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Sketchbook Garden: Lavender Flowers and Honey Bees – How To Draw and Paint with Watercolor and Pencils

Spend a quiet moment in the garden and studio with me and a sketchbook. We’ll start with observation of the plant in its environment, then we’ll draw and paint some lavender flowers together, using several different methods. Finally we’ll use spatter and loose watercolour techniques to complete a beautiful spray of Lavender, complete with two honey bees.

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Seahorse in Shades of Blue

Inspired by yesterday’s dabbling in iridescent medium from Winsor and Newton I decided today to jump into blue and paint a Seahorse.

There’s something to be learnt from painting in one colour only in a painting. This seahorse is bathed in a loose wet in wet mixture of cerulean, cobalt, caribbean and turquoise blues which together blend to give him an intensely blue suit fit for any underwater jewel.

Add to that a hint of silvery iridescence and you have a true gem.

Why not give him a new life, by trying out this tutorial on YouTube?

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Laburnum Yellow Waterfall

Yellow flowers are the happiest flowers. Yellow is such a sunny colour, bringing a lift to your mood on a dull day. Who doesn’t love the happy daffodil, the cheerful buttercup and the gorgeous yellow waterfall of the laburnum tree flowers?

So today we are painting a small section of a beautiful laburnum tree in full blossom.

Using a limited palette of three yellows (lemon yellow, cadmium yellow and transparent yellow) plus cadmium orange and sap green, in this video I show you how I “loosen up” by painting the same subject multiple times. The more familiar you become with the subject, and with the way the paint and paper interact, the more you can let go and allow the paint to work its magic.

I hope you’ll give it a try!

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How to Create a Metallic Version of Any Watercolour Paint

Did you know there is actually a way that you can turn any one of your current watercolour paints into a sparkly metallic version quite easily?

It’s done by adding a medium.

No, not the kind who will put you in touch with the other side, but a little bottle of something special that you just use like water.

If you are a watercolour painter, one of the things that might have attracted you to watercolour in the first place is that it doesn’t require any medium except water to activate it. 

But in truth a medium is a product you add to your paint to alter its properties. Acrylic and oil painters are quite familiar with this idea, adding poppy seed oil, turpentine and other chemicals to change the speed of drying, viscosity etc. of their oil or acrylic paints. And the same things do exist for watercolour painters, although many of us don’t use them, and indeed it is not essential.

However, one medium that you might want to consider, and which will save you a ton of money, is Winsor and Newton Irridescent Medium.

All you do is add a little of this magic dust to your chosen colour, and Bingo! it’s transformed into a sparkly colour!

You can either add a little to the paint as you are applying it initially, OR you can brush it on top of your colour once it’s in place and dry on your paper.

This is like a little bottle of fairy dust. Add it to some yellow ochre paint and you have a lovely gold metallic. Dot it over the crest of the waves in your finished seascape and you have the glint of summery sunlight catching the sea foam.

So to sum up, when it comes to buying metallic watercolours… you just need one bottle of medium.

Need it – you do not… 

Want it – you probably will!

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Swallows in the Sky

It’s been very blustery here lately, the wind being the latest trick the weather has had up its sleeve for us, following on from drought, weeks of frost, torrential rain and hail – all in May! But the swallows continue to share their aerial displays with us, and delight us that they are back for another year of busy baby raising! Here is a tutorial showing you how to paint a skyful of swallows!