Thursday, 29 November 2012

Just a painting I really like....

Isn't this a wonderful painting? It's called "Three girls" by Amrita Shergill. I really love it.

Monday, 26 November 2012

Have had a mega lull.....

Well....I haven't had any time at all over the last month to do my painting and it is leaving me feeling a bit bereft but life is life and that is I shall not worry. I have too many "makey-things" on the go now for Christmas so I think my paintbrushes will have to stay in the cupboard for a while.... but that doesn't mean my blogspot will have to stay empty. I shall enjoy myself by posting some nice festive pictures and maybe some poems for the next few weeks. I think I will start with this one....

Isn't that lovely?

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

My first nude!

This is working from a beautiful painting by Wladyslaw Slewinski, a Polish artist who lived from 1854 to 1918. Another real challenge but such a brilliant way to learn how many different colours there are in what appears to the normal eye to be just!

Saturday, 13 October 2012

Finished painting

Well she is finished. I loved painting this lady. I am learning so much from this course. (A Diary of Faces - Sharon Tomlinson) Always learning.... but that is what I love and I do feel like I am getting somewhere. :-)

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

A new painting

I am working on another painting from Sharon Tomlinson's course "A Diary of Faces"
( This one is part of a painting called "Innocentia" by a German artist called Lovis Corinth (1858-1925). For this one Sharon encouraged us to work entirely on the background first before even sketching in the girl. That made it slightly harder to work with the charcoal but that was ok. It was harder too to paint directly onto acrylic rather than a gesso-ed background and I panicked a bit at first! :-) Then it slowly starting coming together a bit. I haven't finished but thought I would record it at this stage as I usually record the sketch and earlier stages but I forgot this time. A while ago I treated myself to a set of six small tubes of Golden acrylics. Up to now I have only used student quality paints. Now, of course, I am spoiled. They are so beautiful but stocking up on Golden generally will take a long time....a tube at a time, so expensive but goodness I really see the difference.

Anyway here she is so far......not sure what else I need to do yet but am really tired now and need to put her away and look again another day.....

Got to say that collar bone is harrrrd........ :-)

Monday, 1 October 2012

ATCs for the Freeing Your Wings Autumn ATC Swap

Our theme for this swap was "Lavender Loveliness".....only restriction was to use all shades of lavender.

Monday, 24 September 2012

Check the can!!

This one was a challenge anyway but I made it extra hard for myself by fixing my charcoal sketch with spray mount instead of fixative!! What a nightmare!! As fast as I put the paint on it dried and was extra extra sensitive to peeling off the whyole way through. Still Iwill never do it again....will check the can in my hand next time! Quite pleased with her though, I couldn't get her any lighter because of the paint peeling issue but in other places I quite like the rather weathered effect it has left, like on her dress. Still I would rather not have used the wrong stuff....very wearying!!

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

So good for the soul....

I haven't had time to sit and draw or paint anything for nearly a month and finally this afternoon I got my stuff out and started again. Far too stressed to begin with and got mucky as could be preparing a page with gesso and acrylics till I nearly cried. Then....I took a deep breath....(as Sharon is always telling us too) ....and started again, quietly this time and hey presto.... an hour or so later and I am calm once more and so happy to be back in this wonderful space that I enjoy so much.

Here is my initial charcoal sketch for the portrait of a young girl.

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Time to catch up.....

I haven't been ablt to paint at all for the last few weeks but these are the next two portraits I am going to work on for Sharon Tomlinson's "Diary of Faces" course which I am currently 4 weeks behind on now......

"Portrait of a young girl" by Irma Stern

And this is by the artist Slewinski....will have to add the title next time....

Sunday, 2 September 2012

Girl in white hat....finished!

I loved this lesson. This is a fabulous course. Have a look if you haven't already.... The course is "Diary of Faces" and is run by the wonderful Sharon Tomlinson.

Here is at least a part of the double page spread from my "diary".

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Girl in white hat - painting in progress

I jumped rather from charcoal to this stage which is really getting on towards finished. There is still more to do though, shading and detail. Still I am quite pleased with her.

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Girl in white hat - charcoal sketch

Hmmm thought she would be easier than the Boldini Sharon gave us..... but no....that hat was not easy at all. I won't get back to this now for the best part of a week as family stuff....but will post when I can. I can see the hat is not big enough and she needs a bit more chin already! But...there is no room for more chin and anyway I think that would make her look older...what is it....I will have to look and think here....

Friday, 17 August 2012

Next face on Sharon's course....

