So Christmas Day is getting close now, we have family coming to stay and things to do, checking the shopping list, trying to find last minute gifts .
However I have discovered that it really doesn't matter if you've forgotten the cranberry sauce or I don't have enough double cream. Christmas will happen anyway and if the last few years have taught us anything , it should be that being together and cherishing each other is all that really matters .
And perhaps a few quiet moments too, to remember people who aren't here but we wish they were.
Here in Devon, during the cold snap everything looked like a winter wonderland.
I have been lucky enough to share good times with fabulous friends. A favourite coffee stop is Moto Velo , a beautiful motorbike shop with a smashing cafe, even Santa managed a visit.
The village I live in looks lovely too, especially at night when all the lights are twinkling
It has warmed up a bit now, but the sun is out, and I thought you might like to see how I paint holly
Firstly find out some photos of holly, or better still pick some from the hedgerow or garden.
and draw your holly, only include the leaves you like, and where they are, remember you are in charge, paint what looks good, and do as much or as little as you like.
For this painting I will also need my spray bottle, this holly is going to be a loose interpretation.
Now look at the holly and see what colours you can see in the leaves. I start with lemon yellow, and make sure you leave some white of the paper for the highlights.
Next I add some cerulean blue.
And gradually build up the colours in the leaves. I add a touch or red to green to knock it back a bit, and make it look more natural. I think you all recognise paintings where the green looks unnatural, a touch of red really helps, but only a touch. Too much and you'll end up with a sludgy brown on your hands
You see how I am working from light to dark, classic watercolour technique, also adding wet in wet so it blends, but not too wet.
Then I sprayed it slightly with my spray bottle so the watercolour bleeds over the paper. ( you don't have to do this) but I like the way watercolour reacts and I just love those properties.
Have a go , let yourself go and go with the results. While that dries you can start working in the same way on the other leaves,
Then as they dry you can reinstate some colour and add to the darks by adding blues to your greens.
Now for the pop of colour that is the berries. I start with lemon yellow again, and make sure you leave the little highlight of white ( the paper)
Then add an orangy red,
Then a darker red
build around the berries, adding some shadows too, the more depth of colour you add the more of a 3D effect you will achieve.
I added a bit more detail, and a final mist over the berries, I like the looseness of it all. But if you didn't spray it it would still work perfectly
Have a go , it's a break from the 'real' world, for a few hours at least x