Wednesday, 28 December 2011

botanicals anyone?

Happy new year to you all!!
Have you written out your list for the new year??? No nor have I..
Not going to either I'm just going to add to last years list of I must do's, starting with the new website.It's only half completed but the basic skeleton is ready for upload. I've been having problems with the uploading, just cant seem to find the problem.
OK found the problem I didn't put the folder name in for the server. durgh!!!
check out my new website let me know what you think

I think I have spent more time on the website than actually painting but I have managed to do a little bit of Botanical painting Globe Artichokes to be more precise I started these some time ago during the teaching some of my classes. I took the photo some years ago at the Eden Project in the pouring rain, it was always going to be one that i painted I just kept putting it off you see why below.
Here is how I got the finished artichoke head...
1. draw meticulous drawing - adjust drawing a little so it looks nice as composition!
2. put the kettle on
3. make tea sit down and sigh

first coat of greens on leaf

4. breathe deeply and begin.......
5. mix pale cadmium yellow to act as base for all green areas.

mixes of green gold, sap green,permanent rose and dioxzine purple

you can see from this shot I have got yellow base
layers and the green layers with a base of permanent rose
for the flower tips
6. I started with the largest leaf so I could test the colours. you can still see the yellow base as I have left all the veins and worked in a  negative manner.

This is time consuming work and while I love painting I don't love the slow progress you get with these paintings. Another cup of tea I think!

Moving on to the interesting part the flower head.
First pick a place to start and know that you should finish it completely before moving on. layers of sap green were laid in first then green gold over that went permanent rose and then dioxizine purple. All layers were left to dry first before the next.

The very darks have indigo mixed into purple and green. OK while that's drying lets do the stem - working pale washes of sap green and cerulean blue let each stroke dry to get the stripes down the stem. Then repeat a  few times more to get the density but don't darken the washes it doesn't help.
You want nice clean even layers.
in the lighter areas apply some thin green gold and in the shadows apply sap green, cerulean blue and purple. leave to dry.

Back to flower head - continue to paint each petal separately
next the fluffy fronds I used potters pink a colour i don't normally use but when mixed with opera rose makes a good likeness. darken with purples and or indigo in a few places. Leave some of the paper showing through to add lightness.
Water droplets for most part these have no colour of their own so I start with shadows then if necessary add a light was of local colour from the plant.
And now to continue with the rest of the plant. As you see a little way to go yet. this could take a few weeks yet.

Friday, 11 November 2011

what next???

Hi All

Now that Remembrance is coming to a close I have stop making the Poppies and now started some more projects. the passed two days I have been making some "Steampunk" items - I bought this old travelling inkwell off ebay and as it was in such a bad way I did this to it............

lots bits add a different feel to this my new inkwell
I love the fact it has this little perspective drawing in it which hasnt deteriorated
Not only did I make this but I have started some christmas items check these out!

My little Christmas Angel pins available on ebay they are only 6cm high and very fiddlely to do.
I'm going to add another few items for christmas made from felt and beads. I'll keep you posted as I do them!!

Monday, 7 November 2011

new look website

Hi All
In the next few months I hope to have my new website up and running - October saw the closure of the old Orchid Arts site, which has left me with no website at all for the present time. So I have been working like stink to get one made to replace it.
Most of my work is on Flickr  so that I have a record of while there is no site and theres some on the SAA (society for all artists) , by the way it's worth joining up with a membership which will cost you about £29.00 for the first year and is reduced for subsequent years if you auto renew by card. Novel!!
Also you can get postage free on all materials which are discounted some as much as 50%. and you can see some of our Professional Assoiciates demonstrating on Sky and the internet. Lots more go check it out no matter where you are in the world they ship everywhere.

As it's nearly Remembrance Day I have also been frantically making beaded Poppies to sell. I have never sold anything on Ebay before - no matter what I've done, but i thought I'd try again with these and low and behold they are selling!!

This one was made last year for a friend of mine Debi - I may well make some more of these bigger ones.

Saturday, 22 October 2011

For my next trick! Digital scrapbook give away!!

Hello all
Ever thought of combining your art with somethng else? lets say drawing with fabrics or scrapbooking with painting or something from the kitchen and your canvas?
I'm sure you have this week will see me and my students fixing kitchen foil to canvas and using Acrylics/oils to create some new paintings. Questions is what would you paint..

I recently took a painting I had started in one of my classes, it was of Koi fish and painted in oils. I left it unfinished and let it dry for a few weeks until I was ready to continue (laymens terms for didnt have a glue what i wanted to with it) until I trying to photos of others things that I came across a slightly out of focus photo of  my "Cosmic Dancer" painting. Buddha that was what i wanted to do Buddha!
Out comes the gold leaf and I start applying it to the pre painted canvas and then coated with Shellac so I could use more Oil paint over the top. Result
cosmic dancer
Yes it's unfinished but at least I made a start. It's not as difficult to paint on metal foils as you may think
as long as they adhere to the surface properly and you use something like Shellac between the surface and the paint all will work well.  Try some yourself and post them to me to let us know what you've come up with.

