Welcome to Polly's Blog

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

Tuesday, 30 April 2013


This is the only time you will see me comment on twitter!  Loose reference to a bird I don't know the name of and where I got it from, so if someone knows please let me know.  All I know is that it isn't one of my photo's.  Not as if I sell my work but if I paint something from someone else's picture I write their name on the back.

So it is entitled 'Don't Know Bird' or 'Non Compus Birdus'.  I am venturing forth on my journey to paint anything - Jack of all trades and master of none - that is my goal at the moment.  I have been inspired to paint this little bird by watching a video of Karl Fletcher who goes by the title The Watercolour Journal on facebook.  Brilliant!  Check it out.

I thought it was going wrong so added a touch of salt, spatter, cling film and w/c wax crayon.  Not too bad for me!  May be trying another bird one day ............

Now what can I paint next?

Friday, 26 April 2013


Been to The Lake District for a week. Grasmere my favourite.  The Gem in the Lake District's crown as far as I'm concerned.  Six of us hired a cottage.  Many laughs, good food and even a little painting too, despite the wind, rain and cold.

The National Trust has taken over a house that had a bad fire in 2011 and has opened it up to the public.  It isn't a fancy mansion or a stately home but a large house that has been cleaned  and is now free from fire damage. (well some rooms are still closed off)  It is a hands on kind of place and one room has a long table, lots of drawing implements and even plastic aprons for little ones.  They let me sit and paint a view of the lake at Grasmere from one of the windows.  Not my best painting but painting on the spot is not the easiest thing to do, and to do such a view justice is an impossible task.

Here is my view from Allan Bank compared to the actual view.  A lovely memory, far better than any photograph!

The house is part way up a hill although it looks flat. I exaggerated the island, which is hidden by the trees, as it is an integral part of the Lake.  Yep, I have more muscles now from chopping down those old trees.

I came home to find I have lost my place on Joanne Boon Thomas's brusho course, as the email asking for my deposit came while I was away.  Talk about bad timing!  I was so looking forward to it.

I came back to so many lovely paintings by my blogging friends, and while I will try and look at them all, I doubt if I will have time to comment on them.  I intend to do more painting and less time on t'internet.  Wonder if I will keep it up, well perhaps the odd sneaky look now and then.  Happy blogging

PS Had to add that I have now heard that I am actually on Joanne's Brusho course.  So chuffed.

Wednesday, 17 April 2013


What is in my head is a surprise to me sometimes. Well I wanted to paint a full english breakfast.  Don't ask me why. I only have one when on holiday in a hotel, and not this big I may say.  Too many calories by far.  Was quite a challenge but for once I am pleased with the outcome!  Funny how the things you think are going to be a problem sometimes give you the most satisfaction.

No calories when you are just looking!  But you can't smell that lovely aroma.  Ah well.......

Sunday, 14 April 2013


This is the second challenge that Sharon Whitley set this month (the photo is by Gary Jones and is stunning). It's one of my favourite places in the Lake District. Slater's Bridge is in the picturesque Langdale Valley.  There is nothing else there except occasionally walkers and the odd sheep.  You walk from a pub called The Shires Inn and after a l0 min walk you see the tiny bridge in the bottom of a valley.  This packhorse bridge was used many years ago by the slate mine nearby, hence the name.  It is made of random pieces of slate. It is very worn and narrow.

Notice the two mouldy barm cakes in the bottom right hand corner!  They were left by me after the picnic I had when painting there last year!

Wednesday, 10 April 2013


Thank you Sharon for another first for me. This month's challenge a Rooster's head is not something I would pick at all, but what a good excuse to use reds.  These challenges of yours are really taking me out of my comfort zone and anyone reading this who is stuck in a rut, should give it a whirl, like I have.  Bit of a battle but stretching the brain as well as the watercolour control.  I never do anything twice, so this will have to do....

Saturday, 6 April 2013


YUPO PAPER - Synthetic/plastic paper/ you can't tear it  - My Notes only

If you are wondering about trying this new paper, you may be prepared to wade through these notes that I made for myself.

