The Facebook group winners for March

After a short delay, I’m now very pleased to announce the results of this month’s Facebook competitions for both The Watercolour Journals and Exploring Drawing groups. Due to unforeseen circumstances there are three rather than four winners in each group this month.

The winners of The Watercolour Journals Group are Margaret Morgan Watkins, John W Connors and Michele Clamp.

Margaret Morgan

Our first winner is this vibrant landscape by Margaret Morgan Watkins

John W. Connors

This atmospheric water scene is painted by John W Connors

Michele Clamp

The final winner in this group is by Michele Clamp

And the winners of the Exploring Drawing Group competition are Mara Kirby, Eleanor Darling and Ahmed Shokry.

Mara Kirby

An interesting study with great contrast by Mara Kirby

Ahmed Shokry

A stunning portrait by Ahmed Shokry

Eleanor Darling

An unusual subject executed with great technique by Eleanor Darling

Each artist’s work will be featured as the banner art for one week on the respective group’s page.  To enter and be in with a chance of winning this month’s competition simply post your work in the groups on Facebook. Here are the links:

The Watercolour Journals Group

Exploring Drawing Group

If you are now inspired by our winners to improve your drawing skills, why not sign up for my Exploring Drawing course by clicking here.

Below are some links where you can view more work by our featured artists:

Michele Clamp

Margaret Morgan Watkins

Margaret Morgan Watkins Artist

John W Connors 

Has work featured in Mar 2015 edition of PleinAir Magazine

Eleanor Darling

Cotswold Lavender Fields

The weather here in Gloucestershire was relatively mild for March, but has suddenly dropped sharply again. This has made me long for the warmth of summer, it’s fragrances and vibrant colours. I’ve been looking through some photos I took last June of the beautiful lavender fields at Snowshill, Worcestershire in the Cotswolds and thought I would share them with you.


The intense colour of the lavender reminds me of Provence and wonder why I have lived  a 40 mins drive away for over twenty years and yet have  never visited before.




I love the colours and contrasts in this photo and below is a quick sketch (made during the visit) of the same scene. I used my favourite White Nights watercolours and Inktense blocks on Khadi handmade Indian paper. I really love the texture and softness of this paper and will often take a small pack out with me rather than a sketchbook.



If you would like to improve your drawing skills, why not pop over and have a look at my Exploring Drawing course by clicking here.







January’s featured artists

I am pleased to announce the winning artists of the Facebook group’s monthly competition and January’s featured banner art paintings. The winners are Laura Lecchi, Vinit Menon, Catherine Brunet and William Bovington.

Each artist’s work will be featured as the group banner art for one week of this month.

If you would like to enter the competition to have your work featured next month simply post it on the Facebook group page. If you’re not already a member, you will need to join to participate.


[caption id="attachment_1320" align="aligncenter" width="960"]Laura Lecchi Laura Lecchi[/caption]



[caption id="attachment_1304" align="aligncenter" width="960"]Vinit Menon Vinit Menon[/caption]



[caption id="attachment_1308" align="aligncenter" width="720"]Catherine Brunet Catherine Brunet[/caption]



[caption id="attachment_1307" align="aligncenter" width="960"]William Bovington William Bovington[/caption]


I hope you enjoy these paintings as much as I do. I will update this page with more links to the individual artists’ pages and websites as I receive them. You will then be able to view more of their work.

The Watercolour Journals Facebook group now has over 900 members and is growing every day! Thank you so much for all your support and it’s wonderful to see all your  work. I have also set up a group for you to share your drawings. Click here to visit: Exploring Drawing  It would be lovely if you would join us, but it’s certainly worth visiting just to have a look at the members work.

I would also like to wish you a happy, healthy and creative 2015 and thank you for your support and interest throughout the year.

Best wishes



Here are some links to:

Laura Lecchi‘s work:


Catherine Brunet‘s work:


William Bovington‘s work:

Three stage poppy painting

Here’s a quick watercolour showing three stages and painted on Langton 140lb Not paper. Yes, I know I should have started taking the photos right at the beginning!








I’m really drawn to poppies and I’d love to know what your favourite flower subjects are in the comments below.

I’m having problems sorting out the watermark (I’ve fiddled about with this for over an hour!) & don’t really want it to be quite this prominent. So, if anyone has any tips to offer I’d be really grateful.

Don’t forget you can join our Facebook group community and take part in our monthly competition by clicking here: Facebook group

Honesty & the Craft of Fabric Printing

This is a post about drawing honesty from my garden and trying something new – fabric printing. But first…

A monumental change has recently taken place in my life. I’ve not made a big announcement  because, although I’ve been very excited about these developments, I wanted to take some time to quietly become accustomed to the possibilities that have now opened up for me.IMG_20140812_134942

After 15 years working as a lecturer in adult and further education I have taken voluntary redundancy. As some of you know, I have been writing this blog and teaching an on-line drawing course for a couple of years now. Recently, I have been increasingly frustrated at not having sufficient time to develop new courses or even for my own art work!. When the college asked for volunteers to take redundancy it seemed as if everything was suddenly falling into place and I have no doubt that this is the right decision for me.

That said….

What is the best therapy after 15 years of being the teacher?  Turning the tables and being a student of course!

I love learning new skills and, along with a friend, I booked myself onto a  one day linen panel printing course. The workshop was taught by Liz Lippiatt and organised by the Gloucestershire Guild of Craftsmen.


The day before the workshop we both spent some time sketching plants in the garden. Initially, I found it difficult to make the mental switch from art to design. Simplifying, altering shapes to better fit a space and not being able to use tone were, initially, all quite tricky for me to feel comfortable with. Soon I began to relax and play around with the drawing and began to enjoy the process.


We spent the morning exploring and drawing from the Arts and Crafts collection at The Wilson where the course was held. Although there was an amazing array of source material to choose from I decided to go with my original drawing from the garden. The design was first cut from paper, which was laid over the linen to create a stencil. The fabric ink was then passed across the screen using a squigee to print onto the fabric. Liz was very supportive throughout the process and kept everyone calm, even when we were convinced our designs would all go wrong!


Above is my finished print…


And here is the finished cushion!

Now back to my neglected watercolours…

The Watercolour Journals Facebook Group Competition

Every month over on The Watercolour Journals Facebook group  there is a competition. All group members are able to enter simply by posting their art work in the group. Four winners are chosen and each has their work featured as the group banner for one week.

The winners of this month’s competition have just been announced and they are: Catherine Aston, Loretta J. Hamilton, Fankaar Nagesh and Shama Amjad.  Many congratulations to them all!
Each artist’s work will be featured as our banner image for one week during July.

The first is this beautiful poppy by Catherine Aston.

Poppy by Catherine Aston
To enter the contest to have your work featured on the banner during August, simply post your work in The Watercolour Journals Facebook group before the end of July. Four works will be chosen and each will be featured for one week each. The next winners will be announced on 1st August. Good luck everyone!

Acrylic painting techniques – glazing

The students in my college evening class have been producing some amazing work this term. Especially so because this is the only the second term and half of them are beginners who have only started since Christmas. We began this semester by exploring some new drawing techniques and have moved on to basic acrylic work.

Our final lessons involved making a monochrome under-painting and then laying down a series of glazes to create beautiful, rich, deep colours. Here are some examples of their work showing the various stages:








With thanks to Sharon, Sara, Jane, Roger and John

We have a wonderful, thriving Facebook group that you can visit by clicking here. We would love for you to join us – beginners through to experts are all very welcome!

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