watercolour peony

Watercolour peony

Hi there, how are you?

A small bunch of peony buds found their way into my shopping basket this week so I decided they would be my painting models for the week.

The peonies below are painted on A6 sized pieces of paper. They were my first little practices. I have a few reds and pinks and wasn’t sure which one to use, after painting these I realised the pink leaned too far to blue and wasn’t really working with the red of the calyx’s.

watercolour peonies on A6 paper

Watercolour peonies on A6 paper

In the end chose a warmer pink (permanent rose) this is a better match to the flowers; still not sure about the green, I’ll try something else next time.

When you buy the buds they are like small pom poms, then as they unfurl the flower opens up to reveal sooo many petals. It’s very easy to get lost in the shapes.

watercolour peony and buds

Watercolour peony and buds

I’m hoping to see the flower centres before the outer petals wither away, they usually don’t appear till the flowers start to wilt because the petals are packed so tightly.

watercolour peony

Watercolour peony

There are only five flowers in the bunch and they are opening at different rates, I just paint the flowers that interest me at the time then turn the vase to draw a different angle.

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

Red Poppies

watercolour poppy

Watercolour poppy

Hi there, how are you?

After last weeks bit of excitement I stayed out of the garden till I was sure the little birdies had gone, I didn’t want to disturb them any more than I already had.

Then I got down to drawing the poppies again. They don’t last long so I needed to get a move on.

I did a few colour studies to test out the reds in my pallet. I do have a red, it is a cheap no name brand that seems to be quite opaque, not really what I was looking for. The others are on the pink side so I have mixed the red with the pinker tones and it seems to be working.

I could probably use yellow but that’s opaque too so I’ll stay with what I have for now. It’s not perfect but it will do for now till I can find a better mix.

testing reds for poppies

Testing reds for poppies

It’s been a bit windy this week so the petals are flapping around a lot, I tried to remember the position and put the paint down, there wasn’t really time to use a pencil line first.

Some flower heads trying to be quick as the petals flutter about.

3 poppy heads

3 poppy heads

This is a sketch book page. The watercolour doesn’t like this paper and the paper doesn’t like the watercolour so, not one to be beaten I just smoosh it about until it sticks. For all its faults I really like the way this turned out.

poppies, quick sketch

Poppies, quick sketch

Apart from the sketch book page these are all painted on watercolour paper, I painted lots, some worked and some not so much. The fun was mainly in the painting really, not just the end result.

It’s only one plant but it has lots of flowers and buds and as the wind catches it they make some very nice shapes, these were a few I managed to capture.

watercolour poppy studies

Watercolour poppy studies

The petals are have now blown away leaving their tiny pods, I will cut these off as there are lots more buds and flowers to come.

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

Sunny Poppies And A Tiny Visitor

poppy drawn with fountain pen

Poppies drawn with a fountain pen

Hi there, how are you?

This week I have mostly been drawing poppies. I can’t resist, no matter where I see them I have to draw them (or take photos to draw later hehehe)

I drew some out in fountain pen and ink, I think it was green ink, it’s very dark so it’s hard to tell. I like the shapes the stringy little stems make.

We had one or two Biro’s sitting on the table, (probably something the other half brought home from work) red, blue and black, I thought it would be fun to sketch a poppy with them. This kept me quiet for a good half hour, all of those little folds and creases very relaxing and interesting to draw.

poppy drawn in biro

A poppy drawn in biro

This poppy was drawn with a fine liner and coloured with distress markers, I found them in a draw and am trying to use them up. The highlights are white jell pen.

red poppy coloured with distress markers

A red poppy coloured with distress markers

This is the point where all poppy sketching stopped. Whilst I had been drawing I’d heard a high pitched peeping but thought it was one of the many birds fluttering around the garden. I looked down to see a little ball of fluff and feathers padding across the path peeping loudly for mum. What to do!

I called to one of the kids to look at R.S.P.C.A on the internet and we went through the check-list

1 does it have feathers – yes

2 is it injured – no

3 is it in any immediate danger – no, not yet?

It was possibly a fledgling, I hadn’t realised they left the nest so soon, the advise was to wait up to two hours to see if mum comes to feed it. two hours! We backed away, took all our stuff inside and waited.

