Sketching Owls For a Card

owl fathers day card

Watercolour owl fathers day card.

Hi there, how are you?

I wanted to make a Fathers Day card for the illustrious other half this week. After some consideration I decided I would try and paint an owl, in watercolour so first things first I spent a few days researching and sketching owls in my sketchbook.

I tried some whole owls or as near as I could with the images I’d chosen and drew them lightly in pencil.I then put all of the dark areas with a brush pen. I coloured them quickly in watercolour, testing which colours would work.

sketch great horned owl

A sketch of a great horned owl

sketch great horned owl 2

Another sketch of a great horned owl. I liked this owl but whoa! the colours were all wrong. Still not quite there yet.

I also wanted to try concentrating on just the head and found it created a quite a nice shape on the page plus it still allow for a decent amount of detail.

owl idea sketch

Owl idea sketch. I like the profile of this one.

In the end this was the one I liked best but wasn’t happy with the colours, the burnt sienna was too red and the eye too orange.

practice owl for card

Practice owl for the card. This is the owl chosen for the card.

The colours I used for the watercolour painting were raw sienna, quin yellow with a few flecks of quin burnt orange for the eyes, paynes grey and sepia for all of the dark plumage. I’ve written them down here to remember them, these are not colours I use a lot and I’m sure to forget.

You can see the finished card at the top of the post. I think it turns out OK and more importantly the other half really liked it.

There’s a good chance some of these owls may end up on other cards I make during the year and now the hard work is all done it shouldn’t take too long to do.

Happy Fathers Day people.

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


Love Peonies

watercolour peony buds

watercolour peony buds

Hi there, how are you?

This week on a trip to the local supermarket I spotted bunches of peonies. Feeling sure that if my other half had seen them he would have bought them (he loves me right?) I placed the flowers into the trolley. Once home I said “thanks for buying these beautiful flowers, they’re lovely!” it’s at this point he smiles and says “You’re welcome“, what a guy.

The peonies were tight buds when I (He) bought them so I drew the buds and leaves; I sketched them out in pencil and filled in with watercolour.

A day or so later as they began to open I drew them again. They are pale pink, almost white and so far I had managed to show that in the drawings.

sketch of 3 peony buds as they open.

Sketch of 3 peony buds as they open.

Now they are fully opened, looking quite magnificent, and have a lovely delicate smell. (Nobody’s hay-fever has been affected by the peonies, whoop! We can have these flowers again, Yay)

I haven’t been successful Painting the “whiteness” of the full flowers yet, so that is something to work on. I did try a little Chinese brush painting using in pink and white gouache. Placing the brush strokes and watching the flower take form is quite meditative.

peony using chinese brush painting

Peony using Chinese brush painting

I have actually painted tons of peonies (I won’t flood the whole post with pictures don’t panic) and I want to try again painting them paler and more like the flowers I have in the vase, I’ll keep trying.
I had several paintings that didn’t work for one reason or another, these parts came out a lot pinker that I wanted. I decided to put some new found digital skills to use (binge watching more skillshare classes this time Ohn Mar Win) and made them into one slightly better image.

I enjoyed putting all of the pieces together; it’s a bit like doing a jig-saw.

peony made from pieces

Peony image made from pieces of failed paintings

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

Water Brush Experiments

water brush experiment 2

Water brush experiment

Hi there, how are you?

What have I been doing this week I hear you ask. Well thanks for asking, this week  I have been binge watching Skillshare classes.  I received an offer for three months Skillshare for 99 cents. I know you can get two months free in some places but seriously don’t begrudge any one 99 cents for an extra month. I’ve probably already had my moneys worth.

Part way through the binging I realised it would probably make some sense to actually “do” some of the classes. Then I stumbled on a lovely creative soul called Marie-Noëlle Wurm, she is an illustrator and artist. Some of her work is figurative and some abstract. You could type her name into Google for web sites etc: Her classes looked interesting so I tried one.

