Welcome to Polly's Blog

Welcome to Polly's Blog
Watercolour, humour, this and that

Sunday, 31 March 2013


Challenge 3 - Thank you Cathy Holtom (check out her lovely blog - a very versatile artist). You mentioned thinking of food you might have on an imagined holiday.  No brainer. Italian Ice Cream.  The best in the world.  I have titled it 'Gelato' Looking forward to eating some of it later in the year. My mouth is watering just thinking of it.

Challenge 4 - Thank you to Susan Caton (a facebook friend) who challenged me to paint a coastal scene with a little boat going into harbour, choppy waves.  So I came up with this one.  Sue loves Cornwall so it is Falmouth and I have named the boat 'Caton Star' and the pub 'Cum Inn'.  I went a bit overboard with the masking fluid on the right, you can see waves hovering in mid air.  Alas, with masking fluid, it is impossible to remove the light area it leaves behind.

Three more to go!

Friday, 29 March 2013


You may remember that I asked you to challenge me. Give me subjects to paint over the Easter Weekend.  So far I have completed two. In between long phone calls from friends, trip into town shopping and eating!  I was given six and have just received another today. It's keeping me out of mischief.

Sue Clinker - blog http://pencilpix.blogspot.co.uk suggested Easter bunnies, chicks etc. an Easter Theme.  Do have a look at her wonderful work.  Her work second to none. Takes your breath away.  Portraits and animals in particular.

This is what I came up with.  I have called it 'Spot the odd one out'. Thank you Sue.

The second one was suggested by Lesley Nugent of  http://nuggletonbythesea.blogspot.co.uk (quirky naive paintings) she has just heard that she has become a member of the Assoc of  Naive Artists! Lesley suggested perspective shapes.

This is not a colour wheel, or anything like that, merely a celebration of colour in a perspective way.  Just me having fun with colour.

Thursday, 28 March 2013


I couldn't resist trying this yupo paper after seeing it on blogs and  facebook.  The watercolour sort of swims over this plastic paper.  I am going to really experiment with it after the Easter Holidays.  First I have to meet the challenges set my my arty friends here in blogland and on facebook, as I have the weekend in the house, all to myself. These paintings or attempts at paintings  will be posted, with my thanks or not, depending on the results!!!! Ha, ha.

My first attempt on this weird plastic paper.  I used the watercolour with lots of water. and thicker for the lady and her pooch and took some trees out with kitchen roll.

I painted 3 red flowers then just wiped one out to leave a white flower.  Got in rather a mess trying this out hence  my  untidy painting area.

I found it like playtime at school! It would be great for children as one piece of paper could last forever, just wipe it off and start again.

(For a review of Yupo, and my thoughts on this fun paper,  please see my blog of 6th April 2013)

Wednesday, 27 March 2013


Not posting boring theory this time.  Asking a favour of you.  My hubby will be following a tournament at his golf club all over Easter, so I will have time to myself to paint, draw and listen to music. Sheer bliss. No tv!  Anyhow, I can't think what to paint so would love you to give me some suggestions. I have most media but not inks (the dropper rotted) and am open to anything at all.  What has fired me up is Sharon Whitley's monthly challenge and although it has been hard I have enjoyed being taken out of my comfort zone. You can just give me a subject, media or post a pic on my facebook page. (there is a link on the right of this page)

Hope someone out there will help and thank you just in case ................

Sunday, 24 March 2013


For those of you who struggle understanding warm and cool colours, and which ones to use, here is my method.  It is based on a palette by Colin Radcliffe, who used to be a tutor at Higham Hall in the Lake District (uk).  He separated his colours into warm and cool. So, if you didn't want really bright greens you did not mix two cools together but a warm and a cool. e.g.Two warm colours or two cool colours make a bright mix, if you mix one of each you will get a more muted colour. Colin would call these bright colours deck chair colours.   Or if you want to place a warm colour in a painting next to a cool one, if you look at your palette you just pick one of each. Easy peasy, set out for me so I don't have to think about it!

