Clematis Demo drawing…YouTube demo reaches 40,000 views, let’s celebrate!

Hope everyone has had a wonderful Christmas break and that, like me you are feverishly making plans to restart back at the gym and stocking up on lettuce!

 Rosalie on facebook asked me if there was a drawing available for the clematis demo on YouTube.

Coincidentally, I wandered over to my YouTube page and saw that there have been exactly 40,000 views in total of my videos there.  Yay, I am so glad people are enjoying the demos.

To celebrate I am offering the drawing here for you to download to help you practise the techniques.  Hopefully then you can have another  go using the techniques with your own original design

( A Polite Reminder!  It is copyright and any work done directly from this drawing and the demos on youtube must be credited to me.  Something like “from a painting demo by Ann Mortimer”  Thank you!)

Thank you so much for your interest and your support.  I really appreciate your company on my “art journey”.  In fact I wouldn’t be doing it if it wasn’t for you all  being there and being so positive.

Happy New Year everyone!

Mike Leigh’s "Mr Turner"…star turn or turn-off?

I enjoyed this film.  I was convinced by it from start to finish.  I think that Mike Leigh understood the following truth… that much as we would like our famous artists to be prancing about with a paint box producing prettiness very politely, the reality is often very different.  That goes for today and it goes for the 18th and 19thcentury too.  Artistic creation can be passionate, radical, raw, visceral, in fact arguably the best art is all these things.
Turner was gutsy, driven, he grappled with his subjects, wanted to get as much out of a sky or a seascape as his materials would allow, would not settle for second best.  Spit, eggshells, a rub with a dirty finger, all were grist to the mill in trying to achieve his vision. At least that is what I gather from this portrayal.
I was never particularly a fan of Turner’s art, didn’t really understand him, until now.  Leigh has made me appreciate the man as a passionate genius, a visionary.  As such he was a precursor of the modern non-representational artists, the Tracey Emins who many love to critique and mock for their apparent lack of “talent”. 
Turner, Leigh tells us, was an ordinary bloke verging on the uncouth, but who was consumed by his passion to create with watercolour and oils and he didn’t care a damn what people thought.  Moreover, he was a man of his time in a world where women were treated as chattels and he, along with many men of the time, treated his women badly.  (It is well documented that the great Charles Dickens was guilty of unforgivable cruelty towards his wife, portraying her as insane, so that he could enjoy the company of his mistress unhindered.)  That’s how it was.  Do we want to ignore this or face it?
But Leigh does not shy away from shocking reality and authenticity.  The same honest treatment and wish for authenticity that shows Turner’s animalistic importuning of his landlady up against the bookcase and documents graphically the same poor woman’s worsening psoriasis, also gives us the amazing scenes of the fishing port of Margate, Dutch women strolling along a dyke at dawn, wonderful atmospheric sunsets and the panoramic portrayal of the Fighting Temeraire. 
If art is there to help us appreciate the beauty and complexity of our world and film is an art form, which it certainly is, then Mike Leigh has surely succeeded in opening our eyes on the particular world of J.M.W.Turner and his art.  

Definitely a star turn for me.

Autumn inspirations…

I have been sharing my work on facebook but need to catch up here on the blog and show you some paintings I’ve been doing inspired by Autumn, which for me is the most wonderful season for finding inspiration.  I guess it’s the colours that inspire most, the leaves, fruits, flowers providing a panoply of delicious shades and tones.

A loosener exercise from last Autumn

But it’s also the special atmosphere that excites the senses… well no, excites is the wrong word as it is all so mellow and relaxed, as if Nature has done her work for this year and is breathing a long sigh of relief and settling down for a long snooze.

And it’s the special light, of course.  Low sun sending shafts of warm light through hedges and wooded areas and trees throwing long shadows across russet coloured undergrowth.

I took a walk along the short stretch of the Grantham canal near our home and saw the fruits and flowers in the hedges.  I have countless photos of tangled hedges with hawthorn, sloe, blackberries, elder berries.  This time I was taken by the bindweed flowers which are not welcome in our garden but which shine out like white stars in the hedges.

I put some of what I saw into a composition of leaves, flowers and fruits.  I masked out the flowers and some stalks, then mixed up loads of the autumn colours that I love and went in with a first wash of yellows, reds, pinks and browns

My drawing
First wash and some negative shapes found
I had masked out some shapes representing the holes in the hedge where the light was filtering through.  I love trying to create that illusion.  I laid one or two more washes over the background trying to keep the illusion of other vegetation behind the main subject.  Finally I painted the flowers with shadow coloured washes.  Hope you like the result!
Final Painting

Why do we do art?…and similar questions.

The recent news articles about the winner of the £25,000 John Moores Painting Prize, Rose Wylie have really made me think.

If one of the reasons for producing art is to shock and make people ask questions, well then this time it worked!  I had never heard of Rose Wylie or seen any of her work and so seeing her prize winning painting was something of a surprise and a “sit up and take notice!” moment for me.

This is her winning painting “PV Windows and Floorboards”

I’ve been looking around and researching her, looking at her art on line, reading articles and watching videos of her being interviewed.  Fascinating stuff if only because she is 80 years old and is being described as an up and coming artist.

What intrigues me is her utter unconcern about how her work is viewed and how she has all these years kept to her particular vision of what she wants to create as art despite up til now being largely ignored and her paintings not selling. She appears not to be interested in putting over a message or communicating or creating something which would be described in traditional terms as beautiful.

