Sunday 31 July 2011

We Were All Beginners Once!

We Were All Beginners Once!
 A very early portrait of mine 
From an online portrait tutorial of mine years ago.
Thank you so much to everyone who liked my recent post of  a portrait  painted for an online tutorial years ago.  I have had some wonderful emails forwarded to me  from artists who loved this sweet face and many from blog readers who are literally just starting their own art journeys. 
It is worth remembering that every single artist you meet , no matter who they are was a beginner at some time in their lives. And even as established artist we all often make mistakes. I still put paintings in the bin if I am not happy with them. Friends may wish I didn't but they are just not what I was hoping to achieve!

We really are all in a fabulous world where we understand exactly what each other is going through. From learning how to paint to that moment of trying to get into a gallery, society or exhibition. Don't worry when you have bad days,those will make the good days seem far better.The best advise is to keep moving that brush,don't worry what others say about your art. Love it yourself and believe in it.

You may find this amusing but when I first went off the rails of  tried and true techniques quite a few artists didn't like my one eyed animals or portraits. My loose work was far too loose for them and I was advised to stay working as I was or I would never be successful as an artist.  But guess what?  My style is being loved now and tried by others who love it too. I stuck to my guns,stayed true to what I wanted to achieve and I am loving where I am now.

So if you want to paint a one legged cow, purple donkey or multi colour cabbage,you go for it.Your art is your own so be unique and brave enough to do so! Love what you do and don't ever be put off by those who may not see the world as you do.

On that note I will get back to painting my one eyed, one eared, two legged cat with green spots!


Sunday Inspiration

Angels On My Shoulders

Demonstrating How to Paint Bell Flowers
During  my workshops in Norway 2010

When life is moving at such a fast pace,the  days when you can slow down and simply enjoy life are magical. Yesterday I had such a day. The sun was shining and I had time to sit in my garden painting flowers. I became transfixed with one in particular. Especially how the light was making some petals become transparent and others look more solid in appearance.

I eagerly sat on the warm grass with the sun shining on my shoulders to gradually bring the beauty of it to life.While I worked I absorbed every single detail of the flower. I looked at the centre which to me was its heart. Surrounding this gorgeous area were many  petals,some in light, some in shadow. Together they gave a wonderful vision. This was perfect for a chapter of  the book that I am currently working on. My brushes had to move quickly as the heat of the day was making my pigment dry. 

There is often a moment in every succesful painting when something magical happens.When you become one with the paper and subject as it begins to come to life. This not only happened yesterday but in a way that I have never felt before. I was entranced with the softness of the watercolour flower as it appeared. Part of me wanted to complete the piece quickly so as to see where the composition was going to end.The other part of me wanted to slow down to a snails pace and savour every single fabulous second of the magic happening in front of my eyes. When I finsihed I placed the finished painting on my easel in my studio so that it would be 
the first thing I saw this morning.

 It is a new day and with  fresh eyes I have looked at the painting I did in my garden yesterday

It was one of those momentst when I asked myself.

" Did I really paint that?"

It is probably one of the  most beautiful flower paintings I have ever achieved in my life and I know why.  I had read several emails yesterday morning from wonderful readers of my blog who had taken time to thank me for inspiring them, letting me know how much they enjoy my blog.When I read some  of the messages a familiar lump came into my throat as emotions took over. The kindness and warmth in every word stayed with me for my day and flowed into my brushstrokes as I worked for my second book. The knowledge that others like what I am doing makes me want to strive even harder to  share my techniques and discoveries in watercolour.

 My tip to day is, if it is a wonderful day take five minutes to sit outside and paint the one thing you see that you really find fascinating. It could be a stone, twig or flower. But take a few minutes to capture it in watercolour. And then smile for the rest of the day because you have painted and achieved something. Another step in your own art journey!

Saturday 30 July 2011

SWA,Society of Women Artists 150th Annual Exhibition 2011: Favourite Painting

A Favourite Painting

We all have those moments. You will know what I mean if you regularly visit art exhibitions. I can tell at a glance in a gallery whether I wish to stay or leave. I know immediately whether my visit will be a brief encounter or one where I will take my time absorbing every single painting,colour combination,subject choice and composition in as many mediums as possible.

When I walk through the door to any show my instant decision of entering or not is made by the impact of my first glimpse.This is why I strongly believe how an exhibition is hung is vital to the success of any event. Without great art and  clever presentation visitors will make their choice as to stay or leave.

