Wednesday 22 October 2014

USA 2015 Update : Seattle!

"Absolutely Fabulous"

I am over the moon to be able to share the news that Seattle has been added to my USA Tour in 2015.

I will be giving two , two day workshops along with an in-store talk and demonstration in Seattle.
Full details will be shared shortly.

The dates for the Seattle workshops next year are as follows

 Workshop 1 April 22,/23  2015
Workshop 2 April 25/ 26  2015

As soon as I have contact information regarding booking I will update my blog.

Its' going to be a very exciting year next year as my new book will be launched next June and the invitations for art events and book signings are getting more and more wonderful by the minute! 


Online Sale : Special Offers

Life seems to be getting busier and busier. And this is a time in their careers when most artists would add to their stock, rather than stop selling online. But, I suppose I have never actually been following a trend when it comes to selling! 

I have become far too busy to run an online shop and as the last twelve months have seen an increase in sales, time spent on this part of my art life is detracting from my own painting time.

For this reason, as a one off only situation, there are special offers on all of my watercolour items for sale on my web site. 

I'm afraid once this especially priced stock has sold I will be closing my online web page. Instead, will be replacing the sales page  with details on where products can be purchased.

If you would like a bargain, or would like to buy my books, brushes or DVDs as gifts for artist friends for Christmas, please do jump in early whilst  items are available. 

You can see the bargain prices via this link.

Monday 13 October 2014

Brisbane Watercolour Workshops 2014

"It Takes Two"

Brisbane Watercolour Workshops 2014

Life sometimes creates unexpected hiccups which can  bring disappointment or happy surprises.

Due to unforeseen circumstances there have been  two cancelations on my Brisbane workshops. Which means disappointment for the artists who cannot attend  but hopefully a happy surprise for artists who previously couldn't join in.

If you would like to book one of these places please could you contact me as soon as possible on 

Workshop 1 26/27th November
Workshop 2 29/30th November 


Saturday 11 October 2014

Windrush Gallery : Inspirational Preview

 View from my studio this evening
"Autumn Mist"

I cannot begin to describe how wonderful last night was at the Windrush Gallery. Having worked all day in my studio, I drove to Windrush for the opening evening of the Annual Exhibition there. Luckily the Friday traffic wasn't too busy so I arrived early and had time to enjoy the show before invited guests arrived.

There were a few artists  at the gallery before me, one being David Curtis whose work I have admired for years. It was wonderful talking to this incredible man. Why? Because his passion for the medium, and painting from life, hits you as soon as the conversation starts.  This is genuinely a man who paints because he loves painting.I loved talking about his work and how he feels about working in watercolour. I think my heart would have been broken if I had discovered he wasn't as passionate as he  came across, because this is excatly how I had envisaged him to be. His collection at the gallery is stunning capturing light, atmosphere and the view so perfectly in a way that leads you as the viewer directly into the scene before you. David suggested and took time to look at a painting of mine in the show. I was over the moon to hear him thoughtfully describe the colours, lost and found edges and technique used in my piece. He is a master when it comes to handling watercolour so I must confess, the time he took with me has made me incredibly happy. Artists often yearn for our peers to enjoy our work. This was a memory that will never leave me.

I also met the amazing David Howell who is fantastic to talk to. An artist who genuinely has time to listen and share experiences.We were both in an issue of The Artist magazine recently and I have exhibited in a gallery in Dubai years ago with this well known and respected  watercolourist. I listened , fascinated and realised how lucky I was to have this time to spend with artists I admire so very much.

Honestly I could type for hours about the preview evening because it was wonderful from start to finish. After the show there was a supper for all the artists in the exhibition which gave everyone the opportunity to chat minus gallery visitors and this was an extra bonus. A fantastic close to an incredible day.

I drove home this morning through narrow country lanes at first and dreadful torrential rain. During the journey, I thought about why this exhibition meant so much to me. Not only had I met two of my all time watercolour heroes and shown alongside them but I had walked into a room of mainly all pure watercolour paintings. There wasn't an acrylic in sight in that room. No collages, no mediums disguised as pure watercolour and it was heaven. Here were a group of artists all working from the same starting point with the same medium, true watercolour, and showing what they could achieve with it. And every one  is passionate about doing so.

I do so wish there were more exhibitions like this. Or watercolour societies that only showed pure watercolour. Oddly enough I have just had a phone call from my artist friend who is visiting London from Dubai. She has just been to a watercolour show in London and wondered where all the actual watercolours were. Apparently there were a few but not many.

But back to last night. I have been so inspired by my visit to the Windrush Gallery and  I havent even mentioned yet that I was invited to see James Fletcher-Watsons studio, exactly how it was when he worked in it. This will be my next blog post because it is another blog story.

Naturally I am now inspired to return to painting atmospheric landscapes . Hopefully without the rain or storm clouds next time as today all I could see was rain, rain and more rain. Although the crows at the top of the hill in the nearby field don't seem to be perturbed by the weather. So thay have been included in my small landscape tonight.

