A Day At The Horseshoe Pass

sketches of sheep

Shorn the sheep!

Hi there, how are you?

Last week we ventured out on to the horseshoe pass. It’s a pass between two sets of mountains near Llangollen in Wales.

My parents used to take us up there when we were kids to pick whinberries (bilberries) but I haven’t been there for years. There are no berries at the moment; it’s the wrong time of year.

horseshoe pass panorama

A panoramic view of the horseshoe pass

You can walk for miles and see nothing but roaming hills, mounds of slate and sheep that wander over the heather. It’s a great place to get away from it all.

We challenged ourselves to draw a landscape in 15 minutes, this is the best I could muster, it’s only about 2”x3” I thought I would have a better chance of finishing something small. These are some of the hills in the distance.

horseshoe pass 15 minute sketch

Distant hills on the horseshoe pass 15 minute sketch

Once home I tried to paint from one of my photos, this was painted in one colour, perylene green trying to work out the tones.

horseshoe pass tonal sketch

Horseshoe pass tonal sketch

Did I mention the sheep? They had all been shorn recently so it was interesting to see their actual shape, they’re such a different shape with wool, see above for sheep sketches. Have to say most of my photos were of the backside of a sheep as they walked away from us.

This is the one that got away; she escaped the shearer’s clippers hehehe. I hope she doesn’t’ get too hot in this weather!

the one that got away

Avoiding the shearers clippers

It’s world watercolour month as from the 1st July, this is where we all paint lots of lovely watercolours and share our stuff. If you’re not sure what it’s all about hears the link to doodlewashe’s site to tell you all about it  and if you feel like donating, it’s for a good cause.

I’ll post my first seven up together next week to spare your in boxes or you can catch me on instagram if you want to see as they go up.

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


More Garden Flowers To Draw

honeysuckle painting outlined with a fountain pen

Honeysuckle painting outlined with a fountain pen

We’ve had such beautiful weather this week, just perfect for sitting out in the evening drawing flowers.

The honeysuckle is out, it’s not actually in the garden as such, it just drapes itself over the fence looking lovely. It’s a very obliging plant.

I’ve tried to draw honeysuckle before and always end up getting lost in the curly petals. This time I went straight in with water brush and paint. It seems that painting in the shapes first prevents my fiddling about with all those petals, and then I drew in the lines with a fountain pen. I like the way they turned out.

This page of honeysuckle is painted without any line work. I keep looking at it thinking maybe I should add the lines but I think leaving them like this will remind me how different they look as I look back through my sketchbook.

honeysuckle painting not outlined

Honeysuckle painting without any outlining.

In the corner of the garden is a large shrub? It grows very fast and has to be pruned back hard every year. I have no idea what it’s called bur every year it’s covered in big yellow flowers. I drew them last year; you can see the drawings here.

I’m still trying to find the right yellow to do these flowers justice. I’m sure I’ll find it eventually.

sketch of yellow flowers

A sketch of yellow flowers


These fuchsia flowers are not in my garden, I spotted them growing over somebody’s fence as I walked past so I snapped a photo on my ipod to draw later.

drawing of Fuchsia flowers

A drawing of Fuchsia flowers found growing over somebody’s fence

It is such a colourful time of year. Plants are growing, flowering away, and all I have to do is pull up the odd weed. sit back and draw them, love the warm summer evenings.

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

Blackberry Flowers,Weeds Or Drawing Opportunities?

Blackberry Watercolour

a small 6 x 4″ watercolour on student grade paper.

Hi there, how are you?

I’ve been in the garden this week, R.I.P yellow poppy, it was fun while it lasted. The slugs ate the last few leaves this week, didn’t even leave a stump!

I have to say I’m not what you’d call a natural gardener but the one thing I have no problem growing is weeds. Blackberry plants are trying to take over the garden and as I set about pulling them out I saw the flowers and thought, ho ho here’s a good drawing opportunity. I took out my sketchbook, my little stool and started to draw. Not really surprising the weeds are taking over really is it?

I started drawing them with my preppy fountain pen, then pulled the ink about with a water brush. It dries in shades of blue, grey and brown which is a nice effect. I wish the scanner could pick up the colour better.

Blackberry flowers pen and ink

Blackberry flowers drawn in pen and ink

I had heard about the 30×30 challenge and wondered if I could paint something without drawing it first; it was also an opportunity to try some negative painting. It didn’t turn out too bad considering I was painting in a sketchbook on cartridge paper.

Blackberry flowers negative painting

Blackberry flowers, painted negatively without drawing first.


