How Shakespeare Helps Explain Art

by Aileen Mitchell 15. April 2016 12:54

In the lead up to Shakespeare's 400th anniversary we look at ways in which the Bard has so accurartely described how we feel about art.

William Shakespeare by Mike Bagshaw

"Though this be madness, yet there is method in it" - Hamlet, Act II Scene II



Romeo And Juliet, 2016 by  Dimitris Pavlopoulos

Interpretation is one of art's best gifts. Part of the joy of looking at art is experiencing  something through the eyes of the artist. There are so many colours and forms that would have otherwise gone unnoticed. 

London City Skyline 2016 0185 by Eraclis Aristidou


St Paul's London by Keith Mcbride


Late Spring Snow by Emma Cownie

Ridge by Laura Hol

The personal approaches to art by each artist can give a painting so much impact. 

"Why, then the world's mine oyster" - The Merry Wives of Windsor, Act II Scene II

tempest sea painting

Tempest by Graham Evans

We see such a huge variety of works at ArtGallery that celebrate everything from the small to the vast, and everything in-between. There is also no limit to the different styles and mediums used in which the artists choose to express themselves. 

Queen Elizebeth Liner Puppetised by Marcus Clarke

Blue Iris In My Garden by Simon Knott

Fishermen's Retreat by Carole Hutchings

"Self-love, my liege, is not so vile a sin, as self-neglecting" Henry V, Act II Scene IV


Darling buds of may flower painting

The Darling Buds Of May by Sarah Gill

It is also so important that artists are free to create what they are passionate about creating. They may be pleasantly surprised by how many others enjoy what they paint! 

Tumultuous Tide IV by Gillian Luff

"The object of art is to give life shape" The Rehearsal by Jean Anouilh, inspired by A Midsummer Night's Dream, Act V Scene I

The Reconcilliation Of Oberon And Titania by Patricia Thompson

Shakespeare's anniversary is on 23, April this year. 

Shakespeare's birth place

William Shakespeare's Birthplace 1568 by David Brumwell



Capturing Beautiful Irish Landscapes

by Aileen Mitchell 24. March 2016 14:13

We love a good landscape at ArtGallery - and this month we celebrated a country famous for its painted scenes. It is, of course, Ireland. 

There are so many ways to capture the beauty of an Irish landscape, whether it's the ever-moving coastline, its lush, green hills, or a dramatic sunrise. 

Here are some ArtGallery artists who all express the character of the landscapes in a unique way:

Cooniger by Arabella Kiszely

Arabella Kiszely beautifully captures the drama of the Beara Peninsula on a cloudy afternoon. The textured sky and sea gives a real feeling of movement, contrasting with the warm orange of the rocks. This oil painting almost puts you in the scene itself. 

Coast by Jeremy Shipton

Jeremy Shipton's acrylic painting has captured the west coast of Ireland on a much calmer, sunnier day. This highlights the wonderful contrasts in Irish weather, and shows how one painting can vary so much from another depending on the season. 

The blues and aquas are what give the painting a strong sense of summer. Although the sea is calmer, there is still movement to the piece, as waves break on the rocks.

The free brush strokes of the cliff top give this area of the work a softness that highlights the many detailed lines in the cliffs below.

Irish Lough Connemara - by Steve Hawthorn

Capturing lights and darks between rays of sunshine and clouds can be done in smooth strokes, as Steve Hawthorn demonstrates in Irish Lough Connemara. Unlike the informal brushwork in the paintings above, Steve has conveyed a sense of stillness in this lake scene using the contrast in light and colour to bring depth to the painting. 

Winding Road by Barbara Craig

Winding Road is a great example of how a landscape can be interpreted in so many different ways. This bright painting of wild flowers by a field in west Ireland captures the playful breeze that gives so many Irish landscapes their energy.

The softness of the line of mountains in the distance gives great depth against the bold strokes in the foreground. 


Buying Art

Powerful Women In Art

by Aileen Mitchell 14. March 2016 17:01

This month we re-visit some of the most powerful women in the world of art.

Judith slaying Holofernes by Artemisia Gentileschi

Artemisia Gentileschi 1593 - 1656

Artemisia Gentileschi was renowned for her ability to manipulate light and dark in her paintings. This is a technique also used by Caravaggio known as chiaroscuro.

