Blackbird Nest Vigil

Hands-up, the blackbird is my favourite bird!   I see them working in the garden until late in the evening collecting food for their young and where there is a Mr Blackbird, you will always see a Mrs Blackbird close by.  I can recognise their “warning” call whenever there is a cat around, but I’m not too sure of their song…something for me to learn. 🙂

This watercolour is 30cm x 30cm (framed size 40cm x 40cm) in a solid oak frame.  Email me if you are interested in purchase details.

Monday 2


This Thistle watercolour was painted as a wedding gift for a dear friend.  There are some serious Scottish vibes going on here and I really did enjoy a splash of the most pretty of pinks to create this loose thistle painting.  I think the hardest bit was the green stamen and it certainly was a prickly subject.

The beautiful pink is  “Opera Rose” and I think lends itself  perfectly to the petal colour.  The spikey stamen is a mixture of greens, carefully layered with a second wash to give the shadow.

If you’d like a thistle painting of your own or as one for a gift, please do let me know, I’d love to have another go :).

Monday 1


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Spaniel Charity Commission

When I was asked to donate a commission to a fundraising event, I didn’t hesitate to offer a painting. A family in Dorset had their lives changed forever from the actions of a drunken driver, who was speeding and lost control of the vehicle he was driving. The consequences of this horrific accident was loss of life of a grandmother, life-changing injuries to her daughter and serious injuries to her grandchild.

Painting this piece was bitter-sweet. I adore painting dogs and these gorgeous puppies, Dewi and Clem, were a dream to paint. At the same time, though, my thoughts were most definitely with the family and how they are coping in the aftermath of such an awful event.

The fundraising page is:

Go Fund me page

Green and Pleasant land

Hands up who has had a rather damp holiday in the UK this year?  Our green and pleasant land.

We were regularly reminded that, by going to the Lake District, what did we expect!

On one particularly wet afternoon, I mentioned it might be a nice idea to put on the waterproofs and walking boots and walk up the hill to Loughrigg Tarn to see the view of the Langdale Pikes (a particular favourite of mine).  This idea fell on deaf ears until I mentioned a coffee and a treat en-route via the cafe Chesters by the River (amazing).  So off we went!

On a sunnier day, or maybe with an evening sunset, the view across the tarn towards the Langdales would be truly stunning and apparently the water lilies can be pretty at the right time of year.  So, we will return at a time on another holiday when the conditions are right.

Having had a super wet summer, I have enjoyed seeing how green the landscape is this year rather than the burnt browns and straw colours in previous dry summers.

I rarely* use a pre-mixed green in my watercolour art and have painted this little sample of the greens I have mixed using 6 colours.  Ultramarine Blue, Phthalo Blue, Lemon Yellow, Burnt Sienna, Raw Sienna and Permanent Mauve.  Have I managed to match the colours in the photo? ????

*recently I have been enjoying painting with ‘Undersea Green’ (Daniel Smith) in my palette which will form the subject of future blog post.

Please join my mailing list (at the bottom of this page) or view the tuition available on the website – I have lots in the planning stage, more details to follow soon.

Light on the Langdale Pikes (and two lovely swans)

View from the lounge window at Skelwith Bridge holiday cottage

Butterfly wings unfold

Today I painted butterflies.

Whilst working from resource images for the butterflies, my vision for the painting as a whole was in my imagination.

With a touch of artistic licence anything is possible and, from the tip of our brushes, we can bring our imagination to life – how exciting is that? There is an infinite combination of colours, ideas for composition and a choice of any subject that we wish to paint. We also have an array of individual mediums or the potential to mix them – there are certainly some decisions to make in the creative process!

I started painting this watercolour piece as part of a demonstration to Yeovil Art Group and then finished it later, adding a hint of white lilac in the background. A simple white wood frame completes the look that I had in my mind.

For a while now, I’ve been mulling over a much larger painting with an elaborate loose background of flowers and foliage with fleeting butterflies visiting. For now, this is just a tiny idea in my imagination, but with this painting, I feel that I’ve taken a step forward – butterfly wings unfolding.

This year in the UK butterfly numbers have increased which is amazing news, hopefully this will continue.

