Painting Bulldogs in Watercolour

Here’s a review of what’s been going on in my studio this week including –

Completion of two bulldog commissions in watercolour

Painting these two gorgeous bulldogs was a real joy this week. Not that they didn’t give me a bit of trouble in places mind you! Their famous muzzles were a piece of work with all those soft folds and blended black patches to get in. But the eyes! I love their rich watery eyes and their general demeanour. I worked very slowly building up washes and walked away many times for a breather and a fresh eye. They are going to the USA and I am going to paint some more just for me – just for fun and maybe push the colour strength and brushwork maybe a little more daringly next time!P1180460.JPG

Arrival of big box full of eagerly awaited new cards for my Alison’s Ark range published by the Museums & Galleries Collection

Back in 2014 I was lucky to be contacted by the Museums & Galleries collection about them licensing several of my images. I was over the moon and the soon produced my new range of 14 animals called “Alison’s Ark”. They are available throughout the UK in W H Smiths, most stationers and gift shops attached to art galleries and museums. Lately I was asked by M&G to paint 2 new images – a sloth and a panda and now the range has been extended to include dinky boxed notelets which I am so happy about. So when the big box of samples came I was chuffed to bits. Seeing your work in print is very special.

Before being lucky with M&G I used to regularly send off to card companies. One year – 1997 – I remember sending an enquiry letter and samples of my work off to one company every month for 11 months. After the 11th rejection I was really thinking there was no pint at all but I sent one more – to Beechwood Publications in Hertfordshire – and then one day I received a call from them out of the blue asking me would I bring my portfolio up to them with a view to selecting some images for production. That was the beginning of a long and lovely connection with them. But more than that it showed me to never give up!P1180465.JPG

Publication of my koi carp watercolour tutorial in this month’s edition of Leisure Painter magazine


I am honoured and grateful to feature again in the April 2017 of Leisure Painter magazine. This is the UK’s best-selling learn to paint mag don’t you know!

Seriously though- it has taken me years to be published and I spent a lot of time refining how I write my articles and doing the best photography in step by step format as I could. It’s wonderful to have the effort pay off and I hope people enjoy trying out my tutorials. This is my 6th feature with LP since 2014.

Drawing and painting fast and loose banana leaves

The shape of banana leaves just does it for me  – I love their folds and glossy surfaces and the parallel veins that spread out from their spines. Plus they are big and blousy and real exhibitionists and demand to be drawn and painted! So I do. This is a great way to loosen up and warm up in drawing and painting.

Here is a video of me doing just that plus showing you my new palette of colours (you can fast forward to the banana leaf drawing and painting bit if you want.

Just click the leaf image below.


Having a blast trying out 14 brand new colours with in a brand new palette

I treated myself to 14 new paints this week. I have been using more or less the same palette for 15 years no so thought some new blood was in order!

I splurged and bought many colours I had been fancying for years but was too mean to get.

They include Potters Pink by Winsor & Newton, Naples Yellow Reddish by Maimeriblu and Cendre Blue by Sennelier. Even the names send me in a spin!

I added them to a Marilyn Allis lidded palette. I spray my paints with water 3 times a week and they keep in there for months.

It’ll be fun and strange trying out painting with these new faces as all my old mixing habits will have to be re-learned. But that is what I want – spring is in the air and so in with new ideas and things!

Making rapid pencil contour drawings of everything beach! Including – beach huts, palms, crabs and those banana leaves again:)

I always get a lift sketching a painting tropical beach huts. The opportunities for the drama of contrast between the simple man-made wooden structure (usually in gay fresh colours) and the lush organic shapes of the foliage of leaves and trees that invariably frame them are just too tempting for me!

Above are some I did recently as a way of loosening up and to give a shining example of working loosely from sketch to painting for my watercolour students. I had set them a half term project on this approach so thought I had better do some myself!

It’s been a blast and now my mojo is running I have spilled over into crab’s claws and single banana leaves -no stopping me now…

I recommend doing this;-

  1. find an artist whose work you love
  2. pick a subject he /she has done
  3. source similar images and try your own version

Copying from the masters has been used throughout history and it gives excellent results.

If you’ve enjoyed this article please subscribe to my blog – and if you want to see free watercolour tutorials then subscribe to my channel on YOUTUBE – new videos are uploaded as soon as I make them!

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Thanks for reading.

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