Post No 24. In association with www. petelapish.art

It seems – and is many years ago whilst living in Leeds that Rose and I were fit and able enough to get to places such as this. A bus into town from Headingley, and then a train to Marsden where the Huddersfield Narrow Canal disappears into the northern portal of the Standedge tunnel.

From Marsden we take a bus heading over the Pennines.We dismount to start our walk at a high point, then descend to the south portal of the tunnel. Then I remember a lovely sunny walk down past locks newly restored from their long decline into decay and disuse.

Just as we were coming into Uppermill this canal boat slowly overtook and presented an interesting COMPOSITION with the sun highlighting aspects of foliage.

Using a cranked painting trowel with oils I gave the application some enthusiasm, mixing paint on the blade and on the painting surface. I still have many tubes of oil paints not used for any years and reminiscing over this I do feel the urge to use them. Providing of course that I can find the room for the drying processes.

By an absolute coincidence a new and different short series of canal journeys was shown on TV the very SAME evening as this was drafted 18/11/2019.This first one by Robbie Cumming from Marple to Huddersfield was in my opinion off beat informative and very interesting. From Uppermill to the south portal it traced our walk from so many years ago, One sequence gave almost the exact spot of this image.

From the northern portal, sequences of the programme gave us many glimpses of the many different walks we did walking towpaths. Lovely reminiscences, thank you Robbie.

North Bay Railway and Sealife Centre, Scarborough

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The NBR is a narrow gauge passenger carrying railway between Peasholm and the Sealife Centre. Commencing at Manor Park station we go round the end of a small lake and behind the open air theatre. We then proceed through a short tunnel eventually. emerging alongside the promenade where sits this station platform. North Bay terminus is about half a mile along the track, above the Sealife Centre which is located in the white pyramids.

The composition is taken from the footbridge over the tracks.

The white pyramids help balance the foreground action. As there were no people on the platform it seemed necessary to make up and pop in the little family group to add more life to the painting.

The two 4-6-2 Flying Scotsman type A3 locomotives, Neptune and Triton, which are the mainstay of the NBR services, had a previous existence as they circled the then much larger 1930’s lake at the Golden Acre leisure park near Leeds.

The bird observation hut at Golden Acre Park is the subject of a painting by myself at the reduced lake in the 1990’s yet to be posted.

Drawing up a subject in the 1980’s

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Post No 22

Note – Drawing up is the process of combining material from various sources to produce an image of the final composition.

Looking at this drawing up, I cannot imagine just how long this took me and why I did it in such detail. In the 1980’s I would just have been getting into the city centre tramway scene, collecting reference material, and having enough information to put together a reasonable composition.

This picture continues to the right but has been cropped by me sometime ago to my standard 3:4 format to be used as an example of my methodology at that time. But all this was a waste of effort.

Imagery was all to be transferred to canvas for the creation of an oil painting. Perhaps this was needed to lend realism to the mental image my drawing up had produced.

So interesting. Perspective is there and I was not shy of introducing people even then, but there is so much to rectify in the construction of the buildings in particular.

We all have to start somewhere and build upon that. !

4F Darkens the Sky over Oakworth

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Post No 21. C1980’s when I was living in Leeds I became for a short while a member of the Keighley and Worth Valley Railway. Always seeking different images l had a specific location in mind along the line. Oakworth station where much of the acting for the well known film ” The Railway Children ” was done seemed a good choice.

I had a track pass and knew exactly where I needed to position myself to hopefully get a good shot with the train setting off from the station and through the open track gates. Compose the composition and let train start off uphill towards Haworth and steam into it.

Apart from the position of the locomotive and the carriage in relation to the rest of the pre-organised composition, my interest is in the atmospheric dynamism produced by the smoke and steam shot into the sky through the Locomotive’s chimney. This will provide the ” life ” to the picture.

For the non steam ” buffs ” 4 is the power classification of the engine and F denotes a freight engine.

Shibden Hall the home of Gentleman Jack

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Post No 20 This image painted c 1990’s is not one which I would ever have expected to post on the www as it would probably have only been of interest to a select group of people. Now there is an exciting story attached to this Hall which has been viewed on the television by very many people and has attracted waves of interest.

