Society of Floral Painters workshop coming up…


Today I’m preparing and packing up all my stuff ready to make the journey down to Southampton for a workshop I’m running for the Society of Floral Painters. I’m always delighted to be asked to do this for them as I know that they are great flower lovers and serious floral artists. No pressure there then!

We’re going to be looking at White Cosmos. While I was painting them this summer at the time when they were abundant in the garden, I decided that they would be a good subject to tackle with the SFP members. They are nice simple open flowers in their form so we can enjoy placing them in a more complex background of varied flowers and leaves. Added sunshine should help us produce a fresh, lively painting of an abundant summer border. That’s the plan anyway!
I have used a blue/green palette, led by the muted glaucous greens of the poppy seed heads that were there at the time. This is relieved by the bright yellows of the flower centres.
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A good time was had…..


We had a good day today at the Autumn Leaves studio workshop.

Margaret, Christine, Barbara, Megan, Roger, Les and I really went for it with the reds, yellows, oranges, pinks and greens of Autumn. I’ve uploaded their paintings and am really impressed with the high standard of their work.
The studio was awash with brightly coloured leaves and we did them justice. Well done everyone…good job! (Click on the photo to enlarge).

Autumn Leaves….workshop coming soon.


I’ve been looking at leaves and using up my tubes of gold, crimson, yellow, pink, and siennas. I’ll have to get a new stock in for the workshop! But it is great fun. As long as you get the outer shape of the leaf right, (and don’t tell anyone, but a real leaf makes a wonderful template!), then you can go crazy with your colours and textures within the leaf.

In this painting I’ve introduced a bit of structure by putting in some branches and twigs. I like the dark, knobbly shapes of the twigs.

Rainbow Hydrangeas


I had good fun with this yesterday. Used a piece of the back of an old painting and just set off with a little bit of drawing with some watercolour pencils right in the middle plus some loose washes of the different colours I could see in the flowers. Then worked my way out, adding more flowers. I had a vase of about 5 flowers in front of me and I kept turning the vase to get different views. I suppose I was trying to get them to look as if they were growing outside in the garden.

They turn different colours as Autumn advances and they have speckles, and colour changes within each petal. They almost look like a watercolour painting! I like painting them because each flower is made up of several different florets and you can go into the crevices with negative painting to create depth within them.
I used quite a lot of pencil rubbed against sandpaper to make the speckles. Good fun!

Walled Garden workshop debriefing….


There were eight of us, Margaret, Anne, Rosie, Shirley, Marion, Di, Jean and I here in the studio yesterday for the workshop and we did some good work. Everyone ended up with a very decent painting. I’ve uploaded a photo but Jean had to go early and so her lovely painting isn’t there.

(Click on the photo to enlarge and scroll down to the 26 September post to see the photo reference we used.)

It was quite an ambitious project, but I couldn’t resist it as I thought there were so many aspects to get our teeth into. Tree bark catching the light, flower borders to be loosely summarised, leaves silhouetted and falling naturally, figures to give it life and the cast shadows across the lawn.
Di said that she would never have attempted such a subject but in fact she ended up with a very beautiful convincing painting.
We all enjoyed a delicious lunch thanks to lovely Andrew!
Well done everyone! You did work hard but it paid off!

My tree story on www.treestory-seattle.com


Do you love trees? Who doesn’t really? Check out this website and share your story.
This is mine….

Seattle is not my home but people I love dearly are there. And this is not really a story but TreeStory Seattle has been an inspiration and has made me realise the huge part that trees play in my life.
I am a watercolour painter, that’s my job and it’s how I spend most of my waking hours.
In a landscape that I’m painting, trees with their heroic, majestic forms invariably provide the structure, the framework. Trees give me the leaves, with their myriad colours and shapes, the fruit and the blossom that I love to paint.
Most of my working days I hold a gift from a tree in my hand, my paintbrush! This sensitive wooden tool with the soft sable at its end is the channel for the emotion, the creativity that flows on to that textured white surface which has often been provided by…a tree!
Until now, I don’t think I really knew how much I need and love TREES.