Finding My Joy?

peony ink sketchPeony ink sketch

Hi there, how are you?

I’ve been a bit meh lately, not really sure why. Whilst poking around on Youtube looking for inspiration I found an inspiring artist called Louise Fletcher . She is an abstract artist and is currently running a free taster course called “find your joy”.

It’s not a course about how to paint or even how to do anything at all really, it’s more about working out why you make the art you make, using the tools and mediums you choose and finding pleasure in the process. Sounds weird but it’s interesting.

First we taped off a large (or in my case two big) pieces of paper making marks all over it. I have to admit it looked like a hot mess to me but when I peeled the tape off there were lots of mini abstract paintings.

The youngling said “if you don’t want em I’ll use them to make note cards for nan as she’s running out”, sold hehehe.

find your joy exercise acrylicFind your joy exercise acrylic. The top one is painted in acrylic paint the lower watercolour.

Next exercise is painting with unfamiliar stuffs. The only time I paint with acrylic paint is when I’m decorating walls so this was tough, I do like the way it turned out though.

acrylic brush floweracrylic flower painting

I also painted one with watercolour, the shadows weren’t dark enough in this one and yet again I muffed up the background. I did a little negative painting around the leaves and that turned out reasonably well, very happy with that.

watercolour painting of a flowerWatercolour painting of a flower

The image at the top of the post was my sketch from a photo I’d taken, at the moment that’s my favourite of the week. Who knows maybe I already found my joy hehehe,

Thanks so much for taking the time to stop by. Till next time, have fun x

Fun At The Botanical Gardens

two pink peoniesTwo pink peonies

Hi there, how are you?

I spent a day at the botanical gardens this weekend, checking out all of the beautiful flowers.

The big white tree peonies are finished now, they don’t last long. There are lots of smaller peony bushes dotted around just starting to bloom and I’ve been taking photos like a mad woman trying to capture as many as I can find.

These pink peonies (above and below) were in a small shady enclosure just off the main pathway. I actually sat for a while on a nearby bench and sketched a little in my sketch book, it was very relaxing.

pink peony watercolour sketchPink peony watercolour sketch

Further along there are some peachy coloured peonies, so pretty.

I love the colour of these but don’t really think I quite captured it very well. Corals and peach colours I find very difficult to mix.

orange peony sketchPeach peony sketch

A surprising find this year was the green magnolia, the name on the label was magnolia soulangeana. This is one of the things I like about botanical gardens, most of the plants have labels. It makes it much easier to look the plants up when I get home.

They are small fist sized flowers and stay a green/blue colour throughout.

I’ve never noticed them before, probably because the flowers are short lived and blend in with the leaves so well.

green magnolia watercolour sketchGreen magnolia flower watercolour sketches

I took a few photos to draw at home.

It’s so lovely to finally be out walking in the sunshine amongst all of these beautiful gardens in the sunshine.

Thanks so much for taking the time to stop by. Till next time, have fun x

More Peony Love

pink peony painted watercolour sketchPink peony sketch painted with watercolour

Hi there, how are you?

More fun at the botanical gardens this week. The peonies are still flowering, with more erupting into bloom every day and my camera card is filling up fast.

The pink peony above was found on the floor by the side of a shed, I think some child had pulled it off and discarded it later as there was no sign of the plant it came from; hate to see a good flower go to waste so I brought it home with me for drawing.

It is painted with watercolour on cartridge paper, the watercolour was used pretty dry as I tested out the paper in a new sketch book. It held up pretty well.

The peony below is the same flower drawn with a sepia coloured fine liner. I don’t use this pen nearly enough, I like the colour, it’s much softer than a black fine liner.

sepia fineliner peony sketchSepia fine liner peony sketch

The next two peonies were painted from photos taken at the gardens.

I decided to see how far I could push the paper before it fell apart.

After drawing out the peony then painting in the leaves and shadows I thought a background would make the petals stand out better. It did but the leaves got a little lost in the greenness so I painted a second darker layer of green over the top which seems to have pushed the leaves forward just enough for them to be seen.

The paper behaved quite well considering and only started to pill after the second layer of green.

peony painted watercolour sketchA peony sketch painted with watercolour

Happy with my experiment this next peony is painted with a mixture of gouache and watercolour, I was hoping to use slightly less water.

The background was a little flat so I tried lifting some leaf shapes out with a brush to give the impression of leaves and plants in the background.

This looks better in person than in the scan but I think you can just about see the pale leaf shapes in the background.

peony painted watercolour sketch 1A peony sketch painted watercolour and gouache

I’m hoping to go back again next week as there are lots of smaller bush peonies in bud right now and I want to get lots more photos.

Thanks so much for taking the time to stop by. Till next time, have fun x

Drawing Peonies

peony drawn with ink

Hi there, how are you?

Out and about again this week, this time to the local botanical gardens, just as the peonies are starting to bloom whoot!

I took lots of photo’s and in a quiet moment even sat down on a bench to draw in the sunshine. I can’t tell you how much I’ve missed this.

Everything is properly socially distanced of course and masks are worn inside the building but it is so lovely to be able to have little days out now.

I think all of these flowers are tree peonies; the ink peony above is a different type of flower. it has purple spots towards the base of the petals.

The peonies below are also tree peonies but not quite as fancy but still beautiful having plain white petals.

