Saturday, 24 December 2011

My top five Winter paintings

Well here is my top five winter paintings, I enjoyed going back and finding some of my old favourites and there certainly will be no new snow in Keswick tomorrow for Christmas day, the met office is
forecasting 13 degrees!

 Number five Skiddaw in Winter painted in pastels

 Number four Sharp Edge painted in pastels on the wonderful 'Wallis paper'
I had ten sheets shipped across from America

 Number three Stickle Tarn painted in Pastels.
I was supposed to be sketching at Grasmere but the magnificent Langdales caught my attention instead, so after a slippery walk up to Stickle Tarn which was all worth it  for the stunning cold view. 
Number two Winter flock painted in Oils, I so enjoyed painting this little picture

Number One Striding Edge of course, this was the painting that gave me the confidence to go for a dream.
'Alf Roberts' off 'Coronation Street' bought my first Striding Edge at The British Painters Exhibition.

Happy Christmas to everyone
and Many thanks for following my blog it really does help me keep creative.

Thursday, 22 December 2011

My top ten winter paintings

 With temperatures around a barmy 11 degrees, I don't think we will be having a white Christmas here in Keswick, but I still have my fingers crossed. So here is my top ten favourite winter paintings just to remind you of a white Christmas. I'll post the top five tomorrow.
Castlerigg Stone Circle painted in pastels.

Sharp Edge painted in watercolours

The lost valley, Glencoe painted in watercolours. This really was sketched on site, be it a quick sketch!

On the Edge painted in pastels.
After a three hour slog to the top, I knew the view would be breathtaking, a sketch with crampons on.

Rannoch Moor, Scottish Highlands painted in pastels. Two puffa jackets need for this sketch and this was just in the car.

Friday, 16 December 2011

A little beauty on Derwentwater

Beautiful, Beautiful morning down at Derwentwater, it was a little grey to start and then the clouds opened and 'Wow' the fells look so magnificent with snow and the lake was still and silent.

Panaramic Catbells and Friars Crag perfect reflections

The best seat in the house, perched on the end of Friars Crag

Sunday, 11 December 2011

What materials to buy a beginner of watercolor

When you start watercolour painting it can be a bit daunting knowing what materials to buy. Here is a list that I would suggest and is ideal for starting the Watercolor Online Course this course is ideal for beginners and those who would like to improve further with watercolours at £45.00 for six projects if you would like more information just email me

Watercolour paper either a block which means it is already stretched and ready for painting, after finishing simply take a knife and run it round the edges and take the paper off, you are then ready to work on a new piece of paper.
A watercolour pad or singular piece of watercolour paper these all come in different weights 140lb I find that this does need stretching or 200lb or even 300lb both of these can be painted on without stretching. I like to work on a 'Not' surface. This has a very slightly rough texture ideal for landscape painting.
Bockingford, Fabriano or Arches are all excellent watercolour paper.

Watercolour paint comes in either tubes or pan sets I prefer tubes when painting indoors I find I can achieve more tonal strength with these, but pan sets are ideal for outdoor painting.
Winsor and Newton or Daler Rowney both do student quality which is ideal to start painting with and then to move onto artist quality

The First Online Watercolour Course uses the following colours
Ultramarine Blue, Cobalt Blue, Winsor Blue, Gamboge Yellow, Raw Sienna, Yellow Ochre, Burnt Sienna, Viridian, Permanent Rose, Cadmium Red and some White Gouache paint

Brushes I enjoy using a 1inch Hake, number 12 and 8 round, 1inch flat synthetic and number 6 and 4 sable riggers these can all be bought from

Mixing palettes can be bought but working at home you can't beat white china saucers!
A large container for water, I like the large collapsible water containers.
2b pencil, rubber, masking tape and a small sponge I find a household washing up sponge ideal torn into small pieces

Friday, 9 December 2011

Wild weather in Keswick

What weather Britain is having, Keswick nearly saw terrible floods yesterday, the new flood defences were certainly tested. With the river Greta rising at a rapid rate. Today however the winds have dropped and fresh wet snow on the fells and just the occasional hail storm, brought some of us down to the Lakeshore to see how high it was.This is the ticket office for the launch and luckily it looks like it just missed been flooded.

