Project Photo Gallery: Bluebells

Here are paintings inspired by June’s project, in an array of styles all the way from botanical to abstract. Enjoy!

By Bee: “My attempt at bluebell woods in acrylic, using leaf prints. I was worried I had gone a bit dark and got a bit too enthusiastic with the leaf prints.”
From Marion: Really like this! The sense of cool shade, how it leads the eye up to the bluebells and sunlight.
By Bayberry: I gave this one a shot but it is more about birches than bluebells! From Marion: For me it’s got a real sense of walking in the cool shade of Uig woodland, seeing the sunny field of buttercups through the trees.
By Eddie: Having done a couple of small studies I decided to go large. I found it difficult to know how big to do the flowers and started off far too small since I wanted them to be front and centre. I have used watercolour, gouache, inktense, acrylic and soft pastels. From Marion: Your bluebells are definitely front and centre, immediately dominating the composition and demanding we look at them. That they decrease in size as they go into the background adds a sense of depth and location. The layers on the bluebells give them form, colour, and visual intrigue. They feel as if I could touch them with my finger and they’re dance about.
By Katherine: But by following the links on the Higham newsletter I’ve found your monthly projects, and this is my first effort. I’ve combined it with a challenge that my local art teacher to produce something using 3 ‘wet’ colours and 3 ‘dry’ colours so this has been created using 3 loosely applied watercolours and 3 chalk pastel colours. It also had to be done within 30 minutes (not including drying time).
From Marion: Delighted you found the project, and hope you’ll be joining in more.
By Helen R: My go at a bluebell wood.
From Marion: It reminds me of the bluebells growing in the grounds at Armadale Castle on the south of Skye, where they outgrow the other greenery.
By Sarah: . I started with Ink, then I went back to practice more in watercolours. I thoroughly enjoyed this.
From Marion: I’ve enjoyed watching your progress on Facebook with your botanical art studies, and it’s a special thrill that this month’s project prompted you to do a bluebells. A beautiful painting of a deliate flower, and a reminder to me of how it’s time well spent to slow down and look closely.
By Cathi: ” After much doodling and playing around I came up with two totally different pics. Watercolour and ink.”
From Marion: I love the freedom in this, the loose expression of the colour constrained with just a touch of line. So deceptively simple!
By Cathi: “After much doodling and playing around I came up with two totally different pics. This, the second, at last, is going away from the “must look like what it is”! Watercolour and ink.”
From Marion: If it weren’t for the theme “bluebells” I wouldn’t be making the connection, so in your aim to get away from it “looking real”, you’d certainly succeeded. Conversely, having “bluebells” in mind gives me a path into the painting, a way to interpret and make it intriguing rather than merely mysterious. I find myself wondering what a version with curved cut lines rather than straight would feel like, vs the strong straight lines.

By Marion. Mixed media. (See this blog post)

July’s Painting Project: White Daisies

This month’s project features one of my favourite flowers, white daisies. A challenge to use this reference photo with a small colour range (white, green, yellow) and a lot of repeated shapes (the circles of the flowers and lines of the stems) to compose and create a painting. Remember, a refernce photo is a starting point, not the finish point. See where it takes you, in any medium you choose.


  • Simply the composition: There’s a lot happening in this reference photo, so start by thinking about what you would leave out and narrow down what you might include in a composition. Doing thumbnails would be time well spent, tiny drawings with the basics of a composition. (I would crop off the right-hand half and a sliver off the bottom of the photo, a composition with an area top left where there aren’t daisies to give breathing space.)
  • Focus on shape: Daisies have a very distinctive shape, the central splash of yellow with slivers of white dancing around. Growing as they are in the reference photo, we see them from all sorts of angles as well as some older flowers where the petals are drooping. A second level of shape is the wiggles of the stems.
  • White: The ‘white’ of the petals isn’t the same across the whole flower. Think “interesting whites” not “tube white”. Add a bit of blue or purple to areas in shadow, and yellow to areas catching the light. If you use the same blue(s) and yellow(s) to paint the greenery, you’ll have a colour harmony in your painting.
  • Shadows: If you’re using acrylics or oils, think about painting from dark to light, put the shadow areas in first and add opaque colour on top, rather than trying to add shadows afterwards. Or let the painting dry so you can add the darks by glazing.
  • Sky: That little sparkle of sky in the top lefthand corner, maybe continue that across the top of the composition to give an extra colour and relieve all that green.
  • Think in layers: Create a list of layers you could have, mediums and colours and mark making. It’s a bit like a recipe, all the decisions made before you start, leaving you to focus the painting.
  • Do blocks: Taking inspiration from April’s projects and create a composition with little blocks of daisies (as I did with my Dozen Daisies).
  • Supersize: Take a detail and make it fill a composition, a “supersized” or giant daisy or three. Like the Edinburgh-artist Lucy Jones has done here and here.