So I ask why do we do art?

More musings to come…

Anemones step by step project…continued

Bunch of Anemones Instructions for painting

I hope you enjoy this step by step if you have a go at painting it.
I love sharing the joys of using techniques to “tame” this wonderful medium and use it to express the beauty of the natural forms around us.

My future plan is to start an series of on line courses.  You would get A4 drawings, full instructions and most importantly FEEDBACK on your work for maximum learning potential.

So look out for these!

Reference photo
My drawing


-Watercolour paper 140not 11×15 inches
(I used Saunders
-A board with your paper fixed to it with masking tape all around the edge.
-Watercolour Brushes Size 6, 8 10
-Masking Fluid and a small old brush to apply it
2B Pencil and a putty rubber

Raw sienna
Quinacridone gold
Winsor blue
Cobalt Blue
Winsor Violet
Permanent Rose
Quinacridone Magenta
Quinacridone Red

Step One
I drew the design on to the watercolour paper set at landscape. I then put a line of masking fluid approx. half a centimetre thick round the edge of the flowers in order to protect them from the first wash. I also masked out some small sparkly spots in the glass vase. While the masking was drying I prepared my colours for the first wash.
I made large wells of aureolin and raw sienna lightly mingled, permanent rose, Winsor violet, cobalt blue. The paint was single cream consistency. I wetted the paper with clean water everywhere except the main body of the flowers so that any colour would only spread where the water was.
Ignoring the drawn lines, I started by dropping in yellows top left and down through the vase and over the table. I then dropped in the blues and violets using a weaving action and allowing the colours to blend on the paper. Once the colours were in I lifted the board and allowed the colours to mix and run one into the other. I let this first wash dry completely. Then I removed the masking on the flowers.

TIP! Cover your masking brush with soap to protect it.

Step Two
I made wells of the yellows, a green well made with Winsor blue and Quinacridone gold loosely mingled, and separate ones of violet, red and pink in order to paint the flowers. I wet each flower with clean water and stroked in the thick colour leaving some areas unpainted to depict light.
The water makes the colour blend naturally. One or two white flowers were left unpainted. I dropped some yellows and greens into the leafy areas and let them blend. I allowed this to dry completely

Step 2
Step Three
Studying closely the reference photo, I used thicker mixes of each flower colour to make one petal stand out against another. I painted in some folds and creases within one of the unpainted flowers to make a pale violet flower. With a mix of cobalt and a tiny touch of pink I painted in the creases in the white flowers. For the flower centres, I first laid in some cobalt blue, and then dropped in a dark mix made with Winsor blue, pink and a touch of green. The little stamens were painted with the dark mix.
I painted the frilly leaves in the centre by painting the negative spaces around them with darker green and then leaves around the outside were painted.
For the vase, I made a mix of Winsor blue and a little gold and aureolin to make a blue green colour. I wet the vase with clean water and then dropped the thick colour in round the edge and allowed it to travel into the centre. I stroked in some stalk shapes wet in wet with a thick green mix. All this was allowed to dry.
TIP! Try and leave some edges unpainted
on the flowers to give an effect of light.
Step 3
TIP! When painting the vase, concentrate your colour round the outside to keep the centre light to make it look more “glassy” and see through.
Step Four
The vase needed another layer of paint. Once again I gently wet the whole vase and a very thick mix of the dark blue/green colour was dropped in around the edge and at the bottom to depict the thick glass. I let the colour spread naturally. With some yellowy green I painted in some negative shapes among the stalks in the vase to make them stand out. Some more negative shapes were painted among the frilly leaves. I removed the masking on the vase to reveal some sparkles on the glass.
Finally it was time to lay in a second wash behind the flowers to make then stand out with more impact. For this I made up some Winsor blue, some violet, some magenta and then wet the background on the top half of the painting right the way to the edge of the paper. I then dropped in the colours up against the flowers and weaved them to the edge of the paper and allowed them to blend by tipping the board this way and that. I left the wash alone without manipulating it so it stayed fresh and clean. I allowed this to dry.
I laid in the suggestion of a cast shadow and a reflection from the vase with a mix of cobalt and a touch of pink and wetting the paper lightly first.
TIP! You can do the background wash in
two parts if this is easier, making a break
in the middle at the top.

To see me actually painting similar projects have a look at this link about my DVD (£15 via PayPal or Amazon)  

Back home and September means a new beginning…

I have finally got around to posting here after our trip to the USA.

We had a great time in Seattle and Port Townsend, WA.  We spent time with our daughter and son in law and, as it was our first ever trip to the USA, went around looking in awe at the tremendous sense of space and hugeness in that big country.

Now back to work and art and first of all THE BOOKS!  Tax returns do not fill in themselves and so this is what is taking my time at the moment.


September is nearly with us with all it’s sense of a new “term”, a new beginning, new uniform, a new series of “Strictly” on the telly and all that…you know what I mean!

So I thought I would upload a step by step for anyone who wants to have a go at something new. Colourful Anemones!

This is actually one of the step by steps I have published in a leaflet with the written instructions, colours to use etc..

For today though here are the photo and drawing to have a look at and an example of the finished painting.

I’ll upload the different stages to help you paint this next time.

By the way, the glass vase is one of the projects that I paint on my DVD.  So there’s a reason to send for it!