Hi , this week has been an unexpectantly busy one for me, I had no idea that older mermaids would prove so popular, but they did , and I have spent a happy morning sorting out orders and getting things in the post.

Tuesday I spent a happy evening with my hubby watching the wildlife artist of the year virtual award ceremony, but not with a virtual glass of bubbly !


 Amazed at the standard of work  on show , beautifully executed and thought provoking....the winners can be seen on the David shepherd website

I think my favourite was this one by Stella Mays who was the overall runner up.



I am sure you too will have your favourites and there is still a chance to vote for the people's choice award 

( mine is the octopus BTW which I am thrilled has sold !) 


So as well as watching the ceremony, and popping backwards and forwards to the post office, I have been making the most of the sunshine, and potting up some bedding


And finally taking a look around the garden, and smiling , as some of my iris are out, time to think about painting one maybe,

in the meantime here is one I painted earlier 




So armed with a reference photo from Pixabay, my paints and water I sketched out the rough outline, and began. The puzzle ,always, with a new subject is figuring out how you can make the paint 'read' as the subject you are painting. I knew i didn't want to be too precise, I also wanted a vibrant finished piece...I swallowed hard and set off.



I began by spraying the paper then dropping in the colour, I wanted this part to be loose, and see if I could get the veins on the flower's petals. I was also looking for lights and darks.

there is a lot going on all at once, and I am feeling my way though , this could all go horribly wrong but be brave, and just put it all down to experience if it doesn't work.





Working quickly, wet in wet, I am adding and taking away, these colours stain so they are difficult to remove, Alizarin Crimson, rose, Cobalt blue, then a drop of yellow. All good fun but sometimes it all seems a bit out of control. I am working things out as I go along seeing what happens and responding it.



Now stepping back as the painting dries , I can see where I want to put in some darker tones, to show where the petal is folded or in shadow.





Working through the tones step by step, standing back and really looking at what I need to change. It isn't an exact representation of the photo ( at all) but the reference photo helps me to see where the shadows lie. This piece is turning out to be much tighter than I anticipated, which is often the case with a new subject , you need to know a subject well before you can be very wild and free.I thinks it needs something to make it 'pop'



So I decide to add a background. I put my darkest colours next to the lightest parts of the petals to really show the light. I love letting my imagination go a bit wild, and adding colours I just like, 



And so my first ever iris is finished, I like the way the yellow runs into the background, I like to let the watercolour do it's thing . 

Have a go at something new, and have fun x


Back to blog


Rachel……you and I must be ‘soul sisters’……IRIS is my favorite flower and I LOVED watching the ‘process’ of this painting….you are amazing….I hope you have me on the OLD MERMAID list:-))…..


Another wonderful blog, thank you for sharing. I am always captivated when I read what you say you are doing, so inspiring and helpful.
Thank you 😊

Diane Hayward

I just discovered you via Pinterest. I am so excited and have bookmarked your page. I have just started back to painting this year after 50 years away from it. Always enjoyed watercolors, but started back with acrylics that I never used before – it was not easy at first! Your watercolors are so inspiring! Looking forward to reading more of your blog and sharing you with my sister (who loves watercolors too, but paints in oil).
Thank you, thank you – best regards from South Carolina, USA!

Nancy Wimberley

I love your paintings and have been following you on Instagram. So I wanted to check out your website. How wonderful you share you techniques. Thank you so much for sharing.


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