Wednesday, 3 February 2016

Clematis Watercolour Tutorial Part 1 // Intro and Masking

You may not have seen this free demo on Youtube.  Hope you enjoy!

If you subscribe (it's free) then you will be able easily to see the rest of the demo and any new demos that become available.

Saturday, 30 January 2016

Sweet peas on a sunlit windowsill...stages

I recently uploaded the following step by step project on to Facebook as I know people enjoy seeing the painting process.

But I also know that there are lots of people who read this blog who do not choose to join the Facebook community.

So I thought I'd upload it here for you.

I took this photo of some sweet peas that I'd picked from the garden one summer's day.  I remember that we were going on holiday the next day and that by the time we came back the sweet peas would be over...bad planning!  So I figured that if I picked a bunch and photographed them, then I might be able to paint from that in the future...good planning!

I love cast shadows and the one here on the windowsill inspired a painting.  I photographed each stage so here are the stages with a few words to explain the process.

Please Click on the photos to make them larger.

My photo

The colours I used

Stage 1

You can see a very simple drawing to get the basic outline. I've wetted the whole paper and then dropped in colours wet in wet. I've dropped in yellows and pinks on the window edge and sill for the reflected colours and light. I've masked one or two areas to retain light and for the "holes" in the cast shadow.

Stage 2

The main flower shapes are in. I tried to keep them loose by dropping in colours wet in wet. After wetting the vase I dropped in greys made from mixing pink, yellow and green in the palette. I've dropped some green in wet in wet at the top of the vase. Important to leave the bottom of the vase unpainted.

Stage 3

I mingled the colours in the palette to make a grey for the shadow. You can see the pinks that I've dropped into the shadow wet in wet. That's the reflected light from the sweet peas. I left a white band on the top of the water in the vase when I painted the flower stalks. I've painted some wood shapes into the sill very pale to retain the sense of sunshine hitting the surface.

The finished painting

I've put another layer of dark over the shadow on the window edge and on the front of the sill. More dark greens have been dropped into the background and some detail to the window sill. I've added some stalks among the flowers. But the general effect is "less is more".

. I was inspired by the cast shadow and the challenge of making the flowers read "sweet peas" without going into too much detail. The glass vase is hardly painted at all...only what is in it or visible through it.  

Hope you enjoyed seeing the stages!

Tuesday, 26 January 2016

Ideas, ideas and more ideas...

I'm looking out on to a rather bleak but still beautiful landscape, being battered by strong winds today.  This is a hilltop village, so we have the views but we also are open to the blasts of strong winds which have plagued us this year from the South West.  But not complaining, worth it for the view!

There are two hares sitting in the field in front of's a field of winter wheat and they seem to be hanging out there during most of the day, sitting there, ears back, perhaps waiting for the Spring to this country life!

Anyway here's something I prepared earlier


This was a half finished demo from a hydrangeas workshop a year or two ago.  Thought I'd put some finishing touches to it.  I love the textures, shapes and depth of hydrangea flowers and the varied tones and colours within them.  Never tire of painting them.

It's a time of ideas...contemplation, decision making and so on about the way forward for me.  We are looking into renewing my website so that it can include more work and it will mean that I will be able to update it myself without asking a website manager to make any changes.  More filmed painting demos are on the cards which people can download.  And I still am looking at ways to put some course materials on line for learning watercolourists and to offer feedback on their work.

It all takes time though!  These days actual painting is only a fraction of what can be done. The possibilities afforded by the internet are so varied and almost don't know where to start!

Sunday, 17 January 2016

Getting back to work...

The second blog post within one week!

I'm determined to keep uploading news here and as I've actually been in my art room every day, I have something to report.  My new room is now feeling more familiar and I'm more at home in it.  I didn't understand how long it would take to get accustomed as an artist to a new creative environment...we are such sensitive creatures! Ha!

So I start out on a new piece of work...only to find that my masking fluid has dried up and gone solid.  I thought of the times when I had (gently) chided my students when they hadn't kept their equipment in good order..." If you painted every day..."!  Masking fluid is famed for being awkward and going hard or lumpy or generally unusable, and there am I not able to paint without going out to the shops and buying more.  Good start!  Aargh!

So I'm spending some time getting used to the routine again.  It's a case of generally looking through old paintings, riffling through my collection of photos,  relocating my sketch books and finding out where I'd put my stock of paper.

My thoughts are being concentrated by the upcoming SFP exhibition, not til May/June.  So I'm revisiting a painting that was very popular on facebook when I uploaded it last year.

The Daylilies painting receiving some extra attention

It's of daylilies in my old garden, resplendent in the midday sun.  It was ok but just needed tightening up a bit.  But not too much!
Still working on that...

But last Friday was exciting.  A painting sold on my website.  And the discovery that one of my paintings had been used for a greetings card and I hadn't been paid for the licence.  So that needed sorting out.  It took the best part of a morning...I wish I had a PA!

Sunday, 10 January 2016

A Happy New Creative Year to you!

A Happy New Year to everyone!

This blog has been sorely neglected over the last few months due to our having moved house and my having been very busy doing all the various chores that come with setting up a new home.

But here I am sitting in my new art room enjoying a beautiful view over open fields at the back of this new house and I couldn’t be more content!

My view as I paint in my new art room

But here’s a thing. 
Why haven’t  I produced any art for such a long time?  That’s a question I cannot answer and it has been preying on my mind all this time.  Real artists draw and paint every day don’t they?  How has it been possible for me to leave it alone for so long?

Answers on a postcard...or leave me a comment if you have suffered this sort of artist’s block in the past and how you have overcome it.

My poor neglected palette from the last time I painted
Quite beautiful in itself, huh?

My last watercolour painted in June 2015

In the meantime, I’m passing on a piece of important information.

As they are more or less sold out, I have withdrawn my watercolour techniques DVD from sale on Amazon.  There are only a few remaining which can be ordered on my website through PayPal, but no longer via Amazon.

Many people have asked about a second DVD.  Plans are afoot to produce some video material which will be downloadable direct.  No sending off for DVDs, just a click and a payment you will be able to view the video in a matter of minutes, even seconds and it will be there for you to watch again and again.

This takes some setting up though!  But hopefully this Spring will see some watercolour techniques downloads available from AnnMortimerArt. 

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.