First lesson get out some art tools and start making marks: I got out my water brush and paints and started to move the brush around and this happened.

water brush experiment 1

Water brush experiment 1

There are loads more, some I like some not so much, these are a few of my favourites. It seems to have become a theme.

water brush experiment 3

Water brush experiment 3

water brush experiment 4

Water brush experiment 4

green water brush experiment 1 class doodles

Water brush experiment class doodles

This is not the sort of thing I would usually paint, I had no idea what would happen as I painted the strokes and no plan so it’s really interesting to see what it all turned into.

The second exercise was to make the marks into something, er.. I sort of pre-empted that one, I’ll move on to the next part soon.

She also has some abstract classes that look interesting so when this one is finished I will try one of those, that’s if I can get my head around the whole abstract thing.

It’s always fun learning new things.

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

Fantailed Goldfish

fan tailed goldfish painted with watercolour

Fan tailed goldfish painted with watercolour

Hi there, how are you?

A while ago we went to the garden centre, sometimes we go not to shop for plants but to look at the flowers, take a few photos and most importantly to have tea and cake.  FYI it was lovely cake hehehe.

On the way out we noticed an aquarium selling all kinds of fish. We had to nip in and have a look obviously and whilst we were there took a few photos of the fish.

Taking photos of fish is not easy due to the poor lighting and the fish swimming so I took some tiny videos on my ipod to draw from when I got home. I just play the video till I like the pose and pause it till I’m done.

Above are two goldfish swimming around painted in watercolour, I think I managed to capture the colours pretty well.

I’m still drawing in pencil, trying to keep the few skills I learned recently, you know the saying “use it or loose it”.

fan tailed goldfish drawn in graphite pencil

Fan tailed goldfish drawn in graphite pencil

I’m not really a detail kind of person but I did find that by doing these pencil drawings I do observe the subjects better and that can’t be a bad thing.

Note: Yes I did buy plants, garden centres are dangerous places to visit, I just cant leave with buying some lovely plant for the garden.

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

Little Brown Birds

little brown bird in watercolour and brush pen

Little brown bird in watercolour and brush pen

Hi there, how are you?
This week we have a little bit of colour whooot!

At the zoo recently we have been checking out the walk-in aviaries. In the Bali aviary we saw two little brown birds; I did check the board for the name and forgot to write it down, senior moment! (I’ll edit when I find out).

One of the birds had found a grasshopper in the weeds and as he attempted to eat it the grasshopper tried to hop off. The bird was having none of this and after putting his foot on top of the poor insect carefully nipped off the wings with his beak, then to make sure his dinner stayed put, one by one snipped off each leg. Happy to say I wasn’t eating anything myself at the time, ooof.

I took lots of photos of the birds in many positions (not of the dissection, just the bird) and decided to draw him when I got home.

I’ve used different mediums, water colour, brush pen, pencil even watercolour pencils in places, just having fun and relaxing.

Top image: Brush pen and watercolour – I really liked the effect the brush pen overlapping gives an impression of the feathers.

Below: Brush pen and graphite pencil – this was a quick experiment to see how it looked. Meh!

little brown bird in pencil and brush pen

Little brown bird in pencil and brush pen

Watercolour – it was hard to get a decent black but it’s close enough for a sketch

little brown bird in watercolour

Little brown bird in watercolour

Watercolour and watercolour pencils – the watercolour looked a bit washed n this one so I used some watercolour pencils to bring back a few details in the feathers. I like it much better now.

little brown bird in watercolour pencil

Little brown bird in watercolour pencil

Graphite pencil. – Just practicing with the pencils so I don’t lose what I’ve learned over the past few weeks. The sparrow I drew last week was drawn on an A4 piece and this little guy is much smaller so it’s harder to get a lot of detail.

little brown bird in graphite pencil

Little brown bird in graphite pencil

It was a lot of fun drawing these birdies and with any luck we’ll see them again next time, preferably without the grasshopper.

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

Edit: The birds are called Chestnut backed thrushes, its always nice to get the name right. 

Magnolia Brush Pen Painting Experiments

magnolia in ink with a brush pen

Chinese brush painting style painting of magnolia in ink with a brush pen.

Hi there, how are you?

