Saturday, 29 December 2012

Painting holiday in Italy 2013

An artists dream

Monte Isola

Sulzano and the Rivalago

It's the time of the year for looking forward to new painting inspirations and ideas.
Sitting in my studio on a  grey winters day.There is nothing better than the thoughts of outdoor Spring and Summer painting locations filled with sunny days and lots of colour.

Thinking of a painting holiday in Italy, you might wonder what it would be like?

A stunning hotel based on the quiet lake shore, with views that any artist would be inspired by.
Each day a new location around the lake with plenty of small pretty villages or across on the local ferry to the delightful Island Monte Isola With plenty of stunning views to paint from intimate balconies full of flowers, old rustic doorways and simple Italian scenes of pretty  colourful villas reflected into warm blue water.

The group is small, at most eight to ten with plenty of one to one tuition so suitable for a beginner or intermediate lots of demonstrations, mixing tips and help with any arty problems.
With Nigel on hand with ideas for non painting partners walking, cycling, sailing or just relaxing beside the lake shore.

Evening meals are taken in local restaurants, we have got to know some of the owners and they always ensure truly wonderful Italian food and of course the local Franciacorta wines
With two nights off, often students take the evening ferry over to the Island to the fabulous fish trattoria or just enjoy an aperitif watching the sunset.

With direct flights from Bristol, Birmingham, Stanstead, Manchester, East Midlands and Leeds to Milan(Bergamo) airport and a private transfer from the airport to the hotel.

Saturday 14th to 21st September a beautiful time of year in Italy the light is stunning. With just eight places on the course book now

And for more information, dates, prices and lots of photographs see my web site
If you would like to reserve a place or would like more information just email or give me a ring

Monday, 17 December 2012

Derwentwater the most beautiful lake in the Lake District

 Here are a few of my favourite views around Derwentwater, I think it's one of the most beautiful Lakes in the Lake District and a perfect painters lake.

 Friars Crag, Derwentwater at dusk .Sitting on the wooden bench enjoying the tranquillity of the still Lake and watching the Geese make their last flights of the day. 

After a heavy rain storm, the sun comes out and everything sparkles again.

A sunset starting to develop.

Misty Friars Crag early Autumn morning, this could make a great 'wet in wet watercolour.

My favourite house on the lake, what a stunning setting.

If you fancy a painting holiday or weekend workshop around Derwentwater 

Monday, 10 December 2012

The secret Pink

Stage one

The sky is painted wet in wet but leaving Catbells dry. Note how strong the sky seems in comparison with the paintings below? This is because the paint is still very wet and can dry up to 20% lighter, something the watercolour artist should be aware of.

Stronger shades of Burnt Sienna mixed with my secret Pink, for the foreshore trees. I use the side of a Isbey brush for broken foliage or scree marks on the fells, note how far back the brush is held.

Catbells and Derwentwater
Size 20 x 13 inches

So this is my finished Catbells and Derwentwater painting that I will be demonstrating on Wednesday.
I do always like to have a practise run before painting in front of a big group. The funny thing is sometimes the demo piece is much better than the pre painted thought provoking piece! 
Can you guess my secret Pink weapon? It's Opera Rose why because it's Semi transparent compared to Permanent Rose and because of this it seems to be a slower runner! I have more control of the mix

If you fancy joining my online watercolour course or a  perfect gift 
for an inspiring artist

Thursday, 6 December 2012

Which would you choose?

I've got my last class of 2012 on Wednesday and I think it should be a special one. Why you ask?
Well it's 12th of the 12th month of the 12th year.
Asked what subject they would like and my trusty artists wanted a winter scene.
So after a little research on a cold wet day , I've come up with six studies, but need to narrow it down to one!
Which would you go for? Or if you are one of my trusty artists what do you fancy painting, why not leave me a comment and lets see if we can choose Wednesdays watercolour subject.

Could it be 'A '
Grizedale Pike with Sheep grazing, lovely shadows?

Or how about 'B'
Late afternoon, with a few farm buildings and Sheep again?

Now 'C' could certainly be fun
Not sure what my trusty artists would think to all these figures! Do you recognise Grizedale Pike again?

'D' is quite a classic
Love the fence and stones covered in snow, and a warm glow on Catbells.

'E' is the only Portrait view, but Derwent Isle is beautifully reflected

And 'F' is for Friars Crag
I've painted this many many times not always sucessfully but always a challenging and enjoyable scene.

So the choice is yours, I have my favourites

Lets see this time tomorrow which one gets the vote

Sunday, 2 December 2012

Winter Flock Canvas print

Winter Flock

Canvas print
By Jane Ward
Size 16x 12 inches
£65.00 including P&P to the UK

My Swaledales in Winter certainly got admired at the exhibition this weekend. The canvas print has come out fantastic and many people including artists thought it was the original Oil painting.
If you would like to order one before Christmas please give me approx five working days for delivery

The weather today is super and after spending all week indoors it's time to get out into the icy outdoors to take some photoghaphs maybe even a quick sketch.

