Sunday, 10 December 2017

Why am I singing?

I am over the moon as I have heard from my publishers this week who have let me know that my new book which is to be launched next year will be published not only in English but in Chinese and Russian too!

What a wonderful way to close 2017 after many fabulous and exciting workshops with many more to follow!

I am so excited and so thrilled!


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How can I keep from singing? I am home!

"How Can I keep From Singing"
Painting of a robin sat singing outside my studio window.
This piece is for sale in the Christmas Exhibition 2017 at the Frame Gallery in Odiham, Hampshire UK 

I am home!

I know my blog has been really quiet while I have been on tour but I now have so much to share and so little time to do so. Firstly my USA and Canada tour was amazing and I want to thank everyone involved. The workshops in Portland, Seattle and Vancouver were so exciting and I loved everyone I met and reunited with on them. I will try to catch up with news about these courses but for now time is very tight because I am preparing for a very full week ahead.

1) I film the last section of my new book this week at my cottage here in UK and I am so looking forward to the closing pages as they are full of colour and positive energy. 

2) I talk to the film company from USA tomorrow in preparation for filming my new DVDs in USA next January and the filming location has been changed to Florida where I will be teaching which is such great news for me as it means less flying time and hotel changes. Originally we were filming in Cincinnati.

3) I am in a Christmas Exhibition locally with several paintings including the above at the Frame Gallery, Odiham, Hampshire so will be calling into the gallery this week.

I have some gorgeous new colour combinations that I am really desperate to share at some point because my time teaching at Daniel Smith in Seattle was incredible! Wow what a blast those workshops were! By the way, bookings have flooded in for my workshops there next year so please contact me if you would like to be added to the wait list for places!

For now, I am settling into my studio and I am eager to paint!

Have a great week ahead and if like me you are preparing for Christmas too, have fun decorating and enjoy the season!

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Thursday, 2 November 2017

USA and Canada Tour 2018



My blog has fallen quiet as I am currently on tour in USA and Canada. I started this trip teaching at the Oregon Society of Artists in Portland, who hosted three sold out workshops.  From there I headed to Daniel Smith in Seattle where I taught four sold out courses and I am now teaching three fully booked workshops in Vancouver at Art Escapes. In each location I have been invited to return. My Daniel Smith workshops in Seattle which were already scheduled for 2018 had just four places available as of last week which is wonderful news.

It's been an incredible trip and I've loved every second sharing my passion for working with watercolour. There have been many occasions where I have felt both humbled and privileged to be able to travel and meet such amazing people and hear many inspirational stories about life being improved by art.

I return home to UK in December after a well deserved holiday and a hugely busy year. Then I'll be back in my blog more regularly with a lot to share and catch up on.

For now , I have to prepare for filming my new DVDs in 2018 and complete my new book which will also be out next year.

Thank you so much to everyone who has attended my courses and made me feel so warmly welcome in each location. A new adventure lies ahead of us with every brush stoke we make. My motto? Make every brush stroke count!

Happy painting.

Jean

Wednesday, 4 October 2017

Hydrangea Blues

"Hydrangea Blues"
Lace cap Hydrangea caught in watercolour


A truly hectic week so time to write on my blog has fallen to the bottom of my priority list. I am packing for my trip to USA , I leave next week. And I am still working hard on my new book which looks so gorgeous that I now don't want to leave my studio for a second.
The thing is. When writing I gain so much inspiration and so many new ideas that I want to paint non stop and this new book is making me open my eyes to so many possibilities of how I can improve my own art. I don't want to leave it alone as each new chapter brings with it even more excitement and inspiration.

But before I leap back into my world of writing I just thought I would share this blue lace cap hydrangea that seems hit by sunlight, which we had here yesterday.

I will be very honest. I was going to give this painting the title " Las Vegas Blues" because I feel so terribly sad for the awful tragedy that has been covered by all the news channels in UK this week. My heart aches for the victims and the victims families who left home that day looking forward to a festival of music which turned into a night of terror.

My brain doesn't understand how anyone can create such horror in peoples lives. Even the most unhappiest of souls does not have the right to ruin someone elses' happiness. It was a selfish and evil act that will never be understood.

For now, my thoughts and prayers are with those effected by such a heinous crime and for a place that travellers from all over the world head to for many reasons.

Life must go on. 

But at this time it is right to think of others.

