Sunday, 7 June 2015

Moved and settled at last...

Well if I have anyone at all reading this blog post I will be very surprised and very grateful.  It's been such a long time since I shared anything about art or painting while moving house.  It's been an upheaval but we are settled now and my mind is gradually being freed up to resume painting and thinking creative thoughts.

As I write I am looking out of a bedroom window over open fields and a glorious blue sky with fluffy fine weather new studio is roomy and comfortable and the view lets me breathe and dream of wide horizons.  Can't wait to get down to some work and to be inspired by it.

While rooting around in one of the many bags and boxes I came upon an abandoned iris painting...a single one with water droplets on its petals.  Perhaps I'll have a go at that.  Often a good idea to revisit abandoned work as a way of getting going again.

Anyway, this is by way of a hello and nice to see you again and I hope to be posting more over the next few weeks.

Some exciting news is that I am working on the idea of providing on line courses and tuition.  So stay tuned!

Monday, 13 April 2015

Studio sale...lots of money raised, thank you so much!

Many thanks to all the friends who came to the studio clearance sale over the weekend. Thought you might like to know that we raised £135.70 for Cancer research UK! Good effort everyone!

Saturday, 11 April 2015

Clearance good to see some good friends again

It was wonderful to see so many friends this morning at my studio clearance sale.  Thanks all for coming to support me in my hour of decluttering need.  We had a good chat too and the choc fudge cake took a battering along with the victoria sponge and carrot cake!

Many paintings have gone at knock down prices and letting them go to good appreciative homes feels really good.  This is a clearance sale so the gloves are off....make me an offer and we'll see what we can do.  The fewer framed paintings I have to transport the better.

People have been unbelievably generous with their contributions to Cancer Research....I am so pleased.

I'm here til 4pm and tomorrow 10 til 4.

So I might see you!  

Wednesday, 8 April 2015

Moving House...Moving Studios!

We are moving house and even though I have lived in many different houses in my life, this last house has sheltered us for 25 years.  A quarter of a century!

I don't think I realised how the process of moving completely stops you in your tracks and seems to put life on hold somehow.  So no paintng, no blogging...just the long wait for things to proceed...

And of course I'm leaving my studio behind and probably I wont realise until I don't have it any more how much I have loved it.

But today I'm letting you know about an open weekend this coming weekend.  I am needing to shed some of my stuff as I wont have anything like the same amount of room in the new house.  So here's a little call to those who are local and who might be able to drop in and say hello.  It would be lovely to see you!

Here are some details....

Studio Clearance Sale at 44 Stamford Road 
NG2 6GF (We’re moving house! I need to offload!)

Please call in on Saturday 11 or Sunday 12 April 10am til 4pm

Knock down prices on the following...

BOOKS about Painting by various popular authors (Wendy Tait, Lucy Willis, Mike Chaplin, Jo Dowden, Arnold Lowrey etc.)

 Paintings (framed, mounted, unmounted)

Greetings Cards...
           Card blanks...
                       Polybags for cards...
                                               Envelopes and reusable, art materials
Step by Step guides...

My book “Orchids in Watercolour” Reduced Price*
My Watercolour Techniques DVD Reduced Price*

And lots more...Giveaways and Freebies! Have a cuppa while you browse! There will be cake!

25% of takings will go to Cancer Research UK

*For this event only            

Friday, 23 January 2015

Irises update

I've been deeply immersed in Irises , working on two paintings at once.

At the beginning of the week, I finished off a painting that I had started some weeks ago, not to say months, as a way of getting used to Irises again and their forms and how to best render these complicated flowers.

Here are the stages

The finished painting.  Blue Irises

I think these flowers are very popular when painted.  They are such beautiful forms and to think that these petals all unfurl from quite small buds and finish up as a mass of frilliness and beauty.  They are astonishing and fascinating at the same time.

Now I am tackling the large half sheet Irises painting.  Still some way to go...

Sunday, 11 January 2015

Here's the daffs painting. I'm calling it Hopes of Spring. It will always be redolent of the sadness caused by the events in Paris. But hope springs eternal and Spring flowers are a nice emblem of this.

Hopes of Spring

It was a very interesting exercise in tones and how one tone effects another in a painting as you go along.
I think the putting in the shadow first worked ok.  I will perhaps upload a series of WIPs over the next few days for those who are interested in the progression.

Hope you like the painting as much as I enjoyed making it.

