Muscle memory , trying it a different way.

Muscle memory , trying it a different way.

We are all awaiting so much just now, and taking note of every change in our gardens and surroundings. Like never before the natural world means 'the world' to us, and as it grows and new life emerges I think we all feel the better for it.

The sunshine we had here in Devon at the weekend seemed heaven sent.

And I was lucky enough to be able to head out on several walks, meeting up with valued friends along the way...a hint of things to come I hope 


Just outside my studio are some lovely spring flowers, including some hellebores, I love to paint what I can see, but realised I often paint familiar flowers or scenes in the same to try something different to try to unlearn my familiar way and see what happens.

Ok I am a great believer in painting what you fancy painting. My biggest failures have come from trying to force out a painting that I didn't want to paint when my mind was on other things.

That said I think some days you do have to challenge yourself. 

I realise that we also often go down the same route, what do you mean I hear you cry. I mean you sort of get in a rut and paint the same subject again and again in the same way, it becomes a habit and sometimes it is nice to break that habit and try something different. 

I love hellebores and paint them often, but recently I was challenged by someone who wanted softer tones, some pinks in there, now I like to be bold with my watercolour, but I am also up for trying something new, A new way of painting something that Has become second nature is a great way to take me down a different path.

So I sketched out my hellebores and added masking fluid to the stamens , which would be my usual approach.

I use a paper clip dipped in the masking fluid to get very thin lines.

Next I had to try and be different, try using different colours in the background, go against my instinct. A bit like tying an arm behind your back and trying to write with your other hand. These are much paler colours for me, pinks, magentas, yellows, 

I paint around the flowers and mix in the colours wet in wet.

I also added pinks to the flowers and lots of bright greens and yellows to give an impression of foliage, it was strange to try a whole new colour palette, but also liberating , 

Have fun and experiment a bit, each new discovery will push your painting skills a little bit further.



So now I stood back you don't want to remove the masking fluid till you've gone as dark as you want to do inside the flower, 

and I did want to add more darks, it was just too pale for me and I wanted some of the lighter areas to pop a bit. It doesn't matter how different you try to be , it's like your hand writing , you can't change it completely

But is  change from other hellebores I have done.


I am glad I challenged myself, have a go you might be surprized at what you can achieve x

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Well done for being brave. Yes it is good to challenge ourselves and make discoveries. Love your painting, beautiful work.


This is lovely I just love your work! I bought some barefoot hellebores for my garden this year I can’t wait to plant them.

Jacquie Guertin

This is lovely I just love your work! I bought some barefoot hellebores for my garden this year I can’t wait to plant them.

Jacquie Guertin

Thank you for sharing your experimental hellebores, I have some in the garden and you have inspired me to ‘give it a go’

Glynis Drummond

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