Thursday, 30 August 2012

Autumnal Abstracts

Inspired by Queen Annes Lace

A full week working on paintings for upcoming exhibitions in Wales, Surrey and Norfolk from September to November 2012. I am inspired by my rural surroundings and finding incredible abstracts in all forms of foliage at present. Hogweed  creates incredible patterns against an evening sky. Standing tall amongst brambles, nestling in hedgerows and bank it always seems to give amazing silhouettes that tempt my brush in so many ways.

My experimental and abstract work is leading my eye with colour and shape taking my work into a completely new direction. Bold in colour and complex in structure at times . Although simplicity is more striking in many compositions.

Yesterday I had a meeting to discuss my 2013 programme and as it will be a very exciting year with new gallery collections my time is going to be very limited  for workshops. The full programme of events will be shared on my web site in mid September with a restricted number of places. Each session is aimed at being highly motivational and inspirational. However putting it together has increased my own enthusiasm to an all time high so my personal  time in my studio to continue evolving and exploring is really important.

My collections are already taking shape in ways that I had not foreseen and my passion for colour and texture is stronger than ever.

I will share full details of my exhibitions on my web site shortly. 
My next show will be at the 

Albany Gallery in Cardiff, South Wales from 14th September - 6th October ,2012

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Flowers,Flowers and More Flowers!

Because I know  I am going to be sharing blackberry, hips and haw paintings non stop I thought I would share the latest floral compositions that I have been working on for an exciting new project. I wanted bolder colour  and a feeling of strong lost and found sections.

I have loved painting these whilst sitting in sunshine in my cottage garden today. But I think my brushes will be moving on my autumn collection tomorrow as the berries are really tempting my brushes!

Early Autumn Signs

Hawthorn Berries
In Autumn Hedgerow

Morning walks take on a whole new meaning as the first signs of Autumn begin to appear. In the lanes where I walk Bailey, my Bearded Collie, each day blackberries are already ripe.  Branches are heavily laden with hawthorn berries and rosehips in gorgeous rich hues are impossble for an artist who loves colour to ignore. I keep saying that Spring  is my favourite season because I  love painting the first flowers that appear each year.These are swiftly followed by Summer blossoms when painting in sunshine is always sheer bliss.

But there really is something very special about Autumn. I have always felt like a child again picking fruit with the best, for some reason, always being just out of my reach on the very top branches. Last year in one country lane the hedgerow looked beautifully red and purple  in the distance. Through the mist, one morning, tiny clusters of berries glistened with morning dew.

These emotions I try to capture in each new piece.


Readers of my new book "Atmospheric Watercolours" will see how I have painted rosehips,hawthron and blackeberries in different sections. Look out for the chapters on "Energy Washes" and "Textural Washes".

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Summer Sensation

Stocks,flowers painted from life in sunshine using my imagination to make them unique.

 With incredible weather  this week I am still enjoying working in my garden capturing wonderful new colour combinations and effects from studying how light plays on the flowers in my garden.White stocks tempted my brushes but the phlox are also on my mind as my next subject because I loved  creating their colourful composition on the weekend.

Yesterday a brilliant gallery owner visited my studio to collect art so that I didn't have to take time out from painting to make the delivery. I will share news of my upcoming exhibitions in a seperate blog post but for now I am going to enjoy summer while it is here!

Thank you to veryone who is writing to tell me ho wmuch you are enjoying my new book "Atmospheric Watercolours". I can't begin to tell you how much your feedback has made me feel but I truly appreciate each kind word and comment. Thank you!

Sunday, 19 August 2012

A Taste of Summer : Phlox in Watercolour August 2012

A Taste of Summer

The weather is glorious! It has been such a busy week delivering work for framing and to galleries. In fact I have been out  almost every day with brilliant appointments and exciting meetings all connected with showing my art. I took time out to paint flowers in my garden this afternoon. I have been reading my own book and strangely learning so much from each chapter which sounds really peculiar as I am the author! But I am going through each section and it seems as though "light bulb" moments occur each time something triggers an exciting idea I wish to put on paper. When I wrote my book I was hoping to inspire other artists. I feel a little wierd saying that I have inspired myself too! 