Rose my wife and I spent much time visiting and exploring in Calderdale at that time. Of course we knew nothing of Gentleman Jack and his exploits with which we have recently been acquainted. We have always been interested visiting new places and when we were living in Headingley Leeds had the choice of using the extensive public transport services or in this case due to it’s situation our own vehicle. We really enjoy the features of old buildings and their surroundings. This did not disappoint.

I took several photos from different angles to see which would give good viewpoints.

I chose to paint this image in a semi fauvist style which I thought at the time would give added ” quirkiness ” and a reasonable composition.

Together with it’s grounds and lake ( boating there on at the time ) it’s worth a visit.

On the beach Robin Hoods Bay. North Yorkshire

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Post 19. Whichever way is taken to get down to this North Yorkshire beach it is always a pleasure to arrive at the boat landing area. My view looking north with the cliffs in the distance take in the rocky, sandy and ” rock pooly.” area. This gives so much to be explored when the tide is out.

The buildings on the left frame that side of the image. My focus is upon the groups of people all doing their ” own thing.” Not only do they add life to what otherwise would be a mainly static scene but link the various aspects of the composition.

The figures on the right are important elements. They help in small measure to counterbalance the buildings but also assist in preventing the gaze wandering off the edge of the picture. I often mention to people that small elements can be important. These people, small vertical elements are an example of this.

Staithes from Cowbar

In association with www.petelapish.art

Post 18. I am well aware that this is a well known location and already painted many times. But when one has arrived in Staithes, decended the other side of the gorge from the car park, crossed the footbridge, then comes the urge to climb the roadway at this side to see if the the view really is as good as imagined. Well it really is, and it was not long before out came the camera to compose my version. I always try to create my version a little differently from anything I can remember seeing previously. Firstly in my image is a small section of grassy foreground to give an impression of depth to the scene below. I cannot recall seeing the small garden with a washing line stretched around a pole so this small detail was to be included. As I say many times people in a painting small as they often might be bring a painting and can , but not in this case be focal points. Here I have two entering the cottage on the left, two descending the road and others on the footbridge. I do not skimp on the number of cobbles as there are several moored in short lines. And the apparent jumble of buildings are just an artists delight. Then the outer harbour, enclosed by striated cliffs take you to the sea, the horizon and completion of a beautiful view. No wonder that it has been painted so often by so many.

Aysgarth Falls Early Spring Yorkshire Dales

Post NO16      In Association with www.petelapish.art  The bridge over the river Ure at Aysgarth provides the central link of a Z bend.    This image taken by me is just off the bridge on the road before the steeply rising section leading up to the village of Aysgarth situate on the main road up the Wensley Dale.        With riverside vegetation dealt with this location gives arguably the best view of the majority of the upper falls on it’s several levels.       Depending upon recent rainfalls the amount of water cascading over the numerous rock faces varies enormously.      In my image water levels are relatively low making for numerous small flows.

I have endeavoured in the relatively level stretches of the river to keep a resemblance of transparency by using paints with this quality, broken with ripples of white and darks.      Trees are kept light and ‘ frothy ‘ with bare branches breaking into the structure of the falls themselves.     Foreground rocks are kept unfocused so that the viewers gaze will go past these to the main subject matter.          Skyline trees are just showing a hint of breaking into leaf with very light washes over the branches.

Photography Boating at Peasholm Park Scarborough

In association with www.pete lapish .art

Post  No 17    This image is one of the first to be entered onto Facebook and was intended to be transposed to Blogs but did not succeed.   At that time I really did not have a clue about how to go about Posting so it is as well that I am dealing with it again with expanded notes.

I had in my mind exactly what this composition might turn out to be.   It took four visits to the same spot over over a period of months.  The final visit was when there was ice upon the surface of the lake and the trees leafless so that at last the pagoda could be seen.