I cannot wait to paint tomorrow. And isn't that a great feeling!


Friday 10 October 2014

Windrush Gallery Annual Exhibition 2014: October 11th -20th

 James Fletcher-Watson
Painted by a Japanese Artist

The Windrush Gallery
Mixed Art Exhibition 2014

What an amazing few weeks have past.  My solo opened at the Wey Gallery, paintings were collected from my cottage for a group exhibition in Cheltenham and  I completed my new book. I am now eagerly awaiting my watercolour tour in Australia so I wouldn't expect any more excitement in my art life. But I am mistaken. Something truly wonderful happened and behind the computer screen, typing this blog post, is a very emotional artist.

It is so strange how fate takes a hand in ones' life, as it certainly does with mine. I recently wrote a feature for The Artist Magazine which includes a watercolour competition. In the same October issue I was thrilled to see a demonstration by one of my  all time favourite watercolourists, David Howell. I first fell in love with Davids' work when I lived in Dubai. I was exhibiting at the Majilis Gallery there and was immediately drawn to the clarity, colour and beauty in his style which captured atmosphere so fantastically. At the foot of Davids'  magazine feature was a mention of  "The Pure Watercolour Society". I had never heard of this society until reading the feature and intended to contact them but as aways, my life was so hectic. Time to do so wasn't there and so thought of doing so was temporarily postponed.

However I did keep thinking about the society. Here I possibly should explain that my heart often sinks at Art Society exhibitions which claim the title " Watercolour" and yet seem to exhibit more acrylics, collages and mixed media than the true medium I am in love with.  When I teach workshops I am constantly asked if a Watercolour Society exists that actually only shows watercolour. In all honesty, I think today anything at all is sadly classed as a "watercolour" if water is used in the creative process which is such a shame.  But this could be a subject for another blog post!

Having contacted The Pure Watercolour Society, I received a wonderful email in return and to cut a long story short I found myself driving up to Gloucester on Thursday to deliver paintings to be included in the Annual Exhibition at the Windrush Gallery. And here is the explanation as to why I feel so emotional. Like many watercolour artists I have been greatly inspired by the work of David Curtis. The way he captures light is sheer genius. There is a calm to his work, when you look at his paintings you soak in the scene often feeling sunshine on your shoulders as you do so. His masterful skill leads many landscape artists yearning to reach that incredible level.  My art life started with landscapes inspired by his work in England before I moved to Dubai. Here I came across watercolours by David Howell and because I adored his art so much I was recommended to search for work by Trevor Chamberlain. And the master of watercolour, James Fletcher-Watson. I did. And my passion for pure watercolour was strengthened. Yes other artists have influenced me along the way such as John Singer Sargent to name but one master who has filled my heart to the point of bursting. They show what can be achieved in this magical medium. Watercolour alone, that I love so much. There is no need to add other mediums to enhance it. On its own it sings beautifully. It deserves a society that shows it off minus any other products or mediums being used or passed off as "watercolour".

Windrush Gallery Annual Exhibition
James Fletcher-Watsons Painting is on the top right. the tree in the landscape. Painted cleanly, masterfully showing the beauty of nature via his brushwork and use of colour.

And so,back to this week. I have found myself unbelievably  being included in an exhibition with artists whose work has meant so much to me and still does. Life as an artist isn't always about selling or fame. It isn't about "churning out" paintings one after the other for the sake of it. To me, art has more meaning. It should touch your very soul when you look at work created by a master. Which is  exactly what happened when I walked into the Windrush Gallery this week and saw a painting by James Fletcher -Watson. It was the simplest of scenes, a single tree in a landscape. Absolutely stunning, skillfully painted in a way that takes my breath away. I felt as though after all these years learning and progressing in my own art journey I have come home. To a place where real watercolourists understand the love behind the use of a medium. Along with the wonderful way it works and can be used.

 My watercolour above, shown with a wonderful watercolour by Robert Brindley.

I am so excited as tonight is the preview and I will be attending with the artists there, to open the show. I know there is a reader of my blog who will be laughing here as they recently told me they couldn't believe it when they were in a show with me. I hope they are delighted to know I feel that way too when showing with my favourite artists, still. And I will never chnage.

 I met Jo, James daughter, at the Windrush Gallery when I delivered my work on Thursday and she is so wonderful. As I left the gallery she handed me a book by her father, James Fletcher-Watson and this was where I really became emotional. My eyes "leaked". I would loved to have met this fantastic artist while he was still alive. To bring this gorgeous book home with me meant so much and I am loving reading it. 

But this is the most important part of my blog post. These men probably have absolutely no idea how they have inspired other artists, like me, in their art journey. James still is inspiring me at a time in my life when maybe I needed an angel on my shoulder to remind me why I love watercolour so much.

Everyone who adores pure watercolour really needs to keep this tradition of painting alive, to pass down to future generations so that they too can share what is the most magical of all mediums.

Pure Watercolour.

