Monday 21 April 2014

Arte Umbria : Watercolour Course Italy 2014

My Garden Spring 2014

It is amazing how quickly time passes. It doesn't seem that long ago that I was told my latest book "Atmospheric Watercolours" was going to be translated into Italian and the idea of a workshop in Italy became a reality. That was last year.

Tomorrow morning I leave my beautiful cottage garden  and head for Umbria in Italy to teach my weeks watercolour course there. I am really looking forward to it and my time in Florence following my course.

You can read more about my course and Arte Umbria via this link 

The course has been fully booked for some time and I cannot wait to get there.

Italy here I come!


Saturday 19 April 2014

April 2014 : Publishers, Workshops and Exhibitions.

Cockerel Demonstration
Watercolour Workshops 2014

I have had an amazing month. I haven't been online very much on my blog and I think it may be even harder for me to get online for the next few weeks also. 

A quick look back over the last few weeks !

My solo exhibition "Watermark" opened at the Frame Gallery in Odiham and runs until 25th April. There is still time to see the show although some paintings have happily left for their new homes.

I had a  very exciting meeting with my publisher last Monday to dicuss my new book which will be  launched in June 2015.  I  couldn't wait to show  the editorial team viisting my studio my latest work and ideas for chapters. Seeing their  faces  showing obvious surprise and delight was well worth the secrecy. I was thrilled to be offered yet another book in the future on an idea that has unwittingly leapt from this one. A project that can sit in the background until I have time to think about it further. Why the long wait for this next book? It takes time to compile information, paintings and plan the professional photography "step by step" filming sessions. What most people  do not realise is that there is often a six month wait for the finished  product to come back from the printers. For now I can hold this new " baby" in my arms as a loose folder of  work and look forward to the day it is completed for all to share. I can't wait until summer next year but I still have sections to write as it is not ready yet!

 Quietly, new work has been delivered to the Wey Gallery in Godalming and they are over the moon with my new horse racing scenes. You can read more about the pieces via this link

The last two weeks have been incredibly busy as I have been teaching watercolour on my popular workshops in Hampshire UK.  I have met the greatest of people each day and been  overwhelmed by how far people are travelling to attend. Apart from the two artists who drove down from Scotland I had artists from Australia, France, USA and Ireland in the recent groups.  Considering we have had artists from Iceland, Norway, Vietnam, Thailand, Canada , Portugal and Italy in the past these sessions are really becoming an international event each year.

So whats' next for me?

I leave for Italy next week to teach at Arte Umbria and then I will be travelling to Florence. The minute I return home I will be heading for my publishers for the photography sessions of the step by step demonstrations in my new book. I am trying desperately to keep everyone happy soI  will include as many subjects as I can along with many, many new tips and colour suggestions.

Following that I will be looking forward to demonstrating in St Cuthbert Mill Marquee at Patchings. I will  be there on Thursday, Friday and Saturday so please come and see me and say Hi!

My tour of Australia takes place in Autumn this year with fully booked sessions in Sydney, Adelaide, Brisbane and Tasmania so for the whole of 2014 I am going to be very active and enjoying my painting life to the full.

If my blog goes a little quiet please bear with me but I will make up for the quiet periods as often as I can!

Don't make me Laugh Please!

Watercolour Demonstratuon from April 2014 Watercolour Workshops

I have had a fabulous two weeks teaching my Hampshire based Watercolour Workshops in UK. It has been  such a inspirational time with ideas continually flowing and incredible art being achieved by many artists attending. I am so impressed by the shared enthusiasm and beautiful work that seems to consistently flow on these events.

Yesterday was the last  day of my two day watercolour course and I offered to demonstrate a puffin. I must confess I cannot remember having ever painted one before but my style lends itself to seeing "colour" as opposed to "subject" so I always find a starting point, which in this case was the eye , and work away from it. A group of artists were behind me,watching me while I worked. We looked at use of colour  and as I imagined the  little character in brilliant sunshine this  effected my initial goal of creaing soft light in the result..

I had painted the eye and formed the back of the head which seemed to flow beautifully.  My little pufin was coming to life magically in front or our eyes. But as I was just about to add the orange beak to the birds' face an artist behind me made the fascinating comment  that "Puffins beaks fall off in Winter". I sat and looked at my beakless demonstration to imagine  large numbers of puffins wandering around "beakless" which made me laugh. I wasn't alone as the whole group erupted into laughter followed by an uncontrollable giggling attack by myself and others.  Tears of laughter were running donw my face at this point which was a fantastic way to close the second day of the course. On a happy high. I did manage to pull myself together enough to complete the demo but the happiness filled the room and it was superb. It reminded me how serious we often are when painting. So much so that the whole joy of creating can sometimes be lost.

Wonderful moments like this that happen on a workshop are unforgettable. I have this awful feeling that if anyone shows me a photograph of a puffin in future it is going to be very hard for me to look at it with a straight face!

As for the demonstration? It was fabulous and I loved  discovering yet another new favourite subject.

I do meet the most amazing people on my courses. I honestly feel its' a privilege to teach as I do. I hope everyone who came to the last two weeks courses has as great a time as I did and feel inspired to continue painting non stop now!


N.B  The 2015 UK workshop dates will be released in October 2014. This information is sent out to everyone on my workshop email list so please be sure you are on it by emailing me on

Places go very quickly and I am often fully booked within such a short space of time for the year ahead. As happened when the 2014 dates were released.