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Christmas Art Exhibition in Keswick

After the Storm, Ullswater Pastel
This is just one of the new paintings I'm exhibiting at Moot Hall, Keswick from Thursday 28th November to Saturday 1st December. The weather is looking lovely and sunny with a new layer of snow on the very top of Skiddaw it looks a picture postcard!! I've also got some new canvas prints which look great and Christmas cards. With the Victorian Fair this weekend Keswick is certainly getting in the mood for Christmas.

Monday, 26 November 2012

Skyfall and Rannoch Moor

Went to see Skyfall at the weekend, what a super film you can't beat a James Bond movie especially with scenes set in the wonderful dramatic Rannoch Moor. It looked like it was filmed at the end of November with Wintery cool colours. The drive along A82 is truly stunning passing through Bridge of Orchy, Rannoch Moor with the Buachaille Etive Beag towering above and then down into stunning Glencoe. I always want to paint dramatic scenery and this part of Scotland ticks all the boxes. I wouldn't mind in the slightest driving along in an Aston Martin!!

Rannoch Moor, Highlands 24 x 16 inches
Price £85.00

The Canvas print is stretched over a high quality wooden frame, The image goes to the edge of the canvas with a plain White side edges. Price includes delivery by courier. 
This applies to UK only, please email about overseas shipping costs.

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Autumn Glow over Borrowdale Valley

A couple of weeks ago I walked up Walla Crag a small fell above Derwentwater. Snow on the higher hills in Borrowdale  valley warmly lit by the late afternoon sunshine giving it a wonderful Alpine glow. Conifers and Larch trees resplendent in Sparkling Autumn shades. Simple things like these totally inspire me to put paint to paper. I felt that this would be a great subject to demonstrate to my watercolour workshop, and I thought you might like to see how I tackled it.

So here is my recipe for Borrowdale Alpine Glow, served with a selection of  Conifer,  
Larch and a little Cumbrian fell.
140lbs Saunders Waterford paper Stretched
Ultramarine, Permanent Rose, Burnt Sienna and a little Gamboge
A handful of riggers ranging from size 12, 8 and 4 
To help pull it all together a well used palette knife
And finally a spray of water to help the paints to separate.

 Stage One
 A weak wash of Burnt Sienna was applied to the sky and back fells.When this was dry Ultramarine and Permanent Rose was used for the distant fells, using a dry brush for scree effects. 
Burnt Sienna and Permanent Rose was applied loosely in the foreground.

Stage  Two
Stronger hues of Burnt Sienna and Ultramarine were applied to paint  'Grange Fell' also Burnt Sienna and Gamboge was used to paint the 1st stage of the Conifer and Larch trees, these were sprayed with water to create softening effects.

 Stage Three
More detail and stronger hues of Burnt Sienna and Permanent Rose was used in the Larch trees with the aid of  number 8 and 4 rigger brushes. A path emerged helped as a 'lead in' to the background, helping to give the painting  more depth. A palette knife was used to apply paint to the larch trees and also to scrap off and to reveal light on the tree bark.

'Autumn Glow over Borrowdale Valley'

I'll let you know how the class goes tomorrow 
 If you fancy joining my online watercolour course to learn more secrets for watercolour painting 
here are more details
Or a perfect Christmas present for an aspiring artist 
The Online Watercolour course £55.00 for six projects with personal feedback

Friday, 16 November 2012

Falling Leaves in Pastels

Falling Leaves
Pastel by Jane Ward 

I've had the pastels out for the last week and realise how much I've missed painting with these messy little devils! Using the fisher 400 pastel paper with an Arcylic under base with transparent primaries first, then pulling the scene together with pastels in a negative painting method seems to  paint itself! 
Wow how good is that, you don't use too much pastel or need such a wide variety of colours.
I demonstrated this technique to the Watermillock art group  near Ullswater this week and they all produced some fabulous work. 

Step One this shows the Acrylic under painting, next came the pastels when the paper was thoroughly dry

Step Two  Pastels are applied in the background to help create a sense of depth to the paintings with cool shades, warmer colours are used in the foreground to bring the painting forward.

Friday, 9 November 2012

Striding Edge and Sharp Edge Canvas Prints

Here are two of my favourite mountain ridges in the Lake District.
Striding Edge, Helvellyn and Sharp Edge, Blencathra or Saddleback as some locals call it.
Both were painted in Pastels from inspiring mountain days of clear Blue skies. To walk to a view like this and then to come back into the studio and paint what inspired and moved me is an important part of my art, especially in Winter snowy conditions.