Gentileschi painted females as the dominant figures in her work. This was very different from the norm of the seventeenth century, where women were usually depicted as sensitive and timid characters. Also known as the ‘Baroque Genius’, Gentileschi devoted her art and life to fighting for respect as a woman – a subject that was extremely personal to her as a young painter who was abused and later pushed into a forced marriage.


Repetition Nineteen III by Eva Hesse

Eva Hesse 1936 - 1970

Eva Hesse is one of the most influential artists from the twentieth century. As one of the first artists to introduce the post-minimal style after the minimal movement of the 1960’s, her installations are constantly referred to as a source of inspiration for many current artists.

Hesse’s work is often described as ‘anti-form’ and celebrates organic-shaped, tactile sculptures that are so far away from the harsh, rigid lines of the Minimalist movement.

Famous for the use of latex in her work, Hesse used other synthetic materials with a very limited colour palette such as fiberglass and various plastics.

Although Hesse took no political stance in her artwork, she was seen as an inspiration to the Feminist art movement as a successful female artist in a male-dominated world.

Self-Portrait with Thorn Necklace and Hummingbird by Frida Kahlo

Frida Kahlo 1907 – 1954

Perhaps one of the most recognisable faces in twentieth century art, this is one of the many self-portraits of Frida Kahlo.

Dubbed as a surrealist painter, Kahlo specialised in portraying herself in her art. Kahlo did not believe herself to be a surrealist as she insisted that she did not paint dreams, but her reality. She is known to have said, “I paint self-portraits because I am so often alone, because I am the person I know best.” 

Her 140 paintings are symbolic depictions of the psychological and physical wounds throughout her life after a severe bus accident when she was 18 years old. This resulted in life-long surgeries and procedures.

Friends with other surrealists such as Pablo Picasso, Kahlo was also admired and revisited during the Feminist movement of the 1970’s as an icon of female creativity.

Ram's Head with Hollyhock by Georgia O'Keeffe

Georgia O’Keeffe 1887 – 1986

“The men liked to put me down as put me down as the best woman painter. I think I’m one of the best painters.”

Georgia O’Keeffe was one of the most significant artists of the twentieth century. Her paintings of skulls and desert terrains were created at the time of the American modernist movement. This involved art that looked at the regional aspects of America and moved away from the large, industrial cityscapes.

O’Keeffe captured the dry desert landscape of her home in New Mexico in a simplified style that has a very personal representation to it. She also painted a series of flowers and mountain landscapes of Mount Fuji and Peru.

Despite being almost completely blind at the end of her life, O’Keeffe continued to paint with the help of some assistants. At ninety years old, she commented, “I can see what I want to paint. The thing that makes you want to create is still there.”


Art History | Artists

Malvern Theatre - Spring Exhibition - March 6th - April 16th

by Humph Hack 6. March 2016 18:40

As is often the case, all three artists, in this exhibition are new to Malvern. It is part of the ethic of shows organised by this online gallery, to encourage new talent, or talent never seen there before. There is a wealth of artists, of all styles, out there, choosing is part of the fun.

Barbara Fletcher studied at the Cheltenham School of Art, gaining a degree in Fine Art. She is based in Gloucestershire. She draws her inspiration from a variety of subjects, but the works in this show celebrate the coast of the South West of the UK and the wonderful light which has drawn artists there for over a century. Her work, sometimes described as impressionistic, contains enough of the atmosphere of the region to draw the viewer in, but leaves enough for the imagination to allow personal interpretation of the scene

Barbara says, “People often feature in my paintings, often in crowded beach scenes, as I find their “busyness” and enjoyment evoke a slightly ephemeral and whimsical feel to my pictures”.

Tonal and colour relationships are important to Barbara in helping to capture the quality of light, whether it be the unique intensity of the Cornish coast or the gentle and soft light of the Gloucestershire countryside. She works from sketches, photos she has taken, and from memory. She is an established artist with an international reputation.



Simon Knott’s work couldn’t be more different. His sharp focus studies of a range of subjects which attract him vary from, patches of local landscape, to work inspired by the Severn Valley Railway, but mostly animals.  Simon is “Wild about Wildlife”, because he was born in the ancient woodland of Wyre Forest near Bewdley, in the beautiful countryside of Worcestershire, by the River Severn. He has spent most of his creative life in the Wyre Forest area... which has a diverse collection of Birds and Wildlife – the greatest inspiration for his Art.