Then to the PAINTING.     In the foreground my wife with two other figures give depth to the scene.   The boathouse and landing stage are now HISTORIC, replaced due to their collapse into the mud following many many years of service.   I had hoped to photograph canoes moored to the staging but there were rowing boats there on the day so these make a good substitute. The centre of activity had to be the action of a boat being rowed towards the viewer.  People on the landing stage doing their respective ”things’ were positioned where they actually were or where i considered improved the composition.

And the trees painted ‘in leaf’ are shortened to enable the PAGODA, the reason for extra visits to be seen in it’s correct location.


Briggate Leeds Night Scene C 1940’s

  Post no 15     In association with www.petelapish. art

I can remember this scene ( but not from this angle ) as if it was yesterday. Regrettably it almost a lifetime ago.   In 1949 I would have been eleven.  On a Friday evening after visiting my grandparents we would wait for the No 4 Kirkstall tram in the covered reservations in the middle of Briggate between the two sets of tramlines.

Mind you the trams being an essential part are but only part of my painting as the city buildings hold their own fascination.   In those days buildings black with  accumulated soot obscured some fine carvings now restored to their original magnificence.

As a child waiting in these tramway barriers on a windy night, awestruck as these dark buildings took on the bouncing light from the large shaded street lights swinging from suspended and swaying overhead wires.    This created a light and dark dance on their multifaceted surfaces.   Magic and atmospheric standing in the narrow metal tramway barriers listening to the gusts of wind and for the music of the electric overhead tram wires as the No 1 Lawnswood or our No 4 Kirkstall tram descended Briggate.

And to complete the thrilling nature of the situation we would board the tram very unusually at the drivers end.

Gayle Mill near Hawes, Yorkshire Dales

In association with petelapish.art

Post No. 14 This image of Gayle Mill was taken by me and painted circa 2014 when the Mill was newly refurbished for use. The Leet (the watercourse) on the right supplying the water power for the Mill wheel had also been sorted out and brought back into use.

Like all the Dales rivers and streams the water levels are all dependent upon recent rainfalls and the waters flowing down from the surrounding hills. In this case the runoff is relatively low.

As in all my paintings, to create the lightness there has to be the darks to give the necessary contrast. Elements of the painting direct the gaze to the main focal point – The MILL which is enveloped by the surrounding greenery of the countryside.


Post 13    River Wharfe just above Kettlewell North Yorkshire by Pete Lapish.

In collaboration with www.petelapish.art.  A relatively simple composition in comparison with many of my busy and more complex scenarios.This is intended to be an echo of the kind of painting that so attracted me to the style and imagery ( but so much better done by ) Messrs Monet, Pissarro,  Sisley and the other Impressionists which they created mostly outdoors.

This oil painting, a medium which I mostly used in the early years of painting and created about the nineteen eighties using a small painting trowel, a favourite tool of the time.  It was probably done as respite from the time taking tramway and other scenarios that I was increasingly becoming involved with.   I remember that several images were done in this style and gave me a freedom to relax and enjoy the experience.

Whatever colours and white were to be needed are squeezed onto the palette, often taking two or more small dabs of different colours onto the trowel at the same time to be applied and mixed onto the painting surface. The expressive nature of the trowel marks give life and texture to the finished work. Whilst this picture has been lightly cropped to give my 4:3 format for printing purposes my usual criteria for format applies. As I am constantly saying ” small things can make a BIG difference ” a small touch of RED to indicate a walker creates movement, interest and a necessary FOCAL point.  The sheep are also a useful addition in the same context.


Acrylics used as Permanent Watercolours

Post No 12 Fountains Abbey from Studley Royal   Yorkshire Dales.  This image is featured in my website www.petelapish. art with notations.    I am now going to consider the experimental aspects of painting a ‘ modern art ‘ rendition of an icon of the Yorkshire Dales.   Acrylics can be used ‘ out of a tube ‘ or thinned to a watercolour consistency.    The BIG difference is that when dry the result is PERMANENT and further layers of paint can be applied to modify the result.

