295 Watercolour Classes

I recently taught a beginners watercolour course at a local arts centre and in doing some preparation, was attempting some loose still life paintings, in the style of the late, great Charles Reid. No one comes close to his style but I think these later ones are an improvement on my very early attempts at watercolour.

Have a look at my earliest watercolour on this blog, which incidentally I started way back in October 2011 merely to keep a record of my progress.

The composition was acceptable, a reasonable attempt at negative painting, but the rest was pretty bad. I’m glad I started this blog (which was purely for my own record) so I do have a record of paintings that have since long gone. This one to the rubbish bin.

The following are my most recent still life watercolours, both painted with my limited palette of Cotman colours on Bockingford paper with cheap Renoir brushes.

I chose these budget supplies because I was allocated a limited budget to supply paints, brushes and paper for each student. I am more than impressed with Cotman watercolours. Classified as a student range the tubes have the pigment code, permanence and lightfast rating listed which a lot of the cheaper brands don’t.

The Renoir brushes also perform extremely well for their price. At $4 and $6 (Australia) each I don’t mind replacing them more often but so far they are still working like new.

Bockingford paper is manufactured by St Cuthbert’S Mill makers of many of the top watercolour papers, and is very forgiving. It is heavily sized and takes a lot of punishment, can be wiped back or erased easily, but sometimes this can be problem as multiple layers can tend to lift if the paint is applied with too heavy a hand. I’ll continue to use it.

#281 Direct Watercolour

When I saw this challenge pop up on Marc Taro’s blog I decided that 30 days of direct watercolour painting in June would be a great opportunity to get some practice in. Yikes, no pencil or pen, just drawing with a brush. I needed this practise to become a little more adventurous and bolder with brush work.

It’s so hard for me to break old habits. I had a practise run before the start of the month with a floral painting. Not as bold in the foliage as I would have liked but I don’t mind how the bud turned out. I guess if I can find one small part of a painting I’m happy with then it’s not a complete disaster.

My second attempt was a portrait. After all I do like doing portraits so it shouldn’t be too intimidating. Wrong! Once again much too tentative. Ignoring the fact that it looks nothing like the subject the few parts I thought were successful were parts of the hair and the clothing.

Third attempt I thought I’d go for a simple subject. What can I say about this one? Nice paper 😂

Next attempt was a Plein air sketch of a little heritage cottage in town. I think the foliage was reasonably successful and I’m happy that it conveyed an impression of the cottage, but as usual I’m often disappointed with my result.

The following was another portrait attempt, which I think was a little more successful than the first. I started this with a small waterbrush and Raw sienna. You can just see the initial lines under the chin and top of the head. Unfortunately I still have a tendency to keep painting into wet areas and not allow that layer to dry.

My last sketch of a rooster was done with limited supplies as we were travelling and all I had was a little sketch book, a waterbrush and travel palette.

Unfortunately I wasn’t able to keep up this challenge as life and travel got in the way, but I can see how keeping up this practice would improve my skills. I might have to give this another shot at a later date.

274 Gallery Paintings

A new year brings a new venture for me. I have been invited as a member artist in a south coast gallery – Riverfront Gallery, Denmark, so I needed to do a few extra paintings to add to my allocated gallery space.

The first painting was painted from several photos my sister took on her holiday in Italy. It is certainly not an accurate representation, but more like an impression of a village scene.

Italian Village – Watercolour on Fabriano Artistico paper

The next painting is an attempt to capture the dappled light through the giant trees, so typical of the forests surrounding this area.

Karri Forest – Watercolour on Arches watercolour paper

In addition to the gallery paintings I received a rushed commission for a dragonfly painting a few days before Christmas. Watercolour painted, framed and collected with a day to spare.

One very happy client!

Dragonfly – Watercolour on Canson Montval paper

237 Sketches from France

I’m back! Did you miss me? I had a wonderful time in France basking in the late summer sunshine. I didn’t get to do too much sketching while I was there but I did have other things to keep me occupied. The weather was superb, the sunlight on the mountains is really magical, and spending time with my new granddaughter was a very special time. 

But I’m home now, almost over my jet lag and definetly not enjoying the cold spring weather we are experiencing here. It has been the coldest (and wettest) September here for about 45 years. I’m so pleased I missed most of it. It’s a good time to be indoors so I can catch up with a few of my sketches. Most of these I did in my mini journal on my early morning walk,  just a line drawing adding colour later.

