Etsy Update

I’ve just re-listed four beautiful paper-maché hearts in my Etsy store.

They are all one-of-a-kind, measuring approximately 10.5 cms x 10.5 cms, with a magnet attached to the back of each one.

Check out my latest Etsy item!

I made this really awesome Etsy listing at:

Metallic Mandala Heart Magnet



Perrys Art Exhibition April/May 2016

Today was the start of the Southampton Art Society‘s Exhibition at Perrys Art Supplies Gallery in Southampton.

It runs from 30th April to 28th May 2016, 9:30am – 4:30pm daily, except Sundays.

It’s my first ever exhibition, other than the course-end exhibition for my GNVQ Art and Design (Advanced) course in 1998! Here are my two paintings, the ‘Flower Power’ box canvas that I painted especially (see my Instagram account for a few work-in-progress photos), and the ‘Summer Meadow’ painting that I created as part of the mixed media workshop I did recently.

My two paintings up on the wall of Perrys Art Supplies Gallery. £50 each.
‘Flower Power’ 30cm x 30cm box canvas in acrylics, coloured pencils and silver pen.


‘Summer Meadow’ mixed media painting.

Mixed Media Workshop

Today I attended a Mixed Media Workshop, run by Southampton Art Society. The brief was to paint a ‘Summer Meadows’ picture using different techniques, by Marina Stuart, today’s tutor.

It was a relaxed session where we experimented with watercolours, embellishing our watercolour paper with mixed media, creating interesting effects. We were provided with a comprehensive list of materials to bring, and Marina also supplied an additional selection of materials for us to use, which included soap, wax candle, oil pastels, gouache, oil pastels, salt, watercolour pencils, glitter, and more!

The first thing we were shown was how to stretch the watercolour paper onto a board. This is to keep the paper from ‘cockling’, keeping it flat, especially if you’re going to use a lot of water on it. For more information see the Winsor & Newton page on Stretching Watercolour Paper.

After waiting for the paper to dry I added splashes and runs of masking fluid to the plain white paper. This took quite a while to dry!

White and blue masking fluids splashed and dripped onto white paper.
Watercolour wash applied – blues, ‘green gold‘ (one of Marina’s favourite colours at the moment), orange and grey.
I used the wax candle on the right, under more green gold paint. The wax acts as a resist, creating an area where the paint won’t reach the paper underneath, allowing the colour underneath the paint to remain visible.
I splashed colours onto the paper in colours of poppies, lavender and cornflowers. I was thinking that the white paper underneath the splashes of masking fluid could become daisies. I also added some stripes of watercolour pencils to indicate grasses and stems.
Using Marina’s photos for reference I added large frilly poppies, cornflower, and other flowers.
I added stems to some of the flowers. I used watercolour pencils in turquoise and purple on each side of these stems just to add a bit of unusual colour!
The final addition was using different coloured glitters on some of the petals. This looks pretty, but I think that the glue I used is too glossy, so there are shiny patches on the flowers, and I’m not sure how to remove it. I might see if I can paint over the top. Any suggestions would be appreciated!

I’m not sure that the painting is finished yet, but this was what I achieved between 10:00am and 3:00pm. I’m thinking of adding some gold to the painting, using gold leaf somewhere, but am undecided.

I really enjoyed this workshop and would recommend Marina Stuart to anyone interested in learning some unusual techniques, with helpful and patient nurturing.

Thanks Marina!

You may contact Marina below:

Titchfield Abbey Sketch Crawl

Last Saturday was my 3rd jaunt with the Urban Sketchers Southampton group, and several of us trekked off to visit the beautiful, but now ruined, medieval abbey, which was later converted into a Tudor mansion – Titchfield Abbey – the last monastery of Premonstratensian canons to be founded in England, in 1222.

Arriving by car, my friend Debbie and I parked in the adjacent Abbey Garden Centre car park; where we later joined up with our fellow sketchers for well-earned warm and wet beverages, and to look at and discuss each other’s sketches and paintings that we’d all done. I love this part just as much as sketching, as everyone is so friendly and supportive of each other’s work.

Titchfield Abbey – a beautiful clear blue sky

It was a beautiful sunny morning, as you can see, and I had a good walk around the Abbey before finding a spot to sit and draw from. I chose to sit under a tree and draw from it’s left-hand side, as I had planned to capture light and shadows for this sketch by using the unusual combination of yellow, greens, turquoise and blue to show the light and dark areas of the building.