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Sunday, 1 October 2017

Mist and Fog: BlacKberries in Watercolour

"Autumn Mist"

It is strange how new ideas come to you as an artist. I have been walking in the countryside looking at the berries growing in the hedgerows and become fascinated by changing light throughout the day. I also love all the brambles and tiny twigs with many in reality being almost out of sight. I couldn't work out how to create this feeling of distance until now. Yes, violets as a shade work to push a subject further into the background and bold strong pigment works to pull branches in the foreground more strongly into view.


  Blackberry painting revisited

I revisited a previous painting of blackberries that I luckily had in my studio still and continued my experiments with colour and technique on it. And must admit I am thrilled with how it is now evolving as a piece.

The foreground branches have been painted now with shades I wouldn't normally use. They are black and dark brown shades from the Daniel Smith range. Very powerful,dynamic and fascinating as they make the warm colours in the background glow even more in contrast, as if in soft diffused light.


Lamp Black,Transparent Brown Oxide and Purpurite Genuine.
Strong, dynamic shades.

 For an artist who has always  avoided painting with black or dark shades this is quite a turn around in my way of thinking and painting. I love it!

The branches in the foreground now stand out. The deep brown areas you can see in the section below have been created by applying pigment with a cloth and twisting it  over the paper. This gives me freedom and less planned looking results, which I also love.

 Dark brown sections have been creating by rolling a cloth over my work once colour had been applied

If I liked an effect in this piece I simply repeated it so the brown section grew and became more interesting . A subtle, gradual build up of strong colour gave me the effects seen below that I found intriguing.
 


Build up of brown section, slowly adding depth and drama to my work

I find I am the happiest when experimenting. I don't accept  that every technique has been learnt about this magical medium. I honestly feel there is far more to be gained from spending as much time as possible pushing the limits and hoping to cross boundaries of what and what does not work with watercolour pigment.

I loved this experiment which wouldn't be possible without the products I use from Daniel Smith. I owe the inventor of these amazing watercolours so much as my life is so exciting because of them, as an artist who adores colour and exploration with it.

Great fun and I cannot wait to paint even more bold pieces now which are perfect choices for this Autumnal time of year. Gone are the soft summer shades. In come the powerful Autumn and Winter effects!

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Wednesday, 27 September 2017

A Little Grubby : Blue Tit in Watercolour

 "A Little Grubby"

My husband fills bird feeders in our garden regularly.  I place meal worms on a special old table we have near our living room window for our almost tame robin to feed from. We take great delight in watching him enjoy his little feast. But this year he has had competition at his private bird restaurant from a family of Blue Tits that have nested, successfully bred and fledged in our garden. These little blue and yellow birds choose the juiciest of meal worms and then sit on a barbed wire fence nearby to enjoy their stolen fare.

I have taken several photographs of the theiving taking place. And as the blue tits sit on the wire. they make delightful compositions for an artist. But I have yet to take a great shot of a meal worm in a beak where I can really see the beak well. Not just the grub. Hence the grub looking so all important in my new painting of a blue tit seen above.

I have opted to change the boring real green background of the field behind my subject. Instead I have chosen a lovely blue wash to  harmonise with the wing colour of my little bird. And as we always place more bird food out in winter I have let a little snowfall enhance my composition.


 Bird coming to life in watercolour

  When painting, I found the bird in a blue "first wash" then added detail to bring it to life. As described as a technique in all of my books. As soon as the bird was successfully in place and recognisable as a subject I began to add the back outline by painting a negative edge here for me to work from.

I have some gorgeous photographs of  these tiny birds holding caterpillar larva in their mouths but these don't work so well for me in my paintings. The meal worm did as it was shiny and I felt added interest to what the bird was holding.

 We have now planted a hedge so we can't see the barbed wire any more and happily wild birds love to nest in it. But I quickly became entranced with painting wire as it is something I have never done before. I love the lost and found edges of the wire in this piece as the technique makes something so ordinary look quite glamorous!

 Interesting lost and found edges make even barbed wire look beautiful!

I love my life. I never know what I am going to paint next and this piece was a complete surprise  on my painting schedule today. But as I type a blue tit faces me on a branch outside my window with yes, a meal worm in its' beak as if to say

" Paint me again\"

And I just might!


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Tuesday, 26 September 2017

How can I Keep From Singing; Roses in Watercolour




 How can I keep from singing?