If you want to know which of your colours are warm or cool then the company that makes the paint you use probably will list them on it's site.  Winsor and Newton have oodles of information about their paints,  Go to  their Resource Centre. Artists Watercolour Spectrum Lists.  It shows warm,cool,transparent,opaque and granulating colours. There is also one headed Composition and Permanance, which is far more technical, but if you are interested in pigments you may like to read this list too.

I have really simplified this as I put it on my facebook page and I really think I went on too much. So I will show you Colin's palette followed by my version. And before anyone points out that Light Red is warm, I have followed Colin's method here and I am not going to change it now. But I have slightly as I use an equivalent transparent red brown by Daler Rowney (which is most like Light Red). Oh dear, the pics downloaded in the opposite order, so mine is first, followed by Colin's.

Polly's Colours
I have omitted the Sepia as I am fed up with it breaking up and dirtying other colours , so at the moment I have  an empty space. I do have other colours but they are either in another random palette or in tubes, but these are by far the colours I use most and if I paint en plein air this is the only palette I need. 

Colin Radcliffe's Palette (Liz Deakin Palette)

This is only the method I use, but it may help people new to colour mixing who struggle with warm and cool colours, which I did until I went on Colin's course. Ofcourse, I am always fascinated how other people set out their palettes too.

Now everyone, cross your fingers that this awful winter is going to end soon!!!!!!!!!!!!

PS Just noticed I've had 5000 people looking at my blog!  Oh thank you so much all of you for taking the time to see what I am up to. I am so very thrilled.

Sunday, 17 March 2013


Sharon Whitley is setting a monthly challenge, this month there were two, foxgloves or a horse.After struggling with the foxgloves, which I thought would be the easier option, I decided, after much deliberation and trepidation to let the horse see the daylight.

With the aid of tracedown I had the outline before me.  But I got lateral displacement! A well known illness, first brought to my attention by Ron Ranson.  You have a piece of white paper ready, then you make a cup of tea, ring a friend, walk around the garden - stalling before you face up to that dreaded paper.  Well, let me tell you what happened.  I started, smiled, the fear I had when I did the foxgloves did not appear.  And when I had finished I had once of those moments, when you look at something you have painted and think 'Did I do that?' Well, yes I did do it! Sharon Whitley bring on the next challenge (no, only joking mustn't get carried away).

Wednesday, 13 March 2013


This is a card made for my lovely niece's birthday.  It is her children walking through the churchyard at my nephew's wedding last summer.  I knew when I took the photo that I wanted to paint it one day.  What a perfect composition. The pose adds the mystery - what are they talking about?  I missed out the buildings in the distance and the gravestones.  My great nephew was so proud, he was wearing a suit exactly the same as his Dad, and my great niece a bridesmaid, was wearing a dress (she is a tomboy!) they looked adorable.    I was so pleased Helen must have liked the card because she put it on facebook!

Sunday, 10 March 2013


You see, it's like this.  I knew early on in the painting that it wasn't going to work. I am not a flower painter and so admire people who have that delicacy of touch. So in I goes, no tracedown for this challenge. Wasn't happy with the colour, not having many pinky colours in my repertoire! Working on smaller paper (for me) A4 so smaller brushes (thinking of that poor horse in the stable waiting to be painted - another of Sharon's Challenges) oh dear me.  I couldn't control the paint.  Nothing going right.  Decided to woosh in with the background and make it dark to make the naff flowers stand out.  Too dark! Added salt, more colours, kitchen sink, cuddly toy.  Left it overnight.
Gordon Bennet! Or words to that effect I used the following morning and immediately began the highly technical technique of, wait for it ................ washing out.  Too many staining colours. Well I sank into deeper fits of depression.  Only one thing I could think of to attempt.  Dewdrops.  Yep probably the best thing I did but too big and not enough.  End of story.

Wonder if I will let the horse out of the stable to paint?

