New Year 2018 Best Wishes to all for a good one!

narcissi in the woods

Happy New Year everyone!

In my last post on this blog, I promised that I would post some tips to accompany the book.  So I thought I’d start with this project.  In the book you get an A4 tracing to help you along if you wish.

How do you get that misty effect in the background with the trees and branches showing up as shadowy shapes?

I’ve made a short video to demo that technique.


Of course the daffodils would be masked out  with masking fluid in front of this woodland area.  You could then paint this boldly without worrying about spoiling your flowers.

More tips soon!

Blackberries step by step


copyright blackberries stage 6

I painted this a few years ago after a walk along a local canal where the hedges were full of Autumn fruits and I photographed the different stages.

Autumn forage
The results of my Autumn foraging walk along  the canal
blackberries stage 1
My drawing with some details masked out
blackberries stage 2
A first wash wet in wet was allowed to dry
blackberries stage 3
Some leaf shapes have been cut out with darker washes.
blackberries stage 4
The blackberries have been washed in leaving some highlights
copyright blackberries stage 6
The finished painting.

Some more leaf shapes have been cut out of the background wash to give depth.

The leaves have been washed with different colours wet in wet.   The masking has been removed and the hawthorn berries and flowers have been painted in.

Towards the outer edges of the painting you can see areas of the first wash left un touched in order to take the eye towards the middle of the painting.

Colours used:

Winsor and Newton artists watercolours

aureolin                      Winsor blue (red shade)         Winsor red           Ultramarine blue

raw sienna                   Quinacridone gold                   cobalt blue           Indian yellow

burnt sienna                Quinacridone magenta           Alizarin crimson     Permanent rose

blackberries 2013 palette annotated
My palette with colours ready.  I love these rich Autumn mixes!


I used 140 not watercolour paper.  Saunders Waterford.

I hope you’re inspired to paint Autumn!

Excerpt from my new book in this month’s Leisure Painter

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.

LP mag photo

And look at the Liquidambar tree in the back garden.  Incredible colour!


Be inspired!



Patchings 2017 coming soon! My Demonstration and Book Signing



I hope you will come and see me on Thursday 13 July at 2pm in the Search Press marquee at Patchings Festival.

pansy markings


I’ll be at Patchings this year, but I won’t have a stand.

Blink and you might miss me!

I’ll be in the Search Press marquee on Thursday afternoon, July 13th at 2pm.


I’ll be painting one or two of the projects in my new book, Flowers in Watercolour.  I’ll be talking about the book, about how to use it and get the most out of it and I will have some of the example “inspirational” paintings on show.


Looking through the book, I am impressed by how much we’ve managed to fit into it!  There are 35 projects to have a go at.  All with illustrated step by step instructions, a tracing if desired, a photo of the subject and with plenty of tips about techniques, colour mixing, texture making, etc.

bluebellorchid shadows

I’ve included here some of the illustrations which didn’t get into the book, but which give you a flavour of what there is inside.

etoile violette

So I hope you’ll come and say hello.  I’m really looking forward to seeing some old friends and meeting some new ones too!


New book out summer 2017

new book

I received a forward copy of my new book this month.  Very exciting!

final book cover
New book cover

It’s been the best part of a year’s work for me and I was really pleased to see that the book has a lot to offer.  It’s packed with ideas, projects, tracings, illustrations and it looks like good value for money to me…but then I’m biased!

The projects are quick and easy, well as easy as watercolour ever is!  Based on small flower portraits using a variety of techniques which are fully explained.

Makes me remember that when I first started out with watercolour, I used to do small flower portraits…and then would sell them at craft fairs.  Either framed or as greetings cards.

I’ll tell you more soon, but in the meantime here are some of the sort of projects you will find in the book, with full step by step instructions.

example project 3 30 min flowers
Backlit crocus
daffs in wood
Woodland daffodils








Sketchbook fun

Towards the end of last year I began a sketchbook to document  the garden and anything else that took my fancy.  I love the concept of journaling but have always been a bit hit and miss with my sketchbook work.

I bought a Strathmore watercolour journal and I was off.  My first sketch was done…

copy red helleb
My first journal sketch


And here are some sketches I’ve done recently, ending up with the Plum blossom sketch of which more in the next blog.

copy clem cirr
Winter Clematis



copy plum blossom sketch
Spring Plum Blossom



Iris step by step

I painted this iris ages ago and took photos of the stages.  Thought you might like to see the progress of the painting.  It’s quite small…about A4 size.

I love depicting these flowers with their delicious folds and frills!

The challenge was to bring out the iris against a dark background.  The white edges at the top were important in making the flower stand out and not be lost in the background.  I like putting in a background as I don’t want to produce a botanical study but to try and catch the spirit of the flower growing in its natural environment.  I like the stroked in leaves at the bottom giving a bit of depth and context.

My drawing from my own photo. I’ve masked out the sparkly white areas with masking fluid.
First wash.  I wet the whole paper and then dropped in colours to reflect the flower and a natural background. Yellows dropped into the centre of the flower wet in wet. (See colours used below)
Here I’ve started to lay in colours round the edge of the petals, wetting the whole petal first and then dropping in colour right on the edge and letting it spread.  some shadow work within the white areas
More background laid in.  Darker tones around the top and some dark greens stroked in wet in wet at the bottom to give the impression of more leaves. Then the masking was removed.
Hard edged shadows worked in round the edges of the top petals.  This brings out the white sparkles making it look sunlit.  I’ve painted negatively behind the main leaves with darker tones to bring them out against the background.


The Final Painting


Colours used:

Cobalt blue, Ultramarine blue, cobalt violet, Winsor violet, quinacridone gold, aureolin, permanent rose, Indian yellow

Winsor blue, quinacridone gold, aureolin to make the GREENS

Cobalt blue,cobalt violet, touch of permanent rose for the FLOWER SHADOWS

Indian yellow for the CENTRE