I’m not doing this challenge, I just was just curious to see how hard it would be (very!) I might have a go at the doodle wash watercolour month. Try and get through the whole month this time.

Next I decided to go back to sketching lightly first. I like how the green poofed out and the colours split in this sketch. It was mixed with hookers green, perylene green (The only greens I have in my palette) and new gamboge (a strange mucky colour in the tube but paints out quite nicely).

Blackberry flowers sketch

Blackberry flowers sketch

The next painting is my favourite. It’s the picture at the top of the post. I used a photo and painted a small watercolour 6” x 4”, the greens worked really well. There are things to be fixed next time but over all it makes me happy.

Next job – weeding! It’s all very well distracting me with pretty flowers but those brambles have to go!

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

Bees, With And Without Fluff

sketches of bees 2

1st page of bee sketches

Hi there, how are you?

The sun is shining, the flowers are out and so are the bees.

Word of warning there will be drawings of insecty things, if that’s not your thing or it creeps you out (to be fair some of them creep me out!) this post may not be for you. Come back next week and I’ll try and draw something a little prettier.

sketches of bees 1

2nd page of bee sketches

So, I’ve been drawing bees. I’ve drawn them before here  and here.so I didn’t think it would be much of a problem, boy was I wrong! The first bees I drew are not shown because of their suckiness, back to bee drawing school for me!

Above are two sketchbook pages drawn over a few days of any bees I could find on the internet.

A day or so later I took a biro and a small sketchbook, and drew some bees from memory, actually not too bad, the tiny bees are as big as my little finger nail, they’re kind of cute.

Sketch of bees drawn in biro

Sketches of bees drawn with a biro

Bees (bumble bees) are like little fluff balls, hair every where. To see what is going on under the fluff I decided to draw some wasps, thinking of them as sort of naked bees as you do?

sketches of wasps

I’m not fussed on wasps, they’re mean and sting you just for the fun of it, then sting you again. They also try to steal your lemonade but as a means to an end they will have to do.

Drawing them was fun, I put my sketchbook away till the next day, opened it up to check how they turned out (they always look different with fresh eyes) Eeep! They look slightly more realistic than I was expecting and I don’t know about you but they definitely creep me out!

If I trick myself into not noticing the insectyness of them they are graphically speaking quite beautiful and I really like the shapes they make with their bodies.

Phew, the end of the insect post, well done, you made it to the end hehehe!

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

Sketching Wisteria At The Botanical Gardens

purple wisteria sketch

A sketch of purple wisteria

Hi there, how are you?

It’s the time of the year for wisteria. I love to see it flower. It hangs and drips off walls and fences, it really is beautiful.

At the local botanical garden they have a lovely long arch-way covered in both purple and yellow wisteria. This part of the garden is currently free to the public so we decided to spend a day in the sunshine drawing it.

wisteria archway

The wisteria archway

I find trying to paint the whole thing a bit much so I drew parts of the plant, much easier to deal with.  Here I am drawing the yellow flowers, again just a small branch with a few sprays of flowers on.

sketching yellow wisteria

Drawing yellow wisteria in the sunshine

In this next one I was trying to give more of an impression of one of the plants, I was using my sketch book made from cartridge paper, not good for washy things so not a brilliant effort but it gives kind of the impression of what I was looking at.

My daughter had brought watercolour paper with her and after seeing my poor effort gave a small piece to me.

wisteria purple

I’ll have to imagine the metal support of the arch structure because I had forgotten to draw it in.

It’s funny how time flies and after being deeply engrossed in what we were doing realised it was almost time to go home.

We set ourselves a challenge, 10 minutes to draw/paint some wisteria.

Eeep! Where to start, I chose a bunch of purple flowers and started to paint, no drawing or roughing it out just straight onto the paper and since I now had a piece of watercolour paper that was what I used to paint them on.

Wisteria 10 minute challenge

This was the painting from my 10 minute challenge.

It was just a quick little sketch but this was actually my favourite painting of the day, it’s clean, simple and not overworked. Maybe we should do more of this it was a lot of fun.

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


Magpies – Meet The New Neighbours

sketch of 1 magpie

A sketch of a magpie protecting his patch.

Hi there, how are you?

Every year the birds come and nest in the huge sycamore tree on the other side of our fence. All of the little birds, blue tits, robins, sparrows, blackbirds even pigeons nested early this year.

The bigger birds crows and magpies normally keep to the small patch of woods not too far away, this year however there seems to be an abundance of magpies, and they’re every where!

magpie sketches

Meet the new neighbours.

Usually the little birds gang together to mob the magpies or crows and chase them away because they will eat almost anything, including bird eggs and chicks.

