What’s your Watercolour Bible?

Most artists I know are devils for getting new art technique books.

Books give us hope and inspiration and impetus!

I have bought many, many books over the years and there are a few that I would never part with as they have become sacred to me.

Below I share my 3 top go to art books; my bibles as I call them. As you will see, I go to them for slightly different reasons but they all add grist to the artistic mill and lord knows we need it at times.

Please post below about YOUR art bibles! We may discover some wonderful unknowns!


1) More Joy of Colour by David Lyle Millard The loose jewel-like vignettes of Millard throughout this book encouraged me to paint in a juicy way.

In the book David describes his 40 colour palette and I drooled over his descriptions of his exotic hard to find colours – here is the picture


I envied him sitting there amongst all that exotic fruit and reading about him spending time in the Caribbean and the East coast of the USA – I aspired to do that!

P1150747David Lyle Millard in his element

WHAT I GET from this book

Most of all his encouragement to trust your wandering line of pencil on paper – your place for creative freedom in this world. Here are some Millard inspired mini watercolours in a Super Aquabee sketchbook (that he recommends for travelling artists as I was at the time!). Alas – the book in the link above has a ne cover design and is missing the original silver impressed bee insignia – such a shame!


2) The Art Spirit by Robert Henri I bought this a couple of months before going on an art trip to Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA in 2005. I tried to keep my hands off it as it was meant to be read once I got to that famous art colony with its desert light. I couldn’t resist, however, and so cracked it open a few days before leaving and was lifted up by Henri’s commentaries about why we are compelled to draw and paint and how to have faith in yourself.


How this book IMPROVES my LIFE

Reading this book allowed me to experience someone of a different mind-set – one that values beauty and expression and is not ashamed of that. He gave me permission to dream and I read it when I want to escape into the word of art and feelings.

3) Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain by Betty Edwards This book single-handedly taught me how to see and to draw. With Betty’s clear and encouraging voice I was guided into the joys of pure contour drawing – just letting the pencil doodle along the paper without even looking to loosen you up and enjoy that feeling.


WHY I read this BOOK

I go to this book whenever I need to feel purposeful about drawing.


It’s purposeful and enlightening exercises bowl you along and you see INSTANT improvement.

Well that is it from me – I hope you may encounter these books and get something from them  – bye for now

Colourful Butterfly Cushions and Bags

butterfly set of 3 layer


I seem to be suffering from butterfly madness this last 10 days! I have painted lots of styles and shapes and sizes and all with an imaginary slant.



Not one of my butterflies exists in real life.

I wanted to paint freely and expressively reaching for whatever colours on my palette that drew my eye.

I hope you like the results and that if you feel like loosening up with your watercolour you may have a go of painting a batch yourself!





Here are some items that I created with the butterflies I painted.

I used Adobe Photoshop to add colourful backgrounds to my designs then I uploaded them to Society6 – a great site for artists to sell merchandise they have created.

To join Society6 yourself click HERE







Painting Butterflies in Watercolour

I felt the urge to paint some loose and abstract butterflies this week and so I dusted down my camcorder and filmed my progress.

pillow butterfly copy

I hope you enjoy watching and that you may like to try them too.

butterfly red admiral  etsy

Techniques and materials

I used hot pressed watercolour paper and Winsor & Newton tube watercolour paint.

Each butterfly has several layers or washes and I leave each wash dry before re-wetting (only when previous wash is BONE dry) so that I can then float in further stronger washes while still keeping it looking soft)

I call this controlled wet-into-wet because you have the best of both worlds – pigment flaring into wet paper and a controlled boundary (the dry paper)

My butterfly prints and other items such as pillows are lovely gifts for garden lovers now that Spring is just around the corner.

Check out my items by clicking on the images.

How to paint a Budgie in Watercolour

Here are 2 videos – parts 1 and 2 of a simple budgerigar watercolour that I filmed today.

I used Arches hot pressed watercolour paper. It is 100% cotton rag and very smooth for delicate work like this.

Enjoy painting along – Alison

Safari Nursery Art

Feeling inspired by the colours of the African savannah and its inhabitants I have created a trio of sweet animals that would create a unique mini gallery to a nursery or indeed to any room in your home.

safari orange copy

My animal paintings are natural and authentic looking and so lend themselves to any age or style.


To view or purchase these animals please click on any one of them. You will be taken to my Society6 page where you can chose between stretched canvas prints or framed prints with a lovely choice of frames.

Watercolour Bunny Tutorial Video

Had a little try out of my camcorder today in the studio after a long absence!

Here are two short videos – one on drawing a rabbit in pencil and one on the first stages of painting him in watercolour!

Daft about Daffodils

I was recently asked by my hairdresser who also sells may art would I paint some seasonal flowers. he particularly wanted daffs and so here are some I did recently – with the build up of washes to show you how I did it.

Early washes of Cadmium Lemon and the that same colour with a speck of Winsor Violet in it for a shadow colour on the yellow petals

Early washes of Cadmium Lemon and the that same colour with a speck of Winsor Violet in it for a shadow colour on the yellow petals

P1150652 P1150653 P1150654 P1150655 P1150656 P1150657

Each was was allowed to dry before I rewet each petal and added stronger mixes of the same colours.

Here are some items that I created using the scanned originals – I hope to have captured the bright and fresh essence of each of the four daffodils I painted!

daff bag

daff clock

daff framedaff mug