Friday, 18 April 2014

LEAVES and cartoon



Add some leaves to you sketch book there is a plethora burgeoning from all directions, with a rich choice of greens, blues and reds it's the perfect time to practice colour mixing. I use a warm yellow, cool yellow or lemon, a cool minty blue and a warm navy blue, a warm red and a cool pinky red. My preferred colours are Sennelier red, Sennelier rose madder, Sennelier Phthalocyanine blue, Sennelier french ultramarine, Sennelier yellow deep, Sennelier lemon yellow; with these six colours I find I can mix most if not all the greens on offer. Experiment with mixes and see what happens, if I am being teacher, mix a colour drop it into a water glaze and let it be, just watch and enjoy seeing what colour and texture matures. The ivy demo will give you ideas on techniques. Paint on scraps of best watercolour paper and then stick them into your sketch book.
On something completely different, below is the start of my cartoon commission, oh to wear hair like that.
A very Happy easter to you all, steady on the chocolate :).

Friday, 11 April 2014

Spring, Book and memories

Hello lovely people, my new project goes live on Monday continuing the next step of the lily flower study. I have been tending to my garden, just a little this week, in between painting for various deadlines. 


The section of the painting above was commissioned by my godmother's cousin; she particularly wanted the early clematis with daffodils to remind her of her university years and the friendships she made at that time. Plants are wonderful for stirring memories, I remember squishing the snow berries (Symphoricarpos albus) outside our house every autumn, while waiting for my brother and sister to walk with me to school, I can't help but squish one or two in my garden in the autumn in memory to that time in my life. This time of year with blossom, blossoming everywhere reminds me of gathering up to throw at my sister as she pretended to be a bride while sporting an old net curtain on her head, we also mushed the petals in rain water to make some kind of perfume or magic potion, ahh if only you could bottle the memories.... not the squashed blossom that never smelled good.


So with the birds singing and the sunshine and new growth everywhere , the mood takes me spiritually to Devon, we spent many Easters there with my grandparents and because it always seemed so far away the thrill of seeing them was so rewarding. Beaches, fields and streams to discover, it all seems like a dream now. Every time I paint a primrose I am transported back to my nan's garden, where I would sneak my hands through the fence to pick some primroses from the field margin. I know I was small, as when I returned with my own children my hands were too big to sneak through the wire. One thought pervades as I survey the garden, why do we love and encourage daisies and yet persecute the dandelion? AND I never once wet the bed after picking the said flower!! 


On another note, I am making excuses again, it looks like the new book will get pushed to 2015, this is what happens when you take on the huge task of completing a book in a very short time. I am desperate not to rush the book and regret the end result but I was so sure I could get the paintings complete by the end of April. I have been painting every day non stop since the last week of march and am stiff and tearing at the seams with sitting for so long at the studio table. The good news is with a little pressure off the painting will flow better and the book will benefit. 

till next time 

billyx


Tuesday, 1 April 2014

How to paint and things floral

A snippet of my painting at this years SBA show


Hello lovely people, my new project on painting a white Lily (Lilium longiflorum) is live on the subscription site subscribe.billyshowell.com I just need to tell you that the drawing part has been reshot and will have a drawing demo that you will be able to see! this will be added asap and is a lesson learned for me.
On all things floral
There are 2 wonderful Shows coming up which if you visit you should. The first is the Big SBA show (The Society of Botanical Artists) a wonderful show of all thing botanical covering mostly botanical illustration but also a wide variety of top floral painters, jewellers, glass engravers, miniatures and new this year silk sculpture and collage held at the Westminster Central Hall, Storeys Gate London SW1H 9NH 9th -18th May 11am-5pm including Sundays Wheelchair access and cafe available.
The next Show is the SFP (The Society of Floral Painters) to be held at the Oxmarket Centre of Arts, Chichester, 21st May- 8th June with the exception of the bank holiday 26th May and it will be closed on Mondays.
This week
We have had beautiful weather, calm and sunny, I had my parents and Charlie come for lunch on mothering Sunday and I made a pretty good apple pie for puds'. Then we drove Charlie back to Brighton and actually sat on the beach sipping a G&T and watching the sun go down, lovely and very welcome after all the rain and hailstones. 
I was thinking we are so lucky to have such a beautiful world of wonderful plants to observe and paint, one of my passions is walking out and seeing what is popping up this time of year, so many things get passed by especially on the verges and now is the perfect time in the UK to familiarise yourself with the wild plants close to home. 
There is a wonderful group called Plantlife http://plantlife.org.uk/ I  found out about them when I was invited to teach a class for them as an activity on one of their annual get togethers at a reserve. The organisation works hard to protect the natural plantlife around us and show how they have a vital role in everyone's lives. Have a peek and see what they do.
I thought of plantlife and the wonderful work they do as I collected up the usual and sad build up of litter along the verge where I live, to free the daffodils concealed beneath the odd can or plastic bag, I am imagining we all do the same but where are the Wombles (you will need to click on the wombles word to see who I am talking about) when you need them?I was a very keen Wombler when young and actually had my own litter picking stick (a bamboo rod with a nail on the end) I hesitantly tell you this, as I am aware how strange this sounds but I loved going out with my dad and siblings and clearing a bit of woodland scrubland or beach; I am getting all misty eyed about it now. The truth is it was all about being outside and seeing the leaf buds, baby bracken curling up from the soil and so on and indeed saving the field mice from getting stuck in empty pop bottles. This latter fact was revealed to me on the kids programme 'Blue Peter' where they told use that mice climb into abandoned sticky bottles but can never get out due to the air in the bottle sucking them back in, it's too sad to think about. Any hoo I have saved a few mice and daffodils this week and seen the baby leaves about to burst forth, so all is good.
some favourite photos