Saturday 12 April 2014

Spring Workshops : UK 2014 Lamb in Watercolour

 Spring Lamb
Watercolour Demonstration 2014

What a fantastic week it has been. Sometimes I have to pinch myself to check this is really my life, as at times it certainly is so magical. I have had one day watercolour workshops all week ending with a two day course called "Fur and Feathers" on Thursday and Friday. Showing how to paint animals and birds. The weeks workshops were wonderful with artists attending from UK, USA, Australia and France. I was really impressed by the two artists  that were so determined to attend one of my workshops that they drove  to Hampshire from Scotland. And I am now hoping to hold a workshop in Scotland in the future some time, as they really did tempt me well!

I meet the most incredible people on my art courses and feel so privileged to do so. Each day has seen enthusiasm, concentration, laughter and many beautiful watercolours. It has been terrific receiving feedback from everyone who enjoyed the way I teach sharing my passion for watercolour. I am delighted that everyone is eager to return as soon as possible! 2015 UK Workshop dates will be released in October this year.

With teaching experience I do put a lot into each course I run. But for now , thank you so much to everyone who came to my workshops this week. I enjoyed them as much as you!

To the artists who attended my "Fur and Feathers" workshop, I hope the visit to the farm has given you as many ideas for new paintings and colour combinaions as the workshops did. I am still looking through all my images which will keep me painting for months to come!

Me holding a lamb at the farm after Thursdays Watercolour "Fur and Feathers" workshop.
I incorporate visits or animals in the class to aim at looking at colours in real life which really helps when painting following demonstrations.

Saturday 5 April 2014

Watermark Exhibition : Frame Gallery, Odiham, Hampshire UK.

Magical Catch

Last night saw the opening of my new solo exhibition at the Frame Gallery in Odiham, Hamsphire. It was wonderful listening to feedback on my collection from visitors to the gallery and I thoroughly enjoyed meeting everyone who came on the night. One of the first paintings to sell was " Magical Catch" , the kingfisher above.  Following the exhibition opening I had another event to attend so I must admit this morning my batteries needed recharging. However I still found myself racing to my stuido and completing a truly exciting chapter for my new book.  I have a meeting with my publishers coming up and I am really eager to show them whats' happening in this  next publication. 

Having looked at all the vibrant colours in my paintings on display last night  I have found myself really inspired to keep my own brushes moving to create.

I am still in a Spring mood so it is still floral work that is  on my easel.

Friday 4 April 2014

Glowing Daffodils in Watercolour

"Spring Joy"

Tonight is the opening of my Spring Exhibition at the Frame Gallery in Odiham, Hampshire , UK. Next week is the start of my fully booked Spring watercolour workshops in Hampshire. Following that I will be teaching a watercolour course in Italy followed by a trip to Florence. I am really excited as so much is going on, including the contracts having been signed this week and sent to the hosts of my USA book signing tour in 2015. I can reveal the locations so far will be California, West Virgina and St Louis. Washington and New York.  I owe huge thanks to  really  wonderful invitations.

But for now I am happily painting Spring flowers in my studio and enjoying working with Cadmium Yellow. I absolutely love this shade. It has a life of its' own when used as neat pigment but when diluted it reallytdoes give me "singing" glowing colour which is perfect for painting daffodils!

My easel is full of paintings that carry that feel good factor of Spring joy!

My easel full of glowing watercolours. A series of daffodils in watercolour.

The paper I am currently working with is Bockingford 140lbs as the smooth surface aids my results for gaining silk petals in my latest floral work.

Thursday 3 April 2014

The Frame Gallery : Odiham "Watermark" Solo Exhibition April 4th.

"Winning Point"
74 x 93cms.

Solo Exhibition at
4th - 25th April 2014

Tomorrow night  will see the opening of my solo exhibition at the Frame Gallery in Odiham. The show is called "Watermark" because of my "trade mark " watercolour effects which I celebrate from this magical medium rather than aim to control.

I visited the gallery yesterday and everything is all ready hung and priced for the opening and it looks wonderful. I cannot choose a favourite from the collection. I love the donkeys especially because they are my first ever in a show. The violets look knock out in their frames and the delicate, sweet pea have the wonderful illusion of carrying perfume which of course for a painting is impossible. But they do look as though they are heavily scented. There are badgers, florals, horse racing , kittens . The gallery is full of a divers  selection of subjects in watercolour.

I will be at the gallery at 5.0 pm. - 7.15 p.m. so if you are free, you are welcome to join me to celebrate the opening!

For those wishing to dine out after the show there are several lovely restaurants in Odiham worth checking out!

Exciting Delivery! Daniel Smith Watercolours

Daniel Smith Watercolours

I had a meeting this morning but was surprised on my return home to find a parcel waiting for me. On opening the box I discovered a fantastic selection of Daniel Smith Watercolours inside! I am over the moon and will be putting them through their paces and sharing my exciting new colour discoveries on my workshops which take place over the next two weeks here in UK. I love the yellow and I adore the turquoise, yummy reds, gorgeous greens. I am in heaven!

I will be sharing exciting discoveries here too on my blog but just by looking at the tubes I can see I have new " favourites" already!



Tuesday 1 April 2014

Song For Spring : Daffodils in Watercolour

"Song For Spring"
A medley of Spring flowers in watercolour

I have a gorgeous collection of Spring flowers developing on my easel and in my studio. I am taking my time on each favourite wash, gradually adding tiny detail to make each sing just that little bit more. But there comes a point in any painting, when you love it so much that you simply do not want to put your brushes down. As happened with the above painting. I could go on with this. I could put a row of  blue muscari along the front of the lower part of the painting . But I know in my heart this is finished. Painting is like singing. Once the song has been sung you can start singing a new one or repeat what you have just sung, starting from the beginning allover again. I am going to sing a new song now. But I have entitled this piece " Song For Spring" as my heart felt like singing whilst I painted it.

I may change the lyrics in my next song though!