I walk around my garden each morning taking in the beauty of every single flower. Like every brush stroke in a work of art, petals  make the shape of every bloom sing so beautifully in harmony with all around them. Birds were singing so loudly this morning too as I walked whilst the world slept.

I absorbed this heavenly peaceful feeling and raced to my studio trying to maintain the wonderful early morning sense of calm but I couldn't. Excitement had taken over my soul. Placing colour on paper was the urgent and most important thing on my mind.

I treated myself to picking a few new roses to work from and placed them in a little brown jug that I have had for years. I love these items from my cottage cupboards. Items that are often hidden away until the day they come into use again. Perfect for still life paintings.

 Queen Elizabeth pink roses are still in bloom in our garden and look so delicate next to the vibrant more velvety red roses. I first saw these pink blooms in our very first house when we were married. I fell in love with them straight away. We had our first son in this home, and while pregnant I used to sit in the garden admiring these flowers. Once he was born I used to sit holding him in sunshine, again admiring these roses which carry such  a special connection to that for me.That was a long time ago and our eldest son is now married and in his own home creating memories. But these roses will always remind me of carrying him and looking forward to the day he was born. A tiny premature baby. Who is now a wonderful grown man. I paint these roses and think of so many happy memories.

 This new painting of Queen Elizabeth roses has a softness to it that is so beautiful, even to me as the creating artist. It is holding a magic. I call that magic "love" because if you love what you are doing it shows. I think my feelings definitely shine in this piece.


 Queen Elizabeth roses, soft and beautiful coming to life in watercolour

 The red roses are so very different. Bold in colour. Velvety to touch. They demand stronger bold brushwork and they are repaying me for doing just that by shining against the white of my watercolour paper. Seen below on my easel.

 Pink and Red rosse start my day in watercolour. heaven to work on for an artist who loves colour and energy in their work

I am going to have a magnificent day. I can feel it in my bones. Which is why I am going to get off my computer and paint. I wish you a great day too!


 Roses coming to life on my easel


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Artists Tip for the Day

1) Think positive. No matter how hard life is, try to see the beauty and positive side of life. This positive energy will flow into your paintings.
2) Look for the beauty in everything around you. It is there. But sometimes our vision is a wee bit clouded by what is going on in our lives. 
3) Take time to simply sit and look at a subject. Paint it in your mind not on paper. You will be surprised at how much you learn by doing so!

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Monday, 25 September 2017

A Simple Act Of Kindness

Simple Pleasures
Roses from my garden, painted in Watercolour 

We have no idea how we effect others by our words or actions. But there is one piece of advise I have always believed in. Of all the things we can be in life, being kind is the greatest achievement of all. And that is a huge thing to achieve when often in life so much happens that perhaps we wish hadn't.

I shared a post on Facebook this morning, saying that I was eager to race to my studio. I had looked out of my window and seen grey skies and gloomy rainfall that could have dampened my spirits. I could have sat and watched the news and been thoroughly depressed by it but again, like the weather that too is out of my control. All that is in my control is how I behave and how I can hopefully make others smile.

So with my new book weighing on my mind and a deadline to meet to finish it I headed for my studio this morning. And to do so I had to walk past the roses in bloom in my garden. The pink ones caught my attention first. But these were quickly outshone by the velvety red roses that are fading, past their best but in doing so they look even more beautiful to me. Like a face with gorgeous laughter lines or a story to tell from wrinkles that have appeared through the years. My red roses have bloomed beautifully for quite some time. But after a heavy rainfall they had bent their heads with no strength to hold them upright. They looked even more fascinating, telling a new story. Beauty after the storm.

I carried three of these blooms into my studio and began painting them. I placed them side by side.I love that they then can represent the most important words anyone can hear in life.

I love you.


Maybe that will be this paintings' title!


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Last Rose of Summer: Daniel Smith Shades

Rose, painting and Daniel Smith colours from my studio work this morning

Although Autumn is here roses are still blooming in my garden, hanging on to Summer and I don't blame them. They look so beautiful. As if they are denying that things are about to change weather wise. Some things are out of our control, like the seasons. But everything that is beautiful we should make the most of whilst we are able to. 

Today I picked a few roses and carried them into my studio. Into the warm to paint. I have roses in every colour blooming but the pink ones caught my attention.

Before painting I placed a few dots of colour on paper to try out a few possible shade choices.

The following are my favourite shades, all by Daniel Smith.