With the Society of Women Artists 150th Annual Exhibition  my decision was already made as last years show was breathtakingly brilliant. I am an SWA member and as part of the council, yes in a way obliged to be there. Friends know this so to pretend otherwise would be futile. However in my view, each year the SWA Exhibiton gets better and better. I feel it cannot and yet it does. Even so, when I very first saw this years exhibiton my jaw dropped. I was like a child in their favourite candy store. I wanted to view every room and every inch of wall space. I felt my desire to race home and pick up a brush burning by the talent on display. Talent that left me as always feeling inadequate because I have so far I wish to go on my own art journey. That comment may amaze my blog readers. I was with an established artist recently who told me they loved my work and envied me because of my enthusiasm for life and art. Whilst they understood my feelings they also told me they wished they could paint as I do. Freely and with such a sense of movement. I was taken aback as I am nowhere near as brilliant as he is. In fact I doubt I ever will be.In my eyes anyway.

But back to the SWA exhibition.

I began my eager viewing of the paintings on show. Moving from one, in awe, to the next. I was taken by so many beautiful subjects. Animals cleverly caught in oil and amazing landscapes. The three sea oil paintings by SWA member Tina Stokes really made me wish to use my oils again. She caught the beauty of sailing perfectly and  with simplicity. The "Foxhounds Greeting" by SWA member Vanessa Jayne were wonderful. I marvelled at the texture in the work by SWA member Judith Roberts. 

I could mention every painting because there were so many I loved. Especially the portraits as this is where I started painting and teaching as a subject. I have always loved painting personality and aiming to capture more than just a face in my results. I want to evoke emotion and entice the viewer of my work to wonder what my subject was thinking,whio they were and what their lives were like.

As I stood in the main hall of the Mall Galleries in London I looked up and saw an image that stopped me in my tracks. As a child I had very bright copper hair. It was so thick  that my grandmother insisted on keeping it cut short  for easier management. But I longed for long hair like the other girls I had seen in my school. It was a time when every child in the village had that one special dress for Sunday best. I longed to wear mine as it was the only item of clothing with beautiful delicate colour that I possessed. Everything else was practical and not very pretty. My "Sunday best" dress was. It was far too big for me but I was told I would grow into it. I never did. My little legs stuck out from under the overly full, long skirt and my tinier arms seemed lost in the over large armholes. The stiff hem touched the floor pushing the neckline up to just under my chin. When I walked it moved with me inside it. It rustled each time I moved. As I looked at my favourite painting I went back in time to my childhood and remembered putting that dress on. In my mind I never once saw the  dress that was too large for me. In my imagination I was wearing the prettiest dress in the world and it fitted. In my imagination I could see the prettily dressed little girl I longed to be.

How amazing that one look at a painting could bring memories flooding back as this one did.But isn't that what good art is all about.Capturing a viewers attention long enough for them to absorb the story being told or imagine their own.
As I type I wish I had bought my favourite painting but unsurprisngly it sold the very first moment it was seen. As all good paintings are.

If you visit the SWA Society of Women Artists Annual Exhibition 2012 please look out for this artists work. They have no idea this blog entry is about their painting or why I loved it so much.

Here is my favourite painting, and maybe it will evoke memories for you too.

Vikky Furse SWA

"The tilt of her head,
The fall of her hair
The glow of her dress
Beauty every where

A wistful expression
A moment in time
This painting evokes
Memories so sublime"

I have to say a very big thank you to everyone who has sent me touchiung messsages by email to thank me for my blog. I have read each one almost feeling like crying because I had no idea how inspirational my posts have been and to some very special people.

Thank you so much for taking the time to let me know how much  my blog posts mean to you. I wish you the most magical of art journeys and  I hope your  dreams all come true,no matter how large or small they are.

Keep painting because your own work  could be the favourite painting of someone elses tomorrow.
Make someone write about your art  as I have wriiten about Vikky Furse SWA.

That would be wonderful, 
Wouldn't it. 


Friday 29 July 2011

July Challenge 2011: Join In!

July Challenge 2011 Again
 Painting Sunshine!
 Working on a raggedy daisy in watercolour

I thought it might be fun to share a few tips to anyone who would now like to join in and try the July  Watercolour Challenge. I shan't be posting any more paintings on this subject as a new one  challenge is coming up. But you may like to share your results on your facebook or own blogs so that we can spread the word for future watercolour challenges here.