He studied Art at Hereford College of Art & Design and the University of Central England, Birmingham, where he received a B.A. (Hons) in Design. He collected awards for design including * British Design in Japan * for a Citizen Watch design and a Heals of London Award for Furniture.


 The third artist showing work here for the first time is, Elaine Allender. Her celebrations of nature do not attempt realism in a photographic sense. She came to art by the roundabout route of gardening. For the past twenty years she has loved designing and planting first her own, then other people's gardens.

A few years ago, she started to experiment with putting paint onto canvas, “not really sure what I was doing”, but enjoying the experience and finding the same compulsion as she did when in the garden. Although the images invoke the beauty of nature they are strictly imagined scenes, where the process of applying paint to canvas is part of the pleasure enjoyed by the artist and gleaned second-hand by the viewer.

Elaine explains that, “All sense of time goes, and I'm left with the sensory experience of colour and texture. I paint meadows, coastlines and landscapes, always with some of my favourite blooms”.

The exhibition runs until 16 April. The Theatre is open every day. The Malvern complex houses, two auditoria, a cinema and a good restaurant. 


You won’t believe the stories behind these paintings

by Aileen Mitchell 24. February 2016 12:08

Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci

Arguably one of the most famous paintings surrounded by the most mystery is Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa.

The identity and facial expression of the subject is one that has enchanted and intrigued art experts for over 500 years. The painting’s figure is widely believed to be of Lisa Gherardini, wife of a Florentine silk merchant.

It is thought that the portrait was commissioned by the Gherardini family to celebrate the birth of Lisa’s second child, Andrea.

Late last year, French scientist Pascal Cotte, revealed the work that he believes lies underneath the world-famous figure. This second image is very different from Lisa Gherardini’s pose and expression – so different that Cotte is confident that it is another woman altogether.

Not surprisingly, there has been some opposition to Cotte’s revelations, particularly from art experts who point out that commissioned portraits often have other figures below the surface. This is due to the client making requests for alterations during the process.

Cotte remains convinced that the figure underneath the Mona Lisa is of a different woman – and what’s more, he says he has found others in earlier layers of paint.

'The Night Watch' by Rembrandt

This is the famous depiction of a local Dutch militia, praised for its dark-light manipulation from the height of the Dutch Golden Age. Officially titled Officers and Other Civic Guardsmen of District II of Amsterdam, under the command of Captain Frans Banninck Cocq and Lieutenant Willem van Ruytenburch or Militia Company of District II under the Command of Captain Frans Banninck Cocq, it is known to most as The Night Watch.

Not only did two figures not make the crop in 1715 after it was trimmed to fit in-between two columns, but it has also survived after being subject to no fewer than three separate attacks.

The most surprising fact about this painting is that it isn’t actually set at night. The very dark background is actually a thick varnish that discolours with age and the additions of hundreds of years of dirt.

This varnish was skilfully removed in the 1940s, but although the sky is now notably lighter, the painting’s nickname seemed to stick (no doubt due to its preferred brevity).

Scholars have found that this painting was intended to be part of a set to works, designed to be displayed around the walls of a great hall. This never happened as Rembrandt’s final piece was painted in a very different style from that was originally proposed.

Although the finished look was somewhat of a surprise to all, there is evidence that the guild member who commissioned the painting were happy and still displayed the painting. Whether they noticed the little cameo appearance that scholars believe is Rembrandt’s self-portrait is unknown.

This painting has been treasured since its creation, even resulting in having its own trap door at the Rijksmuseum in the event of a fire.


David by Michelangelo

There is more that can be revealed about the statue of David than first meets the eye, honest.

Initial impressions of the giant figure, standing at an impressive 17ft, suggest confidence and strength – largely due to its sheer size. The pose in the classic Renaissance style of most of the body weight on one leg with the torso at an opposing angle. But there are subtle ways in which this sculpted portrait differ from other works from its period.

Unlike other famous artist’s depictions of this biblical event, Michelangelo’s David stands alone, rather than posing victoriously over his enemy – or even mid-throw.

