Well after an amazingly wet Winter, Spring is here in the UK along with an accompanying sense of uncertainty and gloom which is worldwide. Covid 19 is an unwelcome visitor.
But we carry on and keep going, gardening, enjoying the emerging blossom, painting and drawing what we see around us. To be honest I haven’t been painting much lately…I need to be upbeat to paint and it’s difficult.
But back in February I was enjoying adding to my garden journal…I use a combination of watercolour and pen and wash for these pages.
I will leave the images nice and big so you can read the words. There is nothing so hopeful and positive than seeing fresh Spring growth appearing…and it goes on no matter what dreadful things are happening around us. We have to appreciate that and give thanks.
I do love designing these pages and they serve as a reminder of what was around me and how I felt about it.
The magnolia was uprooted from our old house and brought here and it’s doing well. love its elegant blooms.
I wish everyone well in these awful times and look forward to better days ahead. Keep safe!
As I write the wind is howling outside on this bleak January day and so I’m glad to be in my cosy studio. I wish you all a Happy New Year, a bit belatedly, and hope it will prove to be a wonderful creative one for everyone, including me!
I have been seeking inspiration to paint over the last few months and it has been a fallow time for me. But I sense an upturn with the new year. I enjoyed writing the four articles, one for each season, on keeping a garden journal last year for Leisure Painter magazine. Did you see the articles? They gave me a chance to enjoy the garden as well as experimenting with keeping a journal.
As I look out on the garden today, I’m reminded of my Winter article. The starkness of the Winter branches against a grey stormy sky.
Today the crab apples on our tree provide a touch of welcome colour to the wintry scene.
Another beacon of colour today is provided by the Winter Jasmine, lovely golden speckles against the dark fence behind and a giving us a hint of Spring to come.
I love the way the jasmine gets itself in a tangle and the way the bright yellow flowers stand out against the dark background.
Time to be freshly inspired I hope…!
I’d love to hear from you in the comments with your stories about how you find inspiration to paint. We should stand together and encourage each other, don’t you think?
Glad to see my latest article in July’s issue of Leisure Painter magazine. I write about my artist’s journal where I paint, draw and write about my garden through the seasons. This month I write about the joys of Spring and how you might use collage to enhance your journal entries.
The other day I took this photo of some trailing clematis against the fence. It’s inspiring me! Reminded me of a painting I did a few years ago…
There is so much happening in the garden at the moment. New flowers emerging everywhere…it’s easy just to spend hours standing and staring. But I’m working up to putting brush to paper. Perhaps I’ll start with this clematis. Stay tuned!
Continuing from yesterday’s post (see below), I did a few quick studies of the Field Maple leaves, as promised.
First I added some water with a brush to the squeezed out paint on my plate and gently mingled the three primary colours so that you can see I have some oranges, greens and blues, purples and browns. You will have made your own colour wheel!
I then drew the leaves with pencil…I drew round them to save time. Yes I give you permission! Then I painted the whole leaf with a watery yellow as this is the background colour in all the leaves.
While this was still wet, I picked up reds, oranges and browns with my brush and dropped in the colours, observing how they worked on the actual leaves. Then I picked up the paper and allowed the colours to spread in the wet first wash.
With the wrong end of my brush I drew in some veins, looking carefully to see how they worked on the actual leaf. when you do this, the colour spreads into the marks you have made to create dark coloured veins.
You can see how the paint has blended together to create a very realistic version of the leaves.
You could let this dry thoroughly and then go in again doing exactly the same thing with a second wash of colour to deepen the effects.
And there you have a wet in wet painting of the field maple leaves. Lovely job!
Walking back from the shops this morning through the scattered Autumn leaves in the park, it occurred to me that Autumn is the very best time to start on watercolour painting or to get back to it if you’ve not done any for a while.
Why? It’s because the colours of Autumn are beautiful! They are so vibrant and warm and lovely and watercolour is just the best medium for painting Autumn (I’m biased!)
Why is it the best? Well look at these Autumn leaves…See how the colours blend into each other from yellow to orange to red. You can paint this effect with watercolour because the pigment moves in the water (if you use plenty of water and plenty of colour).
September/October has always been a good time to start afresh on a hobby. Summer holidays are over…Christmas is ages away…the kids are back at school, be they your children or grandchildren…and it’s time to make a fresh start.
My advice- buy 3 tubes of watercolour, a red, a yellow and a blue. Buy one paintbrush (made of a mix of man made and natural hairs), and a 7×9 inch (or similar) watercolour sketchbook (140not) get an ordinary white plate from the kitchen for a palette and you have everything you need.
Here it all is below…plus a pencil and some Autumn leaves.
I’m going to paint a leaf now using this basic kit.
And the great thing is that I will be using the “wet in wet” method. Its huge fun…come back soon to see what I did!
In a few days time, the November issue of Leisure Painter will be in the shops. I’m excited as there’s an article of mine in it about my new passion of journalling my garden.
With the huge pile of paintings in my studio getting taller by the day, I thought it would be a good idea, for a change, to put my paintings all together in a book, a journal with sketches, watercolours and words.
And as gardening becomes more and more important to me, I’ve chosen that as my subject.
It’s been fun so far. I’m free to paint and write about whatever I want to. It’s great!
I will have another three more articles appearing in Leisure Painter throughout the year, each one depicting a different season. Can’t wait!
Hi everyone! It’s been some time since I last posted but here’s some news about my new book.
There’s an excerpt from the book in the November issue of Leisure Painter. It’s one of my favourite projects in the book with a lovely Autumn twist to get us in the mood for painting as the “season of mists and mellow fruitfulness” arrives.
Chinese Lanterns are so showy and colourful…I have planted a shrub in the garden now and the orange lanterns are there, glowing away merrily.
And look at the Liquidambar tree in the back garden. Incredible colour!