The magpies have decided to move into the sycamore. Lucky the little birds have finished and fledged so, meet the new neighbours.

sketch of 2 magpies

Mr & Mrs Magpie

I have taken a few photos throughout the week and decided to try and draw from them.

Magpies are black and white I know but as the sun catches their wings the feathers become iridescent and flash blue or turquoise.

watercolour sketch of 2 magpies

A watercolour painting in my sketchbook.

Most of these have been drawn on a white background and I wanted to paint them sitting in the tree. This should really have been painted on watercolour paper but since I had already drawn the magpies in my sketchbook I just carried on adding colour (I need to use backgrounds more often because I really do need the practice)

It’s very exciting watching the wildlife in my own back yard..

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

Drawing Garden Flowers In The Glorious Sunshine

Orange Quince flowers sketch

Orange Japonica Quince flowers sketch

Hello folks, how are you?

Over the last week or so we’ve had beautiful glorious sunshine. The kind of weather that makes you want to sit and just enjoy the garden. I’ve taken my sketchbook out with me and spent the time drawing some of the flowers as they started to bloom.

quince flower sketch

A sketch of flowers from my quince tree.

The orange Japonica quince and the furry quince have been amazing and are just coming to an end but I managed to draw a few sketches before the flowers fell, never know I might even get some fruit off them this year.

These orange Japonica quince flowers are very different from the Japonica quince flowers I drew a few weeks ago and the fruit , if I ever get any is a lot smaller.

Bluebells sketch

The bluebells have been lovely this year and are also past their best now.


aquilegia in watercolour & ink

Aquilegia flower buds drawn with a brush pen and coloured with watercolour.

Aquilegias are sprouting up everywhere, the seeds have spread around the garden very well and I can see loads of new plants sprouting up ready for next year. I think I’m going to have to thin them a little ready for next year.

aquilegia in water based ink

Aquilegia flowers drawn in water based ink (Quink) the ink was then pulled out with a water brush.

I bought a yellow poppy from the supermarket this year, drew it for a few days then put it out into the garden, of course the slugs thought it was their birthday and ate all the flowers! I don’t like slugs but won’t use pellets in case they kill the birds that eat them.

I’ve been reading up to find out how to deter them. Copper doesn’t work well, salt affects the soil, so this year I’m using rolled oats and hair. Yes hair, apparently slugs don’t like it so as I emptied the hoover and saw all the hairs I thought I’ll give it a try.

So far it’s working, slugs are hiding under the pots but they have stopped eating the plant and more importantly the buds. Maybe I’ll have a few more flowers soon, fingers crossed.

yellow poppy sketch 1

Supermarket yellow poppy sketch

yellow poppy sketch 2

Supermarket yellow poppy sketch

It looks like I’ve been really prolific this week but I’ve just spent half an hour here or there where I can. It’s a little but of peace and quiet and it helps me to relax. Hopefully the weather will continue and there will be more days in the sun.

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

The Aviaries Are Open Again

Hi there, how are you?

Normally at the zoo some (not all) of the aviaries are open to the public but during winter and early spring this year all of the aviaries were closed. Avian flu hit the zoo and we learned quite a few penguins had died, the zoo wanted to keep all of its birds safe.

Eastern Crested Guineafowl Sketch

Eastern Crested Guineafowl

Sad for us but necessary, all of the birds had their enclosures reduced and netted to keep people and wild birds away.

Now the weather has improved and all chances of flu are gone we can go in and see the lovely birdies again.

The Eastern Crested Guineafowl spend their time on the ground rooting in the ground for food. I haven’t seen them fly so I assume they don’t.

They tend to wander around in groups and after watching them for a while we decided they looked like a group of Elvis impersonators with their funny little hair styles hehehe.

Eastern Crested Guineafowl

This little guy was checking out the ducks in the neighbouring aviary. The grass is always greener on the other side.

Weaver Birds

Weaver birds building their nests.

There are also several pairs of weaver birds. The males make intricate upside down nests on long willowy tree branches out of grasses and leaves, if the female likes his nest they pair up, if not the male pulls it to pieces and starts again, more than once if needs be! Those ladies are very picky.

adventure playground chicken sketch

Adventure playground chicken sketch

Also this week we drew chickens at the local adventure playground. They were drawn in pencil and coloured at home, all except the rooster on the left, he was running around keeping all the ladies in check so try as I might I just couldn’t work him out, I snapped a photo on my ipod and worked him out at home.

There maybe a few more bird sketches in the future as we work our way around the zoo.

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