Firstly, a walk into the nearest village which has a small town square where I sat and did a quick sketch of a hotel, then tried some little figure sketches of people walking. Sorry the images are so large. My journal is only 16 x 11 cm so the sketches are in reality quite small.


Another hotel.


Next morning I walked through the forest and came across a mini farm with a few animals. I tried to coax the goat closer with a handful of weeds. That’s when I discovered what stinging nettles were! The sting lasted all day.


One weekend we visited another village. I sat on the balcony and sketched this pretty house opposite. I loved the architecture of these alpine buildings, each one different and so pretty with their flower boxes full of bright blooms.

Another early morning Sketchwalk.


And finally, while I was overseas Strathmore released another of their online tutorials with Will Terrell, sketching with markers. I didn’t have any markers with me at the time, so I watched the videos and did the figure when I got home. It’s meant to be a cartoon or caricature but I have great difficulty exaggerating features, but I guess it’s all practise. It was fun anyway, a real mix of markers, coloured pencil, brush pen and gouache, on Strathmore grey toned paper. 16 X 23 cm


I still have a few more sketches to follow in my next post.

220 Still Sketching

 I’m still here, just not doing a lot of sketching at present. I’m having a bit of down time after my 150 days of sketches. I have done some messing around in my junk journal but I won’t bore you with stuff from that. However last weekend I had a sketching friend visit and we were able to get out to do a couple of sketches. It is nice to be able to have fun with a like minded friend and enjoy a day out painting. Most people’s eyes simply glaze over when I talk about art and painting.  First a cafe sketch while having coffee.   Then off to my sisters place to feed the chooks.   The darned things wouldn’t stay still so I used the sketches and a photo to do this one later. It was my sisters birthday this week so it became her birthday card.    My sister has a lovely garden too so we sat in the gazebo for this sketch. Unfortunately there were plenty of mosquitos about after we started  so it became a case of slapping insects while slapping on paint.      I also managed to do a few sketches from Wetcanvas for the weekend art event. Artastic posted photos from a trip to Havana and I used a couple for people sketches.          Shadoe posted photos from a trip top Costa Rica and I used a combination of three for this sketch.  

img_0012-1I’m posting this from my new iPad…….. big smile here! My sweet son passed on his almost new super duper iPad since he upgraded to the latest. Thank you my son.  I’m still learning my way around it. Things are a little different from the Samsung tab. My apologies if the photo files are too large and take too long to download.  Maybe someone can give me some tips. 

178 Sweet Puppy

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Another silly sketch. This was my take on “sweet” which created a bit of interest on the June sketch facebook page. A birthday party in Australia wouldn’t be complete without fairy bread, but seems it wasn’t known in other countries. Such a culinary delight, it is simply white bread, spread with butter and sprinkled with 100s  and 1000s. Crunchy and sweet!
Apparently a version was made in Holland with real chocolate sprinkles.
It’s amusing to see the impression some of these quick sketches make. My last post of the can of worms was picked up on Flickr Explore and has almost 10000 views and 100 faves. Who knows how and why?

I didn’t manage to keep up a daily sketch for June. I tried but it just didn’t happen, other things got in the way. Like Arfie. Arfie is my fur grandchild. I painted her portrait for my son as a gift but couldn’t post it here till I had given it to him.  Isn’t she sweet?

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177 Magpie sketch

Another quickie June sketch – I’ve missed a few but managed today’s, even if it is quick and dirty in my cartridge journal.
Todays prompt was “In the can”. Having daily prompts like this stretches the brain. Can?? Can of ??? Baked beans…….. Campbell’s soup? I think that one’s been done enough. Can of worms?

We have lots of magpies that visit our garden every day. We were feeding them daily until they became too demanding, coming up and knocking at the door and window. As we didn’t want them to become too dependant on free handouts we stopped. They still visit daily and now spend their time scratching through the mulch in the garden and extracting worms from the lawn. Much healthier lifestyle for them now, but I’m sure they would just love a can of worms.

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No 99 Blue Wren

Last nights effort. Studying and practising loose wet in wet watercolours. I finally found a use for my WN Smalt Blue gifted to me by my painting pal 🙂

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Blue Wren – Watercolour – 22 x 22 cm

This tiny little bird lives in our part of the world and really is this vivid colour in mating season.

No 97 Valentine Rose

I’m playing catch up here now. This was a rose painted for Valentines Day – a little late : -)

Another  exercise in watercolour on Arches 300g paper.rosePhoto reference from oldrockchick

for a Weekend Drawing Event on WetCanvas.com