Wednesday, September 22, 2010

A busy time, but I'm still finding time for painting

September has been hectic, with two more visits to The Kington Gallery, and making arrangements for my youngest daughter to move to University in South Wales. I have managed to complete two watercolours though (I think I'd go mad without painting!)

First I painted these crocuses which were a joyful sight earlier this year, after a very hard winter.

Crocus Chorus
15" x 11", watercolour on Fabriano Artistico 140lb

Then I was inspired to return to macro florals after visiting the studio of Peter Horrocks in Kington, Herefordshire. His work is fascinating, abstracts "painted" with pure earth pigments rubbed onto the support in layers.

I chose a single gladiolus flower which had wonderful lighting, great to paint in this exciting medium!
Glad All Over
11" x 15", watercolour on Fab. Artistico 140lb

I think I'll continue to explore macros for a while, they present some interesting challenges.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Another racing scene and an exhibition

I worked hard to get this watercolour completed in time for my joint exhibition with Janet Thomas at The Kington Gallery, which opened on Saturday and runs until late September. The time constraints seemed to do me good because I think this is one of my best!

I attended the opening day, which wasn't only an exhibition opening, it was also the opening of this unique new gallery, and was thrilled to make a "big" sale within the first hour! "In The Running" has gone to a new home with a lovely lady who I know will enjoy it - it's a wonderful feeling when that perfect match happens, the right painting for the right person.

The gallery itself is very special. For the last year, it has been a labour of love for Janet Thomas who bought a disused restaurant and set about turning it into a welcoming place for both artists and art lovers. It is going to be a massive asset for this small market town in rural Herefordshire!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

More racehorses

In the Running
Watercolours, 15" x 11"

Another painting based on reference photos taken at Hereford racecourse. This time I was inspired by the lighting, especially the shadows being cast by one horse and jockey, landing on the lead horse.

This painting will join two other racehorse paintings and several florals in an exhibition in my friend's new gallery in Kington, Herefordshire.

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Horses for a change

Final Hurdle
15" x 11"
Watercolours on hot pressed Fabriano Artistico

I needed a change from flowers, and I always enjoy the challenge of painting horses in motion, so I looked through my reference files and found a photo I took at Hereford racecourse a few years ago. The challenge I was presented with involved working out how to depict movement and speed when the horses were literally running straight at me! I think I managed it.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Another busy week....and some great news!

Just when I thought I'd be able to get back to painting we had a surprise visit from good friends! It was amazing to see them all after 7 years, but it means I have nothing new to share.

I do have exciting news though - I have just signed a contract to license 6 of my watercolours for use on greeting cards! The 6 paintings selected are "Distilled Sunlight"(daffodils), "Song of Summer"(poppies), "Rainbow Tulips", "Summer Breeze"(daisies), "Drumstick Primula"and "Violas". This is how they should look as a group.

It's a huge step forward in my art career, hopefully this will lead to even bigger things!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

A busy time

I've mostly been doing small sketches over the last couple of weeks, life has been busy with wonderful highs and a few lows. The biggest high was my eldest daughter's graduation ceremony on Friday! We travelled to North Wales on Thursday, staying the night in a hotel before the Friday morning ceremony at Bangor University. We were bursting with pride when our daughter walked onto the stage in the wonderful hall and was admitted to her degree, a BA Hons. in Criminology and Criminal Justice, by the Vice-Chancellor and the President of the University. Any lows were more than cancelled out.

The last finished painting I did before the trip was this, another loose floral on hot pressed paper. For once I'm going to share the reference, which is a photo I provided for the Mindbender challenge on the Painting Friends art forum. The challenge is to adapt the reference, by cropping, rotating, adding, subtracting, whatever you want to do to make the painting your own. I chose to just crop.

And here is my painting, a loose and pretty floral. Violas are so cheerful, I hope I managed to convey that feeling.

11"x15", watercolours on paper

Saturday, July 03, 2010

Different styles for different flowers

When I look through my paintings I realise that I treat different flowers in very different ways. Some need to be very controlled, others work best when the paint is allowed to do the work without too much interference.

First, magnolias. They're very elegant flowers, on stiff branches and with waxy petals. I feel that these are best suited to the controlled approach, as you can see in this painting which I finished last weekend.

11" x 15" watercolour and acrylic ink on paper

The background is quite fluid and loose, but the flowers themselves much stiffer and well-defined.