Yupo is great fun to use and experiment with.  I love it.  You get textures you would never be able to do any other way.  So each painting is unique.  Here are some things I have learnt over the past few days, either from my own experimentation or looking on the internet. 

I hope you like my latest proper painting on Yupo.  I feel it's a big improvement on my first, (previous post) and it took no time at all.  I found you need to paint thicker than normal (well I did for watercolour).
Finished painting Silver Birch trees and water movement  taken out with damp tissue
Watercolour before taking out trees

You can't build up glazes or paint over your work as anything damp will affect paint already on the paper. You may find good effects by doing this though?

Good for practicing composition etc as you don't waste your usual paper. Wipe off when finished. If you do get grease on paper eg fingerprints or over use the paper, clean with soapy water.

Staining colours still stain eg. Alizarin, Winsor Violet also pen and ink drawing will leave an indentation on the paper.

Apparently you can spray with fixitive at least 15" away or you will disturb the paint or you can use a hair dryer but it will move the paint around. Haven't tried either of these.

Would be great fun or economical for children as you can paint and wipe over and over again.

For detail use less water but take care as any contact may still affect paint already on paper.

Store in clear sleeves to save painting from damage when you have done a masterpiece!!!

My experiment to remove when paint dry/damp to bring back white of paper, or alter composition etc.,  I used water on a tissue, a damp or wet brush.  A rubber didn't work:-
Watercolour wiped off easily
Acrylic ink impossible
Acrylic tubes easily
Water soluble oils easily

Drying time:-
Acrylic ink pooled and was very slow.  Tacky for ages and dried very hard. May be an advantage.
Watercolour took well over an hour
Water Soluble oils took forever (but oil does) well over 24 hrs
Acrylic tubes dried the fastest.

Mixing the colour on the yupo:-
Watercolour flowed and mixed well but left a trail of brush marks, this gave the texture.
Acrylic inks didn't flow freely with each other
Oil  the most difficult as brush strokes were very pronounced, hardly covering the paper even when thick.
I wouldn't use oils or acrylic inks. That is just my personal opinion.
Apart from the Red Ink I managed to wash off easily the other colours.

You can buy the paper from SAA(in the UK) or Amazon

Go to Google Images 'yupo paintings' some artists have created some wonderful paintings. Worth a look.

It really is like being a child with a new toy.  It will take a while to sort of control the paint on this paper, if ever, but if you like it then it would be another string to your bow.

Happy Yupo Painting!

Friday, 5 April 2013


Just a quick thank you to those of you who gave me a challenge and also to all of you who have commented both here on my blog and also on facebook.  You have helped me have a wonderful Arty Easter.

Here they all are together 7 of them!

I have been experimenting more with Yupo paper, so my next post will let you know how I am getting on.

Monday, 1 April 2013


Well, I have done every one of the challenges and what fun I have had.  Spending time deciding how to do each challenge took nearly as long as the painting of them.  They were all so very different. I did stick to watercolours though. On recollection perhaps I should have dug out my hardly used oils or pastels.  

Challenge 5 -  was suggested by Martine Weare on facebook.  Spring colours.  Thought I'd try flowers, as this really is a challenge for me. It reminded me why I don't like doing flowers.  They have been reworked, gone muddy, been washed out, salt added just because I could, rubbed out with my new magic eraser etc. etc. I was so frustrated I can't tell you, but I sort of got there in the end.  

Challenge 6 -  Was silly half hour.  Lyndi Lou Lou on facebook suggested Yupo paper and a self portrait.  As you can see my original photograph had been airbrushed, so I look really attractive.  Got the odd spot or two but that's the only blemish.  I found you can't go back into Yupo with more paint without disturbing what is already on this plastic surface.

Challenge 7 - Mike suggested that I sit and paint what I see out of the window. So that is what I did. Didn't spend ages on this as the sun was in and out so wanted to get some shadows.

And there endeth my Easter Marathon.  I enjoyed it that much that if the same situation arises next Easter I will do it all again. With a little help from my friends.

Thanks to those who took part. You have made my Easter Bank Holiday very, very enjoyable and I have painted things I would never have thought of myself.