Both of these paintings are available on canvas, stretched over a quality wooden frame and can be hung as they are or framed .They look fabulous as a pair, I'm sure any walker or climber would enjoy having these on their wall to remember a classic day out on the Lakeland Fells.

Striding Edge, Helvellyn 24 x 16 inches
Price £95.00 

Sharp Edge, Blencathra 24 x 16 inches
Price £95.00

The Canvas prints are stretched over a high quality wooden frame, The image goes to the edge of the canvas with a plain White side edges. Price includes delivery by courier. 
This applies to UK only, please email about overseas shipping costs.

 This photo was taken coming down Blencathra, I've got a big smile because we had just passed 
Sir Chris Bonnington on his walk up this classic Boxing day walk.

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

A splendid view from Walla Crag

Derwentwater and Bassenthwaite seen from the top of Walla and if you look closely distant Scottish peaks.

I love the light on a late afternoon and feel that this is just asking to be painted in watercolours, soft misty fells and Autumn colours in easy conifer trees!! Why not let me show you how easy watercolours can be, I have a workshop for beginners in Keswick Saturday 23rd and Sunday 24th February 2013 with a few places left  or if you fancy my Online Course, just send a email to and we can get painting.

Who says just the Alps can have Alpine glow!

And I couldn't resist these ladies having a bubble bath ? Well it does look a little like that!

If you'd like more to see more information on my painting holidays and courses

Monday, 5 November 2012

An Autumn walk around the shores of Buttermere

With glorious sunshine and a dusting of snow on the tops, Buttermere was bathing in all it's glory on Saturday
I always enjoying walking around this beautiful lake, especially with the Autumn leaves just hanging on.
It's only about four miles and fairly flat all the way, with just one obstacle, a short dark tunnel, only about fifty metres long but I always have to run through it!!
Buttermere is one of my favourite lakes, with its changing moods, towering mountains and a timeless feel. It's quite a drive getting there either by Newlands, Whinlatter or Honister's dramatic passes but what scenery in a few short miles.

 Just some of the golden trees

 A truly classic shot of Fleetwith Pike and Buttermere, I fancy having a go at this in pastels.

Another rusty old fence/ post acting as a perfect lead in.

If you fancy painting  Buttermere in Winter using watercolours 
 Easy techniques that make your watercolours come to life.
Have a look at my unique Online watercolour course

Thursday, 1 November 2012

Dreaded art critique

First snow on Grizedale Pike today

More snow on the Jaws of Borrowdale

For all those that paint, I think we all have the dreaded 'Art Critique' that doesn't paint themselves, but is more than willing to give comment on how the painting is working or not!

I have thought many times of putting a large sign on my studio door saying 'DON'T UTTER A WORD WHEN PAINTING IS IN PROCESS' but if these art critiques are partners, husbands or even wife's they can't help themselves!

Sometimes not every time they can be right!

This small pastel study was not about been a masterpiece, more trial and error and I feel at times we all want to create something special instead of playing with the medium to see what it can achieve. I applied an Acrylic under base then some pastels gave it a little waters pray, all just to see what would happen.

But on that note it is important to get feedback and if it's Positive all the better!!

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Tree painting fears

Autumn Leaves, Grasmere
 Price £80.00 Including Ivory mount

Autumn Leaves, Grasmere was painted on location in warm sunshine with a
 limited palette of Gamboge, Permanent Rose, Ultramarine Blue and a little Lemon Yellow.

I wanted to create a soft misty effect on Loughrigg fell especially behind the trees.
This helps to bring  the trees forward into the painting and suggests distance in a painting.
 I sponged some stronger tones for foliage, used a little wax and painted
with a palette knife to help create a Tree!

Many people are frightened of tree painting! But a few easy techniques and the fears are overcome.
Why not sign up today and start my online watercolour course
Learn to paint misty atmospheric scenes, a seascape and a snowy Winter scene 
are all included in six projects for £45.00.
With lots of online advise and guidence along the way.

Sunday, 28 October 2012

An Autumn feast of colour in the Lakes

A beautiful day in the Lakes, and what better thing to do than walk up a fell,  have a picnic lunch sitting at the top admiring the views. The trees are just stunning at the moment, but not for lonng I guess.
 Dodd is a perfect little hill near Keswick with stunning views all around. I feel I could paint three of these. This one above caught my eye, I particularly like the soft glow of the fells behind the trees on the right.

The river Derwent caught my eye meandering its way between Bassenthwaite and Derwentwater

Gazing the North towards the Solway, I feel this could make a lovely pastel painting with Creiff in the far distance.

Turning round on the way down, and what an Autumn feast of colour. I know it's a strange composition but I feel this would be a great Oil to have ago at, with complementary Blues and Oranges.
So I have three paintings to think about after a lovely walk up Dodd, lets see what happens!