When the world goes crazy just hunker down and paint some penguins.

When the world goes crazy just hunker down and paint some penguins.

Hi everyone, wow well what a week. here in England we are beginning a new national lockdown, but much to my teenage daughter's disgust they haven't closed the schools !! I know friends in Wales have already had to live under tighter rules and many of us across the world are living with a heightened sense of anxiety....it's hard for everyone right now and for some people it is really hard.

Luckily today the sun came out and Devon looked glorious


I was listening to someone offer advice help for living a happy life, it all seemed to to make sense, enjoy the moment,( enjoying a last rose doing it's thing)



act happy and happiness will become a habit but for me most importantly he said have a hobby that you are passionate about. Wow I thought I have nailed that one, painting takes me away from the crazy world and into whatever world I can conjure up. I hope you can all find something to take you to happier places, reading, walking, boxsets, painting, sewing , cooking.....the list is long and I hope at least one of them brings you joy.


I hope my blogs also help a little, whether you paint or not, having a peep into someone else's world can be fun. I love the process, have a go you might  find some mindfulness in the process too, and you may find a new hobby that may get you through a winter lockdown.

Ok, enough of my ramblings , here is the painting, first I sketched 3 penguins.

Some times it is good not to pit them slap bang in the middle of the paper so I popped them on the left 

Nest I paint the body of the penguin ( the white bit) , but it's not white. I paint it first with water.....

Then I drop colour into it, this is know in watercolour as wet in wet, 

You can see it all runs into the wet paper and forms it's own patterns, this is why I love watercolour so much, you are in control, but not of everything...it's fun!

Now I add some darker tones 

I hope you can see how wet that is.

He also needs his bright yellow/orange collar.

Now leave it alone to dry.

Once dry you can add the black bits, really look and see where the colour needs to go. I use paynes grey not black, and some cerulean blue to add highlights.


I use small brushes so I can first paint the orange parts on the head then the back ones

Phew he's done now repeat that process for each penguin, there is no need to rush, you can leave this for a day or 2 and come back to it.


Keep going , seeing what works and letting bits dry that need to.


Now penguin number 3

Finally when all 3 are finished, I need to decide if I want to do any more, I decide to add tome cool tones behind them to suggest the cold, and sprinkle some salt on to look like ice crystals, I also add some rocky icy land for them to stand on and some dark shadows to ground them.


And my 3 amigos are done, a lot of fun, a new world for me to inhabit for a day and to forget about everything, except penguins, ice and snow....now how do I turn my heating up?





Back to blog


I just loved painting these penguins, I will practice more. I loved how the salt made the ice look, it got a little messy- yet it was so creative & amazing to try. I want to try a Polar Bear also. Thanks so much, Erica


Thanks everyone I am so glad you find these blogs helpful x

Rachel Toll

Good morning Rachel I painted the penguins yesterday. So funny. But I didn’t know how to get this effects in the rocks. Thanks. It is much easier for me to follow your instructions than to follow lessens on youtube.


Hi Rachel, I have just discovered your wonderful blog and am very grateful for your lovely demos they are very inspiring and helpful. I used to do a lot of drawing but have found it difficult to get going on the painting side but now can’t wait to have a go. Thank you

Vivien Duggan

Hi, I’m nearly 70 and I’ve just started doing watercolours and coloured pencil drawing. I’ve sold 7 drawings so far to my amazement! The first few were butterflies as I photograph them throughout the summer and recently people’s pets. I love your demo of the penguins and love your fox paintings. Thank you for sharing your great talent. It’s a wonderful thing to do during lockdown and Covid times isn’t it? I’m never bored! Best wishes.

Sheila Hart

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