Monday, 23 May 2016


Paint Yourself Calm, my new book is now available !

I am receiving many emails asking me if I have fallen off the planet as I seem to have disappeared! 

I am still very much here but so very busy. Each time I think I am really busy I get even busier still. This month I have been away to France for a week, and I am now working on magazine interviews regarding my new book " Paint Yourself Calm".

Never has the timing of a book been so badly needed but this time for me personally. Since Christmas my life has seen a few hiccups that have knocked me sideways. Nothing fatally serious but enough to distract me and knock me right off course from my usual cheerful and very bouncy self. 
But as I laughingly mentioned to one of the galleries who represent me earlier today 
" Normal service will soon be restored!". 
They laughed back, and totally understood what I have been going through recently.

For now though I am preparing for my UK workshops next week and my  exciting return to Patchings the week after next!

Life is full so please bear with me. 

On top of my busy schedule I am happy to say both of my sons are getting married this year which is keeping me very much offline! 
It is family time!

Have a great week ahead and happy painting!


Tuesday, 3 May 2016

Forsythia in Watercolour 2016

 "Sunlight and Birdsong"
Work in Progress
Final detail to be added.

Right now my life is really busy with so much going on. I have so much to look forward to as it is the launch of my new book "Paint Yourself Calm" this month and to be very honest that is exactly what I have been doing this afternoon. Painting myself calm.

I started the day by gardening. I give myself a small planting challenge each day so one hour in the garden every morning is my physical workout. Today I planted foxgloves. Giant white, peach and pink blooms which will be sheer joy to paint when they flower later this year.

Next I tackled admin as I have workshop invitations to reply to, requests for places on my courses to respond to and on top of this I need to prepare for my demonstrations and marquee at Patchings Art Festival next month. And an exhibition to start framing for. So it is all go. But if I am not careful my time with administration will take over from my painting time and I cannot let that happen. In fact I refuse to!

So I set up my painting table and began working on capturing the glowing forsythia outside my studio, in watercolour. I know if we don't paint flowers when we can they easily go past their best and these flowers are such a joy to paint.

I have used Cadmium Yellow for the blooms and Perylene Maroon for the stems. Both colours by Daniel Smith.

The light I have caught today I feel is better than my previous work. My heart is light, I am listening to birdsong as I paint and feeling the sun on my shoulders. This is a heavenly way to spend time. Painting to feel calm, relaxed and stress free.

 Capturing light and a feeling of calm in my work

The real forsythia has been flowering for weeks but is beginning to show signs of being beyond its best. So I need to paint it now before it withers !

 Forsythia in my cottage garden

Below are some previous studies of forsythia, painted in my garden  last year.

I think I am more light hearted this year. As my work today seems to be lighter and more glowing!

 Last years forsythia paintings

 Study 1
 Study 2
 Working from the real flower

A collection of studies on my easel


Artist Tips for Today

1) Make time to paint, no matter how busy your life is!
2) Paint flowers whilst they are in season and from life as often as possible.
3) Don't waste sunshine. You can paint indoors on rainy days!


Tuesday, 26 April 2016

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

"Happy Family"

" The Good , The Bad and The Ugly" as this was a rather raced painting.
I think it is healthy as artists to show "Our best",
 our "Not so best" 
and "The paintings that got away" by not making the grade !

 Actually I should call the above painting " Baby Its Cold Outside" because the weather here in UK is freezing. Yesterday apparently was World Penguin Day and I missed it.  It is very strange how I never seem to miss the special annual cake or chocolate days but I did miss this one, which is a shame as I love painting penguins. So a day late, here is the penguin family I painted complete with new fluff ball at the parents feet.

I am working hard on future tour organisation and replying to many wonderful invitations from Art Societies wishing to host my events, which is so terrific. I would love to come everywhere and to everyone but physically that isn't possible. But I do look at each location and if it is possible try to work out a way to get there. Right now I am looking ahead to 2018.

To USA artists wishing to know where I will be next year here is my planned schedule.

February 2017
New Orleans ( Open for booking )
Arizona  ( Bookings open in July 2016 )
Florida ( Open for booking )

October 2017
Seattle ( Open for booking )


Wednesday, 20 April 2016

Spring Madness

Muscari, violets and primroses

When the sun shines it is heaven to sit in the garden and relax by painting. At least it would be heaven, but today there was so much to do that all I could fit in painting wise was time to add to an existing Spring Border painting. I knew my mind wasn't set on just painting today as I am distracted by other things at the moment. However rather than not pick up my brushes at all, I have added a few dark details to the foreground of this piece to make the leaves appear as they become defined.

It worked. I am calmer.

This few minutes painting time brought me back down to the calm place my mind needs to be in right now, as there is so much happening.  All exciting but making my life really busy.

I had also agreed to an interview which took up most of my afternoon. But the questions raised were really fascinating and gave me time to think which perhaps I honestly needed to do. I know I definitely need more quiet painting time!

So blues, yellows and greens are on my palette today and what a glorious mix of Spring colours they are.

Happy painting.


