Welcome to Polly's Blog

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

Sunday, 21 December 2014


Annie Arkwright and I wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy and Healthy 2015.  We wish you all you wish for yourselves wherever you may be.

Sorry about the copyright thingey and blog thingey and facebook thingey,  just experimenting and now can't get rid of it.

Take care until we meet again in the New Year, eat, drink and be very merry  xx

Sunday, 14 December 2014


I go to a U3A group (a youth club for the over 50's) a drawing and painting group.  Each week the person who runs it sets up a still life (getting bored with them now my have to rebel)  Anyway this week was Christmas theme.  Was going to just painting the bauble but I can never resist painting the whole thing (a big fault of mine).

It was a black tree with blue and white decorations, not bright enough for me!!  I turned into a green tree with a multitude of colours.

Also I went into our lovely Victorian town to shop and came across these two Christmas things that I thought you might like to see.

Aren't these Cinderella's slippers?

Victorian Arcade with verandah and Santa's hut.  He must have gone for lunch.

Hope you are starting to feel in the festive mood.  Have a lovely Sunday and week.  I will be wishing you Seasons Greeting later, but for those who won't be looking in again, have a lovely Christmas and a Very Happy and Healthy New Year. xx

Sunday, 7 December 2014


Well here is the minor miracle as far as I am concerned.  I DO NOT eat greens.  And this has always been a concern.  Even now, when I am in my mad but mature years.  So I got a Nutribullet.  Don't these things always sound good on tv?  So I wasn't expecting much I have to say.  But it is so easy quick and cleaning a doddle.  BUT I have had green leaves mixed with fruit 4 days on the run, and didn't know I was eating them.  I am so proud of myself, and so chuffed with the machine.  It inspired me to pick up my brush and paint it.  I am being careful to still have a very balanced diet (Doc orders) but who would have thought it.  Me eating me greens!!!!!!!!!!!!

I go to a little club called Churchtown Art Club (read about us on facebook) and we had a sketching day.  I call this a w/c sketch and it looks like a dress for an 8 ft woman. It was draped over a ladder. No drawing.  Must take more care next time.  Perhaps she is a lady baseball player that wears it, ha ha

Have a lovely week, keep warm if it is winter where you are.  It is hailing at the moment and cold. Take care xx

Sunday, 30 November 2014


I have recently joined a craft group, called Southport Stitchers.  They meet once a month.  I am not really a crafter, hate sewing and anything domestic.  SO ... I decided that when I had put my heart and soul into attempting each craft, I would paint it in my beloved watercolours and put in a book, for future reference and to say, I can't believe I made that!!!

First week was beading.  A dragonfly.  Used W & N Iridescent Liquid on the shimmering wings.

The second session was dry felting with a needle (sharp - it had barbs on the end, ouch).  did a lot of frowning trying to make this look like felt.  In fact, still got the frown lines!!!

Now I look forward to the next session of watercolour inspiration and craft combined.

Sorry, I haven't been looking at your blogs as much lately, hopefully I will have more time soon.

Meanwhile, have a great week.

Sunday, 23 November 2014


Bad news I was rushed into hospital last weekend. Good news was that Annie Arkwright from Accrington, my friend, was in the bed opposite.  Her pal, Willie Eckerslyke had told her that there was a superfood, blueberries, so she ate them morning, noon and night.  Ended up with a very bad tummy.  Silly billy Annie, she never gets it right!  Heaven help her if she starts eating raspberries or kale!   Anyway I am home but she is still in, now a delicate wash of ultramarine blue.  Get well soon Annie .................

Fortunately I took in my sketchbook so that I could record this sad sight.

Have a great Sunday and next week, and take good care of yourselves.

Saturday, 8 November 2014


Not many words today, out of respect for the upcoming Armistace Day.  Here is a painting of the poppies we are wearing if you don't do this where you are.  We give donations to the British Legion (who make them) .

l00 years from the beginning of World War 1 this year.

