Sunday, 24 February 2013

Liebster Award

Have been awarded my second of these and am just as thrilled as the first time... awarded by Elaine Magliacane who keeps a daily journal on her blog. She keeps it as something to share with her Grandchildren and if I remember rightly to show them the virtues of "real" writing as she does daily in her work... not only that she is a lovely artist too!!

So in keeping with the tradition of these awards, here are my five... not easy again but hope you enjoy these!!

The first is to Ink and Alchemy. My path crossed with Robin on facebook and we seem to have a lot in common, although she does seem to have a lot more energy than me!! She writes, produces videos as well as paints but also uses her blog to promote the work of other artists, check it out you won't be disappointed!!

Next is Kaye Parmenter... such a talented lady, her blog is very well written and more importantly houses some of her gorgeous work.....I  am doing an online course she is running at the moment which I decided to do as I love her painting and style and am sure has has a thing or two to teach me!!!

3rd is Leslie Redhead, a fellow zoologist who generously shares all her hard learned tips and hints on her blog hence the title Watercolour Weapons. She has another blog where you can check the fruits of her labours...wonderful artist!!

Penultimate one is Peter Ward. I was surprised that Peter doesn't have the required 200 followers (over which they don't qualify for this award) to this blog as it is full of information. tips, reviews and magaziney (don't know if that's a word) type articles...I enjoy reading what he says and thinks about all things to do with watercolour and am sure you will too!!

Final one is Vandy Massey's blog. She is a frequent blogger despite working full time I think.... blogs about a variety of topics and is an exceptional artist.

Those are my five... do take a look at them, am sure you will be inspired and thanks once again to Elaine for the honour of her award to me!!

Saturday, 23 February 2013

The Lion's Share... My Last Painting for a While

My husband is having a hip replacement on Tuesday so  have been trying to get as much painting done as possible in the last few days as am not sure how much time I will have in the weeks to come... I have a very good hubbie who does lots around the house and generally facilitates my painting so that I don't have to worry about whether the washing and ironing is done, the gardening, the bed changed... we tend to do the housework together, mainly if someone is coming and I tend to do most of the cooking and shopping, but generally we have  a good arrangement where he does the Lion's Share (get it... the title for this painting!!!) while I get on with my painting!!

Not for much longer..... apparently he will be on crutches for about 6 weeks (though if I know him he will be ditching them sooner than that) has to sit on a raised chair for about 3 months, won't be driving for up to 6 weeks and can't bend or twist for up to 3 months.... there is a very long list of what he can't do for fear of dislocation of the new joint and we really don't want to risk jeopardising his chances of a full recovery, so I will have to be a good little wifey and take care of him as he has taken care of and helped me for these last few years as I have been trying to make something of my art!!

So this painting is dedicated to him to wish him a speedy recovery so that he can quickly get back to his rightful position of Lion of the family and back to his duties!!

BTW I do know this is a Lioness but I really liked the earnest look in her face... I know he will have the same single minded determination to get better, so was inspired to paint her... photo from Gary Jones

Thursday, 21 February 2013


This is a painting I have done for my friend who has this gorgeous little Bichon Frise/ Shih Tzu cross. We first saw her when she was a tiny puppy... she's still tiny but fully grown now. She just looks like a painting in waiting so this is my effort. I have tried to get an impression of her rather than a photographic likeness but the feeling is I have captured her. It is "Holly" I was delighted to hear when I showed it today so am relieved about that!!

I took this to a workshop yesterday and one of the members said to me... "You see I don't see all those colours in that" to which I replied... " No neither do I... the secret is choosing a palette which will compliment the subject and sticking with it... she is such a girly dog, though has eaten one of the workmens' lunch out of the foil pack today so not such a good girl!!! I chose opera rose, indigo, transparent orange and I think a touch of burnt sienna. I tested the combination it using my planet idea and liked and thought it would work for her. The blue was dark enough when mixed with the other colours to give me some good rich darks which I needed in this even though she is a white dog... here is the reference I used

I know this isn't an absolute likeness but I was looking to capture the "essence" of her so am hoping that's what I've done and my friend likes so am happy!!

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Step by Step.... Pinks?

As promised have been working on my flowers from life again this afternoon and have managed to get this step by step together. I still can't get into the habit of photographing everything in stages so do lose opportunities to share how I go about things... sorry all!!!

These are the flowers I have been working from but as you will see, I use lots of artistic license and the final study is nothing like really!!

I add a few random marks for the first flower head which I place in the focal area top right.

While it is still wet I drop in more water so that the paint and water mix and spread on the paper.

