Tuesday, 30 November 2010


Its been such bad weather that I put on a DVD of a programme called GRAND TOUR when the art critic Brian Sewell toured the cities of Italy. I stilled some of the scenes and sketched in the comfort of my lounge with my Schmincke watercolours.

Number one is of a group of people in a square with blue fountain and some columns - Brian Sewell is in the left bottom corner where you can just see his umbrella cum sun parasol.

This one was of a pretty corner in Vicenza - the people must have gone inside the pay the bill!!

Here's Brian - looking with my hand rather much younger - outside the steps of one of the many buildings he took us into.
Well, a bit of fun one afternoon getting practice trying to sketch people in street scenes.

Monday, 22 November 2010

IRIDACEAE PAINTINGS - in other words Irises!

Am currently working on an idea for a large piece on irises - that wonderful flower family Iridaceae. So am going over images of earlier work depicting irises, of which I thought you might like to see a selection.

This one is from a large tall canvas in acrylic showing the textured acrylic stone surround of a stainglass window with painted irises in the bottom window so that I could combine my two favourite genre - flowers and churches

This is the first of abstracted pieces framed as three individual squares alongside each other, in very thinned acrylic to create flowing washes.
.. and finally here is a panoramic line of different irises painted in acrylic on canvas, which you can see is not quite finished at this stage. After adding the stems and leaves on the right I added some soft lavender thin acrylic washes to the background creating more light to the left. Don't seem to have a photo in my archives of the finished piece but I remember it well. I still have the original pencil sketch in one of my panoramic watercolour books.

I am enjoying going through the archive photos of my earlier work with irises - and there are plenty more from watercolour botanical studies of flowers in my garden to acrylic decorative large pieces. Its amazing how often you can paint one flower species and yet create something entirely different every time.
Glad to say all three images will enlarge with a click.

Friday, 19 November 2010


My Thursday afternoon meetings continue with the five ladies invited attending as and when they can. This week there was just Helen and Maggie working with me, so we had fun.

I continued with a sketch I had done the previous day with my Stabilo brown fineliner soluble pen on quattro square block watercolour. It was of a local Gardens during the summer with one of their wired sculptures. This time a heron by the water. My visitors were surprised to see me use both a water spray to dampen the washes and then add ground salt crystals to create the effect you can see mainly in the left hand side foliage. Needless to say, it is nowhere near completed.

Maggie fell for my two little Christmas robin ornaments I had set by the side of a cyclamen plant in a basket. She added the logs from her imagination and I've promised to turn them into Christmas cards for her with my computer and Publisher software.

Helen brought along three works that had never been fully completed and we discussed what they needed. There was an acrylic landscape with poppies in a field which she felt had too strong a green in the distant fields. A watercolour of tulips in one of my square vases that needed anchoring with the use of a shadow at the base and also some darks into the foliage and petals helped bring it more 3D and alive. The third one was of a Yorkshsire cottage she staid at on holiday that just needed some attention to the pathway to the door. Then in the last 15 minutes or so she just got out a size 10 brush some green and red watercolours and created this lovely study of the cyclamen - adding some salt to the leaves whilst they were still wet. All without any initial drawing. Charming.

I thoughoughly enjoyed our afternoon together - our work encouraged along by music playing and tea and coconut macaroons dipped in chocolate.

Friday, 12 November 2010


I thought I might practice sketching hands and feet and with the Italian trip in mind I started with my Sistene Chapel book and inevitably went to the famous God creating Adam Michelangelo painting on the ceiling.
Then I checked out lots of feet from various scenes in the chapel and came up with this selection
from angels, sibyls and prophets:

Then at the weekend on the front cover of the Telegraph Magazine was this photo of Elton John using his hands to speak! Simply had to have a try:

All done with my latest favourite Stabilo Brown (45) fine liner with water and a little Schmincke watercolour.

Friday, 5 November 2010


Philippa and Maggie joined me yesterday afternoon for a session of sketching and painting . Prior to their arrival I walked down to the river and along the common to collect some of the glorious autumn leaves from oak trees, sycamore, beech and others. Here are a selection of leaves I chose to paint - I am afraid they have scanned rather darker than they really are

.... and here are my watercolour interpretations sketched into my garden flower sketch book labelled 'Autumn leaves from my village' as I did not have such a variety in my own garden. I used the Daniel Smith palette that still seems to be going on and on, having put down the shapes with a water soluble graphite pencil.

Hope you are also enjoying this wonderful natural display of colours.