Tuesday 16 April 2019

May Blossom 2019 ; Positive Changes


May Blossom
Work in Progress 

My life is changing constantly and I have to admit writing my book "Paint Yourself Positive" has made me take stock of where I am , what I am doing and where I would like to be. I was convinced I was already there, at a point in my life where I am content with every aspect of my life. But we can all improve our lives no matter our age or circumstances.

I thought about how years ago I would always walk every day and find new treasures, often subjects I had never painted before, and bring them home to my study to create in watercolour. I would set myself challenges from finding the most simplest to the most complex of treasures and set about painting them in a variety of ways in watercolour. Those days stopped because we lost our dog Bailey. Since we lost him I threw myself into touring, teaching, writing and judging. So my personal walks and later even my studio time gradually came bottom of my list on how I spent my time. Now I make time for me. Time to paint for my own personal enjoyment. Discovering new techniques which I intend to share on future workshops, new books and possibly films.

I love giving to others but I am aware that my  workshops can only be successfully enjoyable for me if I constantly grow as an artist. I find it boring to paint the same thing repeatedly, in the same style which has never been my way of working. I want to always believe I am on a journey in learning rather than feel I have reached any destination. I can grow in many ways, as a person and as an artist And I feel so much better now. My life is enriched. I feel my art is too.

We have two new puppies, Teddy and Murphy who are hard work but fun and because of them I am back to walking in different places daily finding new things to paint. Today the treasure I brought back to my studio was May Blossom. If I take the puppies on an interesting enough walk they sleep in my studio while I am painting. Which is bliss. This mornings' walk saw me carry a tiny sprig of May Blossom back to my studio and I created the first small study painting seen below with the sprig sat in the centre of the piece. Beneath this image you can see my painting minus the sprig of blossom.

 May Blossom painting with the real flower on top to study form and gain ideas for future brushwork

Study of May Blossom, without the real flower on top.

I,as always, enjoyed painting the small piece so much that I instantly created a large wash to act as a background for my detailed flowers. The larger piece is far more adventurous but feels as though it carries more freedom as I have room on the larger piece of paper to express myself. I don't use masking fluid but I have used white gouache on the piece to gain back some of the white blossoms. To create the sense of the real thing I took my puppies back to where the real flowers were this afternoon and sat admiring them , looking up at the heavily laden branches carrying small white flowers. Learning from nature that not all the flowers were perfect. Some had only one or two petals as the wind had knocked the delicate pieces off. Some were odd shapes, others connected to bigger clumps of small blooms. The sky behind the blossom varied in colour due to moving clouds. The branches also were a variety of colours from grey to reddish brown. I learnt so much just by sitting still. And that is also something I am learning to do. Sit still and observe. We race around in this life, often being constantly busy as though that is the right means of fulfilling each day. When the opposite can be said to be true.Quality time being quiet, observing, taking in nature and admiring its' beauty can do so much to enrich our souls and feed our artists inner needs.


I am so ready to continue to work on this piece.

Artists tip for the day?

Sit still now and then, but looking at something you can paint in future while you rest.
At these times. look for colour, formations, shadow and light effects always.
Find new treasure to paint as often as possible.
Don't always opt for something easy, push yourself on new adventures attempting to create more complex subjects .
Don't be afraid, we are only working on paper and our mistakes teach us how to grow as artists.

Basically, enjoy life and painting at every opportunity.

I do!


Tuesday 2 April 2019

Shining a Light ; Pussy Willow in Watercolour

Pussy Willow in Watercolour

I am having a blast in my studio. Our new puppies are peacefully sleeping at my feet and the short walks I take them on each day are leading me to see nature at its' best. Right now the country lanes are adorned with catkins and pussy willow. Both favourite subjects of mine to paint.

The pussy willow always has been a subject that appeals to me. As a child I loved touching its' soft fluffy buds. I loved how my step mum would always arrange them with bright yellow daffodils in a vase in our home to cheer the room especially on grey days when it was raining, which it often did in Wales where I grew up. Maybe that is why I often avoid using grey shades, I saw too many as a child as in grey skies.

But back to my painting today and as you can see I am happily back sharing on my blog again.

The above piece was created after I played with a small study first as an experiment. I have used Daniel Smith Walnut ink for the dark central area to set off my soft pussy willow buds. I can't wait to complete this but it has to dry before I work further on it. Rather than waste time I began a second wash so the two paintings sit side by side on my easel waiting for the finishing brush work to be added.

It is so exciting painting something you love but challenging yourself at the same time to paint it differently from the year before. And better.

Side by side. Two pussy willow paintings waiting for the next finishing touches to be added.

Once I start painting I almost feel as though a light has been turned on in my soul. Something magical happens in that I feel energised, invigorated and eager to create beauty  with my brushes.
Oh how I love Spring. How I love working in watercolour and how I love life.

If only we could have 48 hour days and ten day week  so that I could fit more in !

Happy painting!

Second painting of pussy willow waiting to be developed. 


No artists tip today other than suggesting you go for a walk anywhere to discover something that tugs at your heart strings to paint it.

Don't paint the same thing every day as that can sometimes crush your artists'  soul.  Keep it alive , refreshed and excited at the prospect of painting and as often as possible