1) Opera Pink. Perfect for painting summer roses!
2) Rose Madder Permanent . I absolutely love this colour , it adds a terrific richness to my floral work.
3) Quinachridone Lilac. I use this sparingly for depth underneath the petal edges. It creates interest and gives impact as a new addition to what could be just a plain pink painting.
4) My favourite of all. Rhodonite Genuine. My secret favourite. It gives me such a great effect. 

I love Daniel Smith watercolours for giving me such variety in so many ways with colours that excite and lift the soul. Especially when the day is as grey as it is today here in UK.

I can heavily dilute any of these shades to give me translucent petals or use the pigment more heavily for  stronger bold impact.

But for now I am painting roses. The last of this year from my garden.

And I am already longing for the summer of 2018!

Opera Pink rose, heavily diluted pigment makes this piece work well.

Friday, 22 September 2017

Going Nuts!

 "Going Nuts"

I am now working for two Christmas Exhibitions. I do find it really fascinating that I tend to think I am on top of things and then another project leaps at me. When this happens the sensible side of my brain screams at me to say "no". But my heart yells say "yes" and before I know it another project has been taken on!

Actually this time I am over the moon because my recent solo exhibition was so successful with sales that I have received requests from other galleries who now want specific subjects from me for their galleries too.

I leave soon for my USA tour so I am preparing for that, as well as proof reading my new book before it goes to my publisher for its' final stages. It is a long way off being published but it is getting there. And it looks so wonderful that I'm very excited about it.

So with so much to do in my studio you would think my focus would be on the things I desperately need to do. But no. Outside my studio I can see the bird feeder in our garden and birds are flocking to it.  The cheeky little blue tits love the peanuts hanging there and their antics make me smile non stop. We also have a visiting blue tit that sits on the outside door handle to our living room attacking its reflection in the glass every day. Tap,tap,tap  is the sound its tiny beak makes every morning and afternoon. It flies up and down the full length of the glass so I get plenty of opportunities to photograph it and paint from my own images.

This little bird looks as though it is going nuts with the bird it thinks it can see. An image of itself.

And so my painting this afternoon is titled

"Going Nuts"

And I think I enjoyed painting the peanuts as much as the birds themselves!


"Going Nuts"
Blue tits feeding on a string of peanuts in our cottage garden.


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Wednesday, 20 September 2017

Christmas Exhibition at The Frame Gallery 2017

"If I had Wings to Fly"

Following the success of my recent solo exhibition at the Frame Gallery I am delighted to have been invited to show in their fabulous Christmas small painting exhibition. Other artists include Pip McGarry, well known for his stunning wildlife paintings.

You heard it here first as the dates have only just been announced. 
My new work will be on show.

Details:-

Christmas Exhibition  2017
The Frame Gallery
81 High Street
Odiham
Hampshire
UK 
RG29 1LB
2nd - 9th December 2017
 Private View Strictly by invitation only.
Friday 1st December from 5.30pm to 8.30pm. 
 Please contact the gallery to request  to be placed on the invitation list.



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Charlfred Fine Art Exhibition 2017 , St Johns Wood, London

 "Famous Winner"

I am delighted to have been invited to exhibit in the following exhibition taking place in London next month.

Charlfred Fine Art Exhibition, 
St Johns Wood High Street, 
London 
UK
NW8 7SH

Saturday 7th October - Sunday 15th October 2017
Opening times Mon-Sat 9.00a.m - 6.30 p.m
Sunday 10.00 a.m -6.00 p.m. 


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Monday, 18 September 2017

Figures in Watercolour

 "Friends"

I find it amazing that I was recognised as one of the figures in my earlier street scene blog post from Florence, shared today. I used to paint figures all the time but then they lost their magic for me as other new favourite subjects took over. But when I painted them as a break from my scheduled painting week I found I had fallen in love with them. All over again.

I started painting figures when I lived in Dubai. I loved the markets and souks there so much and often wandered around with my camera collecting images to paint. Market scenes became my best selling work in exhibitions at that time along with portraits. But I later moved to France and continued with my market theme in watercolour there. Of course the clothing was different. Gone was the dish dash and in came Western clothing.

I still don't sketch before I paint when working on figures. I find my starting point. In this case one head shape, and I added the other heads in a row. Like paint blobs but with character!


 Paint blob heads in a row

Next I begin to add clothing. I look at the leg positions for the men in my painting as this will guide my brushwork on where to add colour. This group of friends are walking close together and I want to show that they like each other by connecting them with colour. As they are in bright sunlight I will leave a lot of paper white.