My version of the poppy

Wouldn't it be lovely if there was peace in this sad old world.

Friday, 31 October 2014


Eeeh well my friend, Annie Arkwright,from Accrington, came round for afternoon tea. She brought this photo of herself. She bought this huge pumpkin and cut it out, but, oh my lord, when she put it on the right way round the holes were in very dodgy places. Yes you can guess the eyes where her boobs were, and the nose her belly button. Can't tell you where the mouth came. So she turned it round. Not to be daunted. She said - ' Eeeh by gum our Polly, I always gets things wrong. I'll afta gerranother, and take more care with th'knife By 'eck I will'. So off she pops ta her local farm shop. 

Annie hasn't got a blog, or on facebook, so she had to email the photo that she took when she had been to the farm shop (Annie says she is a technofrobelick - hates gadgets)  All they had left were these small ones ...............

They look like a big pair to me Annie lass!!!

Sorry I haven't been looking at your blogs lately, l have been busy.  I will have a look at as many as I can but probably won't comment on many today.

Happy Halloween from Me and from Annie Arkwright too.

Saturday, 18 October 2014


I have so enjoyed painting from the photographs I took at this delightful zoo.  I just knew I wouldn't rest until I had the ideas out of my system.  I don't paint many animals, so it was also a challenge. And most of you know I loooove a challenge.  Here are the final ones.

This one speaks for itself and it is frightening how so many species are in crisis.  Using mixed media like this was inspired by Lorraine Brown - do check out her work which is brilliant and innovative

Monkey Puzzle!  What shall I eat first?

Final flourish - Pretty Polly Parrot in Brusho.

Problem is, what on earth is going to inspire me next?  Nothing in the pipeline.  Perhaps I may read a book, tidy the garden, go for walks, do some baking  ...................   Well, whatever you are doing have a lovely autumnal weekend.

Sunday, 12 October 2014


What a variety this week, both painting and in 'real life'.  Ending with a few days reading a scary Thriller!!  Well they say variety is the spice of life, and that is me all over.  Jumping from one subject or action to another.  Strange in our household as hubby likes routine. He could live to a timetable. Not me, when I finished work I never wanted to live to the clock again. Opposites attract (well most of the time) ha ha.

Polly Parrot & Friends

Did this at the art club I belong to.  Many distractions and chats.  So, obviously, if you want to paint loose, talk away and you may have a happy unexpected fun painting.

Yes, this Lemur's tail did wrap around like I have painted.  I did an under painting of ultra first to establish the shadows then used a restricted palette to paint this lovely chap.

Blinking blogger - got another pic but can't download it where I want it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Will have to leave it for another day.
Most of my pics from Blackpool Zoo are now done, but not quite.  Really been fun painting animals for a change. Got to think what to do when I have finished.  What a wonderful hobby, so much variety to feed my eager arty brain.

Have a great week and take care..

Luv' from Polly xx

Sunday, 5 October 2014


One of these paintings was a battle and the other a pleasure.  The agony and the ecstacy (well that is a slight exaggeration!).

Last week at the Art Club I belong to, a member brought in a pile, and yes I mean a big pile, of autumn things that she found in the park very near the club.  So here is the composition I came up with.  Did a quick pen sketch (so no rubbing out which speeds the process up) and then in with my trust big brush and some loose washes and salt.  Such fun.  Nothing planned, no pressure!

Last New Year we were in Amsterdam.  I took a night scene picture that I just knew I wanted to paint.  Now you know painting doesn't work out that way,  So this is the nightmare painting. I did the under painting a while ago and knew it wasn't working, I couldn't put my finger on why. Stuffed it in a box and left it, as you do!

I found it this week, was going to paint on the back but persisted in my endeavours.  Still don't like it, but when I sloshed on the sky (technical term) I just had to finish it.  Now I have got it out of my system and have a nice fresh piece of watercolour paper on the back to start something new. A positive out of a negative.  However, I do like the lady in the foreground.

