Drawing Experiments: Orchids

drawing of a pink orchid in brown ink

A drawing of a pink orchid in dark brown ink

Hi there, how are you?

This week I have been drawing orchids, lots of orchids. We have two orchid plants in our house, mine is the pink striped one and the other is white with slightly bigger flowers belonging to my daughter. We are extremely happy with ourselves because amazingly they are still alive after over a year, whoot!
The pink one started to flower last week and I drew one or two sketches of it. This week the white orchid is flowering, it has grown four flower spikes so far so there will be lots of drawing opportunities available in the future.

The drawing above and the one directly below were both drawn with a fountain pen and brown ink, the ink was then brushed out with a water brush to create the shadows. I really like the way the tones and shadows stand out on the first one,

drawing of a white orchid in brown ink

A drawing of a white orchid in brown ink. I love the colour of this ink.

The next two are drawn the way I usually draw things in general, with a pentel brush pen. I know it makes them look a bit cartoon-y but I like the effect. I also wanted to use these drawings as a pattern for watercolour and thought it would show better though the light box and paper. It did.

sketch of white orchid flower buds

A sketch of white orchid flower buds

The shadows didn’t show up too well on the scan of the flowers, to be honest I’m not sure they were strong enough to start with, something for me to experiment with later.

sketch of a white orchid spray

A sketch of a white orchid spray.

I painted a green background on this one trying to push the white flowers forward, I had wanted to try to paint it without the heavy lines but the shadows again were not strong enough. This is all useful information to take into future drawings.

white orchids on a green background

Some white orchids on a green background

This one was more an experiment with the paper than the drawing. I like the effect of the blue background and I will try this again. The paint was applied with a 1” synthetic brush in a criss-cross pattern.

white orchid on a blue background

white orchid on a blue crisscross blue background

All of these drawings were done in my sketch book which contains a coated cartridge paper so an even wash is not possible. It turned out quite well and isn’t any where near as much work as the green background in the image above.

This quick sketch was drawn on brown packing paper, I wanted a toned surface and this was all I had. It’s drawn with a fountain pen and brown ink then painted with watercolour (Chinese white for the petals)

orchid sketched on brown paper

An orchid sketched on brown paper

Finally watercolour paper (phew!)  This is always fascinating to me, the water was added and the paint allowed to travel out along the water.
I like the colour and the way this turned out, again the shadows are not strong enough. I could have fixed it maybe but the next day it had been made into a birthday card and was winging its way to its new home.
Its recipient said she liked it and that’s what really matters.

blue orchid birthday card

Blue orchid birthday card

I love playing and working in my sketchbook, It’s nice to make pretty pictures but my sketchbook is the place I experiment, make mistakes, learn from the things that worked as well as the things that didn’t. If all my drawings were perfect there would be no need to practice and for me that is where the fun lies.

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


Drawing Determined Houseplants

Cyclamen watercolour sketch 1

Cyclamen watercolour sketch

Hi there, how are you?

Over Christmas my trusty cyclamen flowered. This plant never fails to amaze me; no matter how many times I try to kill it (not on purpose obviously) it fights back, and rewards my ineptitude with loads of pretty pink flowers. This plant is a fighter and its determination is unrivalled.

I had intended to draw the flowers sooner but it was Christmas and other things took priority. Still it flowered. The flowers are coming to an end now so I need to draw it quickly before it’s too late.

They are painted with a water brush and I tried to paint each petal in a single stroke, I think it sort of worked. The leaves were a little more difficult; they are almost heart-shaped and have a pattern. I’ve just tried to imply where the pattern would be, maybe I’ll do something more detailed later.

watercolour sketch of a cyclamen 2

Watercolour sketch of a cyclamen

I’m using a water brush on sketchbook paper so there’s no washy watercolour-y loveliness, the paint goes where it hits the paper and it pretty much stays there. The fun is trying to find ways to work around or even with the papers properties.

Another plant doing well on the window-sill at the moment is my orchid. It was given to me as a gift a couple of mother’s days ago and am pleased to report it’s doing extremely well!

