Monday, 18 May 2015

Pastel Bluebell Demonstration.

Stage One
Fisher 400 pastel paper, a good selection of Unison and Inscribe pastels.
Cool Blues, Emerald, Purple are applied into the background and then blended together.
 Inscribe Pinks and purples, and shades of yellow and Green are laid down in horizontal bands. A bright red is used for the base of the path. The main aim of the first stage is to cover the pastel paper and blend the colours softly together.

Stage Two
I work on an upright table easel, with card underneath the painting board to catch the pastel dust which drops. This can then be easily removed, and stops excess pastel dust floating in the atmosphere or onto the painting. Tree trunks are painted in with the edge of Unison pastels I started with shades of Olive green and dark Indigo, lighter shades of cream are painted on top. This is one of the joys of this paper, many layers can be painted creating clean light or dark shades.

Stage Three
Starting to find the way in the wood, creating depth and distance with cooler shades. Bottom of Tree trunks are painted at different heights this really helps with perspective. Colour complementary yellow with mauve. 

Stage four
The foreground trees get more detail, light on the back and more branches overlapping the back trees in the distance. Purple, pink and white are all dragged softly across the paper to help create a mass of Bluebell colour. Bright Spring Greens are used to shape the leaves on the front trees.

Stage five
More leaves are painted with a selection of greens and yellows, even hints of white to capture the light. Grasses in the foreground are added using the sharp edges of the Inscribe pastels. A path is created using Ochre's and then a shadow laid gently on top.

Bluebell Light
painted in pastels.

Saturday, 16 May 2015

Celebrate weekend watercolour

 My Online watercolour course has reached 199 students and I thought to celebrate this weekend,
Here are just  a few photo's of the projects from the first course which is suitable for beginners, dabblers or those just needing a push in the right direction.

Blea Tarn is the second project , we look at creating atmosphere
 and paint trees with easy techniques.

   A Windermere Sunset is the third project and looks at primary colours and
easy ways to paint a stunning sunset.

A snow scene is next, complimentary colours and Sheep all help to
 bring this Winter scene to life.

A Seascape finished the first course with masking techniques and easy steps to create movement in water. For more information about my Online course visit

Weekend Watercolour  Online  £55.00

Friday, 15 May 2015

Watercolour painting in the Lake District

Painting on location, is quite different to painting at home in the studio.
I never expect to create a masterpiece, more a happy memory than can be used as a study.
To sit and stare at a scene for a while, taking in the beauty, smells and sounds is such a joy. And when the sun lights up the scene, it's an experience like the 'Show is about to begin' 
My happy intrepid artists this week endured different weather conditions, I'm sure just like Turner did in his day. But the sun shone on the Butterflies in the Bluebell wood, the Lake was calm with reflections and the waterfalls sparkled with the Dippers playing in the pool. 
What more can you ask for when painting outdoors.

If you fancy painting outdoors in the Lake District

Thursday, 7 May 2015

Lake District print cards

Here are my new print cards, they look lovely and I'm really pleased with the colours and the high definition. I have chosen Classic views of the Lake District, ideal for a gift or to send out.
 A pack of five cards is £12.50 including postage and packing and includes Grange in Borrowdale,  Buttermere, On the Edge Striding Edge, Ullswater Daffodils and Ullswater Sunset and are blank inside for personal use.

To purchase a pack of five cards with envelopes  

or send an email to

Tuesday, 5 May 2015

Easy Watercolours of Bluebells

Silver Birch and Bluebells
Painted in Watercolours
I promise the whole of May will not be filled with Bluebell paintings, but it is the month of these magical flowers that we love to paint.
I though I'd get a bit of practise in before next weeks course.
*Saunders Waterford High White was the paper and it was lovely to work on, I do recommend it.
* French Ultramarine and Permanent Rose mixed the perfect Bluebell colour.
*Lemon Yellow proved just right for mixes of Spring Greens along with hints of Winsor Blue. *Masking tape helped to keep the white of the paper on the Silver Birch.
This was just a small study but I think it would make a super large painting. Having a go on a smaller scale first, does give me more confidence and gives lots of ideas on techniques and colour mixing.
If you fancy learning more watercolour techniques and would like feedback on your own paintings  see my web site

Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Borrowdale Bluebells

Borrowdale Bluebells
Painted in Oils
For sale
Just finished my first Bluebell wood of this season, I love seeing and painting these beautiful fragrant flowers. I wanted to keep a  loose approach and not get too detailed. Thinking of colour harmony and complementary all along the way. I'm looking forward to painting many more Bluebell scenes, some old haunts and some new.

Monday, 27 April 2015

Step by step Bluebell wood oil painting

 Stage One

I thought I would share the Oil painting I'm working on at the moment. You won't be able to recognise a Bluebell wood from the 1st stage! Weak transparent primary colours were added and left to dry.

Stage Two
I have a bit of a addiction to masking tape, it all started when I watched a programme about Matisse. He often would tear strips of masking tape to help negative shapes appear in paintings. I also wanted to keep the transparent colours in the tree trunks while I happily applied the foliage behind.

Stage Three.
A mass of Bluebells are starting to grow! We still have a species of Rainbow trees often seen in the Borrowdale Valley. I'm using the gorgeous range of Williamsburg Oils that are a total joy to mix with.

Stage four
I'm stuck!! I'm at the point where I need to find my way and pull the painting together, probably with more light, detail in the foreground, but not overworking. We must remember that it is a painting and not a photograph!
I do find standing back helps, even looking at the painting on a pc screen!
I've just received a lovely email from an Online student
 I have just completed the snow painting which I really enjoyed.. I am absolutely delighted at your critiques and it has helped me to grow in confidence. Many thanks

I got the idea of the critiques, after reading John Ruskin's 'The elements of drawing' with interesting notes and explanations to help students through the process of drawing and painting. He started with students drawing a box and then shading it, this was done for a few weeks!
The online watercolour course does have a little more interest than a box and many watercolour techniques and colour mixing ideas are put into practise over the six project course. The feedback is  positive, and sometimes getting an idea on how to change or improve a painting can be really useful, especially when you get stuck!!
If you would like to sign up for the Online watercolour course
just send me an for more details or
 you can see more information at
I'll keep you posted on the Bluebells