This is the subject.
Stage 1. Start by painting the centre with yummy yellow or orange. Remember to leave white spaces  on this side of the centre for the petals leaning over the middle of the flower .

Stage 2. Using water "bleed" colour away from the centre to the distant and outer edge petals. As your burhs gradully runs out of pigment your brushstrokes will get lighter. ( Thats a great tip ! ) Make points at the tips of some petals and leave other outer petal edges more rounded. Look at your reference photograph for the detail you need to make this really interesting. Don't paint just what you see. Paint what you feel should be there. Paint with a huge smile on your face and enjoy the fun of creating this gorgeous flower.
  A yummy  warm glowing centre of a daisy!

You can add a few darks to the outer edge iof the centre when this is dry if you wish later on.
Stage 2.  Add colour by working negatively around the outer edges of the far side petals. This is so easy!
Copy the shape of the petals of the flower that you can see in the photograph. Take your time and really let go. Inside you is a fabulous artist who may be trapped there because you won't let them out!

Adding outer petals to the  daisy by negative painting.

Now repeat the process for the second flower and see what happens.

Painting is so much fun and so therapeutic.This should leave you feeling happy, energised and eager to paint something else.What other white flowers can you lay your hands on?

Now....don't  just sit there reading my blog, go and paint!
And remember .........
Paint with a huge smile on your face and enjoy the fun of creating this gorgeous flower.


I am having so much fun writing the current chapters of my second book. I seriously want to share how happy I feel with the whole world hence this little exercise to warm you up.
I hope you are looking forward to my new book being published next year as much as I am,

Thank you for reading my blog.


July Challenge : Favourite Painting No: 2.

July Challenge 2011
Favourite Painting No:2

I couldn't choose just one favourite painting for the July Challenge as two very easily caught my eye and for very different reasons. This second painting shows such ability in capturing light and movement in a wonderful loose style. I was taken aback when I first saw it.

Sometimes we only glance at a piece. Other times we have to look more than once to really gain an insight into the beauty of what we are looking at.I think this is one of the main problems for an artist especially new ones.They often don't see the beauty in their own work. It is only when someone else points it out that they too can look and see things from a different perspective.

This second favourite painting is by Jenny Hopkins.

Just look at this,it is simple in composition isn't it but there is something very clever going on in the lower corner of the composition. Here a flower is different in appearance to the main one glowing with the gorgeous yellow centre. This lower flower really acts as the backing singer to the incredible leading performer up above.Without it the main flower could appear less striking.

Daisies by Jenny Hopkins
July Watercolour Challenge 2011

I also love the top right hand corner that is left to the viewers imagination.

We all see things very differently but I adore this painting.

I hope you do too!

Thank you very much Jenny for sending me your painting. 

I have decided on a fun project for August to get everyone smiling while they paint or reaching out to hit me! 
I will share it next week!


A huge thank you to everyone who has sent me flowers  for this challenge.
I hope you like the next one!


July Challenge: favourite Painting No:1

July Challenge 2011

I am really thrilled with the wonderful paintings forwarded to me for my July Challenge 2011 of painting white daisies. I wasn't expecting many artists to respond so  I was happily amazed  seeing  such fabulous inspirational pieces. Anyone  who knows me well will understand that, for me art isn't solely about what I paint or achieve. My life is about others and how they are inspired. I strongly believe we can only grow as artists if we  share our techniques and learn from  artists  of all levels.

It is so wonderful to share a watercolour on my blog that is not painted by me!

Favourite Challenge Painting No. 1.
This is a favourite painting that came to me  this week. Painted by Grace. I love this result so much because she has caught the texture of the raggedy petals so exquisitely. I love the main flower looking at the side of the page. The centre of this flower was a real nightmare to work with as the petals leaning over it  in the foreground set a challenge all of their own! I also love the smaller flower underneath just peeping  upwards to be noticed.

 White Daisies from my July Challenge
Painted by Grace

There ius a fabulous sense of colour harmony throughout the ocmposition by clever use of a limited palette. And there is also a very subtle  feeling of movement,as if the wind could blow these flowers and they would softly sway in the breeze.

I think it is wonderful.

How about you?


Thank you so much Grace for participating with my July challenge. I loved your  daisies as you can see!

Thursday 28 July 2011

Laughter is the Best Medicine!