I now have an assignation with a certain half sheet Irises drawing waiting with a challenging look about it.  

Can't wait to get started!

Saturday, 10 January 2015

Work in progress on the daffodils

It was such a sad and disturbing day yesterday with the happenings in Paris.  I was shocked into silence and quiet thoughts as I guess many of us were.

But today is a new day and with gratitude for being safe and at peace here, I am back working on the daffodils.

By the way Hello to the new members who have glad to have you following!

The daffodils at the window painting has been progressing.

I masked out the brightest areas first.

Then I started in an unusual and quite risky way by laying in the shadows over the whole painting with a mix of ultramarine. some pink and some burnt sienna.  I ignored the local colour, screwed up my eyes and just painted the darker tones.

Then when that was dry I started putting in some local colour straight over the dark tonal mix.  In the photo below the masking fluid is still on.

More tomorrow!

Tuesday, 6 January 2015

Promises, promises...

I promised that I would tell you about my day to day art activities, whether you like it or not!, so here's today's update.

The start of the new year has done the trick and I seem to be falling over myself finding new subjects that inspire at the moment.  It is weird how this happens and I think the longer your fallow period has been, the more of an avalanche you experience when you get back to it.  Ideas seem to be popping up all over.

A trip to Attenborough (which is a nature reserve on the River Trent close by us in Nottingham) on Sunday was a nice interlude.  Strange weather with bright sunshine one minute and then a thick mist the next making the scene eerily quiet and almost spooky.

Eerie mist at Attenborough

But it all helped with the inspiration I think. 

 Home and straight into the studio to get on with my Irises composition.  A new composition is complete and transferred to watercolour paper.

New Irises composition

It is a very large composition and I'm a bit scared of it!  Very detailed drawing, difficult not to do that with irises, but I want to paint it in a looser way.  And what about the background?  the jury is still out about that.  Will it be an actual scene in the background, ie my garden and hedge, or will it be loose and indeterminate?

In the meantime I am taken by the daffodils by a sunny window that I did as a tonal sketch the other day.  The sketch has shown me that it could work as a watercolour.  So I have been transferring the sketch on to transfer paper to put on to my watercolour sheet.

I'm keeping up with the #sketchjanuary activity on Twitter as well and decided to do this sketch of some irises while watching TV!

Just before that I spent an hour or so doing a watercolour sketch that I've been meaning to do for a long time of the ancient groynes that we can see out of the window on the beach at Sovereign Harbour.  I took a close up photo and loved the rusty nuts and bolts, thinking that I could interpret them with wet in wet washes.

I slept well last night!

Sunday, 4 January 2015

Social media... time wasting or creatively inspiring?

Bit of an obscure title to this post, I grant you but it's an ongoing question in peoples'minds right now.

Example today.  I did finally get to the studio this afternoon after a walk and brunch at wonderful Attenborough nature reserve (More of that tomorrow),  But instead of going on with the irises painting, I was sidetracked by something I've got involved with on Twitter.

They have these great ongoing daily sketching challenges.  There was #stilldecember last month and now it's #sketchjanuary.  People upload work they've done that day.  To be honest I don't really know how it works yet as, with Twitter, nobody can explain much in 140 words, so I'm at a loss, but I'm just joining in anyway!

Anything that makes you sketch and draw daily is a good thing, so even though it has that ring of "showing off" to it, well who cares if it makes you produce work and practise?

So I started a sketch last night from a photo that I've had hanging around for ages and keep looking at thinking, hmmm that's nice, would make a nice watercolour.  Here it is

Lovely isn't it with the sunshine showing up the daffs and the long shadows.  So I got involved with this and found it was very complicated for a start and then discovered lots of other things.  Such as how difficult drawing is when you want to introduce tone and shadows.  What about local colour?  How do you show the colour of the darker trumpets without a handy wash of  pigment?  How do you differentiate the local colour from the different tones?

Come back watercolour all is forgiven!  But it just goes to show that you...or I actually...have to keep practising all the different disciplines, not just watercolour to keep up the skill set.

Anyway here's my drawing.  I'm calling it a tonal sketch for a watercolour, which gives me loads of excuses for bad work!  (I also took the photo practically in the dark on this wintry afternoon so there's another excuse!)

But look out for more sketches as I have to keep up with my social media obligations, you know!

Saturday, 3 January 2015

Irises, don't you just love them?

Well I've made it to the studio again today and have been here most of the day, which is an achievement, trust me!

