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!
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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.

Burton Joyce workshop…..We had fun!




It’s been a lovely day at Burton Joyce Art Group. It was, of course, quality rather than quantity today as there were just the six painters in the group which was better for them, more tuition time, and better for me, more individual contact, and better for all…more biscuits! They made some really good paintings and enjoyed themselves as well. I have their permission to show off the paintings and a group photo. I’m also uploading the doorway photo in case they would like to have another go at the subject.

Just click on any of the images to enlarge.

Upcoming Workshop preparation – Sunlit Doorway


Preparing for the upcoming workshop at Burton Joyce art group. We’re going to do this sunlit doorway scene. We will be painting sunshine again, or at least the effects of it which are usually cast shadows and highly contrasting surfaces.

This is from a photo of an old doorway that my sister Janet took and let me have as painting reference.
The sunlit wall standing out against the dark background and the shadows cast by the flowers growing out of the wall over the door are good fun to try and capture. They provide the wow factor that every subject should have to make it worth painting.

Seeing it in black and white…Oleander Workshop review.


We had a good time, yesterday, Margaret, Barbara, Kathy, Roger, Jean, Sue, Anne and I at the studio workshop. I don’t know whether this was due to the art or the home made brownies at coffee time and the excellent lunch with wine prepared by Andrew, but everyone seemed happy!

When we got to the end and were preparing for a show of work which we usually do outside, it started raining, so I wasn’t able to get a photo of the students’ work. But as always the finished paintings were remarkable for their quality and variety, considering we all did exactly the same subject.
Anne had printed a black and white version of my finished painting and it was interesting. It struck me that viewing our work in black and white is something that we could all do to check out our values and whether we have achieved a good tonal range in any painting. All you have to do is put the image through photoshop and click on “remove colour”.
I was quite pleased with my Oleander painting in black and white. The lightest bits are,as intended, the doorway and the dappled sunlit floor and the flowers stand out pale too.
Interesting to see how the red chairs, which stand out in colour are in fact the same tone as their surroundings and almost disappear in the non colour version.
And thus it is that you never stop learning in this business of watercolour painting!