Thursday, November 03, 2011

Sun Sisters

I'm back!  September and October were crazy, with Adult kids coming and going and a solo exhibition to organise, but things have calmed down somewhat now thankfully!

Sun Sisters
15" x 11", watercolour on 140lb Artistico paper

This was the last painting I completed before the exhibition, in between mount cutting and framing the other 20+ watercolours.  I painted it from life very quickly and love how it turned out.  I'm really enjoying working from life now after years of being afraid of it!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Exploration of a theme

I don't usually paint in series, preferring to do different flowers as the mood takes me, but I have recently become just a little bit obsessed with lacecap hydrangeas.  I've experimented with different papers and new ways to depict the delicate flowers, learning something each time.  Strangely I started with the largest, a half sheet of hot pressed Artistico, and have got progressively smaller.

The second attempt was a quarter sheet of Whatman, a very different paper.

Third, and last for now, a smaller study in analogous colours, measuring just 10" x 7".  I think this is my favourite so far.

Monday, July 04, 2011

The Yellow Spectrum

I know it's been a while, but I did finish the roses at last!  Here are the final two stages:

Overall I am very happy with the result, and I might have beaten my rose phobia!


Friday, June 24, 2011

I hate roses!

They're beautiful and fragrant but they're so complicated!!!!  Every so often I need to challenge myself to paint something I don't enjoy, so here's my WIP of yellow (in for a penny, in for a pound!) roses.

I started by wetting the paper after very lightly sketching in the basic shapes, then dropped in azo yellow, cad. yellow and quin. coral, then added some greens for background while the paper was drying, which left some good lost edges. Now I gradually built up the rose shapes with glazes....

See the ugly man in the rose on the left?  Now I had to get rid of him!  I also worked on the background.

The ugly man is starting to vanish!  I gradually shaped the roses by adding shadows.

Sick of yellow, I did a little green leaf and the rose bud on the right

And this is where it stands now, the roses are taking shape nicely!

Thursday, June 02, 2011

Iris from life

It's always good to get your observational skills honed by painting from life, but I'm ashamed to admit that I rarely do so.  I don't enjoy painting out of doors, there are too many distractions and the light changes constantly.  Last week a single flower snapped from its stem and I brought it inside to paint it quickly, before it wilted.

Wasn't it a stunner?  My friend Janet said "that's not a flower, it's a floozy!" and I agree!  I went straight in with the paintbrush, no pencil sketch, and was amazed at how well it turned out.  I added an invented stem and foliage and here's the result:

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder

We hadn't mown the lawn for a few weeks and the daisies were taking over..... wonderful!  I know that most gardeners think of them as weeds, but I love them.... they cheer up boring green lawns! I took a bunch of photos, knowing that I had to paint them.

Wild Daisies
7" x 7"
Watercolour on Fabriano Artistico paper

I wanted the painting to be loose to suit the subject, starting by pouring water in rivulets down the paper and dropping yellow and a touch of rose into the wet area, letting the colours merge.  Then I spattered weak quin. rose in places.  I am usually too nervous to do this kind of thing when a painting is almost finished, afraid to ruin all that work, so it makes sense to get it out of the way early!  

After that, it was just a case of painting around the petals (I rarely use masking fluid now since discovering several older works had yellowed where masking had been). I used very juicy azo yellow and pthalo blue for a vibrant background, letting the colours do their own mixing on the paper.  The flower centres were added using azo and cadmium yellow, then I painted the pthalo blue shadows and tiny gaps between the petals using the background colours.  I might just paint more, it was fun to use this extremely limited palette!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Poppy Power

I am a control freak.... there, I said it!  I hate letting go, I like to know what is going to happen...... I don't even like surprise gifts!

I'm trying hard to let go a little, so with this painting I didn't sketch it out first.  I quite like what happened, it's loose without being too messy, and actually looks something like I was hoping it would.

Poppy Power
Watercolour on Fabriano Artistico rough
15" x 11"

Wednesday, May 11, 2011


I can't resist standing flowers in the window on sunny days, the lighting effects can be magical.  This is one of those days - I had a bunch of pale yellow daffodils, you know the fancy kind that look nothing like daffs?  There were too many for the vase, I squeezed in as many as I could so the arrangement looked like a lollipop, and stood the vase in the window.

The lighting was wonderful!  Browsing my reference photos for something to paint last night, this one called out.  It's not at all my usual style but I thought I'd have a go, just a small one to see what I could do with it.  I'm happy, it's loose and clearly about the light.... success!

Daffs for Mum
7.25" x 7.5"

Saturday, May 07, 2011

Not quite white

I've enjoyed the challenge that comes with painting white flowers, getting the balance between coloured shadows and white highlights right.  I'm very pleased with how this has worked, the shadows are delicate but not boring grey.
Blushing Bride
Watercolour on paper, 15" x 11"

Thursday, May 05, 2011

Tree Peony WIP

I drew out a new flower last night and after just a few hours it is already taking shape nicely!  The beauty of white flowers is that you only need to paint the shadows...

Saturday, April 23, 2011

The Last Dance

I completed a new floral yesterday, this time of something which has fascinated me for years...... the way flowers change as they die, yet still have a unique beauty.