Now the irises, much more delicate with ruffled petals which move easily in the breeze. Strong colours and lots of movement work really well, mostly wet-in-wet for exciting lost edges.

Iris Carnival
11" x 15", watercolours on paper

Finally poppies - loose, delicate washes for papery petals, wet-in-wet for soft edges and movement, soft colours for summer.

Summer Days
12" x 10", watercolours on paper

All three completed in the last week, but totally different.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Pattys Plum - final painting

I have a confession - I don't always enjoy the painting process! Shocking, I know, but sometimes it's a struggle, decisions don't come easily, and getting to the end is a battle.

Occasionally it seems like a watercolour just paints itself, the brush has a life of its own, and you arrive at the final painting feeling like you hardly did anything! This was one of those paintings and, as always seems to happen when I enjoy the process, I love the painting!

Pattys Plum
14" x 11"
watercolours on Fabriano Artistico extra white 140lb paper

Pattys' Plum WIP continued...

This has been so much fun to work on! I loved painting the ruffled petals and dark markings! These are the last WIP images, I'll post the finished work later.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Pattys' Plum

I've been working on a new watercolour of a Pattys' Plum poppy - a wonderful ruffled flower in rich plum shades. I'm loving the challenge of depicting the wrinkled, paper-like petals with pigment and brush!

I should get at least close to completing it tomorrow...... fingers crossed!

Friday, May 28, 2010

Caught by the bug!

It seems dandelions in paint are as hard to escape as dandelions in the garden are! Once I started thinking of them I was surprised to come up with several different ideas for colours and compositions so I am going to explore more in the next few weeks, see what I can come up with!

Here is one more I've done, this time sticking to a cooler palette of colours. I really love these shades of blue and green together!

Dandelion on Jade and Blue
10" x 10", watercolour on paper

The exciting news is that this, with several more of my floral watercolours, might be appearing on greeting cards throughout the UK very soon! As soon as things are finalised I will share the details here.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

A return to an old favourite

A few years ago, I was a little obsessed with painting dandelions. I don't know how many I did, but they were popular and always sold quickly. Eventually I grew tired of the same subject and moved onto other things. Last week I was contacted by a small, independent greeting card company who are interested in making cards using some of my work, and the owner mentioned how much he liked the dandelions! I almost groaned, but then I thought "why not?" so here are my two new dandelion paintings!

Cobalt Wishes

Three O'Clock

Hopefully they'll be what the company were thinking of!

Saturday, May 01, 2010

Cathedral Gold WIP

I had this reference, golden lilies in the gardens of Hereford Cathedral, in my "to paint" file for several years, but somehow I always passed it over. I imagine I was avoiding the numerous challenges it offered - the first being yellow! It's so hard to shade yellow without ending up with mud. My pet hate is the recommended complementary colour, violet, which results in a dull grey. I prefer to use colours which are closer to yellow - orange and red.

Stage one, I'm already getting some good form in the flowers using azo yellow, winsor yellow deep and alizarin crimson. The background is started using the yellows and indanthrene blue.

The first lily is pretty much done now, the stamens are painted in a strong red made with WYD and AC.

Starting to add form to the main flower, while also working on the background elements. My second challenge was the foliage, and I chose to keep it fairly loose with quick brushstrokes in AY and adding blue wet in wet.

Taking shape nicely now, most of the background flowers are done.

Now the really strong shadows are added to the main lily, using an orange made with AC and WYD. The last of the foliage is painted in the same way as the rest.

Now to finish the background and another dilemma - do I paint over the fiddly foliage or paint around it? I decided on a combination of both so some would be more defined and others would blend into the rest of the background.

A few finishing touches and it's done!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Catch-up time!

I'm still busy painting, although I've also been spending time gardening with the weather perfect at the moment!

What have I done since the evening primrose? Well first were the ox-eye daisies, beautifully sunny and completely about summer! The challenge in this painting was in depicting the movement of the flowers in a gentle breeze.

Summer Breeze
15" x 11", watercolours on Fab. Artistico 140lb

Then Mollie Jones suggested I might enjoy painting hollyhocks, so I thought "why not?" and dug out a reference I photographed in the gardens of Hereford Cathedral a few years ago. I really enjoyed this one, especially the foliage towards the bottom. Choir Practice
11" x 15", watercolours on Fab. Artistico 140lb

And this one, painted between gardening sessions, is of cowslips which, unusually for me, are actually growing in my garden right now!