Adding clothing to the head blobs of colour is the next step.

Once I am very happy with the composition and proportions I strengthen colour in places and add details . From here I can add sunglasses, hats, a background or foreground. The choice is mine and I will have so much fun deciding. I just thought this could be a fun blog post as it is such an interesting way to work.


 Detail begins to be added to my figure painting.

My best tip for painting figures in watercolour is to sit in a busy shopping centre, market or airport even. Observe  and  sketch shapes. then try painting what you have seen with simple blobs of colour.

Be warned, this is addictive as a hobby! 

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Standing Out from the Crowd

 "Just Shopping"

I face another week working in my studio, painting outside when I can, and catching up on my new book which is looking so wonderful. I'm also looking forward to my USA and Canada workshops which commence next month. Already behind the scenes preparation is in hand, My paper and brushes will be sent over in advance and any samples I wish to use in my classes which isn't always possible but I love it when it does.

I remember my Stepmother telling me that time feels as though it slows down when you get older. I'm obviously not old enough yet as time seems to be flying by and speeding up as it does so for me. I pack so much into my days and love each one because I never know exactly what is going to happen. But I did feel like a break yesterday. And to everyone else that might be taken as having a break from painting. But for me painting is my escape, my relaxation. my therapy and yoga all rolled into one. And so I chose a completely different subject to paint so that my brain had a good work out on what to put where and why in this city scene of shoppers.

My resource photo is my own. I always prefer to paint from  my own images, things I have seen and fallen in love with. This particular shot almost gave everyone in the crowd halos as they were bathed in strong sunlight. The scene was in Florence and I loved my time there.





I started by painting the three main shoppers in the foreground, I then added the crowd disappearing into the distance behind them. And finally I added the buildings. Everyone on my recent workshops will know exactly how I painted the buildings, not with my brush, but with my watercolour paper.

This was great fun. The piece feels a little tight as I haven't painted a street scene of figures for quite some time which is why I chose this as a subject. We have to realise that if we paint the same subject repeatedly in the same style we are, in a way, standing still with our art. Even we feel more comfortable painting what we know, we are not allowing our inner artist to stretch their talent to  reach our full potential.

So my artist tips for  today are:-

1) Every now and then choose a subject you don't normally paint 
2) Every now and then, make yourself paint something you feel you will be a disaster at!
3) Then explore how your new painting works or does not work

Afterwards, go back to painting what you like painting. It should now seem easier to create, be more enjoyable and perahps more fun.

Do keep pushing yourself because that way your artistic skills will consistently improve and you will become a more talented artist.

Have a great week ahead and happy painting

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Sunday, 17 September 2017

Dream Catcher Dreams

" Essence of a Dreamcatcher"

This certainly isn't a painting I would dream of selling but it is a very strange how this piece came about this morning. 

I started my day by painting a few new washes. These pieces are for me to experiment with colour, relax through and hopefully discover new ideas for future work. This morning on one wash a spider web seemed to appear. So I aided it with a few brush strokes. As seen below. But where the colour had bled and merged beneath the web I could see a feather effect. Immediately I thought about Native American Dream Catchers.


Spider web or Dream catcher.

The next thing I knew I had left my painting completely and I was reading up about these wonderful items. Said to allow good dreams to pass through but trap bad dreams in the webbing. I love the idea that negativity could be entrapped if a dream catcher was placed near your bed whilst you were sleeping. In fact I love the history behind them completely.

I added to the wash making bolder marks on the feathers below. But I have left the web quite quiet, so it will be easier to trap anything negative in it. Bad dreams or negative thoughts.




What a very odd painting day but so rewarding learning about something, a tradition so ancient and so magical.

I know I want to learn more now.


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Saturday, 16 September 2017

Blackberries and Rosehips 2017




 
 Autumn Hedgerow

 Today has been the best painting day for such a long time. I have painted from my heart ,whatever subject I felt like and when I felt like it. No pressure from preparing for exhibitions. No pressure form having to write magazine features or my new book.

Just fun.

So you could say today was my day off and I could paint whatever I liked and oh boy, I did!