Colours of Africa

We may be all in the same boat but I don't have a painting of a boat handy to go on my blog so a lady carrying a heavy load works just as well!

I have laughed so much this afternoon at some of the wonderful comments in reply to my blog post 
"Demise of a Woman". It seems many of us are in the same boat juggling so much in order to find time to paint. As my profession has become even more busy I am finding less time to move my brushes due to so many other areas connected with my art life. It's nice to know I am not alone in wishing my brushes were in my hands for most of the day instead of dealing with everything else!

The good news is I am all ready to share my selected painting from the July Watercolour challenge and it will be on my blog tomorrow. I have loved looking at all the wonderful pieces sent to me and it has felt like a fabulous holdiay from writing .A huge thank you to everyone who sent me their  flowers to enjoy.

Roll on tomorrow!


A Womans Demise

Old Pastel of a Bearded Collie from days when I loved working in pastel!

Every female artist will understand this blog post. 

A Womans Demise 

She clears the table from the evening meal, checks everything is ready for the morning and finally switches off from her busy day. Finally she has time to think about her studio and what she will paint in the morning. While she falls asleep beautiful subjects appear in her dreams. Vibrant compositions and wonderful paintings full of life and movement. She can't wait for morning to come.

And it does.
She makes coffee,toast and tea for the family.  Smiling she watches as they leave for work and gradually begins to clear the breakfast away.  Upstairs she make the beds and then heads downstairs to her art studio walking past the laundry room which is piled sky high with washing from a loving husbands return home from sailing. While loading the washing machine she begins to imagine what her brushstrokes will create if she ever gets to her studio.  The dishwasher stops at that moment and she knows if she empties it now she will have more time to work later on but an interruption comes from the phone ringing. Now time is taken instead on organising an event for next week. While she is on the phone she decides to also make a few more appointments for next week which means she needs to check emails first to do so.  The flower she so wanted to paint from her dreams has all but wilted in her distant memory as she begins to forget what it looked like in the first place.  She returns to her task of emptying the  dishwasher and looks at the clock. The day is disappearing but she decides to have a quick cup of coffee before heading to her studio. She stops to remind herself, what was she going to paint?  Not surprisingly she has completely forgotten. Was it a dog or a portrait ? No wait, it was a flower but what kind?  As she struggles to remember the washing machine pings taking her out of her train of thought. So she moves to the laundry room,empties the washing into a basket and walks into the garden to hang the clothes on the line. Outside she notices the  flowers badly need watering and the fish in the pond need feeding. Moving to the pond she sees her ducks are all in a line waiting to be fed.

Finally the home is gleaming, the washing is all out to dry,the zoo is fed.

At last she can paint.
Until she sees the dog who is asking

"Great, you're ready. Is it time for my walk now?"


I am like every other woman. I have a home to run and a family to care for and a wonderfully fluffy dog who insists quite rightly on having his regular walks. I understand how many of us juggle our day to find the time to paint and fit in what we are passionate about doing!

Which makes it oh so much more wonderful when we finally manage to pick up our brushes!

Wednesday 27 July 2011

The Artist Magazine Feature: August Feature 2011

Amazing Ways With Watercolour

 Cat Coming to Life from an interesting wash of exciting colour and techniques
From my feature in The Artist Magazine this month.

I read the August issue of The Artist Mgazine yesterday and was thrilled to see how my article looked amongst the pages of incredible features. Its going to take me some time to absorb all the fantastic information in the issue as there is so much for artists of all levels to enjoy.

My own feature looks at ways to work in watercolour that are new and thrilling.Especially  if you love the medium as much as I do. I am not content to paint in methods that artists have used long before me. My thirst and constant search for  something new is a journey that I absolutely feel passionate about and love sharing.

I hope readers enjoy it!

And the answer to a question being asked by friends and readers oif my features


This IS a sign of what is to come in my new book!

Tuesday 26 July 2011

Winning Or Losing?

Old Portrait 
From days when I used preliminary sketches.

 I paint more loosely now so teach portraits minus the use of a pencil! 
I wonder if anyone reading my blog remembers this painting?
It was used as a step by step online for watercolour portraits.

