Single Snowdrop


The snowdrops are really late this year in the garden. They’ve been tucking themselves in just under the soil surface, keeping out of trouble. This is the first one to emerge fully. I’m going to paint it, as soon as I get a chance, to celebrate this first sign of Spring.

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Anemones step by step painting


I’ve been looking at these Anemone de Caen flowers. Their warm bright jewel colours are irresistible now at the beginning of February when all is pretty drab and colourless outside. Here is a painting I made last year. I took photos of the different stages. I think it shows quite clearly how you can start with an all over colourful wash and then delve your way into the depths with your darks to make a 3D effect. I love doing this.

The photo I took in my garden as the sun was shining from the left and creating cast shadows on the petals. There are deep darks in among the leaves and these are what I wanted to capture to make the flowers stand out. I was hoping to render the characteristic filigree leaves by painting darks into the negative spaces between them, thus creating their random shapes.

When I look at flowers growing together like this, I am as aware of the dark shapes between them as of the flowers themselves. I am seeing shapes of light and dark.

I started with an all over wash, having wetted the whole page and let the water sink in for a minute. I had drawn a design which I largely ignored as I dropped in the reds, violets, blues and pinks over the flowers and yellows and greens over the leafy areas. I let the colours blend and spread and then allowed this to dry.

At stage 2 my next job was to bring out the flower shapes by using dark mixes. So I painted round the petal shapes and also looked at the leaf shapes “back to front” and saw the negative spaces between them and put my colours in there, bringing out their shapes.


At stage 3 I started working into the main flowers using my photos for reference to render the shadows within the petals. I continued to find more negative shapes between flowers and leaves.

At stage 4, I went into more detail with the flowers in the centre of the painting. I had masked out some of the stamens that were catching the light and so when the masking was removed I was left with some idea of depth within the stamen areas once I had put in the cast shadows. So the stamens stand out with a 3D effect.

In the finished painting the outer flowers are left underworked so that the viewer’s attention will be drawn to the central flowers where the main light is falling.

Snowy stream. Another snow event inspired painting


Here is photo which a very nice student let me have to paint from.

I like the stream snaking through and the wonderful contrast between the snow and the dark browny grey water.
There is a sense of distance with a wooded area in the background. I try to emphasise this sense of depth in my painting and I also simplify the foreground trees. (Sometimes when you attempt to simplify a photo, you can’t see the woods for the trees, literally!)
If you want to know more about how I achieved the effects in the painting, get in touch!

Let it Snow…


Here is the photo I used for the painting you can see below. I love the light in it and the cast shadows but I needed to add more foreground interest and so put in the hedge and tree on the right. I shall be using this project in my first workshop of the year in February. See the painting below.


Happy New Year to all! It’s been wonderful to have so many opportunities to stare at snow covered landscapes and trees frosted with freshly fallen snow as if sprinkled with icing sugar. The contrasts are amazing in a snow covered scene. Shapes become simpler and easy to read…the monochrome effect helping you to understand the relationships between dark and light. I’ve not been brave enough to go out there and paint in it but the snow has inspired some painting indoors.

I painted from photos but I had the brilliant scene outside the window to inspire me and to help me check out tones and shadow patterns. Here is one of the paintings and I’ve included the photo I used for reference so you can see how I changed and edited it to make a better composition.