Wednesday 11 May 2022

Tulip Time - National Trust

The National Trust

Inspiration for paintings - April/Early May

April and Early May is definitely "Tulip Time" at the Somerset National Trust properties.  I couldn't begin to guess the time is must have taken to plant all these bulbs!

The colours are vibrant and amazing, particularly if you catch them in full sunshine.  We joined the National Trust a few weeks ago and so far have visited Lytes Cary, Montecute (both Somerset) and Trelissick near Truro in Cornwall - which I'll cover on another blog.

The inspiration for my watercolour tulips came from the cafe area in Lytes Cary where the pots were full of purple tulips.  The coffee and flapjack aren't too bad either! :).   There are a number of lovely walks around the grounds in Lytes Cary - one takes you around the fields, across a little bridge over a river and loops back round to the house.  We saw a Yellow Hammer bird (apparently!).  It was pretty and the first time I'd seen one.  I'm sure, on a quiet day, you could sit near the water's edge and see lots of wildlife activity.

So, thoroughly inspired by the colours of the tulips, I came home to paint with lots of lovely pinks and purples. Watercolour is ideal for capturing flowers - by allowing the paint to flow, you can get the effect of them moving in the breeze.  

"True Love Ways" (Sold)
Original Watercolour


Monday 3 January 2022

Lynton and Lynmouth - North Devon

Lynton and Lynmouth - autumn colours

We chose late November to visit one of our favourite locations, Lynton and Lynmouth, to see the beautiful autumn colours.  As we arrived and parked up at Lynton, the rain started!  To allow the rain to pass,  a "full English" at the cafe "Charlie Friday's" was a great start.

So leaving the cafe, we headed out towards the coast path in the direction of Valley of the Rocks.  There are two paths, my favourite being the upper path which is more grassy and natural - the lower pathway is tarmacked with easy access but and the views are equally beautiful.  The path hugs the coastline and with each twist and turn you are treated to views that keep beckoning you to walk further.

Lynton to Valley of the Rocks

We walked on past the Valley of the Rocks and followed the coast path sign posts.  The late autumn sunshine is truly beautiful and the colours so rich. Today the sky and clouds were stunning.  I could literally keep walking all day following the coast path, but we had to make our way back to Lynton so took a left turn following an uphill path through some woods.  

Whilst hoping for views to the left, looking back down on the Valley of the Rocks, the rain set in again! 

Instead of the lovely views we were treated to the company of the mountain goats, so famous for the area.
On previous visits, we have only seen them from afar, but today, we were amongst them.   I'm inspired to paint them, particularly with this misty backdrop!

Heading along the pathway we were now beginning to go downhill again, towards Lynton.  Normally this walk would be "enough" for the day but madly we decided to extend in the other direction and walk to Lymouth for a cup of tea by the river.

There is a normally a cliff railway operating which carries you up and down the hill but  not today, so we crazily did on foot - probably never again!  

The railway is really fabulous and well worth a trip as the views are really beautiful.  I'm not sure whether it was closed for covid, or seasonal.

This is the view from the pathway from Lynton down to Lymouth, it is a very steep hill!

View towards Lynmouth

We chose to stay at an Airbnb, but there are lots of hotels, pubs and lovely holiday rentals so you won't have a problem finding somewhere to stay, particularly out of the main season.

So, the following morning and after another breakfast at Charlie Fridays, we relocated the car down to Lynmouth for a walk to the National Trust Cafe at Watersmeet.  A real family favourite from the past.  Within 5 minutes we had spotted a dipper on the water, a tick in the box! 

The walk along the river goes gently uphill and the cafe is about 2 miles up the valley (roughly).  

Had the weather been better, the colours would have been truly stunning.  We will definitely try and repeat this time next year but most probably do a "last minute" booking for the overnight stay if good weather.

I think you really need good sunshine to see the colours in their full glory.  Lynton, Valley of the Rocks and Lynmouth have such a variety of trees and moorland shrubs that the colour of leaves are amazing.