Over the last few weeks I have been with artist freinds who have discussed several issues which are all of value to those who care about their work, reputation and image. Of course the recent  post on my blog regarding copyright was one issue and I still need to reply to a few wonderful emails so please don't think I have forgotten you if you are still waiting for a reply.
Then the subject of artists paying to be included in books came up also. The conversation was connected to competitions in which you pay a submission fee to enter your paintings. The prize is inclusion in a book if your work is selected. I have seen many such books that are absolutely fantastic!  I know some amazing artists who have been included and one who succeeded in not only getting their painting selected but had her brilliant painting placed on the cover. I will never forget seeing that painting as it was so wonderful.  Had I had the chance to judge I would have chosen it too. That painting  has stayed in my mind to this day. It was a snail but not just any snail,it was pure magic in a piece of art!  What a sense of achievement and boost to an artists career of any level.  I don't really see this so much as a competition purely about getting into a book. The competition standards are often very high and it can also be an opportunity to be seen as a talented artist along side many others whom you admire. 

So winning or gaining a place judged purely on your talent really means something wonderful.

What happens though when judging a competition is down to your peers?  With the internet now and how it has grown it is possible for anyone at all  to have thousands of freinds on facebook, many followers on blogs and Twitter as well as belonging to several art web sites. Do contacts really vote on talent or for a friend?  Those who know how to use a computer and work the internet are most likely to succeed with the highest number of votes.So how much of a prize is the final goal actually worth as an indication of talent?

Whatever you are doing,whatever you wish to join in with or achieve make it a dream from your heart and depend on your talent to get you there. Because at the end of the day that is how you will be seen by others. Whether they are friends or other artists. The world is getting smaller as we all communuicate online. 

Most importantly have confidence in your own art and what you alone can achieve.
You may just be surprised so that when your dreams do come true you will deserve all the credit coming your way. Then enjoy it!


I hope this helps answer a few emails I have received this week, now I must get back to writing my book!


Sweet Sensation

Painting Perfume

Sweet Pea coming to life in  watercolour washes.

Something magical is happening. 

I can feel it. 

As I work on my next book my own watercolours are changing. Mainly because I  am constantly repeating the wonderful new techniques I wish to share in it. Yesterday I  completed what has to be my favourite chapter so far. My fingers flew across my keyboard as my enthsuaism reached a level which was an  incredible high. I literally bounced around my home last night with that fabulous glow which only comes from having a sense of sheer happiness.I thought I knew myself so well  by now but no, an inner " inner" artist is emerging and this one I am absolutely thrilled to know!

I can't wait to work on the next chapter knowing it will trigger excitement when it is read. This has to be the most uplifting of experiences of my life knowing I can give away all that I have learned about watercolour in the hope my new book will bring so much joy to other artists when they read it.


Thank you to everyone who is sending me emails with paintings of flowers for my July Challenge. 
I will keep my word and share my favourite painting on my blog this Friday.
I will also give positive  feedback on why it works for me!

Monday 25 July 2011

Floral Inspiration

Floral Inspiration

Hollyhocks from my garden 
An artists inspiration.

I have no idea where to start in my studio this morning. I have three very exciting chapters of my new book that need completing and a ballerina on my easel from yesterdays watercolour session. Not to mention the very long number of emails that desperately need replying to.

But out of my window I can see tall gorgeous hollyhocks  hit by beautiful sunlight.Without even picking up my brush I can feel Cadmium Yellow and Cerulean Blue bringing them to life. Maybe just those two shades are all I would need. Artists who came on my  flower workshop earlier this year will know exactly how I would simplify and approach all the wonderful ruffles in these blossoms.And gain texture at the same time.

I must work on my book today that is a definite.
And I must reply to the email messages.
But oh dear those hollyhocks are calling out my name!


"Never put off until tomorrow what you can do today" 


Please feel free to paint from this photograph if it inspires you and if you have a successful result  please feel free to sell it. 

You have my permission on this one as it is just too gorgeous to ignore isn't it!

Sunday 24 July 2011

The Magic of Watercolour

A Magical Minute

Young Ballet Dancer in a first magical wash

It happens sometimes. That wonderful moment when your brush creates something that is so full of light and life that you simply cannot believe it. I went to close my studio after a working session and felt I needed to clean my palette as there was so much flesh tone left on it. I had been working on portraits. To unwind I felt like  throwing anything on paper aimed at the bin.

I picked up a scrap of old watercolour paper from a box I keep them in. I started with a "blob" for a head. My intention at this point was to work downwards adding a body and a leg.Nothing more. But years ago I painted a little girl in a ballet postion at the bar. It is so funny how memories can be triggered. At that time I painted many ballet dancers as they were my then favouriute subject.