Spring Celebration
11" x 15", watercolours and acrylic ink on Fab. Artistico 140lb

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Painting summer in spring

This seems to be my normal habit - through winter and spring, I am more likely to paint summer and autumn, then through summer I might paint spring. Winter doesn't usually come into it, there is little colour in the garden, the lighting is poor, so the inspiration isn't there.

I think it's because I need time to allow ideas to develop in my head, or maybe I simply procrastinate too much!

Here's another work based on last summer. The evening primrose in my garden put on an amazing display, with the clearest yellow, papery flowers opening every day and giving out a delicious scent that filled the air. Yellow is an incredibly difficult colour in watercolour, avoiding muddy shadows is a challenge, but I am fairly happy with this one.

Evening Primrose
11" x 15"
Watercolours on 140lb Fab. Artistico X.white CP

Friday, April 02, 2010

Something different!

It's unusual for me to be inspired by something other than flowers, they seem to call to me unlike anything else, but last weekend it happened!

I saw this adorable little girl, obviously totally absorbed in the task of feeding pigeons with scraps of leftover bread, and couldn't resist her charm.

Feed the Birds
Watercolour on 140lb Fabriano Artistico extra white

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Fleeting Beauty

Last summer my garden was full of vibrant colour from delicate opium poppies which moved with the gentle breezes on warm, sunny days. The fragile flowers only looked their best for a day, fading and losing their petals all too soon, but there was always another bud ready to open.

Fleeting Beauty
13x10, watercolours on
Fabriano Artistico extra white HP

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Bearded Iris - Small Format Macro

Bearded Iris
Watercolour on 140lb Fabriano Artistico, 5" x 5"

Here's my second small format macro floral, a colourful bearded iris up close and personal! The orangey yellows really stand out against the purple, making a small painting with big impact!

There's something about the square format, it forces you to think carefully about composition, using the space efficiently. I'll be doing more!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Spring is coming!

This is a daffodil from last spring, but it won't be long before they flower again - green shoots are appearing all over the garden, even on plants which I was sure were dead after the hard winter we had (the coldest in 30 years!)

Daffodil Macro, 5" x 5"
watercolour on Fabriano Artistico extra white CP

The first in a short series of small format floral macros, painted after I discovered a sheet of paper with a fault. I tore the paper into smaller pieces so I wouldn't waste all of it, and I'm quite enjoying this size and format! Next is a macro view of a bearded iris, then maybe another daffodil!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Bearded Ladies

Sometimes you have an idea and it just doesn't work - that's what happened with the little blue iris painting I was working on, it just hasn't worked out the way I envisioned. Maybe I can rescue it, but it's more likely to end up in my scrap pile.

So I decided to move on to a reference that had been in my "to do" file since last summer, two beautiful purple bearded iris. This was a completely different experience, I had a clear vision and enjoyed every brushstroke!

Bearded Ladies
14" x 10", watercolour on 140lb Fabriano Artistico extra white, cold pressed

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Blue Eyes - WIP

The first colour of the year in the garden, these delightful little flowers almost look like they don't belong among the greys and browns! I don't really know where I'm headed with this one, I'm hoping the composition will develop naturally as I paint.

Monday, March 01, 2010

Stargazer - backward WIP!

Blogger is fun, you never know which way round your photos are going to show! lol OK, so here is the finished painting, with backwards WIP below - start at the bottom and work up for the progression ;o)

I used my new favourite colours - Daniel Smith Quin. coral, and W&N Cobalt Turquoise. They mix gorgeous muted purples!

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Allium finished and onto the next!

I did complete the allium, or "Nectaroscordum Bulgaricum", but only after some headaches. I thought I knew what I wanted, but I didn't. The background wasn't working at all...So I decided to crop the painting from vertical format to square and wash over the background with more dramatic colours!

And here is the finished work, much better!

Quiet Elegance
10" x 10", watercolour on Fabriano Artistico extra white CP 140lb

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Is it an allium?

I have some of these bulbs in my garden and I'm pretty sure that when I bought them they weren't labelled as allium, not sure what they were called though. Anyway, this is the start of a new watercolour based on a photo I took in my friend Janet Thomas' beautiful garden last summer. This is only a small section of the whole composition.

There's a long way to go yet, hopefully I'll get most of the little florets finished tomorrow!