This week I have been experimenting with magnolias. Gardens and parks are filled with their beautiful blooms; I have taken lots of photos and really wanted to capture some small part of it.

Remembering the Chinese brush painting I tried in October (inktober) I thought it would be fun to paint the flowers in this style and after thumbing through my book and reading some very brief instructions I copied the picture in the book.

magnolia exercise taken from book

Chinese brush painting style painting of magnolia in ink with a brush pen. This exercise was taken from a book.

I didn’t fancy grinding down ink so I used two pentel brush pens, one filled with black ink and the other with red ink (I filled an old cartridge with a pipette).

Chinese brush painted magnolia

magnolia painted in ink with a brush pen Chinese brush painting style.

I painted the magnolia in the style of the flowers in the book and after a few paintings decided to have a go with watercolour. I’m using a sable paint brush not a Chinese brush and making the shapes I wanted took a little practice but I think they look OK.

magnolia painted with watercolour

magnolias painted with watercolour

Having loads of fun now and painted one side of the page in watercolour, the other side with brush pens, just to see how they look side by side.

magnolia brush painting experiments

Magnolia brush painting experiments. watercolour on the left and ink on the right.

I really like the ink magnolias, they’re quite graphic and I think I painted them a bit more confidently but with a little more practice the watercolour magnolia will look a lot better.

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


Drawing More Japonica Quince Flowers

orange quince garden sketch

Orange quince garden sketch

Hi there, how are you?

A few weeks ago I drew some japonica quince flowers in the garden; they’re pink and white a little like apple blossom. This week the other japonica in the garden started to flower. These flowers are quite different to the others, they’re orange and where the pink flowers flare out, these are more cup-shaped.
They are beautiful in the spring especially as the sun hits them and really brighten up the garden.

We’ve had a lovely sunny week so sitting in the garden drawing the quinces is a very relaxing thing to do.

At the zoo the quinces are also out, theirs differ again with their flowers being bright red. I noticed a small piece had broken off so picked it up and carried it home.
As I drew it I turned it around in my hand to show different positions. I do love the bright yellow stamens against the deep red flowers.

red quince sketch from at the zoo

Red zoo quince sketch.

The first quince is still flowering although the flowers are starting to fall now so I stood outside for a while with my sketch book and a fountain pen filled with red ink and drew a few branches. Then took a water brush and pulled out some of the ink to shade it slightly.

quince sketch in red fountain pen ink

Quince sketch in red fountain pen ink

This small watercolour sketch was painted in my sketch book, cartridge paper is not really meant for lots of watery washes but it was enough to give the idea of what the flowers look like, if I think ahead next time maybe I’ll take a piece of watercolour paper out with me.

pink Japonica quince watercolour sketch

Pink Japonica quince watercolour sketch

I really have the most delightful time drawing in the garden this week, and since the clocks went forward this week I’ll be able to stay out there even longer. Good times!

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

Attempt At Drawing Daffodils

sketching group of daffodils

Hi there, how are you?

Everywhere I look at the moment there seems are daffodils, in gardens, at the roadside, parks, shops, every where, but not in my garden. I have a few pots full of daffodil leaves but they have no flowers?

Whilst out shopping last week I saw a small pot of midget daffodils for only £1 so I bought one and brought it home. I thought they would make good drawing models and they did, they sat still and looked beautiful what more could I want.

daffodil Sketch

Daffodil Sketch


Turns out daffodils are harder than they look. I’ve draw lots of them, turning the pot each time to give a different view. It doesn’t matter how many times I draw them it’s always the same.

daffodil watercolour sketch

Daffodil watercolour sketch


Maybe it’s the yellow I’m using it seems quite opaque (a bad workman blames his tools!) I find it hard to work out shadows with yellows, there’s a slight green tinge to them in places, then red in others, purple is the opposite of yellow and should make a good shadow, I seem to make it into a muddy mess though.

watercolour sketch of daffodils

Watercolour sketch of daffodils

I’ll get there in the end.

My little pot of daffodils are starting to look a bit sad now, I’ll dead head them and put the pot in the sun then plant them in the garden for next year. They can add to my little collection of daffodil leaves hehehe,

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