This is Portrait of a girl" by the Bulgarian painter, Georgi Mashev. Probably going to have a break from painting this weekend as I have also started on a Christmas blanket for my youngest grandson. But I am looking forward to having a go at this painting. She is sweet isn't she? (Sharon Tomlinson - "Diary of Faces" course)

Thursday, 16 August 2012

She's done....or is it me?!

I think I have finished, done the best I can anyway. Here she is.....

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Definitely a challenge!

About halfway I think, maybe a bit more. Lots of detail to finalise and add, lots of work still to do on the eye, mouth and nose. Getting these shades in has been haaaarrrd!!! One thing I have done though, is get much much bolder, much less afraid of the acrylic paint itself and the shadows and the swishing movements on this painting have really helped that along! Can't do any more today though, need to leave it and look at it again tomorrow.

Friday, 10 August 2012

Next challenge on Diary of Faces!

My initial charcoal sketch.....

Thursday, 9 August 2012

Rag dolly and Ted!

I have finally finished the rag dolly I have been making - for ages and ages - for my little grandaughter, Rose and just in time for her fourth birthday. I am really very thrilled with her mostly because I found making the clothes so hard. I never learned to dressmake or use a sewing maching as a child and it was something that has been terrifying for me all my life. No matter how hard I tried as a young mum to conquer that fear, it never came. I managed things that were straight, like curtains, but never something with a pattern. I made little Rose a "kit" dress when she was small when I bought myself a small machine but it wasn't too good and her other nana makes her the most stunning dresses so I have hung my attempts in this area really! :-)

Still I am good with hand stitching and love quilting and embroidery so I was determined to give Dolly a go. Some of her was done on my machine but every time I used it I broke out in a cold sweat and could have done those bits much quicker by hand with the time I spent messing around trying to thread the machine, the bobbin, get the tension right!! :-) Still, last night she was complete even down to the little teddy in her pocket ..... oh and her bloomers as you can see from the second photo!

A painting by Giovanni Boldini

Here is the next face to work on in my course on All Norah's Art.....looks pretty scarey hard to me!! We'll see what happens!

The italian artist is Giovanni Boldini (1842-1931) ....if you take a look at his beautiful work you will find some stunning pictures - he seems to have portrayed women very beautifully. Apparently he is known as the "King of Swish" because of his beautiful impressionistic brush strokes. Got to say I think this is lovely if frighteninly hard to work with but Sharon is a great teacher and her videos to help on this one are very encouraging so we will see...... :-)

Sunday, 5 August 2012

Copy of "Joan of Arc" - finished

I have to finish...I keep fiddling and twiddling... don't think I can do any more but am pretty pleased with her.....for me!

Saturday, 4 August 2012

Joan of Arc (3)

Several more layers and a layer of matte medium,some touching up needed especially those yellow bits!

Joan of Arc (2)

First two-ish layers of paint on skin.....really want to record more stages this time as it is several and I am getting slightly more confident in accepting that it is several layers and not just one or two....

Going to have a break now today.....

New painting in progress

"Joan of Arc"
- Charles Frederick Goldie (1870-1947).
The new painting to work with last week on my course with Sharon Tomlinson "Diary of Faces" is "Joan of Arc" by Charles Frederick Goldie (1870-1947). Here is my effort, stage 1, my charcoal sketch. Terrified of those hands, heaven alone knows what they will be like when I paint them!

Tuesday, 31 July 2012

From a lesson by Jodie Ohl on "Life Book"

I really enjoyed this lesson on the "Life Book" course on Willowing ( The challenge was to word (mixed media) in mainly black and white. Although I am not entirely happy with the end result, I am not sure why....but a great learning experience and one I would love to try again with restricted colours.

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Final painting

Found this hard to know when to stop but although there are lots of things not right, I am learning so much from this great course. (Sharon Tomlinson - Diary of Faces)

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Week 2 "Diary of Faces"

This week's artist on the course is Nicolai Grigorescu and this is the beautiful painting Sharon has chosen for us to work on.

Here is my early preliminary charcoal sketch. I want to record a lot more stages as I work this time so I can really learn from what I am doing.

I can see her head is not tilted enough and it is bugging me but I might just try not to stress about it, after all it is only one of loads of things that aren't right!

Sunday, 15 July 2012

Final double page spread....

...of my Georgette Chen page for the "Diary of Faces" course on All Norah's Art.

Diary of Faces - Week 1 - Finished painting

Well here she is. Not easy especially trying to get asian eyes which I did not manage and the shading was scarey but I know I have come on light years from my last attempts at painting a face in acrylics. So...this is my version of Georgette Chen, the Chinese post-impressionist painter. Thank you Sharon (Tomlinson) for your wonderful course.

