Thursday, 24 May 2018

Painting FROM the bin : Those scraps of coloured paper!

"Cherry Blossom"
Created on painted paper found in my bin. 

Do you throw away paintings that you don't like, or crop paintings you do like and end up with small pieces of paper that are covered in colour. Pieces that look deliciously tempting to paint on and seem far too good to throw away but are not good enough to frame?

I love those pieces. I learn so much from them because there is never any pressure to achieve anything because they were thrown away anyway. They are worthless in their own right so you have nothing to lose by experimenting or overworking on top of them by adding further layers or details.

I found a gorgeous square piece of paper with colour on in my bin. It was so dark that I had no option but to paint on top with white gouache to achieve some light areas.  I applied colour by following the line that was already there to apply a few blossoms. The pink background  gave my new freshly added white flowers the illusion of being pink not white. With my rigger brush I added a few centres and branches and the result are seen above.

Now here I must confess this piece will go straight back in the bin as I don't feel it is frame able. But I will now start a new composition keeping some sections of paper white using my original colours as the background option. This little "play break" led me to some great ideas for new work.

This was so much fun. All by delving into my studio bin and seeing what was there as coloured paper to play on.

So before you throw your trash out, check if you can play on top of any of the scraps of paper in your own bin.

You may just surprise yourself!

Have fun painting !


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A Simple Breeze : Hospitals and Grey Hairs!

" A Summers Breeze"
Work inspired by my new book "Atmospheric Flowers in Watercolour"

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"Where are you?"

"Are you okay? "

I have received so many wonderful emails asking why my blog is quiet and asking if I am okay. I could lie, tell a fib and pretend everything has been fine but truthfully it hasn't been. But thankfully I am much better now and with specialists help we seem to be getting to what has been causing the extreme pain I have been in recently. In fact I am now pain free and I have more energy than ever before which is frightening. In fact so frightening that I ended up in hospital this week and I haven't told anyone other than close family.

What happened?

Well I have been gardening as relaxing therapy in between painting. But I must have been over enthusiastic on Tuesday. Maybe I should describe my idea of gardening. It isn't just pottering around weeding. Its' digging. Moving plants if necessary. Moving large pots if necessary. And we have a huge garden. In it is a pond and the borders around it had become overgrown so I decided to empty them. On my own. Digging up well embedded roots  and moving stones. During my over zealous activity I started to feel "odd"and mentioned it to John who luckily was at home at the time. I checked my pulse and my heart beat was racing, 180 bpm.  John checked and took my blood pressure which was really low and insisted I rang the doctor immediately who given the figures insisted I went straight to hospital. Confession, I wasn't feeling realy great at this point. Two ECGs later and I will be wearing a heart monitor for a while to find out whats' going on. I have been told to call an ambulance should it ever happen again. Serious advise. When asked by the hospital team how long I had been gardening for I had to admit seven hours non stop apart from drinking water.  Thats' quite a lot when it was all continual strenuous work.  And my heart obviously wasn't happy!
I will behave now. 
She says with fingers uncrossed as its' hard to type with your fingers crossed. But I am smiling! You see , when I am painting or teaching I stay out of trouble health wise. But when I have time to myself I tend to go nuts and over do things. 
So the moral of the story is I probably should teach more and avoid strenous digging etc!
( Joking aside, it wasn't funny and I know  the outcome could have been far more serious ) 


I feel fantastic today. And perhaps realise for heavy jobs in the garden I could get someone else in. Maybe that's a thought!

But back to painting. Oh boy I'm having so much fun. I wish I could share all that is going on in my studio. I'm so excited about the colours and techniques I'm working with. They are fabulous!

I'll add to my blog more often now and try to give a few tips on how to have fun and keep that element of experimenting high which often leads to gorgeously refreshing results.

By the way, the painting above was created from the woodland and meadow area of my cottage garden. This was filmed as a work in progress and there is a description on how to use gold pigment in your work in the chapter its' held in. 

Thank you so much for all your well wishes, they really did cheer me and make me realise how very lucky I am to have friends like you.

Did you miss me?

I am back!!!



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Monday, 30 April 2018

Out Of The Woods : Hospitals and Grey Hairs!