I've been working out a new composition for a large iris painting.  I'm aware of how much people like Irises and I just love drawing and painting them, so they are my subject for the time being.  Getting used to the fact that I am painting these as I want and not how they would best come over for a class of students.

Last year I took an A4 photocopy of an iris drawing I made based on a photo taken in my garden to Staples.  I had it enlarged to A3 so that it would be the basis of a large painting.  Then I didn't get around to painting it!  So today I have been having another look.

Obviously and sadly, there are no irises to be seen at the moment so I'm using a number of clear photos of which I have taken many over the years to make a composition.

You have to be careful when you don this.  Two things are important.

Scale and lighting.  The irises have to fit in with each other size wise and they have to be lit from the same side so that the lighting is consistent throughout the painting.

I'm enjoying the challenge but as you can see, I am thoroughly bogged down in Irises.  Things could be worse!

Friday, 2 January 2015

New Year and the Best of Intentions

One of my intentions this year is to write often about what I'm doing on my blog and share my daily routine as well as hints and tips about what I'm painting currently.

There are two things that we should be grateful for in this life, I reckon...first that we have changing seasons to renew our enthusiasm and love of nature and the world around us,

and second,

that we have the start of a new year every 365 days to mark the best of intentions for the future.  A fresh start, lovely!

So today felt like the start of something new and I had a burst of enthusiasm for painting.

Goodness knows I have a lot to get on with as I'm going to do an exhibition in early March at the Nottingham Society of Artists gallery.  I'm sharing the space with John Pooler for a week.

There usually is a painting or two lying around waiting to be finished and so today I finished these two which had been vain attempts to get going again after a fallow period.

Anyway here they are

Daisies by the Water

Roses and Buds

My next project will be to do a large painting if Irises that I have had the drawing prepared for since last year!  I need one or two large statements for the exhibition.  So looking forward to that.  I'll keep you posted.

Monday, 29 December 2014

Clematis Demo drawing...YouTube demo reaches 40,000 views, let's celebrate!

Hope everyone has had a wonderful Christmas break and that, like me you are feverishly making plans to restart back at the gym and stocking up on lettuce!

 Rosalie on facebook asked me if there was a drawing available for the clematis demo on YouTube.

Coincidentally, I wandered over to my YouTube page and saw that there have been exactly 40,000 views in total of my videos there.  Yay, I am so glad people are enjoying the demos.

To celebrate I am offering the drawing here for you to download to help you practise the techniques.  Hopefully then you can have another  go using the techniques with your own original design

( A Polite Reminder!  It is copyright and any work done directly from this drawing and the demos on youtube must be credited to me.  Something like "from a painting demo by Ann Mortimer"  Thank you!)

Thank you so much for your interest and your support.  I really appreciate your company on my "art journey".  In fact I wouldn't be doing it if it wasn't for you all  being there and being so positive.

Happy New Year everyone!

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Website returns

Just to let you know that my website is live again.

And here's a nice snowy picture to celebrate!

December blues

Oh dear, my website is down temporarily and the associate email,
 So a quick message to say that if you want to contact me please comment here or message me on my facebook page where I can talk to you.

Will let you know when the website is live again.  Thank you for your patience!

Sunday, 16 November 2014

Mike Leigh's "Mr Turner" turn or turn-off?

I enjoyed this film.  I was convinced by it from start to finish.  I think that Mike Leigh understood the following truth... that much as we would like our famous artists to be prancing about with a paint box producing prettiness very politely, the reality is often very different.  That goes for today and it goes for the 18th and 19th century too.  Artistic creation can be passionate, radical, raw, visceral, in fact arguably the best art is all these things.

Turner was gutsy, driven, he grappled with his subjects, wanted to get as much out of a sky or a seascape as his materials would allow, would not settle for second best.  Spit, eggshells, a rub with a dirty finger, all were grist to the mill in trying to achieve his vision. At least that is what I gather from this portrayal.

I was never particularly a fan of Turner’s art, didn’t really understand him, until now.  Leigh has made me appreciate the man as a passionate genius, a visionary.  As such he was a precursor of the modern non-representational artists, the Tracey Emins who many love to critique and mock for their apparent lack of “talent”. 

