A bright loose poppy

A bright loose poppy

Good afternoon, thank goodness the temperature's dropped since the highs of Monday and Tuesday. Here in Devon it didn't get quite as hot as some places, but it was still too hot for me.



I managed to do some work in my studio, as in the morning it stays quite cool, but after lunch it became unbearable, so the best plan was to adapt, as I did when I didn't feel up to painting or on days when I have treatments ...I took my work to my sofa, and sat in my cool lounge. 

Pencil work, is a new found joy, for days when I want to be quieter, and sitting in my house I realise the old builders knew a thing or two ,a house made of cob is generally warm in winter and cold in summer .

So I hope people in the Uk are cooling down a bit, we'll all need to adapt, but also lobby for green issues to move up the agenda. Let's hope we can enjoy the rest of the summer.




I hope these blogs can provide some light relief ,and some gentle instructions for those who feel inclined to have a go. I hope none of you feel you have to stick rigidly to what I say , I have discovered what I have through trial and lots of error. I have also changed the way I work when I have been told or shown something new, so don't be afraid of new ideas. Glean what you can from me, and anyone else whose style you like and whose tips are valuable.

 I use winsor and newton paints and bockingford watercolour paper, but I know many other painters who swear by Daniel Smith and Archers , use what suits you. Experiment, be adventurous, and if it works for you then that is all it needs to do.

, I thought I would revisit a poppy, no reason really except I wanted something bright and cheerful, I love popping that bright red onto the paper, I wanted to keep it loose, and show you how I did it.

I took a photo

and printed it off.


Then I did a quick sketch

Now I get a fairly big brush and wet the poppy and the surrounding paper

I do have a plan at this stage, I want to keep the area I am pointing to in the photo as bright as I can, this means using the white of the paper and my lightest colours.

So as I said I wet the paper

Really wet it all over

Now I go in with my lightest colour. A lovely light bright Indian yellow, nice bold strokes.


With some spots and splatters thrown in.

You can see from this angle how wet it all is, I take this opportunity to paint the stem, bring the yellow down and add darker greens to the right hand side.

Now leave it to settle a bit.

It isn't completely dry but I can add some cadmium orange, I am now building up the colour in layers , But I want some of the yellow to show through in the finished piece.


Now I can add my scarlet, how lovely is that, I also let it bleed over the edges. No-one can feel down with such bright colours dripping off their brush

Sadly when it dries it isn't as bright, can you see the yellow shining through, and the white of the paper showing through too.

The more you can play with light and dark the more vibrant the painting will be I think.

So now I add more red on top of the dry paper.

Then a bee...( well why not?)

It has dried lighter again, and you can see the direction of my brush strokes in the flower.

I now add my darker tones, at the bottom of the flower, the darker purple tone and some indigo against the lightest light to really make it stand out. These are my artistic decisions, you might not like them or want them in your work, you do what feels right for you.

Then I leave it all overnight.


It give some space between me and the painting when I come back in the morning I can decide if I need to do anything else.

I decided to add some more red and some gold ink ( my choices again) , I feel it is done, it has brightened up my day and what do you know the sun has come while I have been writing too. Happy Days x


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Just watching has brightened my day also .. I just love colour it lifts my soul .. thank you .. Julie B

Julie Beth

This is so bright and cheery. Thank you for sharing your process as well as the end result- inspiring and so generous of you. Many thanks!


Another fabulous blog, I love your tips and hints on how to do, I follow with great enthusiasm starting out on my own painting, with your help I think I’m beginning to show progress with much cleaner artwork instead of muddy puddles.
Thank you for sharing and valuable advice 🙂

Diane Hayward

Been following you for a while, seeing the different styles you produce pushes me. Your blog and “steps and how to’s” help so much, you are incredibly generous, so thank you x

Karen Broughton

Thank you so much for this demo. It has brightened my day and I always look forward to your blog each week. You are so inspiring.


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