Five or six minutes later mum flew down with a feed and lots of cheapage. The little ball of fluff padded under cover at the back of the garden, luckily I haven’t gotten around to weeding back there yet so it had lots of cover.

baby blue tit (fledgling)

A baby blue tit (fledgling)

I’d taken a quick photo whilst waiting for the kids on the internet, I just had to draw it to keep the memory. He looks quite peeved here hehehe

Next day I heard high pitched peeping again but couldn’t find it, too well hidden. It’s the most excitement we’ve had all week.

No doubt there will be more poppies next week, hehehe

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


buttercups watercolour and ink

Buttercups drawn with a fountain pen and watercolour

Hi there, how are you?

There are buttercups everywhere at the moment. Last time we had a walk I picked a few and when we were home I put them into some water.

I’ve spent some very happy hours drawing them.

I started out drawing them with a fountain pen, the intention was to use watercolour but the ink ran and as you can see in the first flower, the paint beaded up so I just pulled out some of the ink a water brush to shade the leaves.

This page was drawn with a fine liner, I like the ink in fine liners but I wish lines had more variation, at least the ink didn’t run as I scrubbed the watercolour in. Some of the flowers were a little past their best by this time and they made some very interesting shapes.

buttercups watercolour and fine liner

Buttercups watercolour and fine liner

I vectorised one of the buttercups in illustrator, I like playing around with this program but everything I make looks so very flat so I was trying to give it a little more “personality”. It looks a lot more interesting, less polished, a little more like a drawing. I may play with it a bit more in the future.

buttercups illustration

An illustration made with my buttercups

Since the single flower turned out so well I vectorised some others and made them into a pattern this time using buttercup colours. I didn’t have many flowers vectorised so I used solid shapes to fill out the pattern

buttercup pattern

Buttercup pattern

Buttercups are such cheerful flowers they always make me happy.

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

Drawing Little Birds

carolina wren front view

Carolina wren front view

Hi there, how are you?

This week I’m having a rest from drawing garden flowers.

John Muir Laws has been making some videos on nature journaling over this lock-down period. This week he made one on drawing birds. We were even given a download of a slightly poseable bird to cut out and use.

I followed along with the video making notes and I learned quite a lot; towards the end he said everyone should do fifteen birds as homework, hehehe. I haven’t drawn fifteen but I did a few in my sketchbook trying to use what I’d just learned. If I don’t put it in to practice pretty quickly I’m sure to forget.

Carolina wrens are very cute; I drew this one twice, each in a different position. I think I need to watch his video on feet again.

carolina wren

Carolina wren

Long tailed tits are very sweet, I couldn’t resist drawing one.

long tailed tit

Long tailed tit

The firecracker is just that, the colours are so bright.



I would liked to have coloured them with watercolour but these birds are small and I didn’t want to scrub at the pages it would have made them a bit blurry so I’ve used coloured brush pens. For the very white parts I used white a jell pen.

The pen set has many colours but as always they don’t match everything, if I’m quick I can mix the colours a little but for the most part I did the best match I could find. I also need to find a better way to draw the branches, always a lot to learn with a new medium.

I’m not sure I will get to fifteen but I may do a few more. I love that John Muir Laws has very generously given these classes for free, you can either visit his website or check him out on Youtube if you want to see the lessons.

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

Aquilegia (Columbine)


Aquilegia (Columbine flowers)

Hi there, how are you?

Still at home pottering around the garden. So, more garden drawing for me.

This week I’ve been looking at the aquilegia (Columbine) and I’ve have made loads of scrappy drawings trying to figure them out.

They are mostly pale pink or mauve, and have seeded themselves around the garden over the last few years and grow quite happily, slugs apparently don’t like ‘em.

Aquilegia have so many petals sticking out all over the place, it’s taken a while to even work out what is joined where. Although I try to draw them every year the are still a challenge.