Turner, Leigh tells us, was an ordinary bloke verging on the uncouth, but who was consumed by his passion to create with watercolour and oils and he didn’t care a damn what people thought.  Moreover, he was a man of his time in a world where women were treated as chattels and he, along with many men of the time, treated his women badly.  (It is well documented that the great Charles Dickens was guilty of unforgivable cruelty towards his wife, portraying her as insane, so that he could enjoy the company of his mistress unhindered.)  That’s how it was.  Do we want to ignore this or face it?

But Leigh does not shy away from shocking reality and authenticity.  The same honest treatment and wish for authenticity that shows Turner’s animalistic importuning of his landlady up against the bookcase and documents graphically the same poor woman’s worsening psoriasis, also gives us the amazing scenes of the fishing port of Margate, Dutch women strolling along a dyke at dawn, wonderful atmospheric sunsets and the panoramic portrayal of the Fighting Temeraire. 

If art is there to help us appreciate the beauty and complexity of our world and film is an art form, which it certainly is, then Mike Leigh has surely succeeded in opening our eyes on the particular world of J.M.W.Turner and his art.  

Definitely a star turn for me.

Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Autumn inspirations...

I have been sharing my work on facebook but need to catch up here on the blog and show you some paintings I've been doing inspired by Autumn, which for me is the most wonderful season for finding inspiration.  I guess it's the colours that inspire most, the leaves, fruits, flowers providing a panoply of delicious shades and tones.

A loosener exercise from last Autumn

But it's also the special atmosphere that excites the senses... well no, excites is the wrong word as it is all so mellow and relaxed, as if Nature has done her work for this year and is breathing a long sigh of relief and settling down for a long snooze.

And it's the special light, of course.  Low sun sending shafts of warm light through hedges and wooded areas and trees throwing long shadows across russet coloured undergrowth.

I took a walk along the short stretch of the Grantham canal near our home and saw the fruits and flowers in the hedges.  I have countless photos of tangled hedges with hawthorn, sloe, blackberries, elder berries.  This time I was taken by the bindweed flowers which are not welcome in our garden but which shine out like white stars in the hedges.

I put some of what I saw into a composition of leaves, flowers and fruits.  I masked out the flowers and some stalks, then mixed up loads of the autumn colours that I love and went in with a first wash of yellows, reds, pinks and browns

My drawing

First wash and some negative shapes found

I had masked out some shapes representing the holes in the hedge where the light was filtering through.  I love trying to create that illusion.  I laid one or two more washes over the background trying to keep the illusion of other vegetation behind the main subject.  Finally I painted the flowers with shadow coloured washes.  Hope you like the result!

Final Painting

Thursday, 25 September 2014

Why do we do art?...and similar questions.

The recent news articles about the winner of the £25,000 John Moores Painting Prize, Rose Wylie have really made me think.

If one of the reasons for producing art is to shock and make people ask questions, well then this time it worked!  I had never heard of Rose Wylie or seen any of her work and so seeing her prize winning painting was something of a surprise and a "sit up and take notice!" moment for me.

This is her winning painting "PV Windows and Floorboards"

I've been looking around and researching her, looking at her art on line, reading articles and watching videos of her being interviewed.  Fascinating stuff if only because she is 80 years old and is being described as an up and coming artist.

What intrigues me is her utter unconcern about how her work is viewed and how she has all these years kept to her particular vision of what she wants to create as art despite up til now being largely ignored and her paintings not selling. She appears not to be interested in putting over a message or communicating or creating something which would be described in traditional terms as beautiful.

So I ask why do we do art?

More musings to come...

Tuesday, 2 September 2014

DVD available again on Amazon

Apologies to anyone who has been trying to order my watercolour Techniques DVD from Amazon.  The technical problem has been sorted and the DVD is now available again.  

Thursday, 28 August 2014

Anemones step by step project...continued

Bunch of Anemones Instructions for painting

I hope you enjoy this step by step if you have a go at painting it.
I love sharing the joys of using techniques to "tame" this wonderful medium and use it to express the beauty of the natural forms around us.

My future plan is to start an series of on line courses.  You would get A4 drawings, full instructions and most importantly FEEDBACK on your work for maximum learning potential.

So look out for these!