The tutu appeared from my wash and then the legs as I moved downwards on the paper. I love the light on the arm.

. I am well on my way to a soft painting with atmosphere and a sense of life.
Maybe when this is finished it could be one for my book.
We will see!

Life Is Not About Me.

Simply Playing With Colour

 Favourite Section of my Experiment with Colour

 It's incredible how one small idea can grow into something even more exciting. I set the July 2012 Challenge mainly because the flowers from my garden were just too beautiful to ignore. Now I can't take my mind off them and love thinking of ways to paint them so that they look a little more abstract.

The challenge paintings from followers of my blog that have already been sent to me by email are fantastic.And far better than mine! On that note the lovely artist who classes herself as a complete amateur  has caught them really beautifully and should be very proud of her result which led me to todays blog entry.

 I keep meeting people on workshops and at exhibitions who tell me they can't paint. And then I see their work and it's fantastic. I look back at  my own art journey and remember loving working with watercolour but feeling none of my efforts were worth framing. And then I hit that moment when I went completely nuts framing every single thing I created. This luckily was a very short phase in my art career! 

I quickly realised that not everything I painted was a masterpiece. Furthermore I know for sure I will never be as brilliant as the artists I admire. It doesn't matter who you are in this crazy art world there will always be someone who can paint far better than you.That is life.And if you weren't aware of that fact you would be a rather arrogant  personality! Yes,many professionals are very happy with where they are but guess what? Every single one was a beginner at some time in their lives.

We can't buy confidence. I wish we could. But we can instil it in others.
So my request is to not only look at your own work but that of others. Maybe you have friends who are artists who lack confidence. Just one positive piece of feedback from you could make the biggest of differences in another artists life. The strange thing is while you take time to encourage others something may just happen to your own art.You may just start believing that you are not as bad as you thought you were. Wouldn't that be amazing!

 I have a saying.

" Life isn't about me".

And it isn't!

Experimental Daisy Wash,
Centre  smaller petals still to be added!


Monday is my day for catching up on emails so please bear with me if you are waiting for a reply!


Saturday 23 July 2011

Working In Pastel

Working In Pastel
Sometimes it is wise to take a break. A holiday to refresh the creative spirit and renew excitement in your artistic soul. It isn't widely known that I used to work in pastel years ago especially with animals and portraits. The softness of this medium helps me to  draw on the feeling of  fur and I adore  working with skin tones. This feeling I then pull into my watercolours when I switch back to the medium that has now become my first love.
I have been writring  and painting  in watercolour constantly for my second book. As much as the ideas are flowing I felt I needed to escape for a little while so that coming back to my book was like returning home to where I wanted to be and in a fabulous frame of mind, keen to continue and refreshed from my break.

Buster beginning to appear in a pastel study.

 My " holiday" consisted of working on my cat Buster in pastel. Softly laying a base of colours as a foundation for further work.Friends who know me will understand this is an emotional piece because sadly Buster has been diagnosed with Cancer .There is no possible treatment but he is doing very well, looking great and is  really happy at the moment. So to have him as my model now is a wonderful way to enjoy my time with him.

Buster is a fluffy cat with a glorious ginger coat so I will work on this beginning to build up his expression, markings and sweet face.

I am certain an entry on my blog in pastel  came as a surprise to quite a few of my friends who follow me here!

Thank you for the wonderful flower paintings sent to me for the second Watercolour Challenge for July, I am thrilled to see them and over the moon this idea is being inspirational! I will be posting the favourite  next week here but will add to my facebook page as well!

Friday 22 July 2011

Sharing Talent

Art by Jullia 
"The beauty of things exist in the soul of those who admire them"

I must admit in this world of art I am constantly meeting the most wonderful of artists. Some have no idea just how talented they are. I recently gave a demonstration of my watercolour techniques at the Mall Galleries in London during the SWA Society for Women Artists 150th Annual Exhibition.  At the close of day I shared coffee with artists who had come to watch me in action.

I could write a very long blog entry but instead I would  like to refer you to Jullias blog. But please don't just read her description of her day at the Mall Galleries. Please view her amazing  collection of portraits. This morning I forwarded her art to "Derwent Pencils" who were equally impressed.

Thank you Jullia, it was an absolute pleasure to meet you and thank you so much for such a wonderful  entry on your blog about me. I am really  touched by your words.