So in sunshine, I stood at my easel in my garden and  observed how the colours played on white phlox flowers.Their beauty is undeniable and I just had to capture them in watercolour. These have left me with a yearning for tomorrow morning to arrive so that I can capture more beautiful flowers from life  to add to my Summer 2012 collection of watercolours. Summer passes so quickly and I d not wish to waste a minute of it.

Here is the full painting.


Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Limited Edition Prints "Going For Gold"

"Going For Gold"
Limited Edition Print

Yesterday I picked up the first prints of my painting "Going For Gold" and was amazed to realise that I couldn't tell the difference from the original painting and the print. These have been created on watercolour paper and look wonderful framed.

The inspiration I have gained from the Olympic Games has enticed my brushes to not only capture movement but gain that sense of excitement from seeing so many athletes who have deserved to win gold medals for their determination, hard work, skill,energy and  drive. They have been a shining of example of  achievement.

I will be looking at this painting for years to come and remember the feeling of anticipation towards  each finishing line and the sheer joy of the win of each event. Witnessing all particpants " Going For Gold"

 The Limited Edition is for twenty  prints only and can be purchased from the Frame Gallery in Odiham, Hampshire. and  the Wey Gallery in Godalming,Surrey.

Please see my web site for details


Sunday, 12 August 2012

Sweet Pea Seduction

Sweet Pea watercolours from an afternoon painting in my cottage garden

The weather has been glorious today so I have worked in the fresh air allowing the sunshine to  cloak my shoulders.Its' been a really superb weekend with time to relax in my cottage garden and move my brushes to simply capture light in my work.

This year has been  so busy with exhibitions and deadlines to meet so I feel as though I have had a wonderful holiday escaping into a world of florals,painting from life and loving every second  of it.

I worked on several small studies and then brought them into my studio to place on my easel. A few finishing touches will be added to each tomorrow and then I will probably work on a few serious compositions of the subjects I have painted over the last few days.

My favourite sweet pea painting so far ,almost finished with a fabulous softness about it. It really does look like the flowers in my garden in strong sunlight.

It is such a great feeling leaving my studio knowing these will be waiting for me on my return tomorrow.As always, I can't wait!

Roses in Watercolour

I am really thrilled to see how popular my " How to Paint Roses in Watercolour in a Loose Style" blog post has become. Thank you to everyone who has given a donation to Cancer Reaseach  and if you have missed the original post you can find it via this link.

As the roses are blooming in my cottage garden I do hope to find time to paint some more myself very soon!

Happy "rose" painting!

Atmospheric Watercolours: Update

I am really thrilled to hear that "Atmospheric Watercolours", my latest book has  sold so well it is going for reprinting. New stock will be available by October 2012 and it is still selling really well which is such exciting news.

Thank you so much to everyone who has bought a copy and  I will be replying to messages and emails next week as I have quite a few to catch up on!

My book can be purchased from via these links and  it is  in stock!


I will be catching up with my blog messages and comments soon!

Pretty In Pink

Japanese Anenomes coming to life from a watercolour session in my cottage garden

The weather is beautiful and as our summer has seen little sunshine this year, I am making the most of every day by painting outside in my cottage garden.

I have many flowers to choose from as subjects. Whilst the foxgloves in various sections of the flower beds and woodland have been tempting my brushes I couldn't resist capturing the first Japanese Anenomes that are now coming into full flower. Their delicate petals are such a contrast from the stronger bell shapes of the foxgloves. I want to  bring that sense of their being able to move in a breeze, so find myself opting for gentle brushstrokes whilst I work. Which is really encouraging my colours to sing on paper.

Artists who have attended my workshops will know I use very little pressure on paper whilst I paint. These floral brushstrokes have truly been a soft whsiper across the surface of each white piece of paper that I have loved creating on.

For now I am going back into the sunshine while it lasts. Like flowers  that only bloom for a short season each year I strongly believe in making the most of every positive moment in life. Never wasting a minute of something too good to miss!


Friday, 10 August 2012

Foxglove Fantasia

Foxglove Collection
August 2012
Works in Progress

I couldn't wait to race into my garden today. Armed with paper, palette and brushes to continue with my series of foxglove watercolours.

I sat in sunshine and quietly explored several of these gorgeous flowers growing in my cottage garden. The wild variety  have wonderful single,bell like shapes hanging downwards. These are in one area of my garden but the more domesticated variety  I have grown form fantastic shapes,several varieties have tightly packed clusters of bells forming downwards along the stem,opening more widely as they near the base.