'Barf' what a strange name for a small mountain! With snow and mist circling around it's rocky top, it looked quite Alpine.I wanted to paint today, but inspiration didn't get there and with daylight hours at a minuim time ran out. Instead inspiration hit a big pan of Leek, bacon and potato soup! 
Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Christmas cards for artists

Even the old post boxes can make a painting. I demonstrated a similar picture to this once, and it makes a perfect Christmas card! A little snow on the dry stone wall, Cadmium red of course for the box and you can even pop your own message on the post box. Because once you start sending out painted Christmas cards to friends and family that's it, they won't be happy with a box standard M&S card!
Or you can cheat and I do have a pack of five Christmas cards for £7 inc p&p
Today in the Lakes it's been pretty nasty weather and tomorrow is supposed to be worse!
I've been sending out Christmas vouchers for painting holidays, they come with a personalised card and can be put towards any Workshop, Course or Italian holiday.
Just email for more details

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Castlerigg Stone circle

I don't know how long it's( It's been Snow!) going to last but here are a couple of photo's I took this afternoon. Leaving Keswick and driving up to the Castlerigg stone circle, the temperature dropped and the snow appeared. The stone circle has a tremendous view with Clough head reaching down to Helvellyn and round to Dalehead and across to Grizdale, this is without mentioning mighty Blencathra and Skiddaw. I had the pochade box but was spoilt for what to paint and not enough time.
But a famous actors quote ' I'll be back' 

Monday, 5 December 2011

The first Snow showers

Misty snow showers on Derwentwater
Grey, cold and lots of snow flurries in Keswick the first taste of winter. With this happening and so my seasonal painting will change I'm sure! Gone maybe are warm Oranges and replaced with harmonising Blues and Liliacs . Donning full winter wear, ready to face Antarctic conditions a walk through Springs wood and down to Derwentwater, with barely a soul to be seen. It is a joy at this time of the year having the lake free from crowds.
Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Watercolour and pastels on fisher 400

There's nothing quite like trying a new painting technique/ method on a wet grey day. Put the music on and be a little carefree. I decided to have a go at  a watercolour base with pastel on top. I stretched some fisher 400 pastel paper, but could have managed without stretching. Then applied some wet in wet transparent watercolour mixes letting them merge together. You can see that a large bumble bee took the place of St Herberts Island on Derwentwater. But I was feeling carefree so no worries.
Stage two came when the paper was bone dry and back to flat it did lift a little with the watercolour. I wanted to create a pale distance feel to the Lake and back fells with a little more detail for Catbells. I enjoy working with underpainting and find pastels much easier this way. So after painting the background and lake I started on the foreground with much brighter and more detailed shapes and colours. I find squinting does help to paint negative shapes ie the foliage.
So the outcome Watercolour base with Pastels, I really enjoyed working this way the Fisher 4oo paper worked a treat with plenty of tooth, for those who don't like the pastel sandpaper why not try a stretched piece of canson paper.
Watercolour Stage

Painted in pastels
For Sale at Moot Hall ,Keswick
Thursday 1st, Friday 2nd and Saturday 3rd December 11

Monday, 28 November 2011

Lake Iseo watercolour paintings

Here are some of my Lake Iseo paintings some where painted on location enjoying warm sunshine, beautiful light and enticing smells of Jasmine, and gently lapping turquoise waters. Others were painted in my studio with Italian music playing and good Italian coffee at the ready. I hope you enjoy.

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Una vacanza pittura Italiana

Come and paint in the Italian Lakes and stay in one of the most beautiful hotels in Italy

This is one of many reviews about the wonderful Rivalago Hotel, I wanted to share with you ........Tucked away down a narrow road ,off the main thoroughfare in Sulzano,lies an Italian gem. Hotel Rivalago has been lovingly created with flair and imagination by owners Antonella and Gianluca-two of the nicest people you will ever meet.They are proud of their achievement.And rightly so. Crisp,cool,inviting,friendly,restfull-the beautiful interior is very easy on the eye.Floral arrangements are dotted around the hotel creating a freshness and relaxing ambience.Attention to detail is truly amazing.And service has that extra special touch. Ideally positioned on the side of LAKE ISEO-the nicest of the Italian lakes.Relax in the outdoor pool which is just metres away from the lake.Sunbathe on the wood-decked terrace, with the water lapping underneath.You will not find a better view. The beautifully appointed bedrooms are spacious and comfortable and have an airy, intimate feel............. You can see why it makes an ideal location for a 'Lakeland Art Course,do get in touch if you would like a brochure or more details