Reference photo

My drawing


-Watercolour paper 140not 11x15 inches
(I used Saunders
-A board with your paper fixed to it with masking tape all around the edge.
-Watercolour Brushes Size 6, 8 10
-Masking Fluid and a small old brush to apply it
2B Pencil and a putty rubber

Raw sienna
Quinacridone gold
Winsor blue
Cobalt Blue
Winsor Violet
Permanent Rose
Quinacridone Magenta
Quinacridone Red

Step One
I drew the design on to the watercolour paper set at landscape. I then put a line of masking fluid approx. half a centimetre thick round the edge of the flowers in order to protect them from the first wash. I also masked out some small sparkly spots in the glass vase. While the masking was drying I prepared my colours for the first wash.
I made large wells of aureolin and raw sienna lightly mingled, permanent rose, Winsor violet, cobalt blue. The paint was single cream consistency. I wetted the paper with clean water everywhere except the main body of the flowers so that any colour would only spread where the water was.
Ignoring the drawn lines, I started by dropping in yellows top left and down through the vase and over the table. I then dropped in the blues and violets using a weaving action and allowing the colours to blend on the paper. Once the colours were in I lifted the board and allowed the colours to mix and run one into the other. I let this first wash dry completely. Then I removed the masking on the flowers.

TIP! Cover your masking brush with soap to protect it.

Step Two
I made wells of the yellows, a green well made with Winsor blue and Quinacridone gold loosely mingled, and separate ones of violet, red and pink in order to paint the flowers. I wet each flower with clean water and stroked in the thick colour leaving some areas unpainted to depict light.
The water makes the colour blend naturally. One or two white flowers were left unpainted. I dropped some yellows and greens into the leafy areas and let them blend. I allowed this to dry completely

Step 2

Step Three
Studying closely the reference photo, I used thicker mixes of each flower colour to make one petal stand out against another. I painted in some folds and creases within one of the unpainted flowers to make a pale violet flower. With a mix of cobalt and a tiny touch of pink I painted in the creases in the white flowers. For the flower centres, I first laid in some cobalt blue, and then dropped in a dark mix made with Winsor blue, pink and a touch of green. The little stamens were painted with the dark mix.
I painted the frilly leaves in the centre by painting the negative spaces around them with darker green and then leaves around the outside were painted.
For the vase, I made a mix of Winsor blue and a little gold and aureolin to make a blue green colour. I wet the vase with clean water and then dropped the thick colour in round the edge and allowed it to travel into the centre. I stroked in some stalk shapes wet in wet with a thick green mix. All this was allowed to dry.

TIP! Try and leave some edges unpainted
on the flowers to give an effect of light.

Step 3

TIP! When painting the vase, concentrate your colour round the outside to keep the centre light to make it look more “glassy” and see through.

Step Four
The vase needed another layer of paint. Once again I gently wet the whole vase and a very thick mix of the dark blue/green colour was dropped in around the edge and at the bottom to depict the thick glass. I let the colour spread naturally. With some yellowy green I painted in some negative shapes among the stalks in the vase to make them stand out. Some more negative shapes were painted among the frilly leaves. I removed the masking on the vase to reveal some sparkles on the glass.
Finally it was time to lay in a second wash behind the flowers to make then stand out with more impact. For this I made up some Winsor blue, some violet, some magenta and then wet the background on the top half of the painting right the way to the edge of the paper. I then dropped in the colours up against the flowers and weaved them to the edge of the paper and allowed them to blend by tipping the board this way and that. I left the wash alone without manipulating it so it stayed fresh and clean. I allowed this to dry.
I laid in the suggestion of a cast shadow and a reflection from the vase with a mix of cobalt and a touch of pink and wetting the paper lightly first.

TIP! You can do the background wash in
two parts if this is easier, making a break
in the middle at the top.

To see me actually painting similar projects have a look at this link about my DVD (£15 via PayPal or Amazon)  

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Back home and September means a new beginning...

I have finally got around to posting here after our trip to the USA.

We had a great time in Seattle and Port Townsend, WA.  We spent time with our daughter and son in law and, as it was our first ever trip to the USA, went around looking in awe at the tremendous sense of space and hugeness in that big country.

Now back to work and art and first of all THE BOOKS!  Tax returns do not fill in themselves and so this is what is taking my time at the moment.


September is nearly with us with all it's sense of a new "term", a new beginning, new uniform, a new series of "Strictly" on the telly and all know what I mean!

So I thought I would upload a step by step for anyone who wants to have a go at something new. Colourful Anemones!

This is actually one of the step by steps I have published in a leaflet with the written instructions, colours to use etc..

For today though here are the photo and drawing to have a look at and an example of the finished painting.

I'll upload the different stages to help you paint this next time.

By the way, the glass vase is one of the projects that I paint on my DVD.  So there's a reason to send for it!