The trouble with Venice


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I’ve done a lot of painting since my last post. It’s quite a few years since I visited Venice, but the beauty of the place remains in my mind, along with the pong of the place! I decided to have a go at painting a typical Venetian sea/land scape and although it’s wasn’t a complete disaster, it’s not turned out how I’d anticipated. As is often the case with my paintings, I overworked parts of it and should have settled for a simple silhouette of the building. But the water and gondola turned out well and importantly I learned quite a lot from the exercise (primarily don’t paint Venice):

venice copyright


I painted some Koi at the weekend and really enjoyed myself, not least because I like painting curved, loose shapes:

koi copyright


Today I started out with a small watercolour of cornflowers and a bumble bee:


Cornflowers and bumble bee

After the warm up I started on a Jersey cow and have more or less finished it:


Jersey Cow

Some years ago we had a herd of Jersey cows in the village and I always admired them, but sadly there are no longer any cattle as all the land belongs to faceless entities who have turned the land over to arable farming.

Not too sure what’s next on the agenda – maybe it’s time I revisited acrylics; it’s several months since I did any work with them so the swear box will be full.




Feeling a little sheepish


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I’ve not had much time for painting over the past week, but decided to do a 15 minute loose watercolour just to get me back into the swing of things. I haven’t gotten around to painting a sheep yet, so decided to have another bash with this quickie:


I just used the dregs of watercolur paint that were in the wells of my unwashed palette, including the grey/green/blue that I sampled down the left hand side. It’s amazing that the dregs of paint often produce more pleasing results than the carefully mixed colours:-) The left eye looks too cloudy due to the paper being too wet and the paint seeping, but as a quick watercolour I’m pleased with it and it gives me something to improve on when I paint a sheep ‘properly’.

I painted a dog last weekend and I’ll be honest and say I find them quite difficult to do, mostly due to lack of experience in painting them:

dog copyright

Blue Eyed Boy

If I get a little unsure about my work I find that I lose the fluidity of movement and get a little tense with concentration. Watercolours are very unforgiving and mistakes can be difficult to rectify.

I half contemplated sketching out the outline for a Venice landscape/seascape today but time ran away with me and I’d lost my oomph by the time I finished work. I took one look at the detail required in some of the buildings and decided it was too much for tired eyes, especially when today’s overcast weather gave such poor light. We had a few flakes of snow at lunchtime, followed by yet more rain. Come on spring, we’re all a bit fed up with the miserable weather now!

Until next time.





First off the easel


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Having picked up the new easel (well, new to me but a second hand purchase off eBay), I gave it a test drive yesterday… once I’d fathomed out how to unfold it and get it to work.

It felt really strange to begin with as I’m used to sitting with the paintings wedged between my lap and my desk, but I soon got the hang of it. The background wash was so much easier and quicker to do as my arm could move more freely and gravity helps so much when working at a more acute angle. I did go back to resting the painting on my lap for the finishing touches, mostly because I was working under artificial light and a shadow was being cast over the easel when I leaned in close to do the detailed bits.

Here’s what I painted:

elephant copyright 2

Elephant in Water

I’ve listed prints of the watercolour on the website here

I painted a Clydesdale horse earlier in the week too:

clydesdale 20160326_14152765

Clydesdale Horse Watercolour

His name is Maverick and he’s currently recovering from a very serious injury to his leg.

I’m hoping the lighter nights will give me a little more opportunity to paint, as most of the day is spent packing orders and doing the humdrum business stuff. Quite what I’ll paint next is as much a mystery to me as to you. I’d fancied doing a windmill, but have gone a bit luke warm on the idea as I’m enjoying painting the animals so much at the moment. I tend to just see what takes my fancy on the day. I’m really smitten with the Quinacridone Coral paint which I bought last week, so I hope to be using that in a few of my paintings.

Once the weather warms up a little I’ll be doing a few acrylics or oils, but I’d prefer to use them outside as I have a tendency to be a bit messy when I get engrossed.

I’d hoped for some warm dry weather over Easter so that my soggy field would dry out enough to be harrowed and rolled in preparation for the donkeys. Alas we’ve had yet more rain, so that’s put things back a few days. In preparation for their arrival, I’ve been watching a few donkey training videos – something tells me that Victor and Caspar may have their own ideas about whom needs the training:-)

Until next time.



Retail therapy


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It’s been an expensive week this week with 2 big purchases:

  1. A much needed easel. I’ve been looking out for a second hand one for ages and had almost resigned myself to buying a new one. But as luck would have it, a good quality easel came up for auction on eBay, so I had a bid on it and got it. I’ve yet to collect it, but it will make life a lot easier with the bigger watercolours, which I currently balance on my lap and desk to get the angle I like to paint at. I’m sure I’ll continue doing that with the small paintings, but I need a bit more arm freedom for the bigger paintings. And I want to start painting in oils too, so an easel is pretty much a necessity for those. The easel has wheels, so I’ll be moving it in and out according to the weather.
  2. Purchase number 2 isn’t quite so sensible. I’ve been looking for another horse, but have realised that it’s going to take time to find the right one. I’m too young to hang up my riding boots, but too old to take on anything too fizzy or inexperienced. On the other hand, my standard of riding is reasonable enough, so I don’t want a complete plod. So what did I buy?