Monday, 18 April 2016

Lake Tahoe and Folsom Watercolour Workshops 2016

" California Dreaming "

Watercolour Workshops
Folsom and Lake Tahoe
October 2016

I will be teaching exciting watercolour workshops in Folsom and Lake Tahoe in October this year.
These inspirational workshops are fully booked but artists who contact me now will have their names added to the waiting list there in case of any cancellations.

The programme for these courses is going to be fantastic. Full of colour, new subjects and beautiful ways to bring each to life. I can't wait!

 These workshops will be part of my Fall 2016 USA tour and my last in America this year.


For my 2017 USA tours now is the ideal time to get in touch as places are already disappearing quickly for my New Orleans and Flordia courses. 

Please get in touch  by email if you'd like to paint with me in any of the above locations on a course..


Venice in Watercolour : Wedding Anniversaries

Memories of Venice 

I had always wanted to visit Venice for as long as I can remember. One year I was sitting in our garden having lunch with my husband when he told me that he was taking me to the Opera for our Wedding Anniversary. My jaw dropped.

" You are kidding" was my reply. My husband hates the opera And for the life of me I couldn't imagine he would enjoy the experience wedding anniversary or not. But what he said next made my jaw drop to the floor.

" But we are going to see the opera in Venice"

I couldn't answer at first as he showed me the special trip he had romantically planned. We were going to stay in a gorgeous hotel,go to the opera and see all the sights I had longed to see. And the trip was magical.

I know I am so lucky to be married to such a wonderful guy. Who also accompanies me on my tours. I'm sure everyone who has met him will agree with me in that he is so fantastic. In every possible way.  And as I sit here  I am aware that in a few weeks time it will be yet another fabulous Wedding Anniversary. We will have been married for over forty years and if I could turn back time I would marry him all over again.

So whilst I am thinking of these very special memories it seemed right to paint and share one of my favourite sights from that first trip to Venice. The above painting . 

Memories of Venice
In love


A Special Connection

 "Spirit of Life"

So here I am in my studio  and finally finding time to look through all I have collected from my recent USA tour. Whilst I look through the paintings and collection of amazing photographs many happy memories flood back of the very special people I have met on my courses. All because of my passion for painting in watercolour and I suppose my zest for life.

I'd like to share two very wonderful people in this blog post as I aim to catch up and recall very magical moments from my book signing and watercolour workshop tour of Spring 2016. 

Some time back I received an invitation to teach in Vancouver. This all came about as I would be teaching in Seattle and I was told that Vancouver was so very close and could easily be added to my trip. As many artists had been asking me to teach in Canada I leapt at the opportunity and hastily agreed. I was invited to hold workshops with Artescapes, run by an incredible lady called Janice Blore. How amazing this connection turned out to be.

When I arrived in Vancouver I was warmly greeted by Janice and shown the room where I would be teaching. Janice takes great care in looking after artists attending courses that she organises. Even down to the refreshments which seemed to continually magically appear every time I turned to look in that direction. The venue is unique in that it seems to carry an amazing atmosphere which even my husband noticed. I can't describe it really but one group, out of the three I taught there, will relate to this blog post very well as they too felt it. Something wonderful happened in the room as everyone created. A peaceful feeling. Actually it was quite beautiful and a memory that will stay with me forever.

Another wonderful surprise was meeting Janice's Mother. On the wall in the  room was a gorgeous print of a Bearded Collie. Everyone who knows me well will know I love the breed and have owned two. Taffy previously, and now I feel we are owned by Bailey my gorgeous four legged companion. Also a Bearded Collie. Lorna, Janice's Mum has beautiful work that she has created of my favourite breed. And she also very kindly made me a felt brooch of the breed when she heard me say I had always wanted one but couldn't find one anywhere to buy and it is gorgeous.

I met many people in Vancouver whilst I was teaching there. Many have left a lasting impression on me and one in particular  may be surprised to read my words here. Jamie, your reaction to how I paint and teach is still very much with me. I know my use of colour touched your heart and gave you a new approach to seeing how you paint. With light, life and energy. To watch as you discovered a whole new life force from painting with a new approach was wonderful and a joy to witness. These moments are so special in life. And you very kindly gave me a bear made of watercolour paper that I so carefully carried everywhere but it got damaged at our last hotel the night before we left for UK. Which really upset me but I think of it and how you made it for me often. Thank you. I also love the story of spirit bears and the photo you gave me which I have created an interpretation of above. I genuinely felt the spirit of this creature with me in my studio as I worked and it made me stop and think of folklore and stories I have heard over the years. How certain animals carry good luck, are seen as omens or magical creatures.

Something so simple as painting a subject new to you like this bear made me stop and think today. It made me take stock of my own life and art journey. I am loving giving to others, far more than thinking of dreams of my own. In my way of teaching I can make others dreams come true. I can do so much that is good rather than simply thinking about colour on my brush or a painting that may be for sale.

I love painting in watercolour so very much. I love the art journey that I am on and I love where my workshops are taking me to meet new and inspirational people who have become a part of the tapestry that is my life. And I love the love they give me in return.

How blessed I am.

I wish everyone could find the joy I do when I create.

That's my wish in this blog post.

That every ones dreams come true. maybe this spirit bear can help that happen.

Happy painting