After a quick cup of tea and walk back down the valley, we headed for home.  

dipper bird watercolour art

One of my paintings inspired by the break (sold):

The dipper is a bird that feeds from the water and is well camouflaged so quite hard to spot.

You are likely to catch a glimpse of it on the rocks with a flash of white on the chest.  They frequently disappear under water!

Sunday 13 June 2021

Summer Clematis


"Summer Clematis"

Original Watercolour on paper

Well it's a hot day today, probably the warmest of the year so far and I'm sure the garden will love it as much as we do!  I have gradually added to the plants in pots in our garden this year and I've been looking for really pretty flowering plants such as sweet peas and clematis.

The clematis that I have chosen is called "Sarah Elizabeth" and has beautiful pink flowers.  The painting is inspired by, but a different colour to my plant and I think I will have to paint another when the flowers appear. 

Although putting the plants in pots is a little more high maintenance than planting them in the ground, I have the luxury of moving them around and placing them where they like to be in the sun/shade.

I'll try and share pics when the blooms appear and hopefully I'll be inspired to paint more watercolours of this very pretty subject.

Monday 19 April 2021

Online Tuition - harvest mouse in watercolour


Online tuition

Would you like to have a go at painting this harvest mouse in watercolour?

New online tuition is available via my website showing how to bring together a few different watercolour techniques to paint this little chap.  The tuition comprises 2 online videos and lots of tips.

Grab those brushes :)

Sunday 28 February 2021

Boxing Hares - Somerset Wildlife Trust Art Auction


"Boxing Hares"
Original Watercolour 55cm x 35cm
Donated to Somerset Wildlife Trust art auction

Somerset (including the levels) is the most beautiful county, ok so maybe I might be a bit biased :).  We are blessed with animals and birds such as herons, owls, badgers, hares to name a few and that's not including the smaller birds, bees, butterflies that we can all attract to our gardens and spaces around our homes.

The Somerset Wildlife Trust has an amazing website which offers events and some fabulous information as to how we can support nature within our beautiful county.

One of the jobs on my to-do list is to create a plan for the garden - so far this year we have hung a teapot for birds nesting and dotted lots of feeders around the garden.  I also have a small bee hive/hotel that will be placed amongst lots of pollinating plants that I hope to spread around in pots and containers.  

The bird feeders have been hugely successful and so far the most intriguing visitor to me has been the jackdaw - I have previously seen them as predators and "stealer of nest eggs" but having observed them more closely, I see them differently now.  I am fascinated to see them arrive in the garden within a pair - where you see one, their partner will be very close by.  They are clever and very, very aware of everything going on around them.

Although not the best photo, this jackdaw is patiently waiting for their partner to finish feeding from seeds on the grass.

Here is a link to Somerset Wildlife Trust's website and I'm sure there will be more details to follow soon regarding their online art auction.

Sunday 21 February 2021

Wild Primroses - watercolour, loose and simple

How to paint beautiful wild primroses loosely in watercolour

Online Tuition £10

The beautiful wild primrose with their clusters of pale yellow flowers are perfect to capture in watercolour.  

I tend to see them and visualise them from above, as a posy of flowers surrounded by warm green leaves.

With the purchase of my online tuition you will learn via two online videos:

  • Learn how to mix leafy greens
  • Play with texture in the leaves
  • Practice with small flowers and shapes
  • Obtain the effect of light on the petals
  • Increase the contrast
  • Bring all the techniques together into one painting
Bring a little spring to your day and have a go!  

Sunday 29 November 2020



Painting is fun and absorbing and, if there is ever a time that we need a little distraction, it is definitely now!  Do you paint already or are you a beginner?  Whatever your skill level, I welcome you to join in with my competition with the winning prize being a year's membership to Supporting All Artists. (SAA)


Follow my online tuition and paint a fabulous robin.  Supporting all Artists will judge the paintings and the winning artist will receive the amazing prize of a year standard membership. This includes a bi-monthly newsletter, access video on demand, exclusive offers and free postage on orders. I love my membership with them and the society is for anyone with a passion for painting and drawing.

To enter - purchase this robin tuition, please click here,  and then email me your robin painting by 20th January 2021.

Tulip Time - National Trust