Thursday, 30 April 2009


The sun came out and the woodland came alive with the sweet sound of birdsong. With camera in hand I raced to the little wood five minutes from the house, hoping the sunshine would be lighting up the Bluebells, and it was. While walking there I thought of all the hundred and one jobs I seem to have accumulated, I've an exhibition in two weeks in Keswick, it's running alongside the mountain festival. The frames came today for all the paintings which are sitting waiting under dressed. I'm also running a four day course in just over a weeks time, so I do hope these Bluebells stay in flower. You could be seeing a few more of these wonderful smelling magical flowers.

Tuesday, 28 April 2009

Into the sink we go

I'm getting to quite like this technique! With paper stretched tight on a 'Ken Bromley' Stretcher, the watercolour has begun, then I think it needs softening and pushing back before the next stage. So into the sink we go with clean water fully emerged and a soft hake brush to tease those edges or little disasters! Out of the sink a tea towel thrown over and pulled swiftly off and then left to dry and lets hope it doesn't have to go back for another dunkin!
Here's painting 2 of Windermere, I had a go a few weeks ago and wasn't happy with the result ( think I like this more.

Thursday, 23 April 2009

Ashness Bridge in Mizzle or Drizzle

You would think that painting outdoors in the rain with watercolours would not produce the best of paintings and would not be such a joyous occasion, but we had a lovely couple of hours positioned under the golfing brollies trying to capture Ashness Bridge, and the rain kept the tourists away! Working wet in wet on Fabriano extra rough stretched paper with limited colours of Prussian Blue, Cobalt Violet, Burnt Sienna and a touch of winsor yellow and it was very wet in wet the damp conditions the essence of watercolour!it also meant that it didn't dry until I reached home.

Ashness bridge painted on site 23rd April 2009

Wednesday, 22 April 2009

All weather painting equipment

Friars Crag, Derwentwater

Rain moving in High Brandlehow, Derwentwater
Watercolour stretcher on camera tripod Golfing Brolly gripped between the knees!

We've had pretty good weather for the course this week, yesterday morning was a little showery, but it was great watching the rain clouds move in over the mountains, and watching all the colours subdue perfect watercolour subjects but you have to be quick with the golfing brolly otherwise white tiny drops appear, where you don't want them!! But you can paint quite happily under a big brolly especially if it's not windy! I have known palettes, watercolour pads and hats been blown into the lake! Today the brolly was not needed and we sat at Friars Crag for quite a few very enjoyable hours painting away and listening to the coming and goings of the Lake, it's amazing what you hear and see. Tomorrow Ashness Bridge.

Monday, 20 April 2009

Pink Sail

I had a lovely day today painting on the 1st day of 'Spring Watercolours' we had fantastic painting weather sunny skies, no wind and soft muted colours. Base camp was beside the Lake at Portinscale painting the old wooden posts, it's a lovely spot with the stream trickling by and for company two Coots or maybe they were Moor Hen's! Ducks and Canadian Geese. Painting on stretched Fabriano Not paper and using a limited palette of Cobalt blue, Yellow ochre, Burnt Sienna and my new favourite Opera Rose, it is a real girlie pink!

Pink Sail
Painted in Watercolour on location 20th April 2009

Sunday, 19 April 2009

Five tops, Turner and a conductor

It's been a different week Wednesday had me in a Gloomy, foggy and cold Edinburgh but once inside the 'Turner in Italy' exhibition my spirits and inspiration was instantly lifted, there was over 100 paintings starting with earlier paintings and finishing with some of his last works, also on display were paint palette's, sketch books and unfinished paintings. It was great seeing these I work back to forward ( background, middle ground and finishing with foreground) , I have alot of artist friends that cover all the paper with different tones, But it was great seeing Turner work back to front! The paintings really were quite stunning and he was certainly a busy chap. this was one of my favourites.
I'm not a city chick and two days and I was yearning for mountains and fresh air so we decided to grab an earlier train, now this was a little risky, after waiting 50 minutes for a late train on a cold station in what felt like a wind tunnel ( I said I wanted fresh air!) we finally jumped on and relaxed in the warmth only to be told that we would miss our connection by 2 minutes! So 1 hour and 30 minutes was spent in a slightly warmer Carlisle, and so with 13 minutes to travel to Penrith we finally saw familiar scenery come into view and with 3 minutes before arriving at Sunny Penrith we had our tickets checked by a not to happy conductor to be told our tickets were not invalid on this route and we would have to pay £60 each for new tickets, the train was starting to slow we were arriving at Penrith, the conductor was turn in two did he charge us or let us get off at Penrith? Thank goodness he let us off with a severe telling off!