The facial expression of David is one that has been interpreted in different ways. Originally placed in the public square outside the seat of the civic government of Florence in 1504, the warning glare of David became a symbol of defence. The statue was positioned to glare out towards Rome, a then rival state.

On closer inspection of the rest of the statue, the neck is tense and the veins bulge in his lowered right hand. When these observations are paired with the statue’s facial expression it could be interpreted that there is a sense of nervousness and aggression. Referring back to the notion that David stands alone, this may suggest that Michelangelo has chosen a most unusual depiction of the biblical event. This may be David before he fights Goliath – a first in art.


Art History

Famous Paintings Disappointed By Valentine's Day

by Aileen Mitchell 12. February 2016 16:26

When searching for empathy because one of the most romantic days of the year fails, look no further than some of the greatest masterpieces in art history. 

 This figure in Edgar Degas' La Absinthe can't believe she even bothered turning up ...

This portrait can't believe your excuses. "I double booked" was so last Valentine's Day...

Titian, A Man With A Quilted Sleeve 

Francoise Gilot is so bored of her dinner date - who knew someone could talk so much about themselves?

Pablo Picasso's Drawing of Francoise Gilot

Egon Scheile's Self portrait with Hand to Cheek can't believe he forgot to get anything ... again ... 

Edward Munch's The Scream left it too late to buy flowers. Now he'll have to wait until next year!

Saint Francis is so tired of dates that never work out ...

Caravaggio, Saint Francis of Assisi in Ecstasy

"You forgot again, didn't you ..."

Renoir, Portrait de Jeanne Samary


Malvern Theatres Exhibition - Looking Forward to the Summer - Jan 25 - March 5 - 2016

by Humph Hack 24. January 2016 15:19

At this time of year, when the days are so short, you may well be getting up before dawn and coming home after dark. Add to that, the fact that we have had weeks of dank, grey and miserable weather and, you like me, will be dreaming of that time of year, when the warmth of the sun makes the outdoors a place to enjoy. So it is, that the selection of artists for this next show at Malvern Theatres, celebrates the memories of glorious holidays on a beach somewhere, in a small fishing village or in Britain’s glorious countryside. Owning such a painting, would help remind the buyer of how wonderful, the Summer and Autumn really are.

Sandra Francis paints evocative seascapes from her studio within sight of the Solent, on the Isle of Wight. Artists have loved to work in coastal areas because the light is so special. Previously, Sandra had her own gallery near Maidenhead, Berkshire for 8 years, where she sold her own artwork as well as several other artists’ original paintings. She developed a range of 55 London scenes which were printed and sold in London; some used in the backdrops of popular television series.

She has sold paintings world-wide via the internet, and journeyed to Africa to paint portraits. She developed a range of tropical seascapes from imagination, having spent her childhood in Africa.

It was after closing her gallery in 2000, that she moved to the Isle of Wight to paint acrylic seascapes of its beautiful coastline. This is Sandra’s first exhibition in Malvern.

Paul Bursnall’s viewpoint, in contrast, is often from the sea towards the land. He paints nautical scenes in a naive style using blocks of colour and heavy outlines. Collectors love the freshness of colour Paul uses to portray his subject matter. His works are contemporary in style, while at the same time harking back to images from our youth. In Paul’s works, like in our memories of summers past, the sun always shines.

Paul is a member of ABNA (Association of British Naive Artists) and Bucks Art Society. A finalist in the Aesthetica Art competition, his work of almost 1500 originals has sold across the world, especially the United States and Ireland.

Like Sandra, he has not shown in Malvern before. 

Diana Aungier-Rose also paints works which celebrate the sweetness of nature. In her case the scenes are inland, but the fascination with the play of light, and the way it describes form are key to her style.

Although she was born in Oxford in 1956, she lived in South Africa for most of her teenage years before returning to London in 1979. Her years in South Africa had a profound effect on her work; the sumptuous colours of the landscapes, the skies and the people of the country are reflected in the opulence and vibrancy of her paintings. She now paints and holds art classes in her home studio in the Cotswolds and visits France as often as possible. Diana has exhibited widely throughout UK and her work is held in collections across Europe. This is Diana’s second exhibition at Malvern Theatres.  