I add 2 more flower heads as again add water to let them mix on the paper so that all I have at this stage is a rather crude impression and a vague shape. I also try and do each head a slightly different shape and face a different direction to add a bit of variety and interest.

Here I have added a touch of yellow and blue to create the base of the flower and some of the stems and at this stage I don't worry about whether the flowers are dry as I don't mind the pink mixing with the greens and yellows

While the paint is still wet I wash away some of the edges..... I know this is going to dry quite a bit lighter and will help how my flowers sit in the bg. Now I let it dry.

I have tried to show a technique with this image which is a really good technique to learn and will help your work improve if you can get the hang of it. In the first image you can see I have added some think pink/red paint but as you can see it has dried with thick unattractive hard edges. I have added the paint in exactly the same way in the second image but have gone back in with clean water. The water dilutes the paint but if you tilt the paper in the direction you want the paint to flow you will get edges that are much finer and look far more like delicate flower petals. it is a good technique to use on stone and brickwork as well rather than adding straight hard lines. Practice this until you can get it looking right and it will really help the appearance of your work.

Before you all shout at me, yes this is a different piece as I had forgotton to photograph a couple of steps!! Here I started to use the technque I've described earlier and slowly begin to build up the petals. I do this fairly randomly as they are not uniformly placed and again adds to the variety.

You can see more clearly on this one as I have left the lines before I have added the water.

Back to the original    have called it a day with this but I could go back in a work on the flower heads a bit more yet and add a few more darks under the petals but for the time being, I think you can see the flowers have appeared and are giving the impression I want. Now it's a fine line between overworking and stopping...... better to stop and leave for a day and as I am beginning to learn, once you step back sometimes it becomes more obvious what, if anything, you need to do to add those very important finishing touches.

Hope this makes sense and you have enjoyed, but more importantly will give it a go yourselves and please do let me know if you need any help understanding anything.. I know what I mean but that doesn't mean all of you will!!!

Friday, 15 February 2013

All Day Workshops at the Boonric Gallery

Have just come back from a week away including a lovely short break in London. We had been invited to a 50th birthday party and decided to combine it with a visit to family in Newport Pagnell then a trip to see some of the sights and catch up with friends and relatives in London. We have visited some great restaurants in East, Central and West London, one of the highlights of which was a visit to the Chelsea Arts Club where my cousin and husbands are members.... what a wonderful place it is, we loved it (there was an exhibition on at the time) and had a super meal... we will definitely be back given half a chance!!

We also went to a cafe for lunch which a friend has recently opened up at Centrepoint called Damson Cafe. There,  we met up with Helen whom I first met at the Mall galleries at one of Jean Haines' demonstrations so it was lovely to catch up with her again.  Really small world, when my son heard we were going he realised it is just by his offices where he works one day a week, could have been anywhere in London and just so happened to be right outside!! All home made produce there, competitive prices and they are looking to promote their corporate catering side of the business. We spent two other evenings with friends we don't get to see that often and then back to our relatives back in Milton Keynes. We  have been waited on hand and foot and have had a wonderful time!!!

While I was away, I received the posters created to advertise the workshops I will be running in the Summer.

A little while ago Joanne asked me would I be interested in running one or two beginners watercolour workshops at her gallery in Rainford. I was delighted to be asked as I have attended a few sessions run by Joanne and have every respect for her, her painting and teaching methods so was really honoured that she would consider me suitable for running some sessions at her gallery. Bron and I will be there in July and August and as you can see the sessions are very competitively priced and include lunch at the farm. Please get in touch with me if you are interested as I hope the sessions will give you a taste of watercolour and maybe inspire you to take things further. Also if you know of anyone who may be interested I would be grateful if you would pass the details on to them.

Get in touch either here on my blog

via my e-mail

or on the telephone numbers above

Look forward to hearing from you!!

Sunday, 3 February 2013

Jean's Primroses

Have been playing around with these for a while, trying to get a "feel" for them, following Jean Haines Blog which she posted as a free step by step. Some of these are still WIP's others I may leave for now as they may be finished and will know maybe when I have tried a mount on them. I haven't completed my studies of these yet but it is a really good exercise to do many different compositions, using different palettes trying different things out

I've learned something from each of them and will continue to work with them until I have a sort of template in my head (and my brush!!) as to how to go about them. One I have mastered that I can work more on colours and compositions to give me the variety I'm looking for.

I do think a good knowledge of form of the particular flower in question is vital even though these are loose representations... I am beginning to realise that more and more as I move on with my painting... the drawing has to be good and believable even if we are only showing a small element of the subject.