Wednesday, 27 October 2010


Still working on practice sketches for my Italian visit, I went to my wonderful full colour plate book MICHELANGELO - THE FRESCOES OF THE SISTINE CHAPEL which I purchased a few years back at a local library sale. I was hooked when I came to the chapter on SEERS - ie prophets and sibyls. So began a series of watercolour and pen sketches using my Daniel Smith paints and Lamy pen with noodlers Lexington grey ink. Here are three efforts:

Jeremiah - lost in thought

I think the hands are a bit big but pleased with all the colours I managed to put into the flesh.

The Libyan Sibyl

Afraid she has turned out rather masculine and squashed at the top of the sketchbook page.

Zechariah - the Hebrew Prophet

This, in fact, was my first one and as you can see the head is too small. Well! its only practice and I have not done figures for ages.

To be continued at some stage.

Wednesday, 20 October 2010


Anita came for the weekend and we spent sketchcrawl day at Norwich Cathedral.
Must confess this little sketch of the spire is from a photo I took whilst popping outside
when the sun broke through.............

... so while it was sunny we found a bench and I chose these two diverse buildings in the cathedral grounds. I think the one on the left is the chapel and assume the dutch architectured white house is the home of someone who works in the cathedral - lucky family.........

By the time we were frozen through with a cold wind blowing up, we dashed back to the restaurant for lunch where, when we arrived around 11 am , we had gone straight for latte and cake before beginning our endeavours. Here's part of our table 14..............

........... and by 3.30 we were in the cloisters sitting in the sun trying to understand the intricate design of one of the archways....

A good fun day and thankfully Clive had kindly offered to cook his famous meatballs and tagliatelli for dinner. So we got home in plenty of time for a little sip of alcohol before settling down round the dining table.

Monday, 18 October 2010


I am certain you will have read that I am going on holiday to Italy next May with Anita sketching in a number of cities on a tour . Ever since our booking, I have been practicing buildings and people from DVD's and holiday brochures in different media trying to find a particular technique and materials I would like to take with me.

I have my Lamy cartridge pen with Noodlers Lexington grey ink I thought would do beautifully with overwashes of watercolour, but realised well into producing a series of work from my book on the Sistene Chapel that I actually needed soluble ink. So last night, the last evening of Anita's visit, we set up a still life and I tried out my set of stabilo pens to see which bled the most. It turned out that the result was dependent on the paper used. This made me realise why my sketches the previous day in Norwich cathedral for the 29th sketch crawl with Anita came out so pale - it was the paper in the Derwent Journal bound with soft caramel coloured suede effect I had taken for the day. (I'll post these another time - probably via Flickr which I opened an account with this weekend with the guidance of Anita).

So here is the result in a watercolour book of the still life using the brown (45) stabilo fine liner and Daniel Smith watercolour washes.

... and a close up in case the full image does not enlarge so you can see how lovely the ink bleeds into the washes at the drawn line edges. :

Thursday, 14 October 2010


Nanny's garden - a beautiful place
Like a dream
Like a fairytale
It brightens the day
It brightens our way
The sun upon nanny's garden

This little verse was written by my youngest grand daughter (aged 11 yrs) when she and her sister stayed with us for a weekend recently. Elisha has always liked 'playing' with figures and words and we often make up games together. This time it was to give her a title and for her to produce a few lines in less than 5 minutes. We happen to be sitting in the sun room when I mentioned my garden and out popped these wonderful words in no time at all.

We had some magic this past week or two as I had almost given up on my planted cosmos that just seem to grow taller and taller as the summer came and went and could almost be entered into the Guineas book of records for their giant height. Not until now in October have they decided to bloom - three colours and at least thirty blooms out all at once with many a bud awaiting. So here's a couple of photos, both taken through my bedroom window. In one you can just see the village church down the hill over the rooftops.

Elisha nearly broke my heart when she wrote the following for the subject of family:

Family are forever
Family stay together
We love
We care
The sky never dull
The sky always bright
We see brightness
We see darkness
but whatever happens
we stay together.

Unusual posting but just had to share them with you. Hope Elisha doesn't mind.

Saturday, 9 October 2010


It was such a lovely day last Thursday that Philippa and I decided to paint the afternoon away in the garden and we chose a pot of glorious apricot/orange begonias in bloom on the garden house steps.

I decided to use watercolour on the Lana Vanguard (YUPO type paper) and here is the work as it is today - not sure if it is finished really but I like the soft washes of the reflections on the table I created. Maybe the blooms need more attention but somehow I like the unfinished look. Think it makes a good pairing with the sunflowers I posted last week.
This is a photo of the early stages just letting the colours mingle as I created the shapes before me.
The palette looked so yummy I had to photo it for you full of the lovely Daniel Smith paints Anita squeezed in for me last summer. They have lasted for ever and my favourite palette to use outdoors especially flowers/gardens.
Here's a close up of some of the early washes, where you can almost see a replica of the palette above!!

Thursdays seemed to have turned into floral works, but as the weather deteriorates I shall get back to my Italian practice sketchbook.
Currently sorting out some work for a Christmas themed show. I think my two Ely Cathedral interiors might be right, my crackle glaze candles and possibly from my work when I visited Peterborough cathedral. Or I might work on creating some new nativity style pieces. Only got to the end of the month to submit details, so better get cracking!!!

Monday, 4 October 2010


Finished Sunflowers in watercolour on Lana Vanguard medium 16" x 12"

On Thursday afternoon I only had one of my ladies arrive for a session of painting together, but that was fine. Just as I planned for the 6 ladies I had invited to be part of this rather personal group to come as and when they wanted with no commitment simply to spend art time together.

So I had the chance to paint the sunflowers I had purchased from the local farm shop and decided to play wet on wet on YUPO type paper (a French version called Lana Vanguard) and I used watercolour for a change in place of my more regular acrylic inks. Maggie had brought three red rose buds to paint in acrylic on a small canvas.

Here is the first layer and early design:

.. and some close ups of the various areas of the painting where you can see I added or lifted colour:

It was lots of fun and I simply developed it as I went along. Hope the top finished work will enlarge for you to see the detail of layers. These Thursday afternoons I am keeping for this little group are good for me as I don't have to do anything 'seriously' ... maybe that way they will turn out better!!