A New Challenge – Watercolour Washes

It’s time to start again… I haven’t been moving my brushes enough lately, and I haven’t written at all…  life has been busy: several new challenges at work over the past year, finding and buying a new place to live, then moving in and trying to make it home… but there are always reasons and excuses. The trick is to keep the momentum going regardless, and I lost it. I came to a full stop, and stayed there.

The break has been interesting, there’s definitely been some guilt about not painting. There’s been a lot more guilt about the state of my website, which I keep expecting to find has been hacked and is now selling something noxious behind my back (it isn’t, is it?). There’s also the temptation to just forget about it all for good and go read a good book instead.

Then I see what everyone else is doing and my interest is piqued again: new techniques, new colours, new styles!

So here we are… I’ve been invited to join a Facebook Group for watercolour washes. The aim is to create and share two small washes each per week, minimum. I’m absolutely certain I can find the time and inspiration to do that!  And so here are my first two:

The first is a loose experiment using Indigo and Ultramarine Turquoise, which played very nicely together on a sample sheet of St. Cuthbert’s Mill, Saunders Waterford paper.

The second is a bit more figurative and uses Gold Green, Cascade Green, Cadmium Orange and Indian Yellow. The daffodil petals were formed using negative painting, simply painting around the white space to create them then adding a very light greeny grey for some shadows.

I’ve been a bit handicapped this week with a fractured wrist, which is why the first wash is so simple. The daffodil was actually painted just before the fracture, so I’m using a bit of artistic licence to share it as part of this first challenge week.

Watch this space to see what happens next week!

WorldWatercolorGroup February challenge: Day 10 to 17

Another week and a few more Worldwatercolorgroup February challenge submissions. I’m still so far behind… I used some sneaky guerrilla tactics this week to catch up a bit:



Playing Catch-up! #Worldwatercolorgroup February Challenge

After a pretty long absence I’ve been begged by Mum and Dad to share some pictures, because they don’t have Facebook accounts and I’m too busy for email at the moment. It’s a fair request and I’m sure I have other friends as well who avoid the whole Social Media thing. So I’ve relented, and will try to post more regularly.

The hardest thing for me is feeling I don’t have time to write properly, and it’s been keeping me away… but the folks have been trying to convince me that it’s better to put up pictures without explanation than not to share at all. I’m not sure I can do that, so I’ve managed a few sentences.

So here’s what I’ve been up to recently – I’m trying to complete a painting a day throughout February for #worldwatercolorgroup on Facebook, but work is so so busy and as a result I’ve been playing catch-up since the very 1st day of February. It’s the 14th today and I’m still 5 days behind behind but, here you go Mum & Dad, here’s the first 9:


Sunning in the Grass…

Flint in the Grass

Sunning in the Grass

Just a quick late night post to try and get my pen moving again. Not sure why, but I’m finding it really hard to write lately. I simply don’t have anything interesting to talk about. Which means I haven’t been sharing any new paintings either, sorry.

So here’s a few quick words about the watercolour sketch I did this afternoon of my old kelpie cross dog, Flint, sunning himself in the garden. The sketch was a bit of an accident really…  A few days ago I started a large painting of a Galah. It was looking pretty good, then I spent more than an hour on it this afternoon and managed to remove more than I’d added.

Eventually I woke up to what I was doing and put it aside before it broke completely. Instead,  I thought I’d do something therapeutic and simple, like an exercise from Jean Haines new book, Paint Yourself Calm. So I picked up a new piece of paper, and a brush, and… did something completely different and much more challenging! The colours and the bright sunlight of the photo of Flint just drew me in :-).

Life Drawing – Why a break now & then does you good

Life Drawing - Ruby (3)

Life Drawing – Ruby (1)

I have had an enormous reminder tonight at life drawing that sometimes you need to step away and do something completely different for a while…

My last blog post was about eight weeks ago, over half way through the World Watercolour Month Challenge in July (#worldwatercolormonth). I really loved the challenge and painted every day (just!), sharing progress on Facebook. But I didn’t find any time to write on my blog and I was panicking about work deadlines and other aspects of life that were falling behind.  I made sure I completed a painting every day, but work was increasing and I wasn’t really coping. I was often painting at midnight because I simply ran out of daytime.

I was frazzled by the end of July, and when I jumped on the plane to see my folks I had no idea what I had packed or whether I’d locked up the house properly! Not surprisingly, I didn’t paint much during August and haven’t picked up a pencil at all until tonight.

I confess, I was very lucky to score a couple of cancellation days of pure watercolour indulgence with Jean Haines on her August workshops. They were amazing, exciting, challenging and inspirational… but otherwise I didn’t do much at all.

Life Drawing - Ruby (2)

Life Drawing – Ruby (2)

I returned to Gypsy Sketch Club tonight with very low expectations. Happy just for a sketch, a piece of pizza and some great live music from Eddie the accordion player. I was nicely stunned when my drawings during the evening turned out better than anything I’ve done so far this year.

So, I heartily recommend the benefits of walking away from something you’re struggling with… just for a short while completely switch off and forget it. When you go back to it you can’t possibly expect very much of yourself… and so the pressure’s off!! You might just be surprised at what you can achieve!

Life Drawing - Ruby (1)

Life Drawing – Ruby (3)