On the list at the top I also mentioned draw & fabric heres something else you can try. Leather and drawing ink,
I have always draw on leather but using in gold and silver ink, which does come off if it's rubbed too often.
I did this with a scrap piece of leather I had - there is a little bit of stitching going on but the rest is all draw from imagination. I bet your wondering what it is aren't you.
It's my new brush roll I was in desperate need of a bigger one that took a few more of my brushes. I need to make another 3 I think!

In an earlier blog I showed you my little book I was making for Alice in Wonderland which primarily drawn in ink on trade cards. This is another project thats started but never finished, If you remember I added scrapbooking papers to the book leaves which will then take some of my art work

Ok why am I suggesting this well I was giving the opportunity to give away to one lucky winner a digital scrapbooking software kit.
 This is courtesy of My Memories who have given us one digital scarpbooking suite to give away free to one lucky winner!!! could that lucky person be you??
My Memories Suite is rated #1 by Amazon and TopTen Reviews. Using this software, anyone can create digital scrapbooks, photobooks, cards, calendars and gifts without having to buy expensive and complicated software programs.    
Check out this 10 minute video for the digital scrapbook software and see what it can do with all your photos or indeed Artwork -
JUST CLICK THIS LINK and take a look at the suite.
Once you've been there come to this blog and tell me which is your favourite designer, there loads to choose from, why not try some of the free samples. Then you can post  them here and on My Memories.
So to recap!!!!
To be in with a chance of winning this software all you have to do is click on the link above and find your favourite designer - post your comment here and names will drawn out the hat!
The winner will be drawn on the 14th November just in time to make some fantastic gifts for Christmas!

FOR EVERYONE ELSE there is a 10% discount from when buying the My Memories suite version 2 only
USE this unique discount code STMMMS90340 at the checkout!

Wednesday, 17 August 2011


Last week I finally got round to ordering a copy of Micheal Wilcox's "Artists guide to selecting colours". Micheal Wilcox also has a website you can order from
I have to say I wished this book had been available when I first started painting. it would have saved so much time trail and error not to mention money. Let me brief you on the contents. This book covers the all the named paints that you have all heard of, it delves into the making of them and whats in them then and now!
Ready for a shock? some of the colours that I use most frequently and which can be found in all my palettes across all the different media's I use are in fact worthless. I nearly had a fit when I read this, as with many of you I suspect I/we trusted the labels that say we tested these paints to the highest degree. Hands up all those who have Alizarin Crimson,sap green, Prussian blue, hooker green and anything Madder Oh and not forgetting one of my favourites indigo, There's more on the list but these are probably in most peoples palettes, in the past I've used alizarin crimson for all manner of subjects even portraits. I have even rendered complete paintings in monochrome using nothing but indigo. And unless i put all those that I still own in dark drawer they wont be there in the future due to the fading and mis-colouring.
it's worthwhile buying this book so you know what your buying in the future -it also gives alternative to each colour and/or mixing tips. So it looks like all these paints are now resigned to sketching purposes only.

After that bombshell I'm going to go and paint fish to console myself
xxxxx kat

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

paintbox portfolio

koi 1#home sweet home,bubblenestcat napkoi study 2#koi study 3#gathering
lionessunfinished- horsesumi owlripplestwo's companyripples
water jewelyin yangdragonflyup for airtranquil waterchinese opera
tiggyin the pinkgeishachinese operacolinindia
paintbox portfolio, a set on Flickr.
Follow my portfolio on flickr

Finished at last

This week saw the start of my summer classes, all of which needed some prep for each of the classes. Not only in the advertising but in the lesson planning. The classes were centered around drawing watercolour and Thursdays will be Oils, so quite a mix of techniques and media going on. As the classes are only 3 hours long it's hard to get a completed piece of work for most students but the results were excellent, next week they will be completing a full tonal drawing which I think they will be impressed with. Today's watercolour class was using bold colours and learning to lift out. Not a class for the faint hearted!! This really throws students in at the deep end. Cant wait for Thursdays lesson Oil portraits.
During the time I've been working on the getting the classes up and running I've also continued to work on the piece below.....

I have finally finished the Large piece entitled " Stealing the wings of butterflies" you'll see from my last blog that I was a fair way into it, but still had a ton to do. Well since the last photo, i completed our heroine first with a white hair do then changed my mind back to red. while painting I realised that I would have been better do this in oils rather acrylics I'm much happier with slow drying paint - I don't need to make any adjustments for the paint drying darker or lighter.


I glazed over the white with burnt sienna, transparent red oxide and burnt orange. i was a little happier once this was finished - making changes half way through a painting can mess other areas up. Next was the wings hanging on the pole and guess what I did here?
Started with one colour and ended up with another, check out the black wing -this was too dark for the overall composition so that had to be changed.

With the lighter wing in place i carried on putting the insects in some of which are made from glass.
The glass beads are made by a good friend of mine at a very talented bead maker.
This is what happens to the broken ones!

perfect for little bugs!!

A little white moth not finished in this photo.

base coats on for the Centinakes

Add some mist and tweak here and there and we're finished Thanks for joining me