Monday, 21 November 2011

Swaledales in the snow

Winter Flock painted in Oils by Jane Ward

Signed Mounted prints £30 + £5 p&p
My fellow artist friend Alan took a fantastic photo of these gorgeous Sheep and he was kind enough to let me have a bash at the Flock so I've Just finished this painting, and I must say I really enjoyed painting it using Oils, I'm going to have a go with watercolours and see how different the outcome is. I used once again a very limited palette and tried to get light into the painting, I think it may be more difficult in watercolours but we'll see, I'll keep you posted.

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Striding Edge, Helvellyn signed print

Striding Edge, Helvellyn

To purchase this stunning print click here

 A classic view of the most famous ridge walk in the Lake District.

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

A wash of Watercolour

Calm Waters Derwentwater painted in Watercolours

It's all go here in Lakeland Studio, with my exhibition looming on Sunday, we have paintings dotted all round the house, I'm really looking forward to seeing it hanging at Moot Hall in Keswick. With Italian scenes amongst Lakeland fells and Scottish dramatic peaks painted in watercolours, pastels and some of my new pochade paintings. If you are passing come in and say hello.

I painted Calm Waters with a very limited palette of 3 colours and with no pencil sketching, just straight in with a wash of colour, I used a 'pentel aqua brush, I find these brushes that come in a pack of three sizes are excellent for tonal paintings, and for quick outdoor colour washes.

Friday, 28 October 2011

Favourite tea room walk in the Lake District.

Walking to Watendlath from Rosthwaite for a cup of tea is a delightful experience. After dropping some leaflets at Scafell Hotel for the painting holiday next year, Bex's and I climbed up the sunny path on Rosthwaite fell.This is my favourite walk to a tea room and sharing it with someone who has never been before is a joy. Dare I say the leaves are just a wonderful colour, the Lakes at this time of the year are amazing. I suggested looking through the pine trees below reminded my of the colours in the south of France!

So up the fell we went and then down into the small picturesque hamlet for a pot of Earl Grey and flapjack, had a look in on some herdwicks.

More bronzed leaves waiting to be painted!

Then back up the fell and down once again into Rosthwaite all for a cup of tea!

Catbells painted in Oils Size 10x 8 inches
I've just mounted this ready for my exhibition next week at
Moot Hall Keswick starting Sun 6th November.

Monday, 24 October 2011

A walk up Latrigg

A quick walk up Latrigg, with the weather sunny and warm I wondered how many more days we might have like this.I wanted to start a painting today but nothing quite caught my attention. Sketchbook and paints were even taken up Latrigg but brought home unused! My excuse was 'the wind at the top was pretty gusty' So today was a taking note of colours, I've noticed that some Autumn leaves are really Opaque especially in the foreground while the transparent ones seem to be in the distance. Might try out this theory!

Love the negative shapes the branches make.

Sparkling Derwentwater in the distance

Storm clouds looming over Derwentwater.

Sunday, 23 October 2011

The most magical place in the Lake District

I'm  excited about a new location for 'Lakeland Art Courses' I had a recky yesterday and came back delighted with the hotel location, it's nestled between beautiful dramatic scenery with many painting ideas a few steps from Rosthwaite. That's the village where The Scafell Hotel is in Borrowdale.A tiny famous hamlet, with many white washed cobbled cottages, a perfect tea room and shop for emergency supplies, a bus stop hourly service to Keswick or for the very adventurous Honister Pass, plenty of classic walking for a non painting partner  and a old fashioned pub with roaring open fire.
Tempted! Monday 1st to Thursday 4th April is the first date in the diary for a watercolour painting course at the Scafell Hotel price per person £440 includes 3 nights en suite bed and breakfast, 5 course evening meals and all tuition. If you fancy joining me, get in touch asap with just 3 single ensuite rooms I think they will book up very quick. Here is a little taste of Borrowdale, but I can't promise that we will see a bride or an Otter, but you never know because Borrowdale is the most  magical place in the Lake District.

