Watercolour – Too Stodgy

Last time I posted about painting, I showed you this…


This painting led me down two avenues; one to work on creating my own compositions with a blurred background and a focused subject (see below) and, for some reason, painting those orange petals made me think of whale’s tails – so I decided to paint one…


then another because I didn’t like the sea on the first…

Still not pleased with the sea

For my first composition I studiously took photos of the flowers in my garden then played with mixing colours before I started painting.

I was mostly  pleased with the background…


… until I realise my flowers where more purple-pink than red-pink and my planned subject was a robin with a nice red-red breast. I played with some red colours…


I also considered paining a blue tit instead, but a blue tit just wasn’t going to fit in that robin shaped space. Finally I went for a not quite robin coloured robin…

In for a penny, in for a pound, I turned the grey feathers purple.

My second composition was a male mallard duck on the water. Once again I spent ages considering and mixing colours.


Although I’m much happier with the colours here, and particularly pleased with the reflection of the head, there’s two things I’m particularly unhappy with in all three of my compositions:

  1. The only blues I had granulated heavily and I didn’t like the effect that had on the water/sky – of course that’s easily rectified by buying some paint that granulates less.
  2. The paint on all the subjects is just to thick and stodgy. One of the main things I love about watercolour is its magical luminescence. To work on this I’ve now joined Patreon and subscribed to Louise de Masi’s channel.  Whilst I’m not keen to paint flowers or Australian birds – which are what a lot of her subject matter comprises of, I just love the way she makes watercolour look like watercolour. I’ll be back soon to show you the results of my first tutorials with her.

Until next time.

Bekki x




Searching for Baby Bear

I’ve been searching to find the right watercolour tutor on line, but I just don’t seem to be able to choose someone who has a course that feels right for me. I’ve felt rather like Goldilocks; I like the way one tutor teaches, but I don’t like the techniques they use: I like the techniques a tutor uses, but I don’t like their style of painting: I like a tutor’s painting style, but the way they teach annoys the heck out of me.

What’s to do when you realise you turned up at the three bears house, but baby bear has left home and took his comfy bed, comfy chair and porridge with him?

My answer was experiment and find out what I really wanted.

Last time I shared my painting I showed you these…

They were part of my experiment. The pear on the left – painted wety on dry – was everyone’s favourite. It was also the picture I liked best too. However I enjoyed painting the  other one more – painted wet on wet – but to be happy with the result I should have added more detail/texture wet on dry.

So the conclusion to my experiment was that maybe I need two tutors – one who focuses on detail – wet on dry – and one who works wet on wet. That way I can learn tricks from both then use what I want from each.

And having just decided all that, I found Kristi Arzola. She felt like the perfect Baby Bear; using mostly wet on wet, but adding details wet on dry after. Unfortunately she only has a few tutorials on offer, but one was a very generous free and well taught tutorial painting an orange poppy.


My picture’s far from perfect and I should have been braver with my tonal values and adding more detail, but I’m still very pleased with it. It’s definitely a step in the right direction, but I still think I’ll need to follow my two tutor plan.

Stay safe.

Until next time,



Watercolour Progress

A couple of weeks ago or so, with my creative mojo having gone AWOL, I forced myself to sit down and paint. I also promised myself I would paint every day from then on and share the results weekly on my blog – however bad they were.

Although I broke my second promise and didn’t post last week, I did keep to the first. I started with some technique experimentation that was a bit mad – so we’ll gloss over that – then with painting bees still on my mind, I spotted a bee on these beautiful flowers and decided to paint it.

This is the point where I need you, dear reader, to tell me what sort of flowers these are – please.

Okay, so the picture was taken after the bee flew away. And yes, I know this is a tall order for a newbie to paint in watercolour, but still I sketched them and made a start.


However the level of detail of the flower became rather intimidating. Rather than make a complete mess, I decided I needed to build my detail painting skills and come back to it. So I took a free class from Anna Mason – painting wet on dry. I didn’t have any hot pressed paper, so it doesn’t look as it should, but I’m happy enough with the result.


Following this I had the urge to to paint a pear wet on wet…


Somewhere in the last two weeks I also painted a few birds – these are my favourite two…

and I painted an anagram card…


I’ve a couple of other unfinished painting on the go too. So all in all quite please with my progress and also pleased to say I think I spotted my creative mojo hiding behind my paint brushes last night.

Stay safe, stay well,

Until next time,

Bekki x


How’s Your Mojo?

I know I’m not the only one who’s creative mojo went walk about at the start of lock down. I think for me it was mostly about four things:

  1. Getting my brain around the whole situation
  2. Loss of routine.
  3. Having someone else in the house near 24/7 – it’s great him being here, but I like silence and my own space to create in.
  4. The good weather calling me into the garden.


At the start I was quite happy to take my scattered thinking outside – I knew I need to get my head straighter and there were outside jobs that certainly needed doing. However after a couple of weeks or so of not touching my paint brushes, I was feeling all those fearful beginner thoughts again.  Time, I thought to make myself paint. Paint anything, however bad.

So I did…

I started with this, just to move my paint brush – they’re supposed to be tulips  – inspired by the  bunch of  tulips Lovely Eldest sent me for mother’s day.


Another exercise just to get my paint brush moving

A whole picture!

I wasn’t at all happy with the results – even though I’m very much a watercolour newbie.

I knew the way to get through this was just to keep going, to try and build a routine, but easier said than done with hubby on reduced hours and the days he works changing every week.

I stuttered on, trying to find inspiration, but even when I did I struggled to put my heart into it.

Even the bees I painted, because I was so excited when I found out my friend Ali is a contestant in the Great British Sewing Bee this year.

I soon found myself going days and days without painting again. So today I made a promise to myself. I would paint every day and blog each week about what I’ve painted. However good, however bad, however uninspired.  And that’s it really.

How’s your creative mojo doing?

Stay safe, stay well.

Until next time,

Bekki x

Before and After

I know many of us are feeling our concentration/creativity has done a a bunk, but before mine left I painted a picture of Harry…


I was pretty pleased with it, but wanted to have a go at doing his fur wet on wet to see the difference.

W on W H00

As you can see I made a mess of the edges, but I understood why this had happened and with being so new to watercolour was quite happy with what I had achieved and learnt.

However that was the point at which my concentration/creativity upped and off. The picture sat on kitchen table for a week or so, until I decided I’d just finish the eyes and leave the fur as was. After all it was only practice. I could try again when I was back in the right frame of mind.

Opps! Eighties eyeliner anyone?

wet on wet with eyes00

What  mess! Sorry Harry. I’m sure I could have tidied this up more, but having made such a mess of his eyes, nose and mouth, I filed it away in the experience pile.

If anyone has any wet on wet tips they think would help me, that would be great, but best not mention the black.

Stay safe, stay well.

Until next time,

Bekki x

Following My Heart – Watercolour Progress

This morning Pauline at The Contented Crafter posted a lovely post containing some beautiful photos to help improve our sense of well being. Unfortunately life is made out of both positives and negatives. So to balance Pauline’s beautiful pics I thought I’d post a pics of my first proper watercolour painting.

In the last few weeks there has been technique learning/practising and experimenting…  

Quite a few of small practice pictures…

And after 6 weeks of owning some watercolour paints, I’ve finally produced a bigger picture…


It’s a little old fashioned, because I followed a project in an old book. There’s also a fair few things to be improved, but considering I’ve only owned a box of watercolour paints for six weeks, I’m pretty jolly pleased.

Be kind. Stay safe. Stay well.

Bekki x