After priming the support, in my case now usually M D F as it is stable and is more difficult to damage and again in this case followed up by a ‘ sketchy ‘ drawing up, thoughts can turn to —-” Where do I start with this one and what colours to use “.  It being some time ago since painted, I think that the whole board will have been lightly undercoated with an acrylic ochre, the colour which has remained in the sky.    I have the board at a slightly elevated angle and also use additional tilting.    Short runs of two different colours are applied separately one into the other.     These mix and merge as they travel slowly down.   This after allowing each application to dry is repeated until satisfied.    The reflections are done in a similar manner.

Runs are stopped before penetrating the space to be occupied by the orange bushes to the right  and other spaces.  The green swards to left and right are applied by brush.   They provide the necessary recession to the Abbey.    To break up the vertical aspect of the reflections very thin and light horizontals are continued from the pink and blue-grey reflections over the central water aspect.   The weir and tiny figures give a distance and scale break.

To break up the sky area I ran in areas of white leaving the edges to harden before washing the remainder of the paint.   It looked interestingly different so I left it at that ! ! !      Compositionally  different with the main focus, the Abbey nearly central.     However this is made not too obvious by the right hand features creating a heavier balance to that side.    The trees to both sides give a necessary verticality to the whole paining.





Expect the unexpected photo opportunity

Post 11   York Minster from M&S cafe.

Artistic composition from a photo by  Pete Lapish.   Rose and I get to York less frequently since the cancer.  Previously upon alighting from the bus at Stonebow our first thoughts would be ‘ lets have a coffee at the ‘ M & s cafe ‘,   As soon as I entered the cafe I immediately took note of the large windows at the far end of the room. Always on the lookout for a chance photo from a different and useful location ( this was some years ago ). I think that in front of the window was a telescope mounted upon a stand which incorporated a standing step.

I had gone to York partly to take any useful compositions which may or may not provide useful material to create a picture.So out of my shirt pocket came my small digital camera.   The roofs, timber framed building and  striped canvas coverings to the market stalls together with the the people shopping give an interesting and almost  historical foreground.  And There in the distance towering over the city is the pride of York, the Minster as a backdrop to the composition.

In association with www. petelapish.art

Perspective The Station Concourse

Post 10        Artistic Compoition by Pete Lapish.   This is a “modern art” idea from a painting by Viera Da Silva – “Egypt”.    His painting is a complete contrast to my finished scenario but based upon the same principle :  SPATIAL AWARENESS.

All matters connected to RAILWAYS are of interest to me and into my mind came the station concourse at Leeds station but with different orientation.   Construction of the COMPOSITION has to start with the rear wall.    Within that wall the VANISHING POINT for all the lines of recession is found about mid point at eye level.

The FOUR corners of the rear wall delineate the starting points for the two walls, the floor and the ceiling.    Next came the creation of the rear wall pattern with the entrance to the train shed and platforms   . Within the entrance is the partial sighting of a steam locomotive.

The width of the floor, ceiling and wall boarding ( which provide the recession ) is deliberately arbitrary as is the sectioning of the boards.   I love bright colours, and that is what is applied with thought.   Then came the action withe carefully placed passengers    .Travel Posters are then inserted at convenient intervals to break up the wall space.      ” Modern art ” is another thing which interests me but  prefer it to have some meaning.

In association with www.petelapish.art


Artistic Composition City Centre Tramway

Post 9 Catching the Tram in Kirkgate Leeds C 1950’s by Pete Lapish.

We are taking a diversion here to consider one of my many city tramway paintings created from the late 1970’s until the early 2000’s. These included images for Leeds and other cities commissioned by Heather Hilder for quality Kingsmead cards. The latter all for Hospital or Hospice Charities.

The buildings and the historic street scenes were as interesting to me as the historic vehicles by then long departed. The last Leeds trams ran in 1959. The city was in the grip of modernisation. Why did I feel the need to recreate scenes and atmosphere of my childhood and youth ?   I suppose tramways and railways are part of my D N A.

This painting is derived from a ” base ” black and white photograph containing the buildings. As far as I  can remember, one tram only, the Horsfield No 192 was incorporated into the composition. All other trams came from various sources, resized and probably remodelled to fit onto the tracks. One is an ex London Feltham repainted in the new Leeds livery of red which inspired the colour to be spread to the majority of the Leeds fleet. At that time I had built up a small library of books and other material as one had to be quite knowledgeable about the historical aspects. This included the sourcing of other specific material like the advertisements. Time consuming believe me ! ! !

