Sunday, 27 February 2011

Ways to be inspired

A new fish tank this week for Spike, Jaws and Patch. Poor fish have have had to adjust, I never thought when we bought our rectangle tank, that the fish had only been used to a bowl. You might wonder what the problem was? Sides and corners, don't laugh but they kept crashing into the sides, back and forwards they went!! Here's spike about to hit the side again!!

Decided to do a quick sketch down at the Launch, it was rather chilly and the sun disappeared but it all came good when the cloud opened and the light came flooding onto the side of Causey Pike. I've not felt too inspired lately, I think the grey weather's been the problem, but realised I just need to get out and see inspiration.
 I've been watching  and enjoying the John Myatt programmes on sky arts, another great way to get inspired.
Nipped into Heaton Cooper studio this afternoon and picked up a piece of Fabriano extra white paper,  a good look around at Alfred Heaton Cooper original paintings and again felt inspired.
Now what shall I do with this Extra white!

Monday, 21 February 2011

Ashness bridge revisited

A quick email today to say a big thank you to all my enthusiastic students that came along to watercolour weekend in Keswick. There were some fabulous paintings created of Derwentwater, a snowy Wastwater and a gushing Ashness bridge. The next weekend is April 16th this time hoping for Sunny weather for the 'on location' watercolour course 'Ashness Bridge could be painted in it's natural beauty.
My Millican Matthew Art bag  and other Les, Mark and Harry bags are making their debut tonight on The Lakes TV programme.

Friday, 18 February 2011

Latest Lake District Monster sightenings

It's been a mad day today in Keswick, trying to get organised for this weekends Watercolour Course, my poor art room looks like a 'picture bomb' has gone off with painting's scattered everywhere. The wretched Friars Crag painting has beaten me once again, so that's 2 paintings this week that Will be getting jumped up and down on to relieve the art stress!! BUT I'll be back for more next week, different tactics will be used on Wretched Friars Crag!!

And so with the local news of Keswick town today

1. The Electric supply is down in half the town so 2 of the banks, pubs and more importantly coffee shops are shut.
2. I saw Laura Bicker from BBC  on the shores of Derwentwater, what was she reporting I wonder!!!
3. Have we got a Bownessie monster in the Lake too and what would it be called  ' Jaws' ( of Borrowdale)

If your thinking that I've gone slightly mad check out the Bownessie link above

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Lost in watercolours

Sunny skies today in Keswick and with a sprinkling of snow on the hill tops much better than the grey dismal days we had over the weekend. I'm sure sometimes it affects my painting moods! I've been  more focused today, and I'm half way through a Friars Crag watercolour, which is behaving  better than the Grange in Borrowdale!! Which is 1/4 painted and looks like it's heading to the bin! I do think that with watercolour you need to know in which direction your going before you set off on the journey or you get a bumping ride and get lost!! and there's nothing worse than been lost in a watercolour and getting to the crossroads and not knowing which road to take. So today I broke off early with good vibes about my painting session and headed down to Calfe close bay and along the beautiful lakeside, chattering none stop to my fellow companion

The Famous Friars Crag

Jaws of Borrowdale

Monday, 14 February 2011

Two Rivers watercolour paper

Misty Morning, Derwentwater watercolour by Jane Ward

With grey skies opening to reveal snow topped mountains, but heavy rain most of the day, it was a day for some indoor work. Firstly I wanted to see how a stretched piece of Two Rivers paper would react, but what to paint!! So out with the sketchbook and back to 14th August 08 and another rainy day, this time a warmer one than today. I sat on the edge of Derwentwater at Friars Crag looking towards the 'Jaws of Borrowdale'. I found it exciting and challenging to only have the sketchbook for reference and it made me realise 'I must get out into the great Outdoors more often, even when it is storming weather.
The next problem was which Blue!!! It was much more a Stormy Ultramarine day than Sunny Cobalt.
How did the paper behave? Well very different to my beloved Arches, much more slippery and the paint sat on top of the paper for quite a long time, But this did lead to some exciting if not worrying granulation and a couple of cauliflower's thrown in! A bonus been it did take out colour very well!
So overall a lovely homemade watercolour paper, but one you can't take for granted.