"Out Of The Woods"
Textural Work in Progress

Well heres' the thing. I hate admitting that I haven't been well but last week saw me in hospital. Before that I was really poorly and struggling but being me, I wouldn't admit it. I am having a health "blip" for want of a better way to describe it. It started when I was leaving USA on my recent tour. I wasn't well on the flight from Hawaii to Phoenix. In Phoenix we couldn't see or meet up with friends there as again I was so unwell that I had to rest before my flight home. I thought I would be fine once we returned to UK. And for a while I was. But then things went slightly haywire and after visiting our local doctor  I saw a consultant and then had two hospital visits. One being last week, which health wise was not the best of weeks but things are looking up. The big "C", that word that terrifies all of us has been ruled out. Biopsies have been taken just in case but my consultant is confident nothing nasty in that way will show up. Thank heavens. So in many ways I am " Out of the Woods" hence the title of the painting, a work in progress, seen above.

So many of our friends have Cancer. 
And it is a word I dread hearing. 

To be told "we need to eliminate "along with the worry that this is what could have been wrong gave me a few grey hairs. But that is the least of my worries.  In fact if all we ever had to worry about was grey hair our lives would be blessed.

I am seeing a specialist later today and I will be going back to the consultant. But soon hopefully we will know what is wrong, causing my health hiccup and how to deal with it.

But the best news is, I feel much better and I am back in my studio painting and looking forward to now being able to focus on my art, garden and family again. For a while I was out of sorts. I'm feeling much better now, the sky is looking sunnier and my paintings should be far brighter!

Like life!

In fact, I now feel so much happier I will be painting up a storm again. In vibrant colours of course.


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To all my wonderful friends who have sent me such kind caring messages thank you so much. They meant the world to me.  No one likes being ill, no one likes having the worry of facing an illness you'd rather not deal with. But I have many friends who are going through so much, so to you I'm sending my love and prayers. There is light at the end of the tunnel they say. But sometimes the end of the tunnel has a habit of moving just when you get so close to it!

Hugs!

Jean

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Wednesday, 18 April 2018

Bluebell Woods 2018

"Bluebell Heaven"
Bluebell Woods 2018


As always time is flying and there is so much to do. Tomorrow I have a meeting with my publisher. Last week I delivered new work to the Wey Gallery in Godalming, Surrey, UK and they will be showing my latest paintings of bluebell woods. Inspired by the woodland near my home and the bluebells that grow in the woodland area of our garden.

Spring is a wonderful time to be inspired by nature. Colour at this time of year is so tempting as flowers begin to bloom and turn the previous dull hues of Winter into lively energetic beautiful scenes that seem to change daily.

In my new book "Atmospheric Flowers in Watercolour" I describe how I paint bluebells.

This month though I discovered that using two shades in particular by Daniel Smith really added drama to the simple use of blues when painting dense carpets of flowers as those seen in my painting above. 


Small bluebell wood study

I used French Ultramarine but added Wisteria by Daniel Smith on top of the blue application. It gave me a slightly pinkish hue which looks violet in some lights and sections. It is a great combination and one I hadn't expected to use. But then painting is an activity that often leads to stunning happy accidents and surprises.

Now I am working on yet another new book which is really challenging and will need quite a bit of research to complete it. And this research will do me good!

For now I'm happily painting Spring flowers as the seasons change so quickly and if we blink we will miss the opportunity to capture as many in watercolour as we can while they are gloriously in bloom


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Monday, 9 April 2018

Spring Inspiration 2018; Tulips in Watercolour

 Tulips in a glass vase
Work in Progress

This has to be the very best time of year to be inspired. Everywhere I  turn I see new subjects to paint and I spend my evenings imagining how I will paint them when I get to my studio the next day. Spring is a time for looking forward. I feel energised and motivated especially as I was teaching watercolour workshops in UK last week. Thank you so much to everyone who not only came but added to the fabulous warn atmosphere in each session. I left on a high each day too and I know from reading emails about my classes that they were really well received and enjoyed. I do love teaching and sharing my passion for painting so much but each time I do hold a workshop I can't wait to paint myself.


So here the start to this weeks painting. I have a collection of Spring flower paintings on my easel at the moment. My wonderful husband bought me some tulips this weekend and they are to die for. Their colours are beautifully glowing and the sheen on the petals is fascinating me. Silky , shining blooms.