Meet Caspar and Victor. They are not the shy, retiring type, so I’m sure they will provide plenty of blog fodder for me to tell you about over the summer.For example, I went to see them yesterday for the first time and by way of introduction the little guy ‘Victor’ grabbed my bra (at the front) through my fleece and pulled it to next week. I was hanging onto my chest with one hand and trying to get him to let go with the other. My bra is now saggy and 4 sizes larger than it was yesterday. Oh and he bit Bri.

The bigger fella, ‘Caspar’ shoves him bum in your face, which was a little disconcerting, but he just likes a scratch. When he’s not doing that he’s sucking clothing and just generally grabbing attention in anyway he can, whilst keeping an eye on the gate to make a crafty run for it should anyone leave it open an inch.

They arrive after Easter. I need my head examining. But I laughed a lot yesterday, which is something I haven’t done for a time.

My minor purchases last week were wise ones. The Daniel Smith ‘Amethyst Genuine’ watercolour paint is just lovely and has a subtle sparkle that is beguiling, the Hansa Yellow is bright and crisp and the Quinacridone Coral is a very pretty colour with a delicate transarency when well diluted. I’ve yet to use them in a painting but will be doing so soon enough.

I’ve finished the boat painting, but it needs pressing – I’ll post a photo of it in my next blog post.

So now all I need to do is earn some money to pay for my retail therapy.

Until next time.




Yet another coastal pic


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The lighthouse pic was finished and I had a short break from painting anything big due to being busy with orders:

lighthouse copyright

Lighthouse watercolour painting

I started a boat painting last weekend and promptly lost interest in it, so left it on my board and ignored it until today when (due to a better frame of mind mixed with guilt) I resumed where I left off. There’s a lot more detail to go in yet, but here’s where I’m at:


boat in progress

Hopefully it will start to take shape when I get the boat’s rigging in place and add more detail to the houses. I love doing the detailed bits, so will have a few hours faffing tomorrow and all being well I’ll make myself stop before I over-egg the pudding.

And now for some very sad news… one of my new posh paint brushes has died in a tragic accident. It got squished by a hot mug of coffee and some of the (synthetic) hairs melted. It now looks a little like a crochet hook, with a curved bit on the end. I keep dampening it and soothing the fibres into shape, hoping I can revive the poor thing. I didn’t have the heart to yell at hubby for plonking a coffee down on it – I must be going soft in my old age:-) I’d only used it once *tut*.

I’ve bought 3 new Daniel Smith watercolour paints which I can’t wait to try. I have been struggling with the lemon yellow I use, which tends to look a bit wishy washy instead of crisp, so have bought Hansa Yellow to hopefully replace it. There’s also Amethyst Genuine and Quinacridone Coral, both of which look very pretty and ideal for the soft coastal pics I paint.

In other news, I went to look at a horse a couple of weeks ago but he wasn’t for me, so it’s back to the drawing board. Jasper’s a very hard act to follow that’s for sure.

Bri would like a dog and has mentioned it more frequently just recently. I spotted a little terrier on a rescue website and the ad said he wasn’t sociable but loved football – a match made in heaven if ever there was one:-) Bri was all for going to see him, despite the fact the terrier was in Wales and it was only because the rescue centre stipulated that prospective new owners would need to visit several times to ensure compatibility, that he didn’t pursue having a new bff.

Hopefully the boat painting will turn out well and I’ll have tried the new paints by the time I do my next post. Prints of the lighthouse painting are now on the website here.

Until next time.


A lighthouse and others


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Well, I tackled the big lighthouse painting last weekend, using my new brushes and the new Arches paper. The brushes were great, the paper I wasn’t impressed with. I usually use Fabriano and I found the Arches a little too absorbent; it seemed to suck the paints into itself, possibly because I was using 600gsm which is a very thick paper. I struggled with the painting but got it finished early in the week:


Arches do have an excellent reputation, so I was disappointed to struggle with it. Hey ho, such is life; I’ll switch back to the Fabriano and try the Arches again at a later date.

I moved onto some smaller projects and as spring is in the air, I felt like painting some more pretty birds in pretty colours and I also got the Hummingbird (from previous post) framed:

I’ve did another equestrian pastel to compliment those already completed.

shetland selfie cropped

I like humour in art; it shouldn’t all be too serious… and just look at his dinky little legs and fat backside (how come that is adorable on a horse but not so on me:-))

I love working in pastels and feel most at home with this medium but it does have its limitations so I don’t do as many artworks in pastel as I would like.

A few of my artworks are now available on canvas wraps and I’ll be adding more as the year progresses:


All the above (except the lighthouse for the moment) are available from the website.

Next up is a marine project, a sea horse I think, but for the moment I’m knackered as it’s been a hectic week.