My sketch and it’s subject

I sketched the Abbey with pencil first to get the basic shape, and then started adding the colours, using my set of 18 Prismalo Aquarelle watersoluble pencils, so that I could add water later and make the colours more intense. As time went on though, the sun was marching across the sky and the shadows were disappearing as I watched, so when I add the water I’ll use the first photo I took of the Abbey as the shadows are more defined.

I have yet to finish my picture as it’s the school Easter holidays and have just not had the time to sit and concentrate on it with my 3 kiddies at home! I will post on the blog (here) when I have completed it.

But in the meantime, I took loads of photos to remember my visit, here’s a selection. I loved the gargoyles, especially the one pulling a funny face – it made me laugh out loud when I saw it!

Gold Leaf – Inspiration

I was watching the incredible movie ‘Inception‘ this evening and saw an amazing room covered in gold leaf, with oriental paintings on the top, and wondered how easy it is to paint over gold leaf, so have since been doing a little research.


gold wall
Still of Leonardo DiCaprio, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Ken Watanabe in Inception (2010)
gold wall 2
Still of Leonardo DiCaprio in Inception (2010)

You can see all the individual pieces of gold leaf applied to the background – it looks stunning! I find that inspiration can strike anytime, anywhere!

So, after having a little look online, I found this detailed video on YouTube by Nancy Reyner on how to apply gold leaf in the first place (see below).

I also found some beautiful art online, such as these silk-covered paper and lacquered wood panels, painted in the same beautiful oriental style.


gold panel 1
Love Birds on Traditional Gold Leaf

Also this intricate piece by Alison Woolley. Using Renaissance technique gilded panels (22K gold leaf), casein paint, burnished, punched and incised by hand.


Butterflies on a Vase

Anyway, these fabulous pieces have given me lots of food for thought, as I’d love to try using gold leaf or even just gold paint in some form in the future. I just need to source some!

Next, I need to do some more research into the types of paint to use over the top. I’m thinking of trying out something similar on ACEO sized paper to do some test pieces, and will post details (here) once complete.

New Etsy Store

Well, I thought I’d take the plunge and open an Etsy store, mainly to sell some of the pieces you’ll get to see here on the Blog, as time goes on.

My first listing is for an ‘ACEO Original Rainbow Mandala Painting – black ink and watercolour paints‘ at £10.00 plus £1.50 UK p&p.

ACEO Mandala 1

I painted this piece last year whilst working on painting pebbles for teacher’s presents. I thought working on paper might be a bit of a change, and I love how it sits on the easel – a proper work of art!


Here is one of the pebbles I painted; this one was for my son’s learning assistant – in a henna tattoo style, painted with iridescent acrylic paint.

Sky Arts Portrait and Landscape Artist Of The Year 2016


Just a quick post to mention that Sky Arts are accepting entries now for Portrait and Landscape Artist of the Year 2016.

You could win a £10,000 commission for a major British institution and £500 of art materials from Cass Art.

See this link for lots more details: Sky Arts Artist of the Year 2016.

You can also find Sky Arts on YouTube here, where they have lots of time lapse videos of previous contestants.

Mother’s Day

Sunday 6th March was Mother’s Day here in the UK, and my eldest son (age 10) and daughter (age 5) gave me these beautiful cards, which I adore!

It makes any gift so special when they are handmade, or drawn or painted. They made my day!

We all had a lovely family day out in the beautiful, historic city of Winchester,  where we had a delicious lunch of lasagne and garlic bread, followed by apple crumble and cream (at the Crown and Anchor). Mmmmm! Then all the kiddies got to play in a nearby playground. We always let the train take the strain, as it’s more of an adventure for the kids.

I even had a quick visit to the local L’Occitane shop for a sneaky tester splodge of their gorgeous lavender hand cream. I didn’t know they had a shop there, so it was a very nice discovery!

What a lovely Mother’s Day – thanks to my wonderful husband and children.

Urban Sketchers Southampton

Today involved a fun sketch crawl with the Urban Sketchers Southampton to the SeaCity Museum in Southampton. There is a permanent Titanic exhibition and this was today’s venue.

I hadn’t been there before, and was lucky to have the opportunity to look around the whole exhibition before choosing a subject to focus on. I was drawn towards the Grand Staircase, and the carved wooden panel, originally located part way up the staircase.

I didn’t read the details on the display, but since coming home I have done a bit of research and have discovered that this panel depicts “Honour and Glory Crowning Time“, and the circle in the middle is a clock. This actual panel is from the Olympic (Titanic’s sister ship) grand staircase, unfortunately there are no photographs of the original Titanic staircase.

I enjoyed the session as it gave me time to relax and concentrate on the beautiful folds of fabric. I’m not used to drawing from life and this is something I’d like to do more of in the future!