This is what my list of layers might look like, using mixed media on paper (as I did in my Concertina Daisies):

  • Pencil to mark the initial composition, especially the position of the flowers. This could be lightly done so it doesn’t show, or used as the first layer of line.
  • Line drawing of the flowers and stems, using acrylic ink (because once it’s dry, it won’t lift).
  • Yellow ink or watercolour onto centres of flowers, and a little random yellow onto the areas of greenery (to create colour variation once I start painting the stems more deliberately).
  • A darkish watercolour green applied with stems in mind to give a linear feel to it, but not too carefully.
  • Another watercolour green,similarly applied, to give variation.
  • While I wait for the greens to dry, do another layer on the flowers with a light blue ink for “shadow petals”, knowing these will have a layer of white over the blue to ‘subdue’ it.
  • Another layer on the stems and foliage, a brighter more yellow green that’s and more opaque too so it pulls forward. Applied with a little more precision to tighten up shapes and give definition to stems.
  • Add some light blue ‘sky’ colour along the top, encouraging it to drip and run down. I’d first try with watercolour, but if it’s too lost then I might repeat the layer with a slightly opaque acrylic (adding white to any blue, then making it fairly watery).
  • Use white to define the petals. This could be a drawn line with acrylic ink or using a flat brush (which if you twist it as you pull it gives a nice ‘petal’). Watch out for it being too uniform a white — having bits that are still wet that you hit and mix on the paper, or having stray bits of colour on your palette can help. Or mix a bit of ‘interesting’ white and use this first before ‘clean white’ as the top layer.
  • Reinforce the yellows of the flowers.
  • Check if the darks need to be reinfored.
  • Leave it overnight, look again with fresh eyes, and decide if anything else needs doing.

If you’d like to have your painting included in the project gallery, simply email it to me (and for any of the other projects, whenever you might do them). If you’d like help whilst working on your painting and feedback on the finished painting, this is available to project patrons. Have fun!

Project Photo Gallery: Abstracted Grids

An email from a friend reminded me I hadn’t done the photo gallery for May’s painting project yet (nor June’s newsletter). Apologies for keeping you waiting; June has rather slipped away from me, but pulling this photo gallery together this morning has reminded me of how much fun there is to be had with grids. So without further ado, here they are for you to enjoy:

By Bee: “windows on my work room. Fun with a fountain pen.”
From Marion: ” Each is intriguing by itself, and then together create a story, a sense of location.”
ByEddie: “This is a tour around my studio with a pencil. Good luck with recognising anything here.”

From Marion: My first thought was “I bet I can recognise things” and sure, there are a few, brushes for instance, a mannekin and clock. Possibly a tape dispenser. And a boat, but is it a model or a painting if a boat? It becomes absorbing, unpicking a puzzle and finding the strands of the story.
By Eddie: “Cutting up failed paintings is a fun way to use them.”
By Eddie: “I liked the cut up technique interesting but found the small size a bit limiting. This an abstract which I tore up to use the back of the paper. A bit of cutting and rearranging was fun.”

From Marion: It’s intriguing how a cut-up piece takes on a new life and becomes more than it was before. The tidier side of my personality keeps wanting to nudge the ones that are just a little out of alignment, though I realise this would make the composition more rigid and it’ll feel different.
By Eddie: “I am a little concerned that this could become addictive but it’s a great use for failed watercolours.”

