First demo uploaded in Ann’s Art Studio

I’ve just uploaded the first technique blog in the Ann’s Watercolour Studio blog.

It’s about NEGATIVE PAINTING which seems to both fascinate people and bug them at the same time!
I love this way of painting and really like the 3D effect it gives.
At the same time, I’m working on a small orchid painting which I started yesterday.
I’m using this photo for reference. I took the photo on our visit tothe glasshouse at Wisley Gardens recently. Love the way the orchid is backlit.

My watercolour techniques blog

I’m setting up a sister blog called Ann’s Watercolour Studio where I’m going to share techniques with you and perhaps answer questions and solve problems that you have had while doing your watercolour painting.

I want to upload video clips when I’ve worked out how, and I’ll illustrate the techniques with photos.
Hope you’ll keep an eye on what’s in there!
Click on this link:

Workshop notes

Just had a call from a friend who has been to loads of my workshops and who is always the first to boost me up when she gets a chance…lovely Jean.

Something she said has made me think of noting down one or two points re. workshops coming up.
In life things move on and they should never stay the same. If you aren’t moving forwards, you’ll be moving back at a rate of knots. So with this in mind I am going to change slightly the format of my workshops in line with our developing skills.
Up til now the tried and tested paintalong method with an initial drawing has suited us well. People have been pleased to have a ready made design (though not everyone always uses it, some draw their own) and then to concentrate on the watercolour techniques to paint our own version.
To everyones’ constant surprise, the paintings are always vastly different one from the other, as we cannot help, thank goodness, our different personalities shining through, but they are all basically the same painting.
In my workshops a good percentage of the painters are returners…I’m very glad to say. And I think we’ve all been developing over the last few years, including me. (You never stop learning!) Our experience and confidence are building steadily. What is more, on a practical level my stock of reference material is building up so that now I can offer more choice to people coming to paint.
So I think I would like to work along the lines of everyone choosing their own reference material and making their own design. This would include their own ref. material that they might have brought along, whether real flowers or photos.
I will still demonstrate the techniques that I feel suit the subject. It always helps to see an example of the techniques in use. But then I will coach everyone separately according to how they have decided to tackle the subject.
It might not be as “tidy” a solution as in the past but I think we’re ready for it.
Thought I’d upload a pic to cheer us up. Roll on Spring! The snowdrops and hellebores are both about to flower in my garden. Yay! The flowering year is starting again!

Past workshops, Demo paintings and the wonders of masking fluid.

Is it the cold weather or is it that nasty recession thingy… or is it me????

Not had a whole lot of feedback to my reminders about Spring courses. The classes are filling up slowly but surely but I have put an advert in the local free newspaper just to help spread the word.
I sent off the “roughs” of my paintings to the publisher for the orchid book and am now looking forward to March and the trip down to Tunbridge Wells to do the step by step demo paintings while being photographed. I found this to be a good experience when I did my first book.
I like demonstrating paintings and have no problem painting while someone watches. But there is more to it than that and a lot of care has to go into the preparation and design of a piece so that the readers can get the most out of following the different steps.
You have to have thought about your colour mixes and have rationalised them to be the most economical use of paint in the palette. No stopping halfway and changing your mind about a colour or just adding an extra colour for fun!
You have to generally make the painting “do-able” and cannot let yourself go into complete spontaneity. So it has to be quite measured and disciplined.
Which is why the other day I had a sudden desire to let myself go and use masking fluid on the primroses painting, gallons of it, to completely mask out the flowers and then have fun in the back ground. I generally tend to avoid using it too much with students as they are apt to be frightened of it. Unless you use it often, as I have been doing over the years, you tend not to believe that it’s best to put a good thick layer of it on the paper. But that is the best thing to do as it comes off very easily then.
But I digress. The photo I’ve up loaded for you today was taken after a Pansies workshop. It summarises a workshop…drawings, photographic reference, real flowers, painting materials and the finished painting. Pansies are such perfect little flowers…they have inbuilt contrast with those splodges of dark on their faces as though smeared with blackberry jam!

Spring Classes

Are the creative thoughts stirring? The artistic juices starting to flow?

I still have spaces in my SPRING WEEKLY CLASSES on Tuesday and Wednesdays starting 13 March 2012 for eight weeks.

The Tuesday class will be for Beginners/Improvers and the Wednesday class for more experienced improvers.
I have only ONE place left on Wednesdays.
THREE places left on Tuesdays.
Also there are still places on my DAY WORKSHOPS where we spend the day painting and you are treated to a two course lunch with wine!
25 Feb Early Spring Flowers
24 March Spring Flowers
21 April Early Clematis
26 May Bluebell time (probably a landscape)
All the details are on my website in events where there is a booking form you can print off.
Also there are details on the side bar of this blog.
My artistic juices are definitely starting to flow now along with the juicy watercolour washes and the Spring flowers and bulbs are poking through the soil…snowdrops, primroses, hellebores…can’t wait!

Happy New Year!

Well it’s New Year’s Day 2012 and I wish everyone a good year with good health, lots of artistic inspiration and all around positivity and joy!

It’s raining and windy but not too cold…in fact unseasonably mild, but I’m sitting here in the studio at 16.30 and it’s pitch dark outside. Which presents problems if you want to photograph work at this time of year. You have to plan things so that you do any photography early on in the day if you want to catch the daylight.
I’m working on the Painting orchids book and I am at the point of being able to send the proposed demo pieces to Search Press, the publishers. But I need to photograph them all and the drawings and today I missed the light. It’ll have to be tomorrow now.
So frustrating not being able to show you what I’ve been doing. I’m quite pleased with the paintings and I love the bright colours and exotic shapes of the orchids.
The garden is in its brown/ grey Winter state but there are signs of life, snowdrops poking through and other bulbs pushing up through the dark cold earth.
But one plant is making a brave face of it…the Winter jasmine with its starry yellow flowers brightening the North facing side of the shed where it grows. I’ve up loaded a painting I did last year where I was wanting to depict the tangle of branches and leaves and the yellow stars shining out.