Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Heat Wave

 "Summer Haze"
Inspired by the wild flowers in our cottage woodland garden.


I am trying to work on my new book but a heatwave has hit UK. As much as I adore writing, concentration isn't coming very easily to me right now. I still get the urge to go "freckle collecting" when the sun shines even though I know it is supposed to be bad for me. But it feels so good to have sunshine on my shoulders especially when I live in England and these very hot temperatures are so few and far between.

But I did work on my book today and the section I have been putting together is almost complete and it looks beautiful. To be honest. I am learning so much from writing this new publication. I am having to think about why I paint in the way that I do in order to share techniques and tips that work for me. Also, trying to write in a way that readers can gain successful results rather than just look at pretty pictures means each word written has to be brilliantly explanatory and inspirational. I am a tough task master when it comes to writing each new book I take on as a project. And I am being very hard on myself with this one because it is gorgeous and I want everyone who reads it to feel they simply have to paint after reading each section.

But at the end of today I felt I deserved a treat. So I went and sat quietly in the woodland section of our cottage garden with the intention of painting the white ox eye daisies growing wild there. This section of our garden has been deliberately left to grow wild for the wildlife to enjoy. Before I even picked up my brushes a pair of dancing copper butterflies drifted past and before I knew it I was sat silently watching butterflies and not painting. But this silent time drew me into a beautiful mood of silence where only bird song interrupted the connection between me and my brushstrokes.

Soon the hazy daisies came to life on my paper and I felt peaceful, happy and relaxed.

As always I cannot wait to paint tomorrow.

I am inspired with new energy to pour into the next pages of my new book.

My artists tip for today?

Stop what you are doing, find something beautiful and paint it in silence. Just for a few minutes clear your mind and escape into the world of watercolour. It is after all the most magical of worlds. And we are so privileged to be able to escape into it from time to time.



 Woodland section of our cottage garden. A grass pathway leads you through beautiful wild flowers and natural grasses.


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Tuesday, 13 June 2017

The Dreaded Words

"Delphinium Rhapsody"
Delphinium painted in my cottage garden this afternoon

An exhausting day. I have tidied my studio. And every single time I do this I have an incredible urge to paint and mess it up again which actually isn't a good idea, or is it.

Why is my blog post called " The Dreaded Words" you may ask.  Well when I had the first meeting with my publisher for my next new book they told me that they would come to me this time with the photography crew, to film the step by steps. In my studio. Wow, I thought at the time. That's fantastic. No packing my car and worrying about leaving anything important behind. No unpacking and packing again at the photography studio. No having to stay in hotels overnight while the filming was taking place. And how easy this would be with everything I need at hand, here in my studio.

Then the dreaded words sunk in.

" In my studio"

Wait.

"IN MY STUDIO"

Aaaargh!

I have been putting off tidying up and making room for the cameras etc. Constantly making excuses of more important things to do. Like collecting freckles in my garden if the sun is shining, as well as painting of course.

 I kept putting it off, until today when I could put it off no longer. Last night I went to bed imagining how enthusiastically I would race to my studio this morning and set about  tidying. Re arranging things and making it look wonderful.

But when I woke this morning all my good intentions of heading to my studio seemed to evaporate within minutes as my feet headed straight for the potting shed in my garden and the next thing I knew I was gardening. While I was gardening I fell in love with the above delphinium and just had to paint it straight away. All the while telling myself that afterwards I would definitely sort out my studio. But then a sale came through which meant wrapping a painting for a gallery urgently. And then a second gallery contacted me asking me if I had any Venice scenes but the one the gallery's client wanted had just sold, only minutes before.  So instead of sorting out my studio I helped the second gallery by forwarding images of paintings that may be suitable for their client instead.

Finally as evening drew near I made myself get on with the task I had been putting off all day. Now my studio looks fabulous. In fact, it looks too fabulous.

A tidy studio?

What kind of artist works in a tidy studio?

This won't do at all.


Tonight I am going to bed with the notion of waking to mess my studio back up again.

I am sure you will be eager to see whether my studio is a mess or organised in my new book.

But what the heck, I actually just want to paint delphiniums now so my studio, messy or tidy will have to wait.

Happy painting!


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Wednesday, 7 June 2017

Every Life Matters

"So Small"
Butterfly on wild flower in our cottage garden.


As always I am busy. I am now totally engrossed in writing my new book. I am at the middle of creating this next exciting publication and I am afraid each new chapter draws me further into the book. So much so that I find it impossible to leave it. Even to share posts here on my blog. This often happens when you really fall in love with what you are doing. It consumes you. You eat, sleep and wake thinking of what is going to happen next. It is a fantastic and energising feeling. But, I know there will be a stage in the process where I feel very unhappy. And that will be when I know I am about to write the last few chapters. A part I dread when writing any book. Because the process is like a love affair between the creation and the creator.  Or the bond between a Mother and a child. It is hard to let go when the time comes, as it has to. But that time is way off in the distance. For now I am in the ecstatic mode of wanting to write and paint every single minute of each day and I love it.

In our cottage garden there is so much in the way of wildlife to distract me from my goal of writing each day. Happily this just gives me another excuse to paint.

Today I watched a tiny delicate butterfly as it danced around the flowers in our garden. So small, so dainty and yet so beautiful.

With an election in UK this week I can't help but wonder just who is looking out for our environment in the world. So that for generations to come in the years ahead, our grandchildrens' grandchildren can feel the thrill I do when I observe the beauty of nature.

Yes, there are many important issues our world leaders need to  consider. 
I just wish one would seriously consider the planet and protect oru wildlife too.

But for now, I am back to writing and painting which is far more relaxing.