From Marion: “If you find yourself deliberately messing up a painting so you can do this, then you’ve become addicted! It’s like each little block is a chapter and together they create a story. Each time I allow my eyes to circle around the blocks a different one grabs my attention.
By Eddie: “If I do this again I will use larger squares (these are 2cm, pastel) as I found them pretty difficult.”
By Cathi: As usual the “must look like what it is” side of me won over. I have ended up with lots of little quick sketch ideas of my garden. 2” squares giving an A2 finished size.
By Cathi, watercolour on A3: “This is a more abstract version of the previous one. Spot the bluebells.”
By Cathi, pastel

May’s project led me in several directions:

This was created looking at a bunch of roses in a yellow jug. The closer-up details that are more abstracted and intriguing work better for me, but I also like the blocks that combine line and colour (second row, second from the right).
See Blocks of Abstraction: Two Cut-Ups
It becomes quite mesmerising shifting little sections of a failed painting around as it transforms into something new
This is my favourite from the various pieces May’s project led me to doing. See A Dozen Daisies

The details of June’s painting project (bluebells) can be found here. And a reminder that if you’d like to help with your project paintings, the way to do this is to become a project subscriber via Patreon (now with £, $ and Euro options; I use Patreon because the site deals with the VAT paperwork for me).

Video Painting Demo: Bluebells

Watch over my shoulder as I paint using the reference photo from the painting project for June as my starting point inspiration (along with my visual memories from the times I’ve been in the Uig woodland and seen bluebells). I’m using an A2 sheet of 350gsm watercolour paper, with watercolour, coloured pencil, and oil pastel.

At one point I take the masking tape off to try to stop myself overworking it; the next day when I continued I taped the edges again, cropping a bit at the top. You’ll see quite a bit of my putting down paint and then lifting most of it off with a piece of paper towel; I was worried about getting too dark too soon, but may well have hesitated too much. The video is at 10x speed, except for the bit where studio cat comes to inspect (at 06:41).

June’s Painting Project: Bluebells

Bluebells transform a landscape into dance of purple-blue amidst all sorts of greens. The flowers are a distinctive colour, blue that leans strongly to purple but isn’t any of the straight-from-the-tube blues available to us, so gives an excuse to spend time colour mixing with all our possible colours. (See: My Watercolour Recipe for Bluebell Blue.)

Scottish bluebells (Hyacinthoides non-scripta) have flowers mostly on one side of the stem, pulling it over in a stoop, curls on the petals, and narrow leaves, about 1cm. It’s Spanish blubells that are more upright, plus all the variations that come with hybrids (which means there’s leeway for artistic licence).

The project for this month is to do a painting using this reference photo as the starting point:

A painting about the woodland floor, the patterns of colour and shape, light and dark, soft edges and hard, the layers of foliage. Painting style can be anything, it could be realism enjoying the details, impressionist enjoying patterns of colour (e.g. Renoir’s Path in the Wood) and brushwork (like Monet), or abstract as in this Hommage à Klimt. You might divide it into a grid of little pictures in the style of last month’s project.

For my own painting I’m visualising something in the style of Gustav Klimt’s forest paintings e.g. his Birch Forest but in blue-greens and with flowers not fallen leaves. A bluebells version of my Listening to Trees painting (from 2013) less abstracted than my Listening to Bluebells painting.

Tips: If it feels like an impossibly complicated scene, start by reducing it to its main shapes (e.g. rectangles of tree trunk, triangles of ferns/leaves, dancing curls of bluebells). This will give you the building blocks for a composition. Look at where the lightest lights are and the darkest darks (maybe ignoew the sliver of light across the mid-ground). Do some colour mixing for shades of green and your bluebell blue. Think of painting it in layers rather than from blank canvas/paper to finished in one go, working from main shapes towards detail, what can be suggested and what must be described.

Here are some additional reference photos to provide extra information and inspiration:

Maybe your painting take a mouse’s eye-view?
This a bit of a “spot the bluebells” photo when viewed small, but it gives a sense of the edge of a bit of the Uig woodland where bluebells thrive. The bluebells had been out for a bit when I took this photo and the “other stuff” has grown up, hiding them.
How about including some dandelions?

