Category Archives: watercolour

Hellebores watercolour painting

I had a go at Ali Board’s watercolour of some lovely hellebores from her book (A beginner’s guide to Watercolour with Mixed media) .  I have many of these in my garden but they aren’t looking there best right now and, although I do have a few of my own photographs of my hellebores, they don’t look as nice as the ones in her book.

I quite like how it turned out but  I still need to get looser with the paint.  And the phone camera never picks up the subtle shading so it looks a bit bloby and patchy.

hellebores watercolour painting

Abstract self portrait.

Over on Artist Demo Days on facebook, Ali Hargreaves did a few demos on cubism (it is also on you tube here .   Now, although I don’t like cubism, I thought I would give the self portrait a go as Ali’s finished painting was really good. Cubism uses geometric shapes and lots of straight lines and for someone like me, who likes soft and fluffy, this was difficult.  My hair had grown a lot during the last lockdown and was quite wavy so I used crescent shapes to depict the waves and so that meant it didn’t look too harsh and jaggy.  I used  my Bockingford NOT block 300g as I was going to be using watercolour but I should possibly have used a smoother paper to get smoother outlines.  I ended up using a mixture of watercolour, Marvy le Plume pens, Copic pens, Stabilo pens,  Posca  pens, inktense pencils, gold and silver Pilot pens.  In a few places I added a little sparkle using a gel glitter pen and the outline is in black Faber Castell Pitt pen.  The pale colours in some Copic pens don’t show up well in the photograph, and the dark English red Marvy le Plume looks almost black in places..

You start by jotting down a few things you like and try to incorporate them into your painting.  You don’t have to use them all.

list of happy things


You begin with a soft pencil sketch then go over the outline with a permanent pen.

abstract self portrait outline


One you have your outline, it is just a matter of colouring in and adding some patterns – great fun.

abstract self portrait

My abstract self portrait is almost zentangle and not really cubism in my opinion.  At the end I added a bit of sparkle and a few gold and silver highlights but they don’t show up on the photo.  The whole process was a lot of fun.

My husband really likes this painting and wants it framed and hung on our wall.  Even though I really like it, I can see all the wee mistakes that I made.  Also I have painted right up to the edges and a mount will cover the detail at the edges.  So my dilemma is: do I start it again using smoother paper and leave a border for a mount, or,  just go ahead and get it framed?  I am quite a lazy artist and don’t like the thought of doing it all again, but I don’t really want to hang something with mistakes in it.  Anyhooo, there is no rush to make the decision as we are in another lockdown, and as we are shielding we aren’t going anywhere.

White cat painting.

white cat paintingGhost

Sharon Hurst did a demo of this painting of  white cat  (Ghost) over on Artist Demo Days on facebook.  Using salt on the watercolour background is very effective.  The turquoise colour doesn’t show up well though on this photograph.  It was fun to do although I may have made Ghost a bit jowly.

Physalis and poppy heads mixed media painting.

Practising with some texture in this painting using sand mixed into acrylic paint.  This was painted using the techniques from  Alison Board’s first book ‘A beginners guide to watercolour with mixed media’.  I love this book as it it gives you lots of ideas and easy to understand instructions and I like Alison’s lively, loose painting style.  I used dried fern, fennel,  and acer leaves dropped into the wet background and left to dry.  There is also some lifting out, using a leafy stencil and a magic sponge eraser, and some messy splattering and dripping.  The camera hasn’t quite picked up on some of the subtle shading so it looks much better in real life.

Owl mixed media painting

I am a big fab of Alison Board, so whenever I get the chance I watch her demos on Artist Demo Days on facebook, or on her own web page, then sometimes I have a  go myself.  However this one is from one of her workshops on the SAA site.  I used watercolour, gouache, brusho,  conte crayons and a fine liner pen.  Alison used a photo of Boo, a little owl, which has such a lovely face, and I love the splashy loose techniques she uses.

Pen and wash practice

I have been having a go at a tutorial in Paint magazine by Sue Williams of a pen and wash scene.  The camera hasn’t picked up the colour all that well, but having said that I could have added a bit more colour in the grassy areas.  I am not sure whether I should keep going with it and add more colour to the foreground or just leave it be?  I think I will leave it for now and I can always go back to it if I want to later.

Teasel watercolour

My goodness how did it get to 2018 so quickly!  My mojo went for a wander so I just had a wee break from anything arty/crafty for a while but I am back now to have another go.  So I am starting the year off by doing small sketches or other in my sketch books or art journals rather than trying to paint ‘proper’ pictures so that I don’t mind too much if I muck up.  I did this the other day having watched Alison C Board’s video on you tube painting teasel on wood.  My version is not on wood and doesn’t use the same colours but it gave me inspiration to have a go.  Watercolour and Brusho but with a bit of Stabilo pen to darken a few lines.