My work hanging in the Windrush Gallery Annual Exhibition 2014


If you wish to be inspired you can visit the Windrush Gallery here are the gallery details.

The Windrush gallery
Windrush House
 Nr. Burford
OX18 4TU 

The Windrush Valley Mixed Art Exhibition runs from 
11th- 20th October 2014

11.0 - 5.0 pm.


A link to the Windrush Gallery  and  information on James Fletcher -Watson

Wednesday 1 October 2014

UK Workshops 2015

"Dancing Koi"

UK Watercolour Workshops 2015

 I have been almost dreading sharing an update about my 2015 UK watercolour workshops but I have to share the news. Which is that as soon as information was released, next years courses were almost immediately fully booked.

Due to my 2015 book launch and annual art event commitments my time to hold workshops each year has been limited. Which is why I carefully select dates throughout every year to run motivational courses that will be based on highly inspirational themes. I absolutely loved this years sessions and I know,  from the many wonderful emails I have recieved ,that many attending artists felt that the same way. In that they too had enjoyed memorable days. I love not only how the art flows on these occasions but how everyone meets and makes new friends, whilst sharing time, painting and creating.

On my blog I have been requesting that anyone interested in my workshops should contact me on my personal email address. So that their names could be added to my workshop contact list. This year I have been overwhelmed with requests for workshop places and my 2015 courses have sold out very quickly.

We are now  working on the waiting lists in case of cancellations which due to lifes unforeseen hiccups, can sometimes happen.

So please, if you have not already done so , please email me to add your name to my contact list. This way you will ensure you receive information before my events are advertised, which this year I am not even doing due to the popular demand for workshop places.

Thank you to everyone who has booked workshop places so promptly. And I look forward to seeing you next year.

I will be demonstrating at the 2015 Patchings Art Festival and if  any new events arise I  will be sharing news here, as soon as possible.


Don't Give Up : Roses in Watercolour

"Sweet Love"
Possibly the last rose, painted from my garden this summer

I have been thinking about one of the questions asked following my talk at the Wey Gallery during the opening of my one woman show " Colour Fusion" last weekend. It is one I have been asked many times.

"How many of your paintings don't work out ?"

It is a great question isn't it.  And in truth I suppose I could answer that not many end up in the bin these days. But how long did it take for me to get to this stage in my art journey.  And I shouldn't forget all those experimental washes that I start each day with, not meaning for them to turn into paintings but they often do.

I think the easiest way to help answer this question is for me to take the above painting as a visual example of where I am heading with this blog post. This rose, one of the last from my garden this Summer started out as a first wash of soft pinks and greens. There was no definition initially and I was working from looking at the real flower. This had been cut as a single stem and placed in a vase with lovely green foligae behind it. Then placed near my desk easel to study. 

Artist Tip: Study your subject well, observe its' colour and shape before you even think about picking up a brush.

I chose Opera Rose and Perylene Green as my main colours. Working on dry paper I applied a block section of pink colour at first, in the suggestive shape observed  from the real flower. This was almost completely circular.  I allowed watermarks to run at will in places throughout the wash ,whilst deliberately encouraging other water marks to form  hints of the many petals in this particular rose variety.  I then placed one strong leaf at the top of the flower to strengthen my outline edge of the rose.

First wash with watermarks and missing detail.
A loose "mess"! 

Creating a good starting point  from a first wash, as a basis for a successful loose painting is fascinating. I think it is at this stage that many new artists " give up". Because they can't see how the next brush strokes can bring the subject to life. It is having the imagination and courage to work further that makes or breaks a painting. But this is also the stage where as an artist I have nothing to lose. If it goes wrong the painting is an experiment I can learn from. But if it goes right, I have that magical sensation of achieving a  good result.

At this stage I have to consider two points. Adding too much detail next could ruin my loose painting as it could move into the slightly botanical realm and well away from the atmospheric result I was aiming for. But by not adding enough definition, the piece could end up looking a mess that isn't worthy of even being called an abstract. I try to marry a loose background with enough detail to tell the story of what my subject is. But without my finished result being overly fussy or over worked.

Working loose in watercolour this way is exciting as pigment reaction with water is always unique in how it dries. I enjoy my first washes of any given subject, often waiting patiently allowing each stage to dry before working further, adding the detail.  Only when my first wash is completly dry can I consider what the painting truly needs.

And so a few darks, a few fine lines, a few additions of petal detail turns a "blurry" loose mess into a stunningly beautiful rose in watercolour.

"Sweet Rose"
Petals unfurling and wrapping around an inner centre that carries such sweet perfume. 

Artists Tip: Never give up on a painting unless you aren't enjoying the creative process. Take time to study your subject and your initial washes, think about how each new brushstroke can add or detract from what you are trying to achieve and practise until you gain results that are pleasing you. And remember, at the end of the day, painting should be enjoyable, not a chore!


Its' wonderful seeing how popular my blog post on " How to paint roses in a loose style" still is. So I am hoping this blog post with more detail will help followers with their own paintings of roses. They are such wonderful flowers to paint!