Monday, 16 December 2013

The Holly and The Ivy........Oh and The Roses!


I have quite a lot of ivy covering fences but the holly I was only just in time to pick some with berries on before the birds ate every single one of them! The holly tree is my miracle tree too as I've been growing it for about 15 yrs without a single berry and then a couple of years ago I was wandering around the garden talking to myself and the plants (as one does) and said to it, "I want berries on you!". Low and behold the next winter it was covered. Both I and the birds are very grateful indeed. The power of words....


A little reminder of summer roses on a dark, wet, December day.

Merry Christmas and God bless us one and all!


Monday, 28 October 2013

Chinese Lantern, Malva, Hypericum and Swiss Chard

Every season has it's joys and Autumn has it's bright earthy colours, rich grassy smells and sometimes wild weather. This morning we had the gale that was forecast unlike the 1987 one which took everyone by surprise. Hardly any damage here in the garden I'm happy to say. Though I will have to cut down the kerria japonica which is somewhat leaning.

Chinese lantern watercolour
Chinese Lantern

Here are a few plants I've had a go at painting and some were easier than others. The Swiss chard proved rather difficult to capture. Here's a practice sheet I did with a few different ways of working. None of them really worked so I even resorted to masking out the stalk with masking fluid or liquid frisket.

Swiss chard watercolour

(The tissue was for lifting out colour in case you thought I'd been blowing my nose!)

This was ok until I did the stalk and then, no, it still wasn't right so I just painted another one straight. I'm not happy with this one either but never mind.


Next was a malva which I had to look up because I couldn't remember what type it was and it's Malva Parkfieden. A very pretty apricot colour and the plant reaches to about 5ft rather like a hollyhock.

Malva watercolour

Hypericum are always pretty with their berries changing from orange red to black.

Hypericum watercolour

I had fun with these and I've discovered rather a nice yellow from Daniel Smith which when dropped into wet colour it disperses it and creates an interesting effect. Nickel Azo Yellow.

Dropped into Winsor green and Burnt sienna.

Dropped into Quinacridone red and permanent magenta.

Until next time, happy painting/creating :)


Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Hydrangea 'Annabelle' 1 & 2

What a wonderful Summer we had here in the UK! I still have quite a few flowers going strong and this is one of them. I'm drawn to white flowers as I love the contrast of light and shadow on them when the sun is shining.

Hydrangea annabelle watercolour painting

I had a palette of : Moonglow (Daniel Smith), Indanthrone blue (DS) Rhodonite Genuine (DS), lemon yellow, Indian yellow and Brown Madder. The paper is Fabriano Artistico 140lb

It's still just a sketch but not bad I suppose.

The weather has somewhat changed but hopefully the sun will come back soon for a while at least.

......3 Hours later...... Annabelle 2


This one is far more loose and more interesting for it too - more colours and heavier paper which is Saunders Waterford 200lb rough. I've used a half inch flat brush in this too which gives a nice sharp line on the clematis.


Thursday, 22 August 2013


Or Day Lily. I'm quite fond of day lilies although some don't go on for very long others seem to grow into big clumps with many flowering stems.

Day lily painting watercolour
'American Revolution' watercolour

This one hasn't grown up to be clump yet but it's getting there. Now I thought it was called 'Chicago Blackout' but then I found a label, in a rare bout of tidying up, from an 'American Revolution' so now I'm thinking that's what it is, because I haven't got another dark red one.

You may think this painting is looking rather messy and that's because I used diluted gum arabic in the process with lots of spraying, squirting, blotting and lifting out. It's given some texture to it though.


Friday, 9 August 2013

Clematis and Currants

It's a while ago I picked these to paint and they're shrivelling nicely on the studio windowsill now! I did pick lots more that day too and made two jars of redcurrant jelly.

When I'd painted those I thought I'd paint some of my clematis too. Well 'Prince Charles' was the one in question and it's a lovely pale mauvey blue and very delicate. I have since been trying various colours and ways of doing it without much success. Most of my trials have been on the back of watercolour paper that I'd already ruined the front of! Anyway I only like certain parts of the trials so I cut them up and here they are.

The mixture I ended up with was phthalo turquoise and permanent magenta and a very watery wash at that to begin with. The lovely bits of light here and there in the green is cadmium lemon yellow which is rather fun when you just drop blobs here and there.

I've been watching various youtube videos and have discovered quite a few interesting watercolourists. Among them are Joseph Zbukvic's whose work is absolutely beautiful and then there's Jean Haines whose work is very different but lovely, loose and flowing. She also has a blog and books.

Next I'm going to try a day lily and it's a beautiful dark red. No more whispy blues for a while me thinks.


Monday, 22 July 2013

Rosa Eden


Rose Eden Watercolour
Eden Rose

Just one of the roses in my garden called Eden. I love it because it has the most wonderful big fat buds all creamy white with pink edges. I've used a couple of colours I bought from the Daniel Smith range last week which are rather nice - Rhodonite Genuine and Green Apatite Genuine and the paper is Fabriano Artistico 140lb Rough.

I also discovered the solution to my stand up palette contraption with my dad's old braces! (I knew they'd come in handy one day). I kept them when he died in 1994. He was an artist too and was full of wild and wonderful ideas as you can imagine from this photo which he sent me as postcard in 1983. On the back he'd written, "There's life in the old dog yet!". For some reason he doesn't appear to have his teeth in! You can read about him here Hamersma UK


Saturday, 13 July 2013

Quick Sketches in The Heat

I ventured out yesterday in the lovely sunshine we've been having after altering the lid of a cardboard box to make a sort of tray to hold palette, water, brushes and rag...
I made a hole in the cardboard to hold the plastic cup of water. Then all I had to hand was some 2"wide lace elastic which I tied around me and the tray! If you remember when they used to sell ice creams in the cinema during the interval that's what I wanted it to be like so I'd have both hands free - one to paint with and one to hold a small piece of watercolour paper. Needless to say my husband looked on with a bemused look on his face. I think he's quite used my oddness now though.
It sort of worked but I had to keep tying more knots in the elastic! It would be ok sitting down with it on my lap - some slight modifications are needed I feel ;)
I'll do one of that rose in the studio I think and make a better job of it too.

Friday, 5 July 2013

Papaver Somniferum

This appeared this morning with all the sunshine. I'm not sure of the name apart from Papaver Somniferum as I didn't sow it this year certainly but I may have done last year. Fortunately it sowed itself!

Watercolour poppy
Papaver Somniferum

The paper here is Saunders Waterford 140lb Not. I'm going to try some heavier rough paper soon.


Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Campanula Punctata 'Silver bells' (well sort of)

Campanula Punctata 'Silver bells'

I confess this is not in the ground yet. Very often they do hang around while I'm deciding where the best place would be to plant.

Now I just leapt into this with brush, paint, water and no plan. The stems and leaves went every which way and I was too impatient so it could have be much better if I'd thought a bit. I do like the colours though.

Rose Trials

These were just a few doodlings from my head. Those blobs at bottom left are a mixture of French Ultramarine (which I made up myself with the powdered pigment) and the lovely Quinacridone Gold. All those little petals in the middle I did with a rigger brush (small with long hairs used for boat rigging and good for tree branches) and then dropped in darker pigment for shadows in the centre. This was on the back of an old painting on Bockingford Rough 300lb. Notice I'm not bothered about leaves.

I'll be doing some roses as I have about 40 in my garden!