I noticed some flower heads in a nearby pond (maybe blown by the wind?) as I was taking photos so I picked one up to take home and draw later and used it as a model to draw these flowers below.

peony drawn with coloured pencil 3

They were first drawn out in graphite pencil then used a black Faber Castell colouring pencil, they are really nice and smooth to draw with and also much darker so it shows up better. I really should use these more often.

peony drawn with coloured pencil 2

The peony was wilting fast and had a little less shape each time I drew it but I think you can still tell what it is.

peony drawn with coloured pencil 1

I took a gamble and bought a yearly pass to the gardens, now I’m crossing my fingers there’s no more lock-downs.

Thanks so much for taking the time to stop by. Till next time, have fun x

Green Parrots

watercolour sketch of two green parrots

A watercolour sketch of two green parrots

Hi there, how are you?

This week we went to the zoo, whoot! We haven’t been since last summer, it was our first trip (that wasn’t food shopping) so it was very exiting.

One of the things we saw were the green parrots. They have about eight now usually playing musical branches with the winner getting the best and highest branch hehehe.

This time they were all snoozing in the sun, a great time to catch a few photos to draw later.

green parrot  watercolour sketch

A green parrot watercolour sketch

Most seem to have paired off now so maybe more parrots to come?

It’s so nice to get out of the house and walk around in the sunshine, looking at the animals.

Thanks so much for taking the time to stop by. Till next time, have fun x

Drawing Flowers In The Sunshine

quince tree flowers

Lots of lovely quince tree flowers.

Hi there, how are you?

It’s been a lovely sunny week and the quince tree has decided to flower. It always flowers a few weeks later than the japonica’s.

The tree is full of white flowers flashed with pink, perfect for drawing practice.

This isn’t watercolour paper so its a case of one stroke and were done, any more and the paper pills terribly.

small quince tree flower

A small quince tree flower

The leaves are just as much fun to paint as the flowers, they are so big and curly, the only problem I have is finding the right mix of green.

small quince tree bud

A small quince tree bud

I’ve used hookers green, yellow ochre with a touch of lemon yellow here and if it’s a little bright I calm it down with some of the greys on my palette. It’s not a perfect match but not too unpleasant either.

I do like the way these turned out, they’re loose and kind of washy, just need to learn to do it on purpose now hehehe.

quince tree flower

Quince tree flower

I really do love this time of year, everything’s so new, fresh and green.

Thanks so much for taking the time to stop by. Till next time, have fun x

Welcome To Our Little Orchid Family

red orchid plant sketch 1

Red orchid plant sketch 1

Hi there, how are you?

Our little family of orchids is growing slowly, we bought this one last year from the plant graveyard at the supermarket.

It’s a different type to the other orchids, the leaves and flowers grow up from bulb like stems and it has smaller beautiful deep burgundy red flowers.

The buds appeared last month on a long thin stalk and gradually started opening (above).

All of the flowers are open now and the whole plant looks stunning.

I ran out of room to fit all of the flowers or even leaves onto the page.

red orchid flower sketch 2

Red orchid flower sketch 2

I decided to draw one of the flowers on it’s own, this one is almost open.

red orchid flower sketch

Red orchid flower sketch

I drew this quick pencil sketch to help me understand the way the flowers grew, it’s a bit scrappy and there are some splotches from a sketch on the other side of the paper but I like how it turned out.

red orchid pencil sketch

Red orchid pencil sketch

I’m using the alizarin crimson and hookers green mix I discovered last week, it works so well for these flowers.

Thanks so much for taking the time to stop by. Till next time, have fun x

Drawing Flowers From A Sunny Spring Walk

crab apple blossom

Crab-apple blossom

Hi there, how are you?

One of my favourite things to do at the moment is to walk around the local area to enjoy the sunshine and check out all the lovely spring flowers growing in everyone’s gardens.

Sometimes I take a camera and snap one or two photos so I can draw them later.

Outside the church there are a few trees currently filled with blossom; the one that always takes my eye is the huge crab-apple tree with it’s gorgeous dark pink flowers.

I was quite happy with this sketch (above) I like the way it turned out but more importantly I learned how to mix the plummy purple for the leaves.

Using alizarin crimson and hookers green I managed to paint the very dark grey for the branches and using less green than alizarin crimson mixed the plummy purple, a colour I’ve tried to mix so many times and failed. The flowers were alizarin crimson in different dilutions so the whole thing was painted with just two colours.

The forsythia are filled with glorious sunny yellow flowers right now. A lot of people have these happy shrubs in gardens.

They’re a little difficult to draw as a whole shrub so I found a small sprig poking out of a hedge and brought it home to draw. It’s easier to study the flowers this way.

Each flower only has four long petals, the leaves grow in after the flowers then it becomes a mass of green as the flowers fall.

forsythia sprig

Forsythia sprig

Magnolia trees are stunning at the moment. I managed to find a tree that was right on the edge of the garden so it was very easy to take photos with my ipod.

The flowers are white with a mauve stripe along the centre of each petal, very pretty.

These sketches are of the same flower taken from two directions. I painted a green background to make the flowers stand out and tried to paint the shadows with a pale grey.

magnolia flower sketch

Magnolia flower sketch

magnolia flower

Magnolia flower

The lockdown is lifting slowly but you need to book a time for most places because everyone is trying to get out of the house and if they all turn up at the same time we’ll be right back where we started, nobody wants that again.

I’m sure I cam manage to entertain myself for just a little longer.

Thanks so much for taking the time to stop by. Till next time, have fun x