Tag Archives: art group

Visiting horses at the World Horse Welfare Centre

Under an azure blue sky with House Martins darting darting here and there in the late summer warmth, I spent the morning at the World Horse Welfare Centre at Snetterton in Norfolk.  http://www,worldhorsewelfare.org


Horses, ponies and donkeys come here when in need.  They are rescued, cared for and rehomed after rehabilitation.  The work of the organisation, whose president is the Princess Royal, can range from giving advice to owners through to court cases for cruelty.

During a walk around the paddocks you may encounter many different equines.  Hall Farm can be home to up to 104 horses at any one time.  There differences in size, colour and personalities are all represented.

My visit was part of an event organised by my local art group.  Members can sit and draw or paint anything that inspires them.  My own aim was to take photos as my  style is very detailed and considered.  This does not gel with animals continually on the move.

I took many photos;  some horses ignored me, carried on grazing, they’d seen it all before.  Others came over to see what was going on and came much too close to photograph!  It was lovely to stroke their soft, velvety noses though.

I had a lovely morning – the weather was glorious, the surroundings idyllic, and the atmosphere very calming.  I also have many photos to work from over the coming months – looking forward to that!

Thanks to the staff of World Horse Welfare for opening it doors to us on a non-public opening day!



“Ask me to show you poetry in motion and I will show you a horse.”

~ Author Unknown



A Rose for Valentine’s Day

Last summer while working in a local garden I noticed a beautiful rose that made me just want to drop everything and paint it.  The lady who owned it very kindly let me photograph it and now here it is.  Usually when I paint I get to a point where I think it looks awful and it takes a leap of faith to keep going. This time however that did not happen and I enjoyed painting it from start to finish.  That has honestly never happened before!  I mostly painted it wet on wet and I was so enamoured with the changing colours that it kept me going.

I also decided to photograph my work in stages and I found this really helpful to see how the painting was progressing.

I actually took twelve photos but there was little difference to see between some of them.  Unfortunately my photography skills are somewhat limited.

A very kind lady at my art group said you could almost smell the rose!  Music to my ears!  Perhaps I should print the cards on scented paper!

The finished card all ready for Valentine's Day

The finished card all ready for Valentine’s Day



Remembering World War 1

Last week at Art Group the title for us to work from was ‘Remembering World War 1’ in any way we chose.  At first I thought a background of soldiers on the battlefield in sepia, with poppies in the foreground to highlight the remembrance.  Of course it has been done before but for the purposes of this exercise it did not matter.  However I soon realised that 1. my figure drawing ability is dismal and 2. I wouldn’t be able to adequately capture this in the 3 hours available (less coffee break, of course).

This is, then, what I came up with

Remembering WW1

Remembering WW1

I thought a silhouette would be the simplest way of depicting a soldier, and although he started off in sepia he gradually got darker and darker as time went on.  The poppies were easier to depict, being inside my comfort zone of botanical art.

Driving home through a nearby village yesterday I saw a group of field poppies in full flower – totally out of season.  This seemed very poignant as we are commemorating the centenary of the start of the first world war.  It got me to thinking though of all the other flowers that are blooming out of season. On a quick walk around the garden I discovered a helleborus niger (Christmas Rose), delphiniums, sidalcea, primroses and astrantia all still flowering away.  Some plants are flowering longer than usual and others are coming into bloom earlier.  What a warm autumn we are having so far!



June 16, 2014

Isn’t it amazing what the eye sees and how that is translated in the brain?  At art group this week we were talking about how useful coffee breaks are.  Just that break from your work for a few minutes is enough to give you a fresh perspective on it.  I find when I am working from photos I will carefully paint in the shadows and emphasize the light, but whilst I am working on it, it still remains a flat piece of paper as I look at it.  However, after 10 minutes or so when I return, there is the beginnings of a three dimensional object on the page!  I can now “see” the flower and judge how much more depth or light is needed, whereas before the break I would have kept laying on washes in a vain attempt to bring it to life.  It has to be said though, that it is still a flat piece of paper!

I don’t know how much of this is down to having a fresh perspective and how much is simply the paint drying as this does make a lot of difference with watercolour.  One thing I do know is it is immensely valuable.

Another useful trick I find when assessing my work is to scan it and view it on the computer.  This seems to put a distance between ‘my painting‘ and ‘a piece of art on the computer screen‘.  It just feels more impersonal and I can then make better judgements.  Composition is something I find quite difficult and I have often added another leaf or a bud using this method.  All in the mind I know, but what does it matter if it works?

I have added a few more cards to my collection.  I am pleased with how they have turned out and so far they seem to be going quite well.  I have added a DL size this time (long and thin if, like me, you are not familiar with the term).  This size suits the foxglove as it cuts down the amount of white space on the card.  The others are all C6.

Cards Available page 2 alt


Here’s hoping that my current painting has turned into a masterpiece whilst I have been writing this!


At last I have finished my Echinacea painting.  I seem to have been working on this forever, but in reality it is only a few weeks.  This is because I have only been able to spend a short time painting each time I sit down.  Luckily I have been working from photos I took of one of my own plants, so the amount of time taken did not matter.  Also I am still at the stage where I need plenty of ‘thinking time’ when I am working on a subject.  What appears right one day will look totally different the next!

Echinacea or Cone Flower became popular with garden designer Piet Oudolf’s style of prairie planting.  Perennials and grasses are planted in large drifts and look absolutely stunning, but I was struck by the bold lines and simplicity of this one on its own.

Echinacea 2

I had meant to photograph all the stages of painting but became so engrossed that I forgot!


And so to the finished painting…


This is the largest painting I have attempted so far, being 17″ x 12″, and I did find it quite difficult to handle.  I usually work flat, or at a slight angle, on a table and this made for quite a stretch to reach the top of the painting.  Just another part of the learning process!

I went to a demonstration by the Norfolk watercolour artist Martin Sexton this week at a local art group.  It is fascinating to watch an artist at work and see the picture take shape.  He has a very relaxed approach to demonstrating and makes you feel totally at ease, welcoming all questions, however simple.  Although I do not usually paint landscapes, I found it very inspiring and picked up a few tips along the way.