Peonies and Poppies

watercolour peonies

Watercolour peonies

Hi there how are you?

Still recovering from Inktober and trying to use what I’ve learned in my every day sketching.

Whilst flipping through a Chinese brush painting book I found peonies. I love peonies but had no idea how to approach drawing them. I read through and followed the instructions which gave me an idea of the shapes.

three peonies painted with watercolour

Three peonies painted with watercolour

The way these were painted is inspired by Chinese brush painting but it’s not the way they painted them in the book.

I used a synthetic/sable mix brush for the flowers; my Chinese brushes and sables held too much water for this way of painting, with the synthetic bristles in the mix it held its shape a lot better without holding too much water.


Poppy.  Armistice Day 11th November 2018, 100 years.

I paint the first petal then negative paint all of the other petals around it until it build’s up into the kind of flower I want. Poppies are simpler because they only have four petals, peonies on the other hand have loads which make them a little more difficult but the principle is the same.

wild watercoloured poppies

Lest we forget.


poppies painted with watercolour

Poppies painted with watercolour

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

Inktober And Beautiful Fading Hydrangea


Lots of watery splashes of paint.

Hi there, how are you?

The weather is cooling, the leaves are starting to turn, it’s October! Yes, already. The hydrangea plant in my garden gave some beautiful white flowers this year; now as autumn closes in the flowers start to turn red, yellow and green.

I’ve watched them grow and wondered how I could possibly catch all of this beauty in a drawing or painting. Finally I decided to go for it, before they finish altogether.

hydrangea from instagram

I am quite pleased with how it came out. The colours of the flower heads are so random it seemed the best way to approach it.

I took by paint brush loaded with watery washes of paint, splashed them across the page and let the paper dry. Next after squinting hard picked out what I thought looked like petals with negative painting.

Remember I said it was October? In this house this means Inktober, again. Thought up by Jake Parker here. I did inktober last year for the first time because my daughter decided she wanted someone else to do it with her, she thought we could help each other along and maybe even finish 31 ink arts in 31 days. We did make it to the end, Phew!  You can see my efforts last year on instagram here and my daughters will be here, her stuff is really good (proud Mum hehehe).

prompt swift bird inktober 2017

The first prompt was swift so I drew a bird called a swift (literal I know). A quick outline in pencil then, inked with a dip pen.

I didn’t follow prompts last time, this time I will try to do prompts if I can and if not I’ll do my own thing, as long as I’m using ink I don’t think it really matters.

Last year I had been given a brush pen and used this challenge to learn how to use it, it was a steep learning curve but I really like using it now. This year I want to try to get some use out of my dip pens, with some of the inks I have knocking around the house. I’ll use other pens and brushes too depending what works best.

I’ll probably drive myself nuts again just like last year but it’s always fun at the end to see just how the work improves when you do something every day.

Happy inktober every one, if you’re joining in too, let me know and I’ll try and check you out.

Thanks for stopping by today. Till next time, have fun x

More Negative Painting

blossom 1 negative painting

First blossoms picked out with negative painting.

Hi there, how are you?

I’ve been playing around with negative painting again. Like last week I used the book watercolour: painting outside the lines by Linda Kemp. In her exercise she just placed a wet into wet wash of colour onto some paper and allowed it to dry. Maybe Linda Kemp had some idea what she wanted as an end result. She found some berries and made It look really good.

I put my colours down (I kept it to two colours trying to keep it simple) and waited. I couldn’t see berries; I am terrible at this kind of thing and after a lot of staring into the paper decided on flowers (blossom). The idea is to use negative painting to pick out the thing you see.

blossom 2 negative painting

Second blossoms picked out with negative painting.

It sort of worked, probably need o do more of this to grasp what’s going on but for a first try I think it’s ok.

Below are the dried washes I started off with. If you squint really hard maybe you can see the flowers?

wet in to wet background 1

First attempt at a wet in to wet background

wet in to wet background 2

Second attempt at a wet in to wet background

The test is trying to use this technique in a real painting.

Thanks for stopping by today. Till next time, have fun x

Negative Painting

nagative painting 3 shoots

Painted with 3 shoots (that’s what I’m calling the shape) got a bit muddy. I used too much paint on the first layer so adding more layers everything started to meld together.

Hi there, how are you?

I would like to make better use of my watercolours. I use watercolour all the time for colouring in my little sketches but I don’t use watercolour paper, just the paper in my sketch book.

I’m not saying I’m afraid of watercolour (because that would be stupid right?) I just think to myself “when I get better at this art stuff I’ll use the good paper.

The thing is the sketch book I use is made with white note-book paper and I’ve become used to how ink, watercolour and numerous other art products work with this paper.  Watercolour paper on the other hand is a complete mystery to me, knowing how much paint or water to use to make the marks I want is something I still need to learn. Also using a paint brush instead of my usual water brush is something else I’m struggling with.

I have decided to start using watercolour paper more and learn to use it properly. I went to the library and picked out a book to learn from. The book I picked is Watercolour: painting outside the lines by Linda Kemp. Adding shadows or depth to my art has been a struggle and I thought that if I followed some of the exercises it would become a bit clearer and also a lot of fun.

nagative painting 4 shoots

The 4 shoot version was the second attempt. It came out a little better than the 3 shoot version, the layers of paint were lighter and I used the recommended colours from the book which worked quite well together.

nagative painting shoot

Going around the edge of a shape with 3 colours and letting them all blur together, leaving the shape of the shoot unpainted.

nagative painting hills

Draw a wavy line near the edge of the painting. Paint a wash of colour from the line to the edge of the paper and leave to dry. Continue leaving a small layer of the previous layer and again paint to the edge. Repeat to the top of the page. It makes a hilly landscape.

nagative painting leaves

I got a little lost on this one. The shapes of the leaves behind are supposed to show through the holes on the top (white) leaf.

This is a good book but it does contain an epic amount of information not only on negative painting but colour and composition. I will have to either renew it or borrow it again in the future to fully take it all in!

I also watched a few YouTube videos with Linda Kemp demonstrating some of her techniques. She makes it look so easy, she definitely knows her stuff!

NB: All of the paintings are exercises from the book and painted for practice purposes only. Linda Kemp owns the ideas and I claim no ownership of them.

Thanks for stopping by today. Till next time, have fun x