I’ve tried a few times this week to draw and paint it with limited success; these were the only ones I liked. I’m well on my way to 10,000 rubbish drawings.

orchid painted with gouache

Orchid painted with gouache

This first one is painted with gouache, meh I’m not that fussed about it. Gouache is not my favourite art medium; it’s a bit like painting with coloured mud.
Obviously I need more practice.

Then I drew the whole plant. Some but not all of the roots are drawn here, they poke out all over the pot and into the dishes of other plants, it needs re-potting really. When the flowers die back I will do a search to find out what I need to do and hopefully this won’t kill it off completely!

watercolour sketch of the whole orchid

Watercolour sketch of the whole orchid

As you can see there are still a few more flower buds left to bloom so I’ll just keep trying.

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

Magpies Re-visited

Magpie on a branch

Magpie on a branch

Hello there, welcome to 2019, how are you?

Well, new year, new sketch book.
It doesn’t really bother me if a sketch book carries on into another year or not, they’re all dated when they’re finished and each book is a continuation of the last, but this year I finished it at the end of December whoot!

Normally I use an A5 sized book but this time I am using a 7 ½ x 9 ½ inch note book I found in the back of a cupboard (still using stuff up). It’s an odd size, bigger than A5 and smaller than A4, filled with a coated cartridge paper.

I’m sure ill get used to the bigger pages as I use it.

one for sorrow

One for sorrow

Last week we had a visit from the friendly neighbour hood magpies. I’m sot sure they are the same magpies that nested in the tree behind our garden (it’s very hard to tell).

two for joy

Two for joy

I’ve used dark blue and dark paint colours, including indigo, payne’s gray and neutral tint rather than black. They all seem to work to some degree.

There’s quite a population boom of magpies around here this year, I wonder why that is?
Any how thinking about magpies made me want to draw some.

magpies in a line

Magpies in a line

The paper in my new sketch book seems to take light washes of watercolour quite well; So far so good.

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


Merry Christmas

merry Christmas elves

Merry Christmas Elves

Not much time for drawing this week but I did manage this little doodle, so from me to you I wish each and every one of you a very happy Christmas filled with, peace, joy and love.

Thanks for taking the time to stop by. take care and have fun x

Drawing Beautiful Turkeys

head of a magnificent turkey

The head of a magnificent turkey, as usual looking very peeved.

Hi there how are you?

Is this not the face of a magnificent bird? Well I’m sure the lady turkeys think so, all puffed up and proud, strutting around.

I took a few photos earlier in the year (maybe March or April) and drew some turkeys in my sketchbook, (posted here). I decided to draw them again and see if my skills had improved.

two turkey heads

Sketches of two turkey heads.

There’s is a lot to take in to account with turkey heads, wrinkles, the wattle, the snood, feathers. It’s interesting to try to capture all of these things on one head. Then there’s the fact that they always look so peeved.

turkey showing off his lovely plumage

Turkey showing off his lovely plumage

I wanted to draw some full body turkeys; the iridescent plumage is so beautiful and colourful and really do give an exceptional display.

I didn’t outline the full turkeys with a brush pen I wanted to see how they would look without the lines.

beautiful iridescence of a turkey

The beautiful iridescence of a turkey

I’m not sure I have the skills yet to fully show the beauty of the plumage yet, but it’s fun trying.

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

Christmas Crafting Begins

santa gnome watercolour

Santa gnome watercolour


‘Tis the season so they say, which means Christmas crafting begins in earnest. I know most sensible people sort this stuff out way back in August, but I just never seem to get round to it that early.

December always creeps up on me, I turn around and Pow, there it is and I’m not ready!
I have too much stuff so I’m trying to use up only things I already have this year.

I found a cute Santa tutorial here and tried a little origami for the tags.

a group of origami santa tags

A group of origami santa tags

I don’t have any two-sided origami paper but I managed to find a couple of red envelopes that were white on the inside. The tutorial doesn’t give a size for the little squares, they’re really tiny so I experimented and decided 1 ½ inches was about the right size.

