Friday, 30 August 2013


This week at AVA it was our last chance to 'do our own thing' . As the neighbour has been growing sunflowers, it seemed like a good idea to have another go at these lovely flower heads.

A simple, fast wash was my starting point, using Quinachridone Rust, Indian Yellow, Lemon Yellow, Apatite Green Genuine and Indigo on a sheet of quite wet Fabriano Artistico Extra White 300g Rough paper. I has to be a bit careful as the paper buckled a little even though it is a glued pad, and the paint tended to gather in the hollows. I used a tissue to mop up any extra paint.

I started with the centre adding colours as each wash dried and tried to create an interesting effect with spots of various colours.

I then tackled the petals, keeping them as fresh and light as possible on the RH side in the sunlight, and using more oranges and browns on the LH side in the shadow area.

The original wash was intended to give me space for some greenery on the LH side, but when I tried to paint over the original wash, it all looked very muddy. So I cropped off all the excess background on the left, and introduced some really dark paint behind the petals. I then finished the whole painting with a bit of splatter in white, yellow,gold and indigo.

Sunday, 25 August 2013


I am really struggling to get back into the swing of things, so to try an help myself just enjoy the sense of putting paint on paper, I picked a bright bold photo that I had taken in the garden in the spring to paint at AVA this week. I altered the image slightly by putting the flowers in a pot rather than in the ground, and I did the minimum of drawing. I simply drew oval shapes where I thought the flowers should be, created a simple pot and identified the stems so that I was sure they would look natural in the vase. They looked a bit like wilting lollipops at this stage, but that's all the detail I wanted. Sorry there are still not pictures of each stage, but I forgot the camera battery wanted charging!

I simply mixed colours either on the paper or on the palette, and boldly painted in leaves, vase and flowers without much recourse to the photo. It enabled me to be free with the brushstrokes, and to regain a bit of confidence in my ability to create a reasonable image.

Now that I see it on the screen, I think I will strengthen the darks between the leaves and stems and the backs of the tulips, but I think it works ok, and after the bank holiday I think I will be ready to tackle the next painting.

Friday, 16 August 2013

Blue Daisies/ Pink Hydrangeas

Time for a gentle easing back into painting after the exhibition. At AVA group on Thursday I took a couple of paintings with me that I thought I might finish, one which I was quite pleased with, and one that I thought I might not be able to save!

Sorry there are no progress photos for the daisy painting, but I share it with you in the hope that you enjoy looking and may find something of interest in the techniques used. In this painting, seeing it on screen I may add a bit more shadow around the edges of the yellow centres to improve the 3D aspects.

 'Blue Daisies'   Watercolour on
Fabriano Artistico Extra White, 300g Rough

I was already concerned about the quality of the initial wash at this stage, a bit anxious that I had added too much acrylic gouache and the whole thing seemed a bit 'milky' in colour. I did, however persevere in the hope that it might come good, but there is still something about the clarity of the painting (not totally obvious in the reproduction and seen with the light of the pc showing through) with which I am not too pleased.

'Pink Hydrangeas'
Watercolour on Fabriano Extra White
300g Rough

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

The Exhibition

Annual Exhibition in the Chapter House at Wells Cathedral, Somerset, England

Now that it is all over, it is hard to imagine that the whole 10 days were such an enormous success. We were very lucky with the weather, as the sun pouring through the windows makes such a difference.
The exhibition took place in Well Cathedral Chapter House and a more beautiful venue you could not imagine.
The 'hanging' is easy....all the paintings sit on the two levels of ancient stone seating around the house, and the effect is truly magical. The only problem is getting the paintings up to the Chapter House as it is the only English Cathedral to have its Chapter House on the first floor. It is accessed up a set of steep, very worn stone steps. I had 90 paintings and Jan had about 45 as well as all the other bits and pieces we needed for the week. Thank goodness for a couple of very healthy family 'sherpers'.

The calm before the public arrive. Time to get the paper work correct, grab a quick cup of coffee and check all is well with the paintings.

The fact that the windows are so high is lovely when the sun shines, but it can be very dark when it is poor weather. We were lucky to have lots of sunny days.

I make and sell boxes of greetings cards and this year I added laminated table mats which sold out, so I will perhaps do more for next year if we are invited back again.

Lots of visitors. The footfall through the Cathedral is pretty amazing and as the Chapter House is one of the jewels in the crown, almost everyone struggles up the steps to see it. We had lots of visitors, people said lovely things about the work and through lots of sales we were able to pass on a pleasing sum in commission to the Cathedral funds.
We have already requested a spot in their calendar for next year!

All the remaining paintings are now packed away, and its time to start painting again.....if I haven't forgotten how!