Dodging Raindrops And Drawing In The Garden

watercolour sketch of st johns wort

A watercolour sketch of st johns wort flowers

Hi there, how are you?

It’s been raining all week, typical June weather. In-between the down-pours I’ve nipped out into the garden to draw and paint some flowers.

On show at the moment is St Johns Wort, lots of big yellow flowers bursting out like sunshine. I’ve tried to draw each one in a different position.

After painting the flowers I tried a few graphite pencil drawings practising my skills.

st johns wort pencil sketch

A pencil sketch of st johns wort flowers

Last year mum gave me a comfrey plant, I dutifully planted it and after a year of doing nothing suddenly it went poof and is shooting leaves and flowers everywhere.

I think it’s kind of a weed but if it can fight off slugs, leaf miners and still produce beautiful flowers I’m giving it a home. Plus the bees love it, whoot!

I used watercolour, fountain pen and pencil to sketch the flowers.

I love the way the flower buds spiral around till they flower and tried to capture it in the drawings.

comfrey drawn in various medium

Comfrey flowers drawn in various medium.

We had some gorgeous deep red roses this year, by the time I got to drawing them the petals had fallen off so I drew the hips instead. Well they’re not quite hips yet but they soon will be. After a quick pencil sketch I mixed a little paynes grey with some green watercolour and filled them in, later I defined the shapes with a brush pen. It’s not a realistic colour but I love the way it turned out.

rose hip watercolour sketch

A rose hip watercolour sketch

It’s still raining, the garden is growing fast and every thing is very green, more rain dodging drawing practice for me.

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

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. 

Drawing Sparrows

graphite drawing of a sparrow

Finished graphite drawing of a sparrow

Hi there, how are you?

This week was the last week of the course I have been doing.

Part one to work out the shapes of a plant/animal I think we had to show how we worked out the shapes and rough the tones in (I could be wrong but that’s what I did). I drew a couple of sparrows from photos I’d taken.

rough working drawings of sparrows

Rough drawings of sparrows, working out the shapes.

Part two was to make a finished drawing of a plant/animal. Since I had already sparrows on my mind my finished drawing would be a sparrow. I drew a practice bird on ordinary cheap drawing paper just to work out feathers, shading and such. It’s a bit smudgy but it gives an idea of where everything goes.

sparrow practice drawing

Practice drawing of a sparrow

Next the drawing was transferred onto some decent cartridge paper. Lots of pencil sharpening and a good deal of time later here is the finished drawing. It came out a lot better than I thought it would so I’m very pleased with it. So much that I’m showing it twice in this post hehehe.

graphite drawing of a sparrow

Finished graphite drawing of a sparrow

This course was a beginner’s natural history drawing course, if you paid for the course it was properly assessed by the teachers and if you passed a certificate is given, if free the students critique each others work.

The course was open free for the duration of the course for audit only, in other words after the course is finished you no longer have access to it or the work you’ve submitted. This is fair enough you at least have a chance to try it out and if you like it pay the money, these people need to make a living too don’t cha know.

It has been fascinating to do the various lessons and tasks and have thoroughly enjoyed it. I didn’t do the course for certificates; I just wanted to see if I could challenge myself to do something different. I’m very glad I did, sometimes I felt way out of my depth but I just kept trying so as to have something to hand in at the end of the week.

If you had asked me to draw this sparrow six weeks ago I would have laughed, I really didn’t have the skills.

I would like to think it will have a knock on effect on my other art, I suppose only time will tell.

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


Warthogs And Plovers – Pencil Drawings Continue

warthogs pencil drawing

A graphite pencil drawing of warthogs

Hello, hello and hello.

I’ve been doing a lot of “proper drawing” this week, working out proportions and just generally enjoying myself.

Lesson one animals, I chose a warthog because I think they’re cute, I’ve been watching them for a while at the zoo and really wanted to draw them so this was the perfect chance. For homework we only had to show a rough sketch showing the proportions of the animal in profile, so an outline and some rough guides to show where things fit.

wk5 animal homework (proportions)

wk5 animal homework (proportions) A warthog in profile.

I had a few photos I wanted to use and couldn’t resist drawing a couple of piggies in a bit more detail (see top image). I surprised myself by how much I enjoyed drawing them, not perfect but not too bad either.

Part two was bird proportion. Plovers are nesting at the moment in the zoo and as they’re guarding the nest they stalk about and peep at anyone who gets too close, for little birds they can be very aggressive when they want to.

plover pencil drawings

Plover graphite pencil drawings

I didn’t read the homework properly and coloured them in, oh well who doesn’t like drawing lots of plover’s hehehe. I decided to draw them again this time following the instructions.

wk5 bird homework (proportions)

wk5 bird homework (proportions) Plover.

I really do need to find some better quality pencils, some of the pencils seem quite gritty and it made the drawing really hard going. They’re fine for normal sketching but this type of drawing needs something a lot smoother.

One more week to go and the course will be finished, I have to say that up to now it’s been quite fascinating trying out the new techniques.

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