Combehill Wood – Compton Dundon


It’s the day after Boxing Day and time for a walk!  Not too far from where we live there is a fabulous viewpoint of the Somerset levels.  It is called Combehill Wood and isn’t far from Glastonbury.   From the car park,(what 3 words manuals.mailings.hats)  a spin round the woods to two amazing viewpoints will take under 10 minutes.   You can extend the walk further by walking along the ridge to the monument from where you will get lovely views of Glastonbury Tor.  In spring, this part of the walk along the ridge used to have lots of wild primroses that were really pretty – I’m not too sure if they are still there.

In November, December and January the sky, at around 3-4pm can be amazing – the colours are like no other in my opinion.  The clouds are sunlit from below and glow with warm yellows, pinks and reds.


As you walk away from the car park the viewpoint above is on the left with a bench to sit and enjoy the view. Past this, there is a second place to stop with a carved wooden seat and this looks over a larger view of the Somerset Levels. The view is less disrupted by trees here and you get a really good feel for the size of the landscape with a large and dramatic sky.

It was getting dark for us and, with a mixed ability age group to walk on muddy terrain, we kept the walk to the shorter version – my car now needs a good hoover!

I guess the only thing I wish I had with me was my proper SLR Camera to play around with exposure. I would have stayed longer to watch the sun set, but our family group wanted to move on 🙂

Another time to get the best atmosphere and sky is most probably early in the morning and it must be lovely to see this again now in January as the levels are flooded – we’ve also had frosts and mist. Time for a return visit while this lovely light lasts.


Stourhead autumn colours

Last Sunday morning…..”What a lovely day to go and see the autumn leaves changing colour at Stourhead” says half the Southwest of England!

Thankfully, and unusually for us for a Sunday, we were up fairly early and arrived there around 10.00am. The car park was filling fast. We have been National Trust members for a few months and have been to Stourhead many times before so our visit was literally a quick spin around the lake to soak up the gorgeous autumn colours.

Without a breeze to cause a ripple on the lake and a bright blue sky the reflections and colours were breathtakingly beautiful.

I’m sure everyone has their own preference but we tend walk around the lake in an anti-clockwise direction and, as you walk through the trees you keep getting glimpses of the lakes and reflections. It is a huge estate and seems to be able to accommodate a large audience, no problem at all!

It would be tricky to paint these scenes as any painting may be seen almost too good to be true by way of the colours and reflection. The autumn leaves are always a huge inspiration to me and this year the leaves seem to be falling at the right time. It would be hard to predict after such a dry year! I know our apple tree in the garden has produced an unexpected bumper crop.

It wouldn’t be right to miss the cafe at the end, so it was perfect to round the walk off with a nice coffee and chat. I would recommend setting off early on a sunny autumn weekend to beat the inevitable crowds – we may go back in a couple of weeks, but we have Cornwall to enjoy first. This leaf painting is part of some online tuition that will be available very soon. Watercolour is such a fabulous medium to paint autumn leaves as the colours blend and make beautiful combinations. Please add your name to my mailing list below, to be kept up-to-date with future news.

Beach Babes – Commissions

Bucket and spades, sandcastles – these have to form some of the happiest memories for family beach holidays. We have been lucky enough to have experienced a few of these moments ourselves – and it’s always a joy to be asked to paint commissions to capture “the moment” for others.

The sun, sea and sand make the most amazing back-drop to the main characters. The shadows, colours and tone are really important to create the atmosphere.

The white hat, light falling on the arm and the shadow underneath help to create the feeling of intense sunshine and the stance of the subject shows the concentration focussed on the little pebble in hand.

I can paint in most mediums for these type of commissions, mostly I use watercolour but painting this lovely little girl in the beautiful blue swimsuit, heading towards her cousins in the sea, was my first delve into oil painting on canvas. It took ages to achieve the effect I was looking and I was really pleased with the finished piece. The slightly fuzzy effect around the frill of the swimsuit gives me the effect of movement I was looking for.

Observation, as always, is key. The following painting was a commissioned watercolour on paper and the blue of buckets/spades, clothes, bow in hair , hairband (together with the directon of the spades) all help to keep your eyes moving around the subject area. Sometimes a photo is ready to be painted in it’s existing format but a few artistic tweaks here and there can enhance the composition.

Click here for more details on this commissioned piece

I hope you’ve enjoyed seeing these artworks. I did have one more to show you but I can’t find it at the moment – it is one of our boys the sea. When I track it down, I’ll upload to this blog. If you would like to enquire about a commission from your favourite photo, please do email to discuss.