Thursday, 10 February 2011

A shopping list of inspiration

Notice the walking sign, think you may need a dingy, the view across to the Chinese Bridge along the duckboards!! Which are well underwater

Grange in Borrowdale today, I watched a programme on Sky Arts this week about painting en plein. So with the sun shinning after a few damp miserable days, I couldn't wait to get out on location, with the bag packed with watercolours, camera, coffee to help keep warm and a tasty sandwich from 'Good taste cafe' a delightful few hours were in store.

I Sat and studied the view, a sketch to figure out what to put in and more importantly Leave out! Minutes spent figuring out colours 'Raw Umber' was going to keep Permanent Rose company and I couldn't decide which Blue Cobalt for coolness, but it wouldn't be Zappy  in those evergreen darks! So maybe Winsor Blue!The light does change but on days without clouds it's much more subtle.

I have a large sketch ready for study work, with ideas wrote down like a shopping list and full of inspiration for a great finished painting!! If only it was that easy!!!"

Can you believe the colour of the river, this is one of my favourite spots to sit and admire the clean waters of Borrowdale.

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

Windermere Mooring

Windermere Mooring watercolour by Jane Ward

This is the better part of my demo piece this morning, with just three colours Cobalt Blue, Permanent Rose and Yellow Ochre. When I first started teaching watercolours years ago, I did a similar scene with Boats and reflections and I do not know much about boats and in the class of course there was a yachtsman! Well it's taken me a while to pluck up courage to tackle a demo on these floating objects! Well I got in wrong again!! I turned one of the boats in the opposite direction thinking it was compositionally better. But instead to be kindly told this time 'you can't have one boat facing that way it wouldn't happen'! Well after that all correct descriptive jargon for a boats parts went out the window. But I felt we all had a good painting session, and I did learn what a 'Boon is!!

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Step by step Watercolour of a Bluebell Wood

Bluebell Walk watercolour by Jane Ward
Woodland scenes are difficult to paint in Watercolours. Where do I begin? How do I create distance and what colours do I use for those Beautiful Bluebells.
Why not have a go, with my easy step by step Bluebell Wood project. Learn the secrets of watercolours, which materials to use and many different techniques are covered in step by step with plenty of clear photographs sent to you direct by email.

Price £4.80

or send an email to

Friday, 4 February 2011

Messing about on the water

'Messing about on the water' Watercolour by Jane Ward

I've wanted to paint this scene in Staithes for years, checking back in my sketchbook it was in fact 2001. So just the perfect study to get back into the watercolours after a couple of disastrous days of Acrylics. To let you know where Staithes is, a small picture postcard village on the North Yorkshire coast. Full of many painting opportunities and fairly peaceful. I used a limited palette of Cobalt Blue, Yellow Ochre and surprising no Permanent Rose but Warm Orange. Which has found itself a happy home in my paintbox.

Another harbour scene this time in 'Mousehole' I'll let you know how I get on with it.

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

A day in Pisogne on Lake Iseo

A view of Pisogne on Lake Iseo

I've an exhibition coming up at the end of July which is going to be just Italian Lakes, so I thought today I'd try an Acrylic of this view. Last June we spent a lovely day there painting, arriving by Train which was very exciting! Well it is when your leading the way with 8 other students, and getting off at the right stop, but we managed extremely well. Lucky for me my fellow artists were seasoned travellers. After a cappuccino to take in the view and figure out what colours would be needed, it was time to set up camp, making sure we all had some shade or good sunblock, it was a glorious  warm sunny day. One of things I love about painting en plein is watching and hearing what goes on around you all day. We heard the train coming along each hour, whistles blowing and the Launch brought new sightseers along for Lunch. While many cyclists just stopped for a well earned rest and to take in the view. It really was a beautiful day.
If you fancy coming in August to Lake Iseo I still have some places, and I'm sure a visit to Pisogne.