I started the day with washes, then painted the soft rose I shared on my blog earlier. But it was the simplicity of the last blog post that really turned on my artistic "buttons".I loved creating it so immediately grabbed my uncompleted blackberry paintings and added to them. Putting in more branches and an overall wash to give the feeling of another dimension to each piece. I should add that I now paint with my fingers so much and I am literally covered in paint at the moment but I feel great.

My easel looks like the image below and I will walk into my studio tomorrow and love seeing these two works in progress.
 

 
 Autumnal hedgerow complete with blackberries and rose hips.

My favourite painting is the one below as it has a gorgeous 3D effect. The upper berries seem to be leaping off the paper which is terrific. I love it so far. In fact it might be finished but I am in that painting zone where I am so happy that I don't want to leave either of the paintings.

"Hips and Berries"

The painting below has drama. It is exciting and so vibrant in colour. I am using many Daniel Smith shades with a few new techniques in building up colour that I have loved discovering over the summer months whilst I have worked diligently on my new book.


 "Autumn Drama"

I now cannot wait to see what tomorrow will bring in my next painting session.

Who knows?

Not me!

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Artists tip for the weekend?

1) Get out. 
2) Go for a walk. Not only will the exercise do you good but you will discover so much new inspiration that you can bring back to paint at your leisure. 
3)Look for treasure in subjects to paint that will be really fantastic to work on. 
4)Remember not all paintings have to be complicated. Some of the simplest paintings are the best.

Have fun and happy painting

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End of Summer

"End of Summer"

The sun is  shining outside my studio and I had started working on a new sea horse painting. But I kept looking at the light behind the trees in our garden. In the afternoon the soft sunlight gives a diffused effect which is so beautiful. Right by my studio I have an Acer which carries gorgeous dark leaves and the sunlit background is really showing them off. But the light alone kept catching my eye. So much so that the tree became irrelevant.

I painted the light in the distance and then added branches and twigs on top. I worked quickly and freely but I kept looking at the scene in front of me while I painted. For inspiration and guidance on where to place my brushwork next.

There is one branch that I have meant t remove. I walk past it daily, see it hanging down and always think next time I walk past I will carry my pruning shears and cut off the offending branch.

But isn't it funny. 

When I painted that branch hanging down it added to what could have been a boring composition. Adding interest and a lovely foreground "dark" to the soft branches in the distance.

I now of course love that branch. Its' artistic.

I won't remove it.

I may even paint it again.

How great to unwind on a simple but large painting that made me feel so relaxed when it came to life on my easel.

The simplest things in life can be the most beautiful of all.

Who knew a broken branch could be so fascinating. It even has its' own blog post now!

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A Gentle Soul

 Rose coming to life in watercolour
Minus a preliminary sketch

On every workshop I am asked to demonstrate how I paint roses. They are indeed a favourite subject of mine. This morning I picked one from my garden and began to paint it.While I did so words from my Chinese mentor came flooding back to me. They told me a good artist can only paint what is in their soul. They believed that you should never try to be someone you aren't with your art. They advised that you should not only be true to your own soul as an artist but you should also allow who you are to shine in your art. They urged me to delve deep within myself each time I picked up a brush to encourage my spirit to flow into my work.

I remember them telling me that I had a gentle soul and that no matter how hard I tried in my art journey I would always  return to who I truly am.

A soft, gentle soul.

So maybe that is why no matter how often I experiment, every now and then I want to paint quietly, softly and gently encouraging subjects to emerge via my soft brushstrokes and gentle use of colour .

As in this rose painting.

I started by selecting gorgeous colours from my Daniel Smith collection of shades.


 Opera Rose, Quinachridone Lilac and Rose Madder Permanent created this soft bloom

I used Cadmium Yellow for the centre but I varied the pinks in the petals.  I think we often look at a pink flower and only see pink. When in truth many shades of pink are right before our eyes. Maybe the best gift an artist possess's is the ability to see. Only by constant observation can we create great replicas of what nature has to offer in beauty.


 Further detail added

Summer is coming to an end here in UK and if I want to paint flowers I need to do so quickly before they all disappear.

There is no time better for painting than right now.

And so I am off to paint!


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Friday, 15 September 2017

A Dragons Charm: Seahorse in Watercolour

 "A Dragons Charm"

I am staying with my seahorse theme and series this week. This is the latest to my collection. Having fallen in love with the subject  my imagination is now stirred by the possibility of background changes.

In this new almost Celtic composition there are  wonderful patterns and effects behind the subject that make the painting more interesting. I say Celtic because this seems quite Irish, although I don't really connect sea horses with Ireland. It is simply the green that makes me think of St Patricks' Day!