Happy Sunday to one and all.  Keep smiling through.

Saturday, 27 September 2014


This Zentangle is not a zentangle!

I have seen zentangles and been intrigued by them.  You know me, if I seen something I haven't tried I NEED to have a go.

Officially, for those of you who don't know, and in brief, a zentangle is 3.5 inch square, in black pen on white paper, no right way up, abstract (nothing recognisable) and unplanned.  You can buy books about zentangles and some of the shapes have very exotic names.

So, these are inspired by zentangles.  I always was a rebel and never liked following rules.  True to form I went my own sweet way.  Found it very theraputic and easy to do whilst watching The Ryder Cup with my hubby.  Also feeling delicate after a bout of the horrible noro virus, so this was a perfect way to mess about being busy doing nothing.

This is a Happy Polly, not a proper Zentangle - all the shapes are smileys.

This is probably nearest to a true Zentangle

I would class this as a doodle.

Have a wonderful weekend doodling and doing your thing.

Sunday, 21 September 2014


I was so inspired after my visit to this smallish but really excellent zoo, that I have painted some more studies.

I so wanted to paint the silverback but kept putting it off (lateral displacement reared it's ugly head). Then I went in with Quin, Gold and thought, you dip stick, he is a silver back, not a cowardly yellow back!  I put dark colours next to his back which pushed the yellow away.

Then I used colours that Beverley Wells used in her flowers, as she got really dramatic darks with them.  Winsor Violet and Winsor Green Blue, with a touch of transparent red brown (which is like light red but transparent).

I am not happy about his arm area which I should have faded out, as it isn't clear on the photograph.The colours are too blue on this pic.  I am blowed if I can get accurate colours when I take a photograh!

Quick study of an elephant, nothing much to say about this.

Painted in 3 colours that you can wash out if required. Burnt Sienna, Ultra and Raw Sienna.

This, whatever it is, was a bit muted, so I washed over the top with W&N new colour transparent orange, which added a bit of zing!

I've been busy, busy, busy so time for a rest for a while. I'm going to investigate zentangles for something completely different.

Hope you have a stress free week :)

Friday, 19 September 2014


You may have heard of Port Sunlight Village.  Well there is a gallery there of some repute!  To top it all they have had free workshops there this summer.  I have just been to the latest.  They have just had an exhibition concerning Rossetti's Obsession: Images of Jane Morris (his muse).  Beautiful drawings there were too.  Mostly pastel.

Hence the pastel workshop of the Human Form.  

We covered classical Greek and Roman dimensions, stick men, cylindrical men, shaded figures and finally a pastel painting of the tutor.  All in 3 hours.

Here are some of the working papers.

This is my sketch of Chris, a friend who went with me. 10 mins sketch

I love this, it is my frriend Martine's, drawing of me.

The classical dimensions and basic shapes.

My pastel drawing of the tutor.  His legs are faded out and not 5ft long!!  20 min sketch

I learnt such a lot in 3 hrs.  Steve Hersey was a very good teacher, and I thank him.

Have a wonderful weekend everyone.

Thursday, 11 September 2014


Well you guessed.  We went to the zoo this week.  One of the smaller ones in the UK.  Blackpool. Which is really known for it's tower (like the Eiffel in Paris) rather than a zoo.  We were really surprised, we expected it to be run down, but it wasn't.  I kinda don't like animals caged up, but they do a lot of work at the zoo and have regular talks during the day about conservation.  Which we thoroughly enjoyed.  Really shocking though, how many animals are endangered and nearly endangered.

So I endeavoured to paint some of the animals I saw.

These are what I painted this week. They are only smallish studies.  When I paint small I tend to be more precise as I use smaller brushes.  But I have one or two in mind where I can use bigger paper and be bold and free.

This wasn't going very well so added some brown pen.  These little fellows were in the childrens area.