No doubt I I would have visited the site to photograph it in colour. Finally assemble all my material, decide the COMPOSITION ,create tram crew and other people, draw it all up and paint it.   Notice how I have included  tramway posts and a person on the extreme right to balance my picture and to provide a “stop end”.

To keep a common 4:3 format cropping has taken place, a composition within a composition.

In association with www.petelapish.art



Thinking about Photography


Bittern steaming into Pickering station NYMR another painting by Pete Lapish.

Before the cancer I did a certain amount of photographic work along the line and at the stations.Several paintings were the result. I am always concerned to obtain a good composition and got myself into a pre-planned position well before the train arrived.

The fixed structures and the people on the platforms eagerly awaiting the train steaming in  are all as important as the main attraction and focal point. So I took the main photo. But for me there was one other secondary focal point missing and I was hoping that this could be obtained on a second visit.

As a volunteer at the time I knew some of the station staff. Luckily  it was not too difficult to persuade Alan the stationmaster of the day to pose for me in the spot that gave maximum balance and interest. It took a little while to get the pose I required to complete the composition that I was satisfied with. Thanks Alan.

In association with petelapish.art




Ghaistrills Strid above Grassington Wharfedale

Post 7. Paintings from Photos by Pete Lapish.

Ghaistrills Strid above Grassington Wharfedale.

The composition is below the turbulent waters of the strid looking downstream towards the village.

The various verticals and horizontals are posing as a barrier or gate down to the riverside.  This is the principal focus of attention. Old stone walls and the footpath walked into the turf by countless visitors together lead the eye to the stile in the corner of the field.  This is the second focal point.  The bare trees and bushes create a unifying factor.  There is Rosemary in red jacket and hat creating action whilst climbing the stile and then onward into the next field.

Please return and join me for Post N0. 8.


Dock End Whitby North Yorkshire 1880

Post no 6 Paintings from Photos
By Pete Lapish
Famous Photo by Frank Meadow Sutcliffe
Dock End Whitby North Yorkshire 1880
I have been an admirer of F M Sutcliffe for many years and his pioneering photographic works. Fortunate to be given permission by Michael at the Sutcliffe gallery in Flowergate Whitby to interpret his image in colour. The black and white photo I worked from is purchased from the gallery.
In my rendition it is my intention to create a work which whilst in colour has an indication of age.
In reality however the scene could have been more colourful than I have made it.
Much of my painting life I have been recreating scenarios from the past, mostly city tramway reconstructions always with considerable research.
With Dock End only minor alterations are made to differentiate it from the original.As I think Frank Sutcliffe faded the background to give prominence to the shipping, I have done the same.
It is a great pleasure and privilege to add some colour to the work of a master pioneering photographer dealing with the equipment of his day.

In association with www. petelapish. art

Racehorses passing The Black Bull, Middleham

Racehorses passing The Black Bull, Middleham.
Pete’s Paintings from Photos. Post No 3 ARTISTIC COMPOSITION – continued.

Now to this painting. I considered and staked out the LOCATION for the COMPOSITION and eventually horses and jockeys rode into view to inhabit the space.

The BLACK BULL and the racehorses off the centre and to the RIGHT. When painting I felt it necessary to create a small family group going into the picture to fill that space and to add FURTHER INTEREST.

So I made them up and popped them in.

To the LEFT the properties fronted by the cars give a shallow diagonal which aids recession. The chimney stack to the extreme left creates what I call a STOP END.This stops the eye travelling out of the picture.

These buildings take us into a glimpse of the YORKSHIRE countryside and the rural surroundings of the entrance to Coverdale. The background also links together the two main elements of the COMPOSITION.

Please join me again for Pete’s Post No 4, PHOTOGRAPHY

Racehorses passing The Black Bull, Middleham.