Happy painting!


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Monday, 29 May 2017

"Fed Up"

"Fed Up"

At the foot of our cottage garden are a few sheds, one is a potting shed that has become home annually to several birds. This year the blackbird family have laid two batches of eggs. I try to avoid disturbing them during this period especially while they are sitting on their nests. I even put off my gardening chores until all the fledglings have left.  

But this year Mrs Blackbrid has outdone herself. She is now sitting on the second new brood and looking thoroughly sorry for herself. In fact she looks downright "Fed Up" . Which became the title for this fun painting as the subject was far too much fun to resist working on. 

Her face says it all!

Fed Up! 


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Friday, 26 May 2017

Art and Soul Exhibition 2017 : June 3rd - 18th . Surrey . U.K





 

Art and Soul Exhibition 2017 
June 3rd - 18th . Surrey . U.K 

I am delighted to be taking part in the Art and Soul Exhibition which opens in Surrey next week on 3rd June 2017 .

Paintings I have in the exhibition include my favourite subjects and this now  well loved cockerel which will be on sale.



"A New Day " 
Size 60 x 52cms   
Medium : Watercolour 
Price £525

"A New Day" features on the exhibition invitation and flyer.
It is vibrant when seen off screen and a new favourite piece of many visitors to my studio where it has been waiting for this show .

Another fabulous painting is my kingfisher

"Kingfisher Reflection "
 Size : 50 x 42 cms  
 Medium: Watercolour  
 Price  £535

Again, this new kingfisher has to be seen off screen for the intensity of colour and watercolour effects. 

I also have sheep and a floral in the exhibition. It will be a case of first come first served for these newly released paintings. 

For full exhibition information please see this link:-





Thursday, 25 May 2017

White Roses in Watercolour : Peace and Love

 "Peace and Love"

At the foot of our cottage garden is a woodland area. Here, right at the very end of our garden, is where plants are moved to if they are on the way out or looking poorly.  It is the "last chance" area. When we first moved into our cottage we planted white roses by the front door. We had thought we had bought shrub roses but the plants had been accidentally mislabelled.  Over time, as they grew,  the roses sprawled over the ground rather than give us the gorgeous display we were yearning for. Then they started looking sickly and the right decision was made to dig them up. But I couldn't bear to part with them. They were roses after all and no rose should ever be thrown away.

The poor things were planted behind an old tree which is the home of our resident woodpecker bird. The tree itself looks bedraggled with hundreds of holes driven in it from the rather noisy woodpecker and its young over the years.  Consistent checks by me on this plant proved we were right to move it. It was dying.  But I still left it there. I felt sorry for it. But as time went the plant became forgotten completely and untended. It was there, but out of view.

This week while gardening I walked deliberately to look and see what was happening to the poorly plants and each one has not only survived but is flowering beautifully. I couldn't resist painting their beauty. And I sat listening to birdsong as I created the above painting.

I started by  forming my background. Readers of my book "Paint Yourself Calm" will know just how this effect was achieved. I let all troubles disappear, as in the the "boulders on my shoulders" chapter. Sadness drifted away as I worked.  It isn't that I have worries. It is the heartbreaking news that has upset me.  This week youngsters lost their lives needlessly at a concert via the hands of one young man who could never have understood the joy in their lives to have acted so cruelly. I have cried unashamedly for the parents, families and friends who faced the worse news ever this week. Their lives will never be the same. And as always I found peace in painting. Especially using my "Paint Yourself Calm" techniques which led me to this rose painting outcome. 

Softly and gently,  I caressed the bloom to life on paper. 
Softly and gently, like tears falling for a loved one who will never be at your side again.

There is a lovely saying "I am not gone. I am simply waiting in another room". I like to think of loss this way. In fact at a Mums' funeral some time ago, one of her twins gave a reading. She spoke fondly of her Mum and described a school trip where she had gone in a canoe for the first time. Unknown to her, her Mum had quietly followed the school coach and watched her daughter without her even knowing. The daughter explained she didn't know her Mum was there but she was, just hidden from view. And now always will be, there but not in sight. A touching thought.

My rose painting started quietly. From this early first stage of my painting the flowers could be seen. And so I added very little to complete the piece.



First stage of my white rose painting

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"Peace and Love "

 
 In loving memory.
Manchester 2017

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Sunday, 21 May 2017

Summer Delight: Lupin in Watercolour

"Summer Delight"
Lupins in Watercolour
Painted in my cottage garden

This week has been really busy and I am delighted to have  worked so hard on my new book. The latest chapter additions are full of inspirational ideas. And simply by writing them I have felt strongly moved to paint. Finally today I had time to sit quietly in my garden and do just that. 

I set up my painting table, outside, by a gorgeous lupin that has burst into flower this week. I will confess that the gardening bug has hit me really hard this year and this is one of the plants that I have been feeding with my own home made nettle feed. The extra care has paid off  because now I have huge, glorious blooms that are irresistible to an artist to pass up the opportunity of painting.

This afternoon, the sun is so strong in this part of my garden that the lupins are bathed in glowing, soft summer light making them even more attractive to me as a subject.

When I first started writing this new book I thought about its' content and would there be enough material to fill it. How I am going to break it to my publishers that all my ideas will not fit into this one new publication I don't know. But the joy for me will be my putting in it the most wonderful demonstrations to follow and my favourite ideas that have had me racing for my own brushes. With the intention of  my books 'readers feeling the same way.

In fact, I can't sit still to type, I have just had another wonderful idea so I am going to paint and see if it works , right now!

Whatever you are doing, I hope you feel as happy as I do.

Happy painting!

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