The New Brushes work


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I was so looking forward to receiving my new set of Escoda watercolour brushes. I hadn’t come across a poor review for them, so was hoping they’d be good. I’ve only tried one of them so far but it was really good. A nice fat barrel (the brush, not me, but come to think of it…) for holding the paint and a very fine point for doing detail. Here’s a little hummingbird I painted to test the number 8:


The larger brush is going to be used on a big watercolour painting I’m planning to start this weekend. Btw, this isn’t a sponsored post, I just like the brushes so far.

I’ve done a few fun pastels this week too; ‘selfies’ of horses and a donkey:


A few prints were framed too, here’s one of my favourites:


At last we’ve had a few days of dry weather, so we’re off for a stroll around a local woodland after lunch. We used to walk in the woods frequently years ago when we had dogs, but don’t go very often these days. Once the cobwebs have been blown away, I’ll have to sit down and sketch out the big coastal painting. I did a few rough drafts last night and have more or less decided on the format – I just hope it works out. I’ll be using the new Arches paper I bought recently.

I’ll let you know how it goes.




Two foxes


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Well I tackled the big fox painting yesterday which turned out like this:


It will probably find its way onto cushions and cards at some point.

Then I felt like doing something small, so I painted a fox cub:


I’m planning on painting another lighthouse on the Arches paper I bought last week. I’m sending back the 2 new watercolour brushes that collapsed in a heap when I used them and have ordered a set of 3 posh ones made by Escoda. I’ve heard good things about these brushes and have bought the Joseph Zbukvic synthetic set. I think I’ll have to wait until they arrive before tackling a big painting as my older brushes are feeling their age. I’ve only had them a few months but they weren’t too expensive and they’re used daily so are starting to lose their shape slightly, due mostly to slight alopecia.

Earlier this week I got two 5 x 7 lighthouse paintings framed:

The framed pics are for sale on the website but the big fox isn’t for sale at the moment as I need him for the products.

I’ve worked over the weekend so I’m having some time off Monday to go to Lincoln shopping. I need to do some fabric transfer samples and have got into a bit of a rut doing them on cushion covers, so I’m off out to find some other things to use for samples. I quite fancy some strappy camisole tops, but I’ll see what’s available in the shops. I’m looking forward to some time out – I haven’t been anywhere for ages and cabin fever has set in.

The past week has been a steep learning curve, discovering the delights of Twitter. A friend dragged me screaming persuaded me to give it a whirl and it’s all been a bit confusing but enjoyable nevertheless. If you want to find us over there we’reย @BarristersHorse

I haven’t worked in pastels for a while, so I’m hoping to do some fun artworks with those this week, but it will depend on my energy levels as I’ve been burning the midnight oil too frequently lately. I’m sure the day out will help get my oomph back… not least due to the cake I’m planning on consuming:-)

Catch you later when I’ve new work to talk about and new products to moan about review ๐Ÿ™‚



Third time lucky?


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I go through these stages now and then when I get painting block. It started yesterday and has hung on in today and I’ve abandoned two paintings which went horribly wrong. I planned well and did a quick, small practise watercolour to help me choose colours, plan the idea and get me in the swing. That went okay and I thought I’d got the feel of what I needed to do :


But the bigger versions were rubbish. I bought a couple of new watercolour brushes this week and decided to use them on the first big fox, but didn’t get on with them, so went back to the old faithfuls for the second fox. I should have stopped and tried again another day when I was in a better frame of mind because I’d lost my concentration and it all went wrong. Sometimes I never learn when to stop!

So for the third attempt I’ve spent quite a while sketching out the fox more carefully, but have left it at that and I’ll try painting tomorrow or over the weekend, when hopefully I’ll be in a better frame of mind.

If I don’t post pics of the third big fox, don’t ask! ๐Ÿ™‚

On a brighter note, we got the first batch of black & white wildlife knobs finished:


They’re on the website here:ย Barrister’s Horse Wildlife Knobs

I’ve just bought some new watercolour paper to try and plan on doing another coastal painting at some point soon(ish). Fabriano is my usual paper, but I’ve bought a few sheets of Arches to try. I shall be very careful with the sketching out as the paper was quite expensive, but it’s a little thicker than the Fabriano so I’m hoping it will stay flat with my propensity to be a little too liberal with the water.

See you soon.




Black & White & Read All Over


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This week has been productive and also tiring. I got the two watercolours which I painted last weekend framed:


Then it was onto 12 new black and white designs; most are watercolours with a few pen and ink drawings to vary the intensity of the finished look:


The artworks are primarily for a new range of decorative knobs, but I’ll be using them on other products too. I finished my work last night putting the designs on a vintage zoology script background (hence the title) and Bri had his work cut out today getting the first batch of knobs on their way. They aren’t finished yet, but here’s a sneak preview:


All creatures great and small

I should have them up for sale on the website this coming week. We’re doing them in 3 colours and the knobs will be available individually so customers can pick their favourites.

I couldn’t resist including Jasper in the range.

Not too sure what I’m going to be painting next? I’ve several ideas and so it’s a matter of seeing what takes my fancy. One thing’s for sure, I’ve had enough black and white for a time so whatever I paint will have lots of colour.

Until next time