Monday, 11 December 2017

In Love With Colour

 Hydrangea Magic

After weeks of teaching and being on tour, my heart seems to be screaming to me to pick up my brushes and get colour on paper as fast as I can. In a way this is a frustrating and exciting week for me as tomorrow the team from my publishers will arrive in the early morning as we are filming the last section of my new book which will be launched next year. Then tonight I am talking to the film company who will be filming my new DVDs next year, whilst I am teaching in Florida.

The exciting part is obvious as I am thrilled my book is almost  complete and I am over the moon to have been invited to create more DVDs. But I want to paint. I seriously want to paint! I am in love with colour so much again after my recent visit to Daniel Smith in Seattle. And after inspiring so many artists of all levels on my own workshops I want to put all the ideas that have come to me over the last few weeks into practise on paper.

But I have to prepare for my book and my films.

Even so today I grabbed this hydrangea painting and added to it. I worked with a variety of colours simply throwing them on to see what would happen and where. I love this close up section, seen below, as it looked beautiful when the colours were merging and drying.

Hopefully I can finish it in between filming and film planning/writing!

Whatever you are doing , have a wonderful week ahead and if you are busy like me, don't let your diary take you away from your brushes for too long!

Hydrangea Magic
Work in progress


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!


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!




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.


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.


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!


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!