If you'd like to have a go at one of Sharon's monthly Challenges, go to her blog sharonwhitleytheramblingartist and browse her site, look at her paintings which are superb and follow her travels in the mountains and her wonderful photo's of  breathtaking views.

Thursday, 7 March 2013


At the weekend I went to visit a good friend of mine.  He does have a bit of a chip on his shoulder but boy can he sing.  He really fancies this girl called Christine.  Haven't met her yet.  It's about time he met someone and settled down.  He spends all his time underground. He's very pale so I've told him he needs a good holiday in the sun. As he loves opera I suggested that he goes to Sydney Opera House.  I painted this while he was asleep.

Tuesday, 5 March 2013


I have returned the Brusho to Enid  The adventure is over for now!  In August I go to Joanne Boon Thomas for a day workshop, so that should be fun, fun, fun. Here are three paintings and a pic of the box, especially found on the internet for Renate.  I have found you can buy it from Amazon uk 12 colours £17.13 and 8 colours for £12.50 (+ postage ofcourse).

Ok here goes - First one is entitled The Angel of the North West.  Based on the Angel of the North in Northumberland. You can just about see her tiny face
This next one is Under the Sea 
This was Marion's idea (my art teacher) because I wanted to preserve the beautiful bursts of colour.

Finally, this one ended up really dark, I think this is a problem to be aware of when using a dye based medium. And no way can you wash it out.  I didn't want to use bleach as I figures this may damage the paper. I had sprayed it and dried it vertically and then added crumpled up cling film, and lo and behold these trees appeared from nowhere, not only trees but little creepy faces and animals have been added. I have called it The Sinister Forest.

I do hope you have enjoyed sharing these experiments with me. They are all 16 x 10 inches and on rough paper.  You haven't seen my hands dirty with picking up just a few crystals and dropping them on the paper, or my cuffs bright orange from touching the paper when painting my mostly negative shapes. We have a door handle that is red, and I did try and paint outdoors when I created the first starbursts. When I go to the workshop I will need overalls, gloves and who knows what will happen.  What fun!

Sunday, 3 March 2013


I was so thrilled when Sharon Whitley nominated me for this pass on award (something like a chain letter) that is awarded by fellow bloggers to blogs they follow that inspire, inform and entertain (my words) These three words definitely apply to Sharon's blog, whose animal and bird paintings are lovely and her tales of her ramblings in Wales and the Lake District are amazing.  Do wander over and journey through her blog.

I follow many blogs and have in turn decided to nominate 5 blogs that are different to my watercolour blog. They are all busy bloggers, all versatile and all under 150 followers (the criteria being 200).

http://pencilpix.blogspot.co.uk - Sue Clinker. Her drawings of animals and her portraits literally take your breath away, there are a few interesting articles there too.
http://carolebaker.blogspot.co.uk - Watercolour and guache. I particulary admire her still life and her work in January when she did a beautiful work of art every single day! Amazing) (she also runs another blog)
http://cotswoldsketchbook.blogspot.co.uk - Nigel Fletcher. (you may notice it as Painting adventures in the Limousin, it's the same blog). I love these fluid oil paintings anything from landscapes to flowers and even Noddy and Big Ears. If a painted in oils this is how I would like to paint.
http://gardenartjournal.blogspot.co.uk - Kat Farmer/vanHookens (this site is similarly called an artists journal) and is a delightful personal diary of exquisite paintings plus description, and a variety of other paintings too.
http://nuggletonbythesea.blogspot.co.uk and yes it a friend of mine.  Lesley Nugent.  If it wasn't for her I would never have started blogging.  Her blog shows the power of blogging and facebook as she now has work in an online gallery. She paints naive paintings in watercolour  and you can follow every step of each fun filled painting.

I hope I have introduced you to blogs you perhaps may not be aware of.  Please pop over for a visit and I hope you enjoy my choices.

May I take this opportunity of saying how wonderful it is that people like and follow and comment on my blogs. I love it!  I follow many and while I may not comment very often, I do look at each one and take inspiration from them. So I thank you for looking and thank you again Sharon.