The exhibition runs every day from Monday 25 January to Saturday 5 March.


Using Art to Transform Small Spaces

by Aileen Mitchell 15. January 2016 12:02

Interview with artist Diana Shaul

As an artist, I love to create pictures that tell a story, and the greatest compliment I ever receive is when someone tells me that my art has moved them in some way. That is the magic of art: it can capture a moment that instantly transports you to another world, right where you stand - and even in a small space, the right artwork can give you a little of that magic.

Big paintings work well as centrepieces in big spaces - in a lobby or over a fireplace or a sofa - and they can instantly give a room personality and set the mood.

But smaller works can transform a small space - whether a single small drawing that hangs over a reading nook or desk and inspires, or a collection of works that line a hall or stairwell and together tell a story or lend warmth and colour to a den or snug. I cherish this idea, and as a result I often choose to create smaller works of art - whether little cartoons that might make a visitor to the downstairs cloakroom smile, or beautiful paintings to transform a dark little cranny and fill it with colour.

One of the best displays of art I have seen in a small place was in a hallway of a small flat, where a collection of small, colourful watercolours had been displayed at an upward angle leading from the entrance door to the flat. They were framed in simple wooden frames that did not distract from their impact, and they lent a sense of space, brightness and colour to a previously uninteresting and poorly lit space. Although the artworks did not share a subject, they all expressed a sense of freedom, in a brilliant reflection of their owner's personality. (I must admit here that my family and I liked this idea so much that we have shamelessly copied it in our own home!)

If you only have a small space, it's more important than ever to choose the right artwork for you. There are no rules - only that you find something that you love!

Go icon Diana Shaul's gallery »


Artists Corner | Buying Art

Shining A Spotlight On Sheryl Roberts

by Aileen Mitchell 14. January 2016 12:14

This week we shine the spotlight on bestselling artist, Sheryl Roberts. Reflecting the early morning light and catching the energy of the moment are the main inspirations behind Sheryl’s works. The intensity of the scenes she captures give a real impact, aided by the choice of strong pigment in oils and acrylics, and the occasional bold marks from a palette knife.

We find out where Sheryl gets her inspiration and very recognisable style from:

'Severity' - by Sheryl Roberts

ArtGallery: Describe a typical day in your life as an artist ...

Sheryl Roberts: I wake up very early! This is my favourite time of the day when the earth is sleeping I find peace and solace watching the day break.

AG:  Where do you gather inspiration for your artwork?

SR: With my iPad I capture the light gradually turning on the vast skies. Experiencing the first light and the waking landscape gives me my main source of inspiration.

AG: What was the first piece of art you created and the first piece of art you sold?

SR: I sold my first piece in 1999 and still thrive on sharing my ideas through my paintings. I was elated to find, as an abstract artist, others could share my vision and appreciate my art as I assumed, at first, that this was an inward and very personal representation of my thoughts and feelings.

'The Beginning Of Life' - by Sheryl Roberts

AG: What is the most important piece of equipment in your artist’s tool box?

SR: The most important piece of equipment in my toolbox is an old working clock face of my late grandfathers. I look at it too much! I am pretty obsessed with time - constantly trying to predict what the sky will look like throughout the day.

AG: How has helped you progress your artistic career?

SR: Since joining I have sold many pieces of artwork. It certainly helped in gaining a wider audience for my work together with Aileen and Heather (the "real" people behind it!) being helpful and encouraging throughout.


'Breaking Through' - by Sheryl Roberts


Artists | Being an Artist

ArtGallery Gift Vouchers for Christmas

by Aileen Mitchell 21. December 2015 15:17

Art gift vouchers are the perfect last-minute gift idea. We can email voucher certificates up until 17:00 on Christmas Eve. gift vouchers can be bought online and redeemed against any original art and limited edition prints on the site. With over 2,000 artists and 29,600 works on the site, there’s plenty to choose from.

Simply select your vouchers from our collection to make up the value you want. Once you've paid, you will receive a voucher certificate email that can be used straight away! You can also receive a printed presentation card version in the post.

'Windswept' by Angela Dierks

If you are buying vouchers as a gift, we can also email the voucher certificate email directly to the recipient of your choosing.  

Vouchers are valid for an entire year. For full details, see our gift voucher page.


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