Thursday, 20 October 2011

A walk around Buttermere

Had a little inspiration walk round Buttermere today. Hopes of sunshine popping out to brighten the golden leaves didn't happen, but it's a lovely walk around this beautiful Lake. I'm about to start on a large Oil and enjoy getting a feel of the place before beginning. Thinking it will give me positive vibes and confidence to start on this empty big canvas. Love this lonesome tree it reminds me of a pastel I did of Rannoch Moor with a little tree like this in the foreground. I'll keep you posted on how it comes along.

Monday, 17 October 2011

A Parisian scene

Autumn came to the Lakes at the weekend, we drove through wonderful colours alongside Thirlmere, everywhere you looked there was a painting! I cycled round the southern part of Windermere lake along the quieter Cunsey side which was beautiful. The roads got a touch more busy at Newby bridge, but looking at this famous bridge I feel it could nearly be a Parisian scene!

A well earned rest looking towards my favourite Langdales, you can see the rich Autumn trees above Windermere. This afternoon and tonight we are having strong gales and rain, I wonder how many beautiful coloured leaves will be left on the trees tomorrow.

Thursday, 13 October 2011

My top ten Colours in Watercolours

I often get asked about my watercolour palette, here is a list of my top ten and also most of the Shades I use on  my Online Watercolour course I've selected them in Artist quality and also tubes as I find that more colour tone can be obtained rather than pan sets. If you fancy joining the watercolour course just send me an email and we can start straight away.

Italy in June a perfect painting holiday

I've had a few enquires and bookings for Italy this week, I think it's the thought of Winter looming ahead. What better way to get through those darker months for an artist, than to have an Italian  painting holiday to look forward to. With promises of warm sunny days sat capturing in watercolours. Gently lapping Turquoise water, Colourful old buidings with flower laden balconies and finishing the days on enticing foods to enrich the palette with a crisp white wine.
If you would like to get over those Winter Indigo Blues and look forward to Ventian Reds and Naples Yellows, I do still have some single and double rooms left at the beautiful Rivalago Hotel 
Saturday 22nd to 29th June 2013 why not email me for more details

Saturday, 8 October 2011

Inspired outdoor painting in all weather's

It's the first time I've started a course driving to Grasmere with full headlights through think mist. Driving down into Grasmere it did start to clear. So with my hardy bunch of very keen artists we set off to find  a location. I was delighted at seeing waterproof trousers put on, coats zipped up and winter woolly hats popped into place and painting and sketching begun. This nasty weather was not going to stop the artists in Grasmere.Day two brought clearer weather but a little more wind so we found a little sheltered spot with waterlilies jostling for attention with Autumn leaves.Again straight into action some painting two if not three paintings at a time. A warm up of hot chocolate and cakes and off they went again embracing the famous Rydal waterfall. It is such a joy to paint with others who love the outdoors and see the potential of what it can do for your creative work back in the studio.

Inside demonstrations on day three, even the intrepid artists could not paint in hail

The sun did come out briefly and how enjoyable to watch from the studio window

So with the mention of snow I demonstrated a few quick paintings, we studied about colour mixes, different shades explaining Opaque and Transparent and the importance of 'white.
With inspired artists the time just flies by, and all weather is good weather!

Sunday, 2 October 2011

Chasing the sunshine

I was aware that I only had a limited amount of time, before the sunlight left Butteremere. But the Newlands pass is not one to race along. Dropping down into the Buttermere valley this view always takes my breath away. So I knew, with the light just right it was a perfect painting location. Quickly I nearly ran to the edge of the lake with approx 40 minutes of painting light, the brushes came out and danced along the canvas. I painted what I was drawn to ( apologies for the pun!) the famous Buttermere trees.

Buttermere Pines painted in Oils
10 x 8 inches
Pochade 3

Autumn Sunshine, Derwentwater painted in Oils
10x 8 inches