Tag Archives: cala lilies

Watercolour demo – using the Cala Lily

“Human subtlety sill never devise an invention more beautiful, more simple or more direct than does nature because in her inventions nothing is lacking, and nothing is superfluous.”     Leonardo da Vinci. 

20-11-15 - 1 (478)Watercolour is a beautiful medium.        There are a few basic techniques to learn – each one taking time and patience to master.      Allowing oneself to play with the medium will help build confidence and ability.

In this instance I have sketched out two cala lilies – using yellow ochre.    I am working on a Saunders and Waterford Hot Pressed – heavy paper.  (more about papers at end of blog)

20-11-15 - 1 (607)Having sketched the basic image I add ‘juicy paint’ into the negative space.    I am using a mix of Daniel Smith Perylene Maroon with Winsor & Newton Winsor Violet and a little Winsor & Newton Cadmium Orange. 

When we add paint to the negative space – we automatically reveal the subject…..So often we struggle with a particular element of a painting, when all we need to do is observe the negative space. 20-11-15 - 1 (787)Using very small amounts of pigment I begin to add colour to the flower.    For this I use Winsor & Newton Green Gold and a touch of Windsor & Newton Cadmium yellow. For the dark green in stem and shadow I mix some Winsor & Newton Burnt Sienna with a tiny amount of prussian blue and Gold Green. 

All whites are dry white paper. 

20-11-15 - 1 (799)I begin to build depth inside the lily using small amounts of pigment – making sure to leave dry white paper for highlights. 20-11-15 - 1 (805)As I build up the colour I am mindful of bringing the background colours into the Lilies.    Everything is connected….nothing is isolated.     By moving colour around a painting we bring a sense of harmony and rhythm.

It is important to note, that when we change one fraction of a painting – (no matter what the size) we change the whole.     This is true for everything in life. 20-11-15 - 1 (806)The finished watercolour is an observational exercise revealing the subtlety of nature….. and at the same time honing watercolour technique.       I hope that there is an element of energy and movement.  20-11-15 - 1 (478)The most important thing is to PLAY  and warm up.    This can be done on any paper including newspaper…..The key is to release any fears or anxiety about messing up a good piece of paper.  Ultimately this is a freeing up mechanism.

When purchasing watercolour paper – it is measured by weight and surface quality….Cold Pressed for rougher surface.  NOT (meaning not hot pressed) is smoother and Hot Pressed is very smooth.    My analogy is that using cold pressed is like roller skating and hot pressed like ice skating – NOT is somewhere in the middle.

When we purchase a piece of lb140 weight paper – this simply means that the ream of paper (500 sheets) weighs lb140 – and of course the same applies for all weights.    It’s a good idea to purchase a sample pack of papers….and again PLAY. 

I hope everyone enjoys a creative weekend….no matter what your medium….and that the magical hummingbirds are with you.

watercolour/gouache11194395_10153252694930396_8127371946973631924_oNew hummingbird products including some pretty nifty wrist watches in my Zazzle shop.


A Bientôt


Self-Discipline equals freedom

Through personal experience it has become my belief that the creative process in all its many forms, is the answer to emotional, physical and spiritual wellbeing.  


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So how do we tap into the creative process so that we may benefit from and experience the fulfilment it can offer on a daily basis? 


For the first forty years of my life, although I considered myself to be a creative,  hindsight tells me that my wings were clipped, preventing me from enjoying the freedom to fully express myself.


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This blog is about how I achieved personal freedom  through self-discipline.

Self-discipline is often construed as boring and limiting.   Old definitions of discipline are about using punishment to control or correct disobedience,  however, I have found that it is just the opposite….it can equal freedom –  a sense of well being, and an ability to cope  on a day to day basis in our complex world.


The new buzz word, ‘mindfulness’ – as I see it,  is  just another word for self-discipline.        Being mindful allows us to learn new and positive habits which in turn help us to focus and bring consistency into our daily lives.


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Prior to a turning point at the age of forty, I was scattered – I lacked consistency and clear boundaries.         I had children to raise and like most people with young families a lot going on, but when it came to my painting, I lacked any real routine which caused me to feel unhappy and  frustrated.

When I made the decision to change this way of being, I began by learning new habits….one at a time.       I gave myself boundaries and routines which in turn began to bring a sense of balance to my life and work.    As each new habit was formed, my confidence and sense of wellbeing  grew.


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Thirty years on from having made that decision, I relish the rhythms, rituals and routines I have established.

It is important to say that nothing in life is ‘fixed’.      Depending on changing circumstances, sometimes we need to establish new habits and routines.    The key is that they work for us.

I plan to write more on this subject in my next blogs.

Tomorrow, I will be re-blogging one of David Roger’s posts, entitled ‘Writing Routines and Rituals’  which speaks so eloquently about this subject.



A Bientôt