I made a simple patterned paper on the computer with little baubles and streamers (something chrismassy) and used it for both the tags and the cards further down.
I don’t put ribbons through the tags till I wrap the gifts so I can use something that matches the paper I use.

origami santa tags

Detailed picture of the origami santa tags

I was given a lot of odd shaped card bases a few years ago (6 ¾” x 3″)   so I decided to use these up this year.

Most of the cards I made this year are simple, die-cut, as near to one layer as I can get, they needed to be quick to make and easy to post.

3 die-cut Christmas tree cards

just a few of the die-cut Christmas tree cards made this year,they were all slightly different

The cards were narrow enough that I could place the whole card flat on the plate and cut the tree directly out of the card base; I backed each tree hole with a coloured paper (cream, green or gold) and glued the trees back into the hole. Then it’s just ribbons sentiments and snowflakes, bang, job done.

Last but not least I finally painted some Christmas cards whoot! The winter scene I painted last week made a very nice card, I added a small amount of glitter with a sparkly pen to make it a little more festive.

santa gnome and snow-scene cards

Watercolour Santa gnome and snow-scene cards

This week I wanted to draw/paint a gnome, (no idea why?) I roughed him out in my sketchbook a little to decide how he was going to look then painted him with watercolour on watercolour paper.

I like him, even if he does look more like Santa on his day off than a gnome. He certainly looks OK on a Christmas card.

So that’s the cards written out, the tags sorted and were not even half way through the month yet! oh so organised hehehe.

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

Painting Snowy Winter Trees

blue watercolour winter scene

Blue watercolour winter scene

Hi there how are you?

This week I have been painting winter trees. I watched a video tutorial by Maria Raczynska, she paints lovely watercolour tutorials, this week she painted lots of winter tree bookmarks on a single page of paper.

I liked the idea, found a scrap of watercolour paper (student grade) and followed the tutorial. Obviously I don’t have all of her skills (yet) but it doesn’t look too bad.

winter trees Maria Raczynska tutorial

Winter trees from a Maria Raczynska tutorial.

This then started me thinking about winter trees in general so after looking at winter trees on pixabay (a site that lets you use the images posted royalty free) I painted lots of them in my sketchbook. Practice is the way to go hehehe.

winter trees sketchbook pages

Winter trees painted in my sketchbook, (cartridge paper)

Next I was off to find some cotton watercolour paper to practice on. These two little trees are about 2” x 3” each. Trying to make the trees look like they have snow covering the branches and not like I forgot to paint the leaves is interesting; yes I think more practice needed.

two watercolour winter trees

Two watercolour winter trees

The image at the top of the post is me trying to paint a little snow scene, it’s not any place in particular, just something I made up. I have painted misty trees before; you can see them here if you’re interested.

It’s funny what triggers the imagination and where it leads.

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


Humming Birds Simplified

hummingbird Lucy Wang tutorial

Hummingbird from a Lucy Wang tutorial

Hi there how are you?

I’m still having lots of fun painting birds, last week I painted lots of kingfisher’s, something I thoroughly enjoyed doing.
On my travels during the week I spotted a tutorial in a watercolour painting book by a lady called Lucy Wang. She was showing how to paint humming birds (almost kingfisher’s right?) they were beautifully simplified so as soon as I returned home I decided to try out painting a few of my own.

The top image is me painting in her style from her tutorial, for this page I used a water brush because I was in a rush to try them out.

Back to kingfishers and trying to paint them in this style, some worked better than others again painted with a water brush. (The first one is very humming-bird shaped).

kingfisher's brush strokes

Kingfisher’s painted with just a few brush strokes

Now I have birds on the brain! I tried a few more humming birds using a #8 round sable brush. In my sketchbook they are about the size of my thumb. I used photos for some whilst the others were more inspired by photos using colours I like.

hummingbirds sitting

Seated hummingbirds

The last set if birds are painted days later trying to remember how I painted the first humming birds, changing up the colours.

three hummingbirds

Three hummingbirds, changing up the colours.

I didn’t buy the watercolour book because it was there were only two pages of interest.  I do love her style of painting though and looked around the interwebs to find any book written by Lucy Wang but unfortunately they seem to be out of print. Maybe she’ll write another one! No matter, I’ll keep an eye out and maybe I will find a second-hand copy, fingers crossed.

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