Welcome to Polly's Blog

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

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.

Friday, 8 August 2014


Last week we had a kind of workshop at our Art Club.   The tutor just explained the pros and cons of Acrylics and then left out lots of pictures for us to work from.  No demo for those who have never used it, which I thought was a shame. I don't like acrylics and still don't so I just experimented and played, but using them was a change and a challenge, and here is what I did.

I don't do muted colours often, as you can see!  Mostly stippled with a brush for the trees and finger spread the rest of the paint and wet my fingers in water and wiped paint on on the paper. Of course the people were done with a proper brush.

Done conventionally with a brush on paper

Again played around with finger and water, palette knife for steps (actually looks like snow to me) restricted palette.  The sign says the only two food words I know in Spanish - Paella and Helados (Ice cream).  I am so chuffed that this painting, done on a board, has gone to a lovely home, much to my astonishment.(despite the wonky windows)  Thanks Sue!

Sunday, 3 August 2014


Annie Arkwright from Accrington, Lancashire at the Commonwealth Games.

There is some good news and some bad news.

The Bad news first.  Annie turned up for the table tennis with her tennis racquet and table cloth, and was disqualified immediately. She was devastated. Her last chance of a medal (or so she thought).

The Good news now.  Annie got 2 gold medals but NOT for competing.  One was for being the most friendly competitor and one for trying the hardest.  She was in tears and received a standing ovation as the first medal was presented, by the President of the Commonwealth Games, Justine Time. Then the second put round her neck by the Chieftain of the McHaggis Clan.

Scottish BBC reporter Mick MacMuckle interviewed her and through her tears she smiled and said "Eeh lad I were only being me, a friendly Lancashire Lass, it's in our genes and I live by - Do as you would be done by.  On my 2nd medal, well I always tries to to me best, then I have no regrets".  And then she did the Usain Bolt stance for her official portrait!

Annie has been chosen to lead the singing of - I would walk 500 miles (not kilometres) a Pretenders song, and the final song - Old Lancs Sign.  Please sing along with her tonight if you are watching the Closing Ceremony.

Have a reet grand Sunday all of yee (Says my friend Annie).