Its' been heaven sitting studying the colours and patterns within these subjects this morning. Happy memories came flooding back from childhood when I was convinced fairies existed and lived in these beautiful flowers. I was always told never to pick them because they are highly poisonous but their beauty is outstanding and they make great subjects to paint. As an adult I am loving watching fat  fuzzy bumble bees disappear inside each flower as they collect pollen.

My favourite paintings  so far is the one in the middle on my easel,waiting to dry for the next stages to be added. How relaxing to paint a subject you love so much and enjoy working on sheerly for the pleasure of making them come alive on paper. Although these will be completed and framed at some point for exhibitions.

I can't wait to continue with my new floral collection!

Beautiful Fogloves almost leaping off the paper towards me as I work!


Thursday, 9 August 2012

Foxgloves in Watercolour: Garden Painting 2012

Foxglove growing in my cottage garden

The sun has been incredible today and the light playing on the flowers in my garden has been tempting me to work outside and enjoy the summer weather. I didn't really know where to start first as so many wonderful flowers are in bloom at the moment. But a tall foxglove has been standing proud and almost calling my name this last week.

So with a board to lean on and several pieces of paper I sat and studied its' gorgeous colour. I have opted for W&N Opera Rose as the main shade for my compositions.

 First wash working around the bell shapes of each flower on the tall foxglove stem.

It was fantastic days painting especially capturing the light in my first study which seemed to breath with life immediately in sections. 

At this stage I enjoyed leaning my first wash against an old tree stump to see how my colours sat with nature in my garden. They worked perfectly for me.

Leaning my painting in its early stage against an old log that has been surrounded by these flowers all year so far..

Next I added some darks by carefully looking at the flower in real life. I find if you continually work from photographic images your darks can tend to become far too heavy and unrealistic. Painting from life in the fresh air is far healthier for you and can give you an insight into stunning colour combinations learned from observing, which can be missed by painting inside all the time!

Foxgloves building up gradually in a painting from a session in my garden this afternoon.

I know tomorrow I will be racing out to my garden to complete the series and I have one stunning group of white foxgloves which will be truly interesting to capture in a watercolour.


Readers of my new book "Atmospheric Watercolours"  may be reminded of my "Woodland Fantasy " foxglove painting from inside the opening pages. It is now almost two years since this  original painting was created, as it was then with my publishers until my books release in May of this year. When it was finally returned to me ,it was framed and sold in one of my recent exhibitions. It was, and always will be an all time favourite painting of mine with several galleries wishing to showcase it.

Now its time to create a new " all time favourite" foxglove painting!


Artists Tip: Please paint outside as much as possible and from life because the colours you will see will be far more interesting and the light effects so much more interesting to paint. In time your eyes search out the patterns within pattersn too so go for gold and paint something new this week!

Thank you so much!

Thank you so much to everyone who has taken the time to write me emails about my new book "Atmospheric Watercolours". 

I have been moved to tears by the wonderfully touching comments in some messages and completely taken aback by the positive feedback that keeps coming my way. So much so that at times I feel very overwhelmed. I wanted to share my passion for working in watercolour and reach people who I know would like to come to my workshops but can't. I poured everything I knew into each page  to share with  those who want to work in watercolour and discover all its magic as I have done. Working in this medium has changed my life in so many ways so I really simply wanted to pass on that happiness to others. And if possible help other artists reach their dreams.

Thank you so much for letting me know you love my book and thank you for buying a copy!


I am really grateful!


Glorious Colour

Its' August and the month that I promised myself a complete break because I knew this year was going to be really hectic. Now I have quiet time in my studio to reflect on the year that has passed and the new year I am facing.

I have loved all the workshops and art demonstrations and thoroughly enjoyed meeting so many fantastic new friends which is what happens on the sessions. And my exhibition work has been a journey that I have adored from the very first step and brushstrokes from the first to the most recent collection.

I am now really looking ahead to my watercolour course at Dedham Hall in September and my Watercolour Tour in USA  in October. 

I am in a group exhibition in Cardiff ,Wales, which opens in September and I have watercolour collections in the Wey Gallery in Godalming,Surrey. The Lyndhurst Gallery in the New Forest,Hampshire; Dogs in Art Gallery in Stockbridge and of  course The Frame Gallery in Odiham, Hampshire. These include a variety of subjects and each gallery has new work which I have  really loved creating.