Racehorses passing The Black Bull, Middleham.
Pete’s Paintings from Photos. Post No 2 ARTISTIC COMPOSITION.

Hi Everyone. Looking this up on the web, there are several definitions. Slightly altered I choose :- Place the main point(s) of interest (focal points) of a WORK of ART harmoniously in relation to EACH OTHER and to the PICTURE as a WHOLE.

Usually this has meant using the RULE of THIRDS, which divides the picture HORIZONTALLY and VERTICALLY into three. Using MAINLY the outer lines, place the most important elements OFF CENTRE.

These rules can obviously be irrelevant for example single portraits or elements, modern art, etc.etc.

In Post No 3, I will explain my thoughts on the content and COMPOSITION of this WORK.So just draw or paint whatever is of interest and ENJOY the experience.

POST 1 – Pete’s Paintings from Photos

This is Yorkshire artist Pete Lapish (pronounced Lay-Pish) commencing my long delayed sortie into Facebook.
Now aged 81 and having been a professional artist for over forty years, I am now in recovery from cancer and slowly getting to grips with digital technology to use in the portrayal of my paintings. This posting is to set my agenda. With the input and direction of my good friend and computer guru, Mick Jones, I choose this method to showcase my paintings.
Over time, talking with people interested in art or who have ‘dabbled’ in art or are confused or struggling, in my opinion the most difficult issue is how to get started.
Apart from being an artist, as a long time past schoolteacher, I aim to use my images in future postings to illustrate some basic principles and methods on how I approach my work.
These I use in conjunction with my website petelapish.art The home page will give more information followed by 50 of my painting, each with brief comments. I will commence POST 2 with ARTISTIC COMPOSITION.
Do we need to think about this before starting to draw or paint?

The Spa from Clock Cafe

“The Spa from the Clock Cafe, South Bay, Scarborough”.This painting heads the home page on my website, petelapish.art This website contains fifty of my works, each with written observations in a gallery of five collections of ten paintings.

Welcome to my Website

Hi I am Yorkshire artist Pete Lapish Introducing my new website www.pertelapish.art . By the way Lapish is pronounced Lay-Pish most people get this wrong for the first time.

I must apologise to all the people making the recorded thousands of hits whilst this site has taken such a long time to sort out and develop.

Two years ago when in the early stages of recovering from cancer I met my computer guru Mick Jones. Now a very good friend he has taught me all I know regarding the transfer of my created images, some originating in the 1970’s and 80’s into my computer. Then to process these images into the three 3:4 format I am able to present to viewers.

Social media has not been dealt with until recently and with which I am still a complete novice.

I am aware that my paintings, genre and times past have created much interest, having featured on several occasions in periodicals such as the Dalesman and in the press. The Yorkshire Evening Post even ran a double page spread after inviting readers to submit their reminiscences following receipt of two of my Leeds city centre prints. These being sent in from a collector in Canada.

All the paintings are accompanied by my observations and occasional hints and tips.

Genre paintings (dictionary definition – portrayal of scenes from ordinary life) are from where I and my wife have enjoyed visiting. These include the Yorkshire Dales, Lake District, Coastal Scenes, Railways, Canals and many varied locations. Other Paintings of city and tramways systems in times past are also included as well as colourful quirky modern art.

Many paintings contain people, often lots of people; and I do enjoy painting water in its many guises.

Totally self taught, I am an ex teacher and have been a professional artist for over 40 years, taking up artwork seriously after coming across the works of the Impressionists.

There is a direct link from the petelapish.art homepage to the Leeds city library ‘Leodis’ website. Here there are nearly EIGHTY of my Leeds area paintings – ‘NOT FOR SALE’.  Most of these have been shown for over 10 years. Informative writings with each image are by the library staff and myself.

The next of further collections of ten paintings with my comments is now in preparation to add to the site.

Another Blog will appear at about the same time. It will again contain a small spattering of useful information.

If you do log on, I hope that you will enjoy the www,petelapish.art presentation. I invite you to log in again to my expanded website and further blogs.

This website has been produced in association with Scarborough Digital.

Some Day I might have time to do more paintings, some of which are already on the stocks.