My "Diary of Faces" Week one project....(2)

I am loving this course. Sharon has come up with such an enchanting idea for creating a real magic and story behind each face. Her teaching is great too. I am pretty much terrified of acrylics but I did what she said and just took it slowly. Here is my painting about half way through.

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

My first ever charcoal sketch!!

I am so excited as I have just started a new course called "A Diary of Faces" which is an acrylics course so is going to be a huge huge huge challenge for me as I find them much harder than water colours. Anyway this course is run by Sharon Tomlinson of All Norah's Art. The course has just started and we are using an old stitched book which we are altering by adding paintings of just faces but faces from all over the world and the opposite page to each face will be the story of the face.

Anyway like I said, this is my first sketch of the Chinese artist, Georgette Chen which we are copying from a photo but it is also my first time with a stick of charcoal in my hand and I was really scared but am pretty happy with how she turned out really.

Sharon's website is

Monday, 9 July 2012

Painting in progress (2) ..finished

I think she is finished. I should have started the "in progress" sooner but I will again another time. It is good for me to see how each stage develops. Anyway I am quite pleased with her and I am glad I added the butterflies.

I can see I am still quite nervous about adding heavier shading to the skin. I need to get over this "obstacle"!

Sunday, 8 July 2012

Animal Totem - A "Life Book" project

The latest "Life Book" project I have done came from Guadalupe Brizuela Cabal. "Life Book" can be found at
This painting is based on finding a totem animal through meditation with which we try to embody our deepest hope for the future. I wrote my hope on the page as the first layer....several times, using it as an affirmation as I wrote. I beleieve my life long animal spirit guide is a brown bear but have had others come to support me from time to time. Guadalupe used an eagle but I found the eagle came to me anyway during my meditation so I went with it. As I painted it though, it seemed to me to be very young, an egret I think it would be called.

Painting in progress (2) ....

I've just defined the features and hair a little more, deepened the lower part of the background and drawn in the butterflies I want to paint around her....

Saturday, 7 July 2012

Painting in progress ... again

I quite enjoyed keeping a record of the last face I recorded in stages as I worked through it so thought I would do it again. Have gone a bit far for the first photo but there is still lots to do so here is stage 1.....

My same little faerie girl seems to have popped out onto the paper again doesn't she? I honestly didn't plan to paint her again but here she is.....

Wednesday, 4 July 2012


Isn't this wonderful....once you get over looking at this incredible photograph, read the story that goes with it....just perfect.

"An anthropologist proposed a game to the kids in an African tribe. He put a basket full of fruit near a tree and told the kids that who ever got there first won the sweet fruits. When he told them to run they all took each others hands and ran together, then sat together enjoying their treats. When he asked them why they had run like that as one could have had all the fruits for himself they said: ''UBUNTU, how can one of us be happy if all the other ones are sad?''
'UBUNTU' in the Xhosa culture means: "I am because we are"
Happy Earth Day!"
*This photo is the property of Susan Fassberg. More information behind the original story of this photograph can be found on her blog:

A short poem about peace

Calm after storm

Stillness after rain

Quiet after noise

Peace comes again.

Love after fear

Comfort after pain

Joy after sorrow

Peace comes again.


"Arthur" is a mixed media whimsy totem animal painting done as part of my "Life Book" course with Tam on Silly but sweet, I rather like him. He is painted over the top of a couple of layers with some of the original layers showing through. He is for my darling little grandkids, Stanley, Rose and Joseph....or my "popsies" as I like to call them! :-)

Sunday, 10 June 2012

Simple Sunday Sadness

Simple Sunday Sadness

What makes Sundays blue?

It’s always been the same though

Nothing I can do.

Some pass by like warm blue skies

Others blue and cold

Some fill up with memories

Of stories never told.

Some stay still and hidden

Others rage out loud

Some are very lonely

Some lost in a crowd.

Simple Sunday Sadness

I wonder what I’d do

If Sundays turned out pink or green

Perhaps they’re best in blue.

Blue’s a sign of healing

Sunday a healing day

Perhaps it’s simply what you need

I hear an angel say.

A little poem by me....

Cutesies from blobs!

Well here is my finished blob painting but in two halves as for some reason it will not post as one....too long a piece of paper I think. As I mentioned it is a lesson from Life Book (Willowing) and this month we are celebrating our future through animal paintings. This was a fun project and the animals are meant to be cutesies but I was fascinated to see my long standing bear totem appear in my blobs and also a more recent totem for me, the horse. As you can probably guess, it was dropping blobs of paint on paper (a row of four panels) then folding them over on top of each other. Then you look for shapes in the blobs and devlop your little friends. It was great fun, I loved it. Here is a view of each "half" - each half was folded over on itself.