I loved playing with coral in the foreground, as seen in the close up section image below.


Coral , adding interest in my sea scene.

Behind the seahorse, circular shapes had formed in my initial wash. These have now turned delightfully into bubbles or sea spray. With a little encouragement from me as the creating artist of course. These can be seen below



Sea "Bubbles" formed from an interesting first wash.

These patterns and effects are so much fun to create but most of the ideas in these washes are from my book "Paint Yourself Calm", that placed the focus on colour and washes to relax whilst painting. This way of working is truly exciting as you never quite know exactly what is going to happen. For example, I am painting a similar idea of a seahorse in each new painting and yet my results so far have been completely different. Because I am being led by colour, not direct thinking ahead of a new piece or from planning it . I am working freely. And this helps my creative time pass so magically. Full of fascinating outcomes.

I am reading up about sea horses now and there is so much folklore attached to them. They hang on with their tails against the currents. Tiny, delicate but so strong. They are said to be a sign to help you through emotional stress or turmoil.

But to me they are dragons. 
Charms that carry good luck. 
Lets' hope my new Celtic one carries a lot for all who see it!

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Wednesday, 13 September 2017

Paint Yourself Calm: Things can only get better.

 Sea Wash, foundation for a new sea horse painting

I do believe that things can always only get better. But you sometimes have to take that first step into making them.  For me, yesterdays painting session was so magical that I was eager to race to my studio this morning. However I had an appointment which would keep me away from painting anything too seriously. I come across this obstacle on my workshops so often when attending artists tell me that they are often so busy they have no time to paint at all from one week to the next. Well I get so busy too but I always find time  to paint three experimental washes each day and they do get better each time I pick up my brushes.

For example, look at the lively wash above. It is full of intriguing textural patterns. The brownish dots you see have been created by my application of Himalayan salt. I like the patterns this salt gives me but not always the marks it leaves. Here however I want to create a feeling of coral under the sea so they work well.

Below you can see a wash that has been created using normal rock salt. No brown marks here, just pretty patterns which are very efffective.



 Salt wash

But I love my simple "positive flow" technique washes as those seen below. Here colour alone does all the talking as it merges with water and forms gorgeous shapes for an exciting new composition.

 Healing Flow Wash


 Are all these washes going to be sea horse paintings? I don't know yet! But practise makes perfect and I am aiming for the most unusual wash result before I begin adding any subject. 

If you are interested in creating lovely washes and how they can relax you please read my book "Paint Yourself Calm". It goes through very simple colour exercises that can lead to the most wonderful paintings and at the same time have you relaxing while you paint. Below is an image from the book.


 Wash from my book "Paint Yourself Calm"


"Paint Yourself Calm"
Available from Amazon.com and leading art stores. 

How wonderful to be able to switch off from the world via colour and a brush!

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Tuesday, 12 September 2017

Kissed by a Dragon : Seahorse in Watercolour

"Kissed By A Dragon"
(Work in progress )

When I fall in love, I really fall in love.  And I have totally fallen in love with sea horses hence my second painting of one today. As soon as I completed my first painting,, shown in my last blog post,  in my mind I saw the second. It was golden in colour , not blue. It was vibrant surrounded by gorgeous sea effects.  And the above is what I have just painted from my heart. I will add a little more to this as the sea horse tail needs just a little more definition.

Each painting I create is  a new adventure that always without fail leads me to my next adventure. I also love painting magical subjects and  these miniature dragons, as I call them, are  definitely magical.

If you read my last blog post you will have known I loved imagining dragons existed as a child. I lived near a castle that I could wander around. It was surrounded by beautiful woodland where I would pick primroses each year. I walked my first dog there too. I loved it. It was the kind of castle where a knight in shining armour could rescue a damsel in distress. A story book place where imaginations could run riot if they were allowed to.

I think when I first fell in love with painting humming birds, some time ago, I felt something incredible happen to not just my art but to me as well.  The same thing is happening again. Something, I cannot put my finger on it, but something is happening that involves change. 

Perhaps' its time to move on or let go of something as in old techniques and leap into the new completely.

Whatever it is, it is exciting!

Apparently a sea horse has a spiritual meaning.Perhaps the sea horse subject has come into my life for a purpose. To guide me in some way. 
Or perhaps my imagination is working over time again! 

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