Monday, May 28, 2012

The Poppies are Popping

My garden has been giving me a treat with red poppies really putting on a show in the sun.  Yesterday I sat out for about an hour and sketched them with charcoal, then moved inside to play with colour.

First the charcoal sketch, I tried to get good contrast tonally, something that isn't easy with red so this exercise helped me later.

Poppies - charcoal sketch

Now the first play with colour to choose a palette.

Poppy - colour study
Then this morning I tried to use what I learned in a fun, loose painting.  Choice of paper was important, I wanted to keep the looseness of the colour study, so I chose hot pressed fabriano artistico extra white.  I am really happy with the result!

Some Like it Hot - 15" x 11", watercolour on Fabriano HP

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

A rare landscape

I don't really know why but I rarely feel like painting landscapes and this has led to me being out of practice with them.  Today I thought of a photo I'd taken several years ago and decided to have a go, partly to see whether my technique and style had developed the way my floral work has, and partly just for a change!

I went small, 7.5" square, an used a large brush for most of it, only picking up the small brush for the detail towards the end.  I think it worked out pretty well, loose without being messy and I didn't overwork it..... what do you think?

Symonds Yat - a birds Wye view

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Last Year's Iris

We're suffering miserable spring weather in the UK at the moment, it has been cold and wet and miserable and I think the flowers are sulking!  I went through my photos from previous springs and found a lovely iris to cheer me up.  Finances being tight at the moment I need to sell more and figured small work would be more affordable, so I'm working on a series of small square works.... fingers crossed this strategy works!

Square Dance - 7.5" x 7.5", watercolour on Fabriano Artistico extra white paper
Buy Square Dance

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Spring Inspiration

I think spring is my favourite season, almost all of my favourite flowers show up at this time of year and the inspiration is wonderful.  Flowers that appear later in the year just don't have the same appeal to me, I much prefer cheerful little primroses to blousy roses, I love the frills and flounces of irises but dahlias leave me a bit cold.  I keep searching for late summer flowers which will give me the same thrill of excitement but so far I search in vain.

Here's one of the earliest spring flowers, the glorious magnolia stellata which has the most amazing shape and is tough enough to stand up to the late snow showers and frosts.  I'll be honest, white flowers aren't my favourites, I prefer colour, but if you look closely you see yellows and pinks and blues within the white petals.

Magnolia Stellata - 15" x 11", watercolour on Fabriano Artistico extra white

This morning I see the first iris opening in the garden and I've been painting last years flowers, anticipating the thrill of seeing each new bud burst..... I love spring!

Monday, May 07, 2012

Exciting News!

I've had some amazing, exciting news recently which I wanted to share with my blog friends.  My painting "Cosmic Poppies" has won the SAA Amateur Artist of the Year award for 2012!  The news came in a phone call from the Chairman of the Society for All Artists and to say I was speechless would be an understatement, in fact I'm not ashamed to admit that I cried tears of joy for the whole day!

This is a huge honour for me, I have never, ever won anything before, and this was only the second time I entered the SAA competition..... the first time I didn't even get anything shortlisted.  My prizes are an engraved goblet and £100 for art materials, plus my painting will be featured in the SAA members magazine "Paint" in July with a short interview.

I realise you've all seen this before but here it is again, my award-winning watercolour!
Cosmic Poppies - Watercolour on paper, 15" x 11"