Scafell and Wastwater from Buckbarrow.

Wastwater Screes and Wasdale

So the last two days have been spent walking to the tops of five beautiful mountains Saturday took us into Wasdale it was a stunning day the light was so sharp and you could see for miles. Buckbarrow was the first top and sitting eating sandwiches on the top we decided to go onto Middle fell.

Today we woke to yet another wonderful day, so we made our way along breathtaking passes to reach the top of Wynrose Pass, parking the car we viewed the tops we would reach later the first was Great Carrs viewed here from the second top Swirl How

Nigel on his way to Grey Friars our third top of the day, with Dow Crag and

onto Black Coombe in the distance

Herdwicks with powder white face's enjoying a little shade

Monday, 13 April 2009

Kitchen sink

Not a soul in sight, or so you think this is part of the Coledale horseshoe, a classic Lakeland 'round' I've done it a few times starting with a slog up Causey Pike along to Sail and then up to the crest of Grizdale Pike and then back all the way to the village of Braithwaite and on a beautiful Easter Sunday with perfect weather I think these fells could be a wee bit crowded!
So choosing not to walk, I went fishing with Nigel, taking everything but the kitchen sink, 3 books( one Italian language, bird spotting book and the latest novel that I'm reading) watercolour paints, sketch book, binoculars, picnic and a rug oh I forgot camera of course, I do so like to travel light! and not get bored. Sitting next to the river enjoying the sunshine, I kept a good look out for a Kingfisher, but it was the grey wagtails that caught my attention, and the swallows catching the thermals, but I did think that I caught a flash of the Kingfisher and heard it's distinctive chirp.

Drove down to Grasmere to see the art exhibition this morning, it looks good there was an artist from Windermere that I had not seen before her watercolours were lovely and fresh with lots of white paper left. I came back to the Keswick Museum exhibition to find that my 'bowling' painting had sold yippee, it is a fantastic feeling

Friday, 10 April 2009

Do I? or don't I? I do

A funny day today, the weather was a bit miserable so decided not to go walking, I struggled my way through a very busy Keswick to the local supermarket, it's ages since I've seen it so busy with tourists, I couldn't make my mind about what to paint? what medium and if I was in the mood! So with the rain pounding on the conservatory where I work and the wood burner burning well I put some music on and felt more like painting. I decided on a small watercolour of Windermere with the 'langdales' in the background, I was working on hot pressed paper for a change and I choose three colours that I don't often use Opera Rose, Translucent Turquoise and cad lemon yellow, just three I do like to limit my colours. Well the sky went well ish, then I started painting some of the mountains in,THEN I took it to the sink, a well practised technique and under the water it all went, so after a quick dry off I went again, I couldn't believe how much Opera Rose I used compared to my favourite Permanent Rose, it was as thou the brush was eating it! So anyway to cut along story short, I'm not happy with my afternoon of painting and thought 'shall I put it on the blog or should I only put paintings that I'm really happy with, but No a blog should show, that us artists don't always produce what they want! So tomorrow I may go walking what ever the weather!
P.S I've suddenly got toothache, I think it's because I was concentrating so hard and clenching my teeth, oh the joys of painting.

Thursday, 9 April 2009

Out of action

Easter is upon us, and the Lakes are getting busy, living in Keswick is quite funny at times, when suddenly lots of tourists are everywhere, I like the bustle but sometimes when everyone is in holiday mood it's difficult to concentrate and you can get wrapped up in the holiday mood!! Like eating icecream, walking down to the lake when you should be working, and testing lots of scones and jam!! So the paints have not been in action today.
The geese enjoying a quiet moment with Derwent Island and Catbells in the distance.

Derwent Island painted in pastels with a dusting of snow on Robinson

Monday, 6 April 2009

Leisure Painter

This is the painting I've done for this months 'Leisure Painter magazine', it's a pastel of Derwentwater with Blencathra in the background. I am very pleased to have been asked to write articles for this smashing magazine, I have an Acrylic article to do later on in the Summer which should keep me busy. It's the last evening class tonight and we are painting a spring Bluebell wood. I've also entered into the Grasmere exhibition which is one over Easter, sorry it's a short post today.

Friday, 3 April 2009

Tea at Watendlath

This is one of my favourite Lakeland walks we picked a lovely day the weather has been beautiful all week, starting in Rosthwaite we walked up and over the fell into the hamlet of Watendlath.

Down the rocky track you can just see the pretty cottages and famous tea room from here and of course the Tarn sparkling in the sushine.

Ladies do Tea

Watendlath Tea Garden a magical place full of Flap jack and sticky gingerbread.

Watendlath and not a soul in sight.