Taking Tam's advice and silencing that inner critic....and cupcakes!

I have had a quiet weekend which I love and even managed to do some painting yesterday....something called "Blob Art" which is one of the challenges on Tam's Life Book this month. This sort of messy caper is right up my street although I must say that when I make a messy art page there is a moment or several when I panic and think I am never going to do anything with it. I have to say that one thing Life Book is teaching me is that I need to simnply overcome that inner critic and carry on and I am getting much better at it these days..... Ha ha..... sorry I know I tend towards silliness but don't you think it just helps the world keep going round sometimes.....anyway looking at my major blob attack and mess yesterday, I very nearly panicked and crumpled up my page but I didn't....I kept calm and carried on even without a cupcake by my side. It gradually took shape...we are honouring our futures this month and we were meant to look at our blobs and find animals within a totem animal task but a fun one (we are also doing a serious one) and it was wonderful fun, I so enjoyed myself. It's not quite finished but I will post it when it is. Just don't expect a work of art! Finally....if you are not a member of my site Freeing Your Wings you won't know that we are having a CUPCAKE DAY on the 29th June. All you have to do to take part is to treat yourself to a cupcake that day and eat it without feeling guilty! Hope you will join us, why not take a peek at Freeing Your Wings too, we are a really nice bunch!! :-)

Monday, 4 June 2012

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Two recent paintings

A journal page on celebrating the present with "LifeBook" ( and my first real attempt at working with acrylics to create a face with appropriate skin tones.....oh hard, hard!! also linked to the Life Book course. I was desperate to try in acrylics but found it so much harder than my watercolours... I will persevere though!

Sunday, 6 May 2012

Prismacolour Premieres (2) my frustration I sloshed some paint on another page, scratched into it to vent my irritation and painted this one in half an hour. I know she is a bit "rough and ready" and I need to do some more work on her but as soon as I painted her face I could relate to her. Also I realised I much prefer working in muted and pastel tones rather than really bright another useful lesson. But isn't it weird how you can try so hard for so long and not be happy then whip something up in an eight of the time and be happier. Of course other people may not think she is any good but I like her and so I suppose that is what matters most! What I love the most is that I realise the importance of your own art work touching your soul, your own soul, and how healing that can be. I really need healing at the moment, I have been terribly sad about something over the past few weeks and as always, pouring myself out through paints onto a piece of paper has really helped me. I also pulled out the hairstyle from my original always makes me smile!

Working with Prismacolour Premieres

I've been longing to try two of the recent lessons on LIFEBOOK (Willowing, one by Jane Davenport and one by Jane DesRosier. I had to get supplies for both and for Jane D's had to wait for delivery of some Prismacolour Premiere pencils and some Adirondack matt acrylic paint dabbers. They came and so yesterday I had a go. I found it really hard especially as my paint dabbers were really dried out and very hard to use....found out now I can water them down again.... My main problem though was I couldn't get hold of an alcohol solvent to blend the pencils anywhere here in the UK and without that, it was really difficult. I tried using a bit of neat gin....ha ha....thought it might work but all it did was lift the colour completely off. Still I learnt something that could be quite useful there! Anyway I spent four hours on this painting and was pretty disappointed with it. Mainly that was because I usually find something really appealing in the faces I paint and it is missing in this one. I can't really relate to her. Still it was a really good learning experience. I decided to make it into a journal page as I was dissatisfied with her and for that and for all I learned it was worth it.

Tuesday, 24 April 2012


I finished my lady at last. She is part of my Life Book work ( and represents an honouring of my past. I had to choose a person who I admired and respected so I chose Eleanor Roosevelt for all the work she did to bring about equality in so many ways. I have been passionate about this ever since I can remember. We had to somehow incorporate a bit of ourselves into the picture so I made her pale and red-haired as I was always...pale that is.....and red-haired before I started to go grey! :-) Then we had to choose three significant events in our past which we wanted to honour because they had helped make us who we are today. My three events were all painful but without doubt definitely made me who I now am. Finally we added a "flap" to show ourselves as a child and with the three events written on the inside, it stuck on skewiff much to my irritation but never mind! Here is one of my favourite Eleanor Roosevelt quotes which I was thinking of as I did my painting. “We gain strength, and courage, and confidence by each experience in which we really stop to look fear in the face....we must do that which we think we cannot.” - Eleanor Roosevelt