Now I am going to indulge myself with working on new techniques, exciting new subjects and hope there is some sunshine in this pretty wet summer we have had in UK this year. But if the sun doesn't shine I will just have to paint my own glorious colour!

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Limited Edition Prints: Sporting Collection 2012

Sporting Collection coming to life

It has been an amazing few weeks with the 2012 Olympics inspiring so many energetic brushstrokes.

Yesterday I delivered new art work for framing and I am delighted to share the news that my painting " Going For Gold" inspired by the amazing gold medal wins this weekend will be available as a limited edition print from this weekend. There will only be a small number of prints available so it could be wise to contact me if you would like to be on the list of collectors.

An image can be seen on my web site home page

Full details will be following shortly.

Monday, 6 August 2012

Memory Lane; Sweet Pea

Yesterday I visited the Wey Gallery in Godalming,Surrey after delivering a new collection of work to be framed.  I loved seeing the fabulous gallery display and I have new subjects appearing there soon.

On my journey home I passed a garden that was full of rows of sweet pea, one of my favourite flowers. Their blast of colour  in the rural setting was incredible.  Everyone who came to one of my workshops, earlier this year ,will know I have been disappointed because the plants in my cottage garden this year at that time hadn't produced any blooms.  I am happy to say they are now flowering well and beautiful sweet pea paintings will be coming in the next few weeks I am sure.

Why do I like them so much as a flower?

They bring back memories from my childhood. I was brought up by strict Grandparents and flower picking from their garden wasn't allowed. But my Grandfather would pick little bunches of sweet pea now and then for me to give to my  step mother when my father remarried.  I would carry these little bouquets  as treasure to my new home, to a woman who changed my life by bringing colour into it. And kindness.

Their fragrance is so delightful that I now place little bouquets of the blossoms around my home to bring Summer inside. I chose two varieties to plant this year,both heavily scented. One is a  mix of vibrant colour.the other is soft muted shades. So it will be interesting to see which appeals to my brushes more!

You can read my orignal post about sweet pea via this link and it was really interesting for me to read this morning too. I am loving looking back on my older blog posts, enjoying how I felt at that time. I didn't realise by sharing my thoughts here I would be inspiring my own brushes to move on familiar subjects too. And see how I would portray them later on in my art journey.We will find out!

A real trip down memory lane!

Sunday, 5 August 2012

Olympics 2012 Jessica Ennis

Jessica Ennis coming to life in the early stages of a figurative watercolour

I have watched the Olympics this week and seen sport in a new light. I have been amazed at the skill of the athletes and felt as one with the crowds from all over the world who have cheered on their favourites, all hoping to see them do well.

I have never wanted to move my brushes so badly and my passion for painting action scenes has taken me to a whole new subject area via the incredible sights I am seeing daily. Its' like a feast for the artist who yearns for something new.

There  is something  extra wonderful about countries uniting through this sporting spectacle. The sense of hope,excitement and the thrill of unexpected wins and disappointments from those who didn't quite make it  seem to bring out the compassion and emotion in human nature.

I am going to have a ball painting and I am also going to love every single brushstroke!

"Simply Jess"
First Brush Strokes breathing life into a figure in action

Thursday, 2 August 2012

Dog Gone it!

Bad Hair Day literally!

Sometimes you just gotta break free! The last few months have been fantastically busy with work on new collections for galleries, exhibitions, workshops, demonstrations and book signing events. But there comes a time in my art studio life where I feel something bubbling up inside of me and I just have to move my brushes on paper for the sheer fun of it, laughing as I work allowing colour to form a subject that has no goal or purpose other than the freedom I feel when creating it.

I think as artists we can often become far too bogged down in an art world by influences around us where sales and recognition seem to become far too important which can be unhealthy for our creative souls.

So in my own way I have thrown all ideas of being serious completely out of the window, worked on this shaggy dog and now I can't stop smiling because it is staring at me from my easel. In fact it has created one huge giggle attack!

There is plenty of time in my life to paint seriously but oh boy, this felt as though I had a small rebellion all of my own!


Lifes' far too short to always be serious or even to always take yourself too seriously!