I do a quick sketch with pencil to mark the positions of the petals then draw them in with a fine liner and put in some shadows. I’ve used watercolour washes to colour them, if I scrub it in with a water brush it doesn’t bead up too much.

aquilegia plant

Aquilegia plant

These are sketches of just the flower head, turning it around in my hand and drawing the different positions. They’re a bit scrappy but very useful in working them flowers out.

aquilegia pen sketches

Aquilegia pen sketches

I picked a few different flowers from the garden and put them into a vase (jam jar) they look very cheery. Since watercolour is hit and miss in this sketchbook I decided to use gouache to paint them, I didn’t much care for the result but I did find one tiny bit of the painting I quite like so I’ve cropped out all the rubbish to show that little part.

aquilegia painted with gouache

Aquilegia painted with gouache

I’m sure given what’s going on at the moment I will have plenty of time to draw more.

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

An Attempt At White Flowers

lilly of the valley

Lilly of the valley

Hi there, how are you?

Still on staycation here. The beginning of the week was a washout, it rained and rained so we didn’t even go in the garden, though it did save me hoyking up and down with a watering can.

For the last few days I’ve been drawing white flowers.

The Lily of the valley is in a small pot for the moment. The tiddly flowers are hard to see on the ground and if I’d used my head I would have put the pot higher up!

The flowers above were painted with watercolour and gouache, I’ve found with this paper if I use a stiff-ish synthetic brush and not too much water I am able to use watercolour without too much beading on the surface.

I’ve been rooting through my supplies and found things I’d forgotten about so I’m experimenting and using things up.

The strawberry flower and lily of the valley below were coloured with ranger distress markers and some cheap knock off ranger markers, they are water based. They still leak through the paper a little but not too much.

Strawberry flowers & lily of the valley

Strawberry flowers & lily of the valley

I also tried to use a white correction pen for the flowers. These pens are not water based, I found this out the hard way! Luckily I was only using an old water brush to push it around and not my best sable, phew, back to the gouache.

I have another small pot in the garden filled with wild garlic, we brought some seeds home from the woods a few years ago and surprise, they’ve taken. (maybe slugs don’t like wild garlic) They were drawn with the markers and a white gell pen.

wild garlic

wild garlic

The strawberry plant below is currently pushing its way through the cracks in the paving. They are remarkably robust and plant themselves all over the garden, we don’t actually get many strawberries even though there a re lots of flowers, between the slugs, birds and squirrels we’re lucky to get just a handful. I do enjoy the flowers though so I don’t mind too much.

strawberry flowers

strawberry flowers

I was thinking of planting both the lily of the valley and wild garlic in the garden but discovered lily of the valley are quite invasive and the plants are often easily mistaken for each other; since lily of the valley is poisonous it’s probably a bad idea so they will be place into a bigger pot for the time being.

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

Quince Flowers In Gouache And Ink

Gouache quince flower

Gouache quince flower

I’m still in the garden, the quince tree has been flowering away to itself for almost a week now and I fear I have neglected it this year, realising this I thought I should draw the flowers before they all drop off!

They have lovely white flowers just tinged hear and there with pink, the leaves are huge and floppy making a good backdrop for the flowers helping them to really stand out.

I did a quick pencil sketch for a guide then drew it all in with a fine liner. The intention was to use watercolour but the paper was refusing to co-operate so I used gouache. It’s not a highly pigmented set but the extra body helped with the paint beading on the surface.

two gouache quince flowers

Two gouache quince flowers

Gouache is not my favourite medium, I usually spent more time fixing the mistakes than painting but this time it was a more pleasurable experience as being outside meant the paint dried faster and so I wasn’t pushing the colours together in a muddy mess.

(Note to self: use less water when painting with gouache.)

Some drawings worked better than others as I tried to work out how best to deal with the shadows and which greens to use.

Between the blue paper and the white paint the scanner had a hard time here and the white flowers don’t really show up well.

After trying single flowers I looked for a little group that although weren’t actually on the same branch, from my point of view seemed to be in a small cluster, I think It gives a little more movement around the page.

a group of gouache quince

A group of quince flowers painted with gouache.

The day was a bit colder and didn’t really want to drag paints and brushes outside so I settled for a fountain pen and my sketchbook. The leaves, twist and undulate, it was difficult to work out the shadows and then make the leaves darker than the flowers. I think this will take a lot more practice.

quince flowers drawn with a fountain pen

Quince flowers drawn with a fountain pen

Stepping away for a while and looking at it now its not too bad, maybe if there are and flowers left after the nights wind I will have another go and work the shadows out properly.

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