Front and back view of different Penguins.  I just wanted to mix the paint on the paper for these, except the black, which is ultra and burnt sienna and is part mixed in the palette and part on the paper.

To state the obvious this is a sea lion not a seal.  Be blowed if I can remember the difference now to tell you!!!!!

Have a wonderful weekend to one and all where ever you are.

Sunday, 31 August 2014


Sorry I've not been commenting on your posts or posting myself.  I really did have to do some serious housework.  Would much rather paint!  Wonder if most artists homes are always in a state of disarray?

Today, the art club I belong to (Churchtown Art Club who are on facebook). Were painting in Botanic Gardens, where they were holding a Victorian Day to help raise funds for the upkeep of the park.  Sad, as if they didn't work so hard behind the scenes, the park would probably go to the dogs!!

Here's a mix of photos of the event and the paintings I did (managed 5, kept my head down, though was known to jig away at the same time to the music - just multi tasking). One is wip (work in progress) not taken a pic of this one yet.

A rainbow poppy

Made up Victorian view across the Lake - very unhappy with this one

A pair of Victorian shoes

Queen Victoria.  This is how I start a marathon painting day, just mixing colours on the paper.

A real vintage push chair.  If you are interesting look at the picture larger, the work is intricate and amazing and her costume is hand made

Stephanie Guy came from her home a few miles away, just to see me!

And Stephanie painted one of her lovely miniatures, specially for me!

Me thoroughly engrossed.

Me not thoroughly engrossed.

Thanks Lesley and Betty for taking these pics of me.

Now hope to get back to normal, so be popping to see your blogs again, rest of housework taking a back seat til it gets too bad again.

Have a lovely week everyone.

Luv' Polly xx

Saturday, 16 August 2014


Most of you know my battle with 'enjoying' painting flowers.  Well I should have gone on a floral workshop for watercolours, which was unfortunately cancelled!

Undaunted, I set about making myself spend a day doing an imaginary workshop at home.  I looked at books (not copied from them) for inspiration and youtube too.  Here is what happened. I did 4 in a day, which is what I anticipated would have been done on the workshop proper.

First painting I did was tulips. I was winging it here. Got the picture of a tulip from a gardening book. No influence here, just wanted to use a new orange I had (W&N transparent orange).  This was supposed to be very loose but got tighter and tighter and layer over layer.  So, was not happy with this method.  So Polly Birchall wasn't tutoring well in this instance!

I have great respect for an artist, now no longer with us, called Karen Simmons.  I received, on the day of my home self inflicted workshop, the book I had ordered for 1p plus p&p from Amazon. Painting Flowers in Watercolour (brilliant book).   So in tribute to her, I painted in her style, a Dainthus.  She uses what she calls blushes and I love that word, so used delicate pink blushes.  The book ends with a quotation from Marc Chagall - 'Art is the unceasing effort to compete with the beauty of flowers - and never succeeding'.

Next a loose painting of Chinese Lanterns.  Influenced by a book by Jean Haines, and using that delicious colour W&N transparent orange.  I love this style of painting, so much harder than it looks, but it seems to be natural to me and this is the way for me to go when painting flowers some of the time.  I like to vary how I paint so sometimes fairly accurate and sometimes a bit crazy.  I had seen her do a demo so was imagining her voice and looking over my shoulder.

And finally, a papaver.  This is influenced by Joanne Boon Thomas, who paints wonderful flowers in watercolour and brusho (a very exciting medium).  This is in watercolour.  I heard her lovely Lancashire accent goading me on to paint this red poppy.

These are all 10 x 16 on Bockingford.  Mostly using big brushes.

I thank the artists indirectly, for passing on their knowledge, be it by book or word of mouth, for helping me to begin enjoying painting flowers.  A miracle in itself.  Phew I thought I would never say that.

Have a lovely week all of you and look at the beautiful flowers out there just a a little bit longer than you normally do, they are all masterpieces.