I have many emails and messages to respond to at the moment so please bear with me if you are waiting for a reply. Working on my book and next years schedule is my main focus but I will  be in touch soon!


For those who are interested I am now on Twitter!

Thursday 21 July 2011

July Challenge 2011: Painting White?

July Challenge 2011 
No. 2.
Painting White Subjects.

Image 1.

I have receeved some fantastic emails  forwarding paintings from my initial July Watercolour Challenge that I shared here on my blog purely for fun. I had no idea it would create so much interest. So a huge thank you to everyone who has given the still life oif Cosmos Daisies a lease of life as your own  beautiful paintings.

While I am in my studio writing it is wonderful to take a break and link up with other artists on my blog so here goes with a new challenge! I will share my favourite result on my blog next week as this is also a terrifc way to direct readers of my blog to other sites and share our passion for watercolour.

Now that I know there is interest in projects I will share a few occasionally here when I see subjects that excite me and tempt my brushes.


Beware, there are a few tasks included in this challenge!

Task 1. Choose an image from the two in this post. That's the easy bit!
Task 2.  Paint white flowers in a way that you feel would be unique and interesting
Task 3. Finally paint your flowers so they have a feeling of life and movement about them.
This may be a still life but it doesn't have to appear wooden!

I will look at  the paintings that are sent to me and share one favourite on my blog next week along with giving my view on why I liked it so much.

Whilst I am choosing floral subjects  for Summer this will rapdily change in future challenges!

Everyone is welcome to join in so please encourage your freinds to participate and let's have summer fun!


Tuesday 19 July 2011

Working With Summer: July 2011

Working With Summer: July 2011
Heavy rain has made painting in my garden impossible today. I had hoped to sit and paint sweet pea but alas this was not to be. I am trying to avoid painting in my studio as I am working with natural light as much as possible for the experiments I am including in my next book.

As I sat and typed an intriguing chapter that has me spellbound to my computer and easel I noticed the rain outside had briefly stopped. Sure enough, the sun was making an attempt to shine. I quickly picked up my board, paper and palette and sat on the steps outside my studio. Here I have an old terracotta pot and nasturtians are making their way around it. I use the flowers in salads for decoration and to eat.

Experimental nasturtians in watercolour.

I must admit there is nothing better to beat the grey skies of  an awful rainy day  than to work in vibrant glowing oranges. I carried on with the theme from my earlier poppy painting by adding clingfilm for texture around the blossoms. I hastily carried the piece inside to study when the heavy rain began again.

This was a very quick play with pigment but I thoroughly enjoyed the break from typing!

"Nasturtians" waiting for central detail and leaf additions.
When the rain stops!

Daily Inspiration : Poppy Mania

Poppy Mania.

Creating texture With cling film for an exciting field full of poppies.

I am reading  amazing messages from artists who are eager to see what is in my next book. Amongst them are some wonderfully touching messages from artists who are letting me know they love my blog,  who find it a daily inspiration and  look forward to seeing what I am going to post next.
There are also lovely comments of impatience from those who are finding the wait until next Spring far too long for my book to be launched. I really am so very grateful for every email because these messages encourage me to work in my studio on the days when I have possibly been locked in there for far too long!

I have reached a fanbulous stage where the book is flowing with a life of its own. I actually dream about new chapters and what I wish to include in them.  I also realise my blog has become quite quiet of late with more news on exhibitions of mine rather than inspirational ideas on things to paint. So I am going to try to share some fun ideas over the next few months and challenges to keep everyones brushes moving. ESpecially as this years wroskhops are all fully booked and have been for some time now.

Today I wandered to an area of our garden and enjoyed the poppies that are gently swaying in the breeze there.Their colourful heads defying the heavy rain from yesterday as new buds have opened. Displaying glorious red flowers that beg  my brush to capture them in vibrant colour. We have so many varieties of poppy in our garden now. Some are bright red,some almost orange and others a true violet shade. I think birds are responsible for dropping seeds everywhere because we haven't planted most of them!

If you are bored and at a loss on what to paint how about experimenting with cling film as I have here for a change and just paint for fun.Y ou may be amazed at how terrific your results will be of crinkly petals and glorious backgrounds and foregrounds.

Whatever you paint, enjoy it!


A huge thank you to everyone who has taken the time to contact me. I haven't had time to catch up on all my messages yet having been in London so much with the SWA ,Society for Women Artists 150th Annual Exhibition but I will soon be back on track!