As always, if you’d like to have your paintings included in the next photo gallery, email a photo to me or send through social media. If you’d prefer for it to be shared without your full name, just let me know.

Project Photo Gallery: Found & Visual Poems

April’s project was something quite different, and it’s been heartening to receive comments about how much it’s been enjoyed and the directions it’s taken people. Here’s an assortment, starting with blackout poems and moving onto more visual. Enjoy!

By Eddie: “Not so much a poem as a progress report.”
By Amanda: “I enjoyed it I may remove more words but I will go onto page 2 next I may also try with a newspaper or magazine page.”
By Amanda
By Issie: “Really enjoyed the challenge. Kept it in black and white. People with dementia only have a bit of light filtering through the darkness.”
By Lorraine: “Really enjoyed this exercise and find myself doing it all the time when reading articles has lots of possibilities.”
By Lorraine
By Lorraine
By Cathi: “I do like it but I think it is quite dark and a bit depressing.”

whispered voices / tested on tongues /
applied improbably chance / in a different weight /
The night closed over / swollen membranes /
in out / the breath of the river
By Cathi
By Mungo, from a Terry Pratchett book:

straining sales / the roar of the wind /
the burst of electric storm light / cold light /
My lord? /
The captain looked terrified /
fizzing tongues / edged with blackness /
wizards magic
By Chrissie:

Tons of blossom / pigeons quietly pick asparagus /
I am going to go and compost food / Oh well /
It was quite a socially distanced / chap on the door
Pacman desperately / holding their breath as they / Organised /
how many days should pass before we know / the worst day
the snake wrapping more than half way /
Inside perspex shields /
and gates at each end /
I have been trawling and even tiny mills have no flour
By Cathi: I have had fun; not going to win prizes but I do hope it makes you smile.

The sheep year starts
When the tups go out
Balancing things
Looking around
Usually I appreciate what surrounds
They make me smile
Singing and
Chattering, especially at dawn and dusk
All signs of a balanced ecosystem
By Sarah: The monthly project took me to some usual feelings and places starting off with Simon and Garfunkels “The Sounds of Silence”.
By Sarah:

And finally, a page of daily word prompt drawings from Amanda (you’ll find the downloadable templates here):

From Marion: Looking at 5, I guess we all now know your favourite food!

This one of mine I’ve called “Pep Talk to Self”:
good good your idea / go for it
mind hand / fresh vital
artistic expression / artistic feeling
beautiful person / witty brilliant
right / great / fearlessly going

Blocks of Abstraction: Two Cut-Ups

Reading Austin Kleon’s blog on the Calm of Collage yesterday led me to Lynda Barry’s quote: “Sometimes we are so confused and sad that all we can do is glue one thing to another”, which led me to digging out some of the sheets in my “failed paintings on paper” pile, cutting up a couple with scissors, and finding a seldom-used stick of glue.

The first was a “tree painting”, done in watercolour that hadn’t gone anywhere (and wasn’t destined to as I’d added a black cat peeping out behind a tree). Once I started moving the squares about, it started to feel like it was a depiction of the pond from February’s project.

The second was a demo painting of kilt rock, that had random ink on the back. Once I’d cut it up, I found I preferred the ‘wrong’ side of quite a few of the squares. Moving the blocks around, it started to feel like a collection of “low tide shore”.

I rather like the results. Think I might well be reaching for the scissors and glue again today. Whether I will stick with “definitely failed” paintings or have the courage to cut up some “might still be made to work” paintings remains to be seen.

May’s Painting Project: Blocks of Abstraction

This month’s project is something that can be done slowly over several days or in a burst of activity, at a level of colourful complexity or simply in black-and-white. It’s about recording small bits of things we see and building up a grid of these to show us things anew. I’m calling it “Blocks of Abstraction”.

The starting point is cutting yourself a small viewfinder from a piece of stiff paper or card. Not too small and not too big; mine is about 5x5cm (2×2″). I used a pair of scissors to cut mine, and it’s a little organic rather than perfectly square, but that just adds character. It doesn’t have to be square, it could be rectangular.

May's painting project: