Harry Bell

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The Free Trade Inn

The Free Trade Inn (oil on canvas, 40 x 40 cm)I don't know why it's taken so long to finish this painting, except that I had other fish to fry. It took only the addition of the boat mast and some other adjustments to get it done.The Free Trade Inn is one of Newcastle's great pubs, serving real ale and providing a stunning view up the Tyne. [more]
Posted by Harry Bell on 9/26/09

High Level

High Level (oil on canvas, 36 x 36 ins.)My, but I found this taxing. An awful lot of close colours made it difficult to get the buildings in recession. Anyway, this will be the last one I'm doing for the Red Box show. I'm simply out of time to do more, although there were a couple I had intended to finish. On Saturday, Pat and I are flying to Croatia for a couple of weeks, so tomorrow will be taken up with last minute arrangements. [more]
Posted by Harry Bell on 8/28/09

Old Drawings #39

Sunday Market (collage with some paint, on cartridge paper) Dating from 1996, the drawing is a view from the Tyne Bridge of some of the stalls on Newcastle's Quayside. Unusually, I followed it quite quickly with a rare collage. Even more unusually (I was really keen to try out different approaches in the year before I realised I could go to Uni), I followed up the drawing and the collage with this painting:Quayside Market 1996 (oil on board, 24 x 24 ins) [more]
Posted by Harry Bell on 7/28/09

Old Drawings #38

I did this sometime in 1997, I reckon. It's a drawing of an old Newcastle street near the Quayside, with some fascinating old warehouses at the left.Someone bought the warehouses years ago, probably with the intention of converting them into fashionable apartments, but then discovered that they were subject to a Grade II listing. Even worse, from their point of view, the listing applied to the inside of the buildings.As a consequence they stood empty for a long.Then there was a fire. Curious... [more]
Posted by Harry Bell on 7/6/09

Cars and a G&T

One of the good things about a studio in the basement of the house is that, on a hot day like today, it's really cool. So rather than mow the lawn or trim the hedge, I retreated to the welcoming atmosphere of the studio to paint. That's my excuse anyway.Two or three hours and here we are, much of the car taking better shape and some detail on the buildings done. Obviously the Central Hotel needs more work - I do so hate buildings with lots of windows, but round here that's all you get. I... [more]
Posted by Harry Bell on 7/4/09

New Painting

Yesterday was a miserable day for weather - rain and fog for most of the day, so I was glad to have another new painting to start.Don't judge this too soon. It's the work of only about an hour and a half, the colours are only approximated in most cases and the red underpainting is showing through in a lot of places.Nevertheless, I think this could prove to be a successful addition to my transport works. [more]
Posted by Harry Bell on 6/27/09

Now where was I?

It seems such a long while since I spent any time at the Club and today proved to be not the best day to pick up where I'd left off, at least in terms of finding out what everyone had been up to. Maybe they're all on holiday, or perhaps it was just too hot in the studio. I learned last time that although the skylight windows open, they can't be closed again. So, of course, they never get opened and we have to rely on keeping the fire exit door open and switching on the fans. Boy, does it get... [more]
Posted by Harry Bell on 6/26/09

Back from London

I'd worried all week about how I was going to find space on the train for my paintings, especially the 3ft by 3ft, but Pat did a great job of finding out about a space in Standard Coach B (the quiet coach) behind one of the seats just big enough for a 3ft square painting. And coincidentally, we ended up in the seats behind which the space exists.Handing-in wasn't until Saturday, so we had Friday to go into town and see what the RA Summer Exhibition amounted to this year. I have to say that I... [more]
Posted by Harry Bell on 6/23/09

Wooden Train at Soller

Time to stop fiddling and put this one to rest. I'm happy enough with it and I think it fits nicely in what's become a loose collection of series: The Vaporetto Series, The Prague Tram Series and now the Wooden Train (series of one).I'm quite anxious to start a new painting which will also follow the general trend of these paintings, but it's going to have to wait until at least next week, I think. First of all I have to get the paintings down to London and submitted to the Threadneedle Prize... [more]
Posted by Harry Bell on 6/15/09

Longbenton Skies

Although, when Vivien Blackburn issued her sky-sketching challenge in May, I didn't have time to take her up on it, I was determined to find an old sketchbook that had some skies in it.In March of 1990 I found myself in an office with views of the sky and while I don't remember what prompted it, I bought a ring-bound A5 pad of Ingres pastel paper and some oil pastels which I put in a little box marked "SKIES". Whenever the opportunity arose - in other words, when the office was otherwise... [more]
Posted by Harry Bell on 6/12/09

Union Quay Artists Collective

On Wednesday night, I went down to Tynemouth Metro Station to visit the Union Quay Artists. The Metro Station there is a lovely old Grade II listed Victorian station with a curious covered bridge over the line. There are two pedestrian walkways, between which is a long gallery space, the original purpose of which I can't imagine. For some time now, however, it's been used as a temporary exhibition space with rail passengers being able to view the work through the little windows running the... [more]
Posted by Harry Bell on 6/12/09

Print Group

My second discipline of choice at Uni, after painting, was printmaking. I loved etching and relief printing and always vowed I'd take them up again one day. That came a step nearer today when the inaugural meeting of the Print Group was held at the Art Club.Some time ago the Club bought - at a very reasonable price - a rather good press suitable for intaglio and relief printmaking and after some setting up and buying of materials, we had an introductory meeting today. About half a dozen people... [more]
Posted by Harry Bell on 6/10/09

Almost There

Finding some time available before going off to the Art Club to catch up on events there, I've put in some of the defining lines in the structure of the town. I've also darkened the sky which I think makes it sit better in the whole composition.Very little more to be done; more definition to the carriage, one of the passengers to be completed and possibly a change to the colour of the man's shirt, second from the left. [more]
Posted by Harry Bell on 6/4/09

Satisfactory Day

Things went really well today. The photograph above makes the colours of the town much too bright (too near the strip light), but in reality they're just about right for me and the town has taken it's proper place within the composition.There are the little details to attend to now, like roof lines, straightening up windows, some glazing here and there, but it shouldn't be long before I can call it finished. [more]
Posted by Harry Bell on 6/3/09

The Train Starts

I was conscious of the fact that in submitting a painting that hadn't even been started, I was taking a risk, so I figured the sooner I start on it the better. Yesterday I drew it out on the canvas, after toning it with burnt sienna acrylic. Today I began the actual painting. Although there are things wrong with it - the buildings at the back aren't yet in their proper spatial relationship to the train - I think I was right to be optimistic about it.You should ignore the cast shadow at the... [more]
Posted by Harry Bell on 6/1/09


 I'm not so convinced of my own importance that I think the organisers of the Threadneedle Prize would single me out from all the artists listed in Axis to invite me to submit to the competition. But I was rather surprised that the message forwarded from Axis inviting me to do so, showed that it was sent to one artist only - me.Anyway, I've thought about it - as I did last year - and have decided I've nothing to lose other than the £15 per picture and the cost of having them delivered to the... [more]
Posted by Harry Bell on 5/30/09


  I had a really enjoyable afternoon out yesterday. Mo and I went up to the Fi-Fie-Fo-Fum gallery at Newton; the weather was glorious and the views round the gallery are spectacular. The views inside the gallery are pretty good too.Tom Moore had invited us to see the big new paintings he's working on for his upcoming show at the Northumbria Gallery, partly for reassurance that they were on the right track (they definitely were!) and partly just for a chat, I think. I know only too well how... [more]
Posted by Harry Bell on 5/29/09

Northumberland Art Fair

Although the first day of the Art Fair started out bright and sunny, it soon clouded over and the hordes of punters simply didn't turn up. After a while, just sitting around becomes very tiresome, and there's only so many times you can get up and walk around the table.We'd been told that the Museum at Woodhorn received about 1000 visitors a day, but this certainly wasn't demonstrated at the weekend. Considering this was a Bank Holiday weekend - and a sunny one at that - we were lucky if maybe... [more]
Posted by Harry Bell on 5/26/09

Window of Opportunity

I'm still lost in a turmoil of preparation for various events, not least the Northumberland Art Fair this weekend. However, I was determined to get something done today, so, finding a couple of hours to spare, I determined to see what I might get done in that time.This is the result. It's based on an old photograph I took through the window of a Costa Coffee outlet in Newcastle one night. It shares the rectilinear compositional device in the lower half that the Prague Tram series employed and... [more]
Posted by Harry Bell on 5/20/09