Hello, from a very very hot Devon, all of us here in the UK are sweltering in a heat wave, temperatures have been very high, especially for us Brits ( we're not really set up for days in a row over 30) . Add my hot flushes onto that and you have one very hot artist , hoping things cool down a bit in the next few days.

Yesterday my studio hit 40c 


Time to leave and head for the river 

Phew it was good to cool off, even for an hour or 2.

My garden is looking a little tired for lack of water, it's not the only one!!

But the trusty geraniums keep going

and the view from my garden still lifts my spirits

So I thought today I would show you how I went about painting my curled fox watercolour. It is a  lot trickier than the beginners piece I showed you last week, so don't be despondent, have a go if you'd like to or keep on your 'to do ' list if you feel you're not quite ready. All I want to do is show you what I think watercolours can do, I was watching a daytime arty programme the other day and when asked what don't you like the participant said " I hate watercolours, they are too wishy washy and boring". Of course she is entitled to her opinion but I think watercolour can get a bad press, they are not all faded Victorian scenes they can do so much more, and I like to push my own boundaries. They are also one of the trickiest mediums, so be gentle on's taken me over 30years and I am still practising 

Firstly I sketched out the relaxed fox

next I painted his eye and nose. I really concentrate on these two parts. The eye needs to shine, and make the animal come alive. I use yellow ochre as a base colour, and drop darker oranges and burnt sienna into it. i use my smallest brushes and make sure I leave a small area of white paper so you can see where the light hits it. 

I use cerulean blue as a base for the nose , and add darker tones mixing blues and browns to achieve the 'black' look. I also use those colours to get the black part of the eye.

See how I have also concentrated on the parts around the eye so it sits in it's socket. I paint these parts as realistically as I can, and then get looser and looser as I go on.

Next I paint the fur under his nose. I use a mixture of cobalt blue and cadmium red. I wet the area first wit clean water and drop the shadowy fur colours into it.


It makes more sense when I add the lovely red/orange fur on his face. I start with the lightest shade ( in this case yellow ochre) and then drop reds, browns and oranges into the wet paint. Taking note of where the darker tones need to go. i.e. around the eyes . I add details like the spots for his whiskers and keep the top os the nose white by using the paper.

I have also suggested the ears by using the red and blue mixture.

keep going with the wet in wet

Keeping an eye on where you want the dark tones and the light tones but trying to be spontaneous too. Next I added some dark to his ears so it blends in with the fur

Finally I add my trademark splatters and watermarks. I use white acrylic too and some gold winsor and newton ink I use a a black pen to do his whiskers, when he is dry. Stand back and look, where does it need more and where does it need leaving alone?  

Be selective, it's not easy and it takes practice, but it is also great fun. It may be too hot to paint today but maybe you can have a go tomorrow x



Back to blog


I can hardly wait to try this! I like how you open up a whole new avenue of watercolor for me. (…a retired teacher — in a time of Covid isolation)

Nan Wright

Thank you so much! I really struggle to paint animals. These tips will help me a lot! Stay as cool as you can!

Sarah Scott Falk

Leave a comment