I started creating my first painting of tulips this year with a gorgeous first wash. It was so beautiful and fresh that I couldn't resist painting another straight away. There was magic in the first spontaneous wash. This one can be seen on the upper right corner of my easel in the photograph below. The next larger first wash seen on the left of  my easel below was better planned, in that I knew where I would be placing my flowers. I painted each individual bloom in this wash differently as I thought about the arrangement more. But to be completely honest, I actually like the freedom in my less planned wash far more. Which is often the case. I do believe we can over think a painting at times, killing the  sense of fluidity and freedom that can occur when pigments simply interact alone minus our help. At the foot of my easel in the image below  you can see a small study of tulips. This piece I quickly did on a scrap of paper to consider where I would add detail to my lovely two bigger washes. This I did as a warm up to completing them. You will be able to see more about this creative form of journey in my new book about painting flowers which will be out later this year.


 Two first washes of tulip arrangements and a small completed study of the same flowers.

 I can't stop painting flowers at the moment which my easel photograph below hints at!

 Spring flower paintings adorning my studio easel

I love the physical creative process as much as the finished paintings. So much so that I am in no rush to complete these pieces. I may even start a third wash before moving on to adding final details. Its' the joy I feel when moving my brushes that is so important to me. And this morning my heart is full of joy.  Even more so because I am falling in love again with techniques covered in my new book which is due out in June. 

"Atmospheric Flowers in Watercolour" , my new book and the journey in writing it, has given me the boost I needed to spring into life with my latest work. I'm so excited and eager to paint so I will close my blog post for now. But whatever you are doing this week I do hope you find time to paint. Nothing stimulates the artist soul better than watching colours flow. 
So get out and find your own inspiration to keep your brushes moving.

Happy Painting!


First wash, early stage of my tulip painting.
And I love it at this point!


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Monday, 2 April 2018

A Steet Dog Named Abner : Dedicated to Janice Blore

 "A Street Dog Named Abner"
or
(" What big ears you have!" )

Some time back I was invited to teach watercolour workshops in Vancouver by Janice Blore who runs "Artescapes". I delightedly accepted and have since returned and each time loved my time there.

Janice is the most wonderful workshop host. She is generous, genuinely caring and extremely professional. But what hits you about meeting Janice is her heart which is huge. And my painting above is a testament to her kindness and love.

My model for this study is Abner who is a little Mexican rescue dog.

Abner is an escapee! On arrival at the workshop location each attending artist is asked very nicely to be very careful when opening and closing the door as little Abner likes the thought of running around streets still,  but he is safer under the watchful eye of Janice.

 This cute little bundle of fun entertains and is so adorable that when I picked up my brushes yesterday and initially painted a blob of colour I could see him in the " blob" long before I had even decided what it was even going to be.

I have loved teaching in Vancouver and meeting people there.

And I have literally adored meeting little Abner!

Thank you Janice for hosting and being so fantastic.

I hope this post gives you a surprise!



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Tuesday, 27 March 2018

Singing for Spring 2018

"How can I keep From Singing"
Spring flowers in watercolour
Muscari,narcissus and pussy willow 

Oh my goodness. I need 48 hour days to be able to paint all I wish to paint at the moment. There is so much inspiration around with flowers  bursting into life everywhere. This week my fascination has turned to pussy willow and their stunningly soft fluffy buds. The above painting started out as just narcissus flowers but then I felt a touch of blue would add to the colour combinations beautifully. So I added muscari. This I did by picking some from my garden to work from as inspiration. But then I saw some pussy willows on a tree whilst I was walking and I thought they would look great in the top upper corner reaching towards the upper white space, that was.

As I'm sat here I can see where a few primroses might look fabulous in the lower lemon mid section. But then perhaps a few bluebells could then balance the composition by my adding them in the upper diagonal line of the composition, away from and opposite my primroses , if I add them.

I think from this dialogue you can see how my paintings develop. They come to life and tell me what they need rather than my sitting looking at them trying to work out what to do next.

But for now I may just enjoy this piece as it is.

What joy!

Where ever you are I hope you will have some great painting time this week. Because painting is such a fantastic way to pass time!

Create!

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