The Last Dance
Watercolour, 14" x 11"

I painted a single tulip with one drooping petal some years ago.  I think it's a subject I need to explore further.

Tired Tulip
Watercolour, 10" x 14"

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

More spring flowers

Spring really is here now, with the usual mix of beautiful warm days and dull, wet days. I'm enjoying painting the brave early flowers which cheer up the garden.

The most recent is this pink hellebore, I loved how the light was hitting the petals, cancelling out the colour so all I could see was bright white highlights contrasting with deep pink.

Take a Bow - watercolour, 7" x 5"

Before that, these delicate primroses, again the lighting was special.

Primrose Posy - Watercolour, 15" x 11"

The last, but first to be painted, more hellebores!  This was much looser than the other two.

Lenten Roses - Watercolour, 14" x 10"

Saturday, March 05, 2011

Spring has sprung

While the mornings are still very chilly it's good to see the first green shoots appearing from bare soil.  The daffodils aren't quite flowering in my garden so I bought some from the supermarket for the bargain price of £2, and they inspired me to paint this!

Fresh Faced
15" x 15", Watercolour on Fabriano Artistico 140lb

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Holiday memories

I rarely paint landscapes, but occasionally I am inspired to try.  This is a view from clifftops on the Gower Peninsula, South Wales.  I spent a wonderful day walking along these cliffs with my husband, I think it's the most beautiful place.  I am truly blessed to live in such a beautiful country.

Gower View
Watercolour, 22" x 14"
Not for sale

Thursday, February 10, 2011


I'm running a giveaway on my facebook "fan" page and thought my blog followers would like a chance to take part too!

One lucky winner will get to choose three greeting cards from this group:

To enter, you need to be a facebook member (so you are able to comment) and simply leave a comment on  this image (you might have to "like" my page first).  I'll be selecting the winner using a random number generator, and the draw takes place on Friday 18th February.  I hope to see some of you over there!

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

KISS...... and this blog in top 50 list!

Keep It Simple, Stupid - what I had in mind for this painting.  I had a very busy reference, a mass of purple coneflowers, it could have been extremely complicated.  I chose to isolate a single flower, keeping the background very simple (in theory), and using complementary colours.

Centre of Attention
watercolour on hot press Fab. Artistico
10" x 14"

My selection of hot pressed paper was, on reflection, a mistake as it made it far more difficult to get a smooth background.  There are a few hard edges but it didn't turn out too badly.  The trick is to use lots of water, wetting the whole of the area before adding strong pigment and letting it mingle.
A nice surprise this morning as I learned that this blog was included in a new article about the top 50 watercolour blogs!  I'm at #40, and I'm thrilled to see that I'm in some very good company!

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Well I never!

I rarely paint abstracts, mainly because I never know where to start, and then what do I do next?  On the occasions I've tried, I have rushed, not considering my next move, and ended up with a big mess.  This time, I went slowly, planning each brush stroke..... amazingly, I really like the result!

Abstract - Watercolour, 14" x 11"

Monday, January 31, 2011

Breaking out

I almost always paint quarter sheet paintings, not because I love working at that size, but because it's the most practical size for my own work area.  I've been feeling more and more frustrated and penned in, not able to enjoy the truly magical effects of watercolour as much as I would like.  I finally broke out, taking a half sheet and letting the paint do the work.... what fun!

Popping Poppies - 15 x 22 inches

Monday, January 24, 2011

Peony #2

A second peony, more procrastination as the chocolates are still waiting for me to return.  All those delicious white-edged pink petals were fun to paint, even at just 7" x 7"!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Peony Procrastination

Yes, I am still avoiding the chocolates!  I just need to be  in the right mood for that kind of painting, and I'm not at the moment.

Todays distraction is a small peony, painted without any initial sketch on a scrap of Fabriano Artistico extra white paper.  I quite like the looseness I've achieved!

Peony Procrastination - 7" x 7"

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Green Skies

Taking a break from the chocolates, I felt like playing with pigments and water, inspired partly by Maggie Latham's "100 Washes" blog, and partly by the book "Wet in Wet Watercolour" by Ewa Karpinska.  What started as a simple wash of shades of blue and indigo became something completely different when I accidentally dipped my brush into green gold - a dramatic stormy sky appeared on the paper!  I had to use it, and turned the wash into a stormy landscape.  I wish I hadn't left the patch of white paper in the centre, that was an unhappy accident, but the discovery that green gold and indigo make a wonderful brooding sky was happier!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Still plugging away...

I never imagined it would take me so long to paint these chocolates! I'm concentrating on painting the darker areas on the tissue paper, I'll add some colour to the lighter areas once I have the shadows in. I wish I was more disciplined and didn't procrastinate!

Friday, January 07, 2011

Chocaholic dreams..... or nightmares?

The chocolate painting is coming along, especially the sweet treats themselves. The real headache is painting the magenta tissue paper, very slow going!

Saturday, January 01, 2011

Happy New Year!

Starting 2011 with a still life - this time of chocolates I was given for Christmas! They were a loose selection, chosen specially for me, and presented in a beautiful box, surrounded by magenta tissue paper. I has been hard to resist eating them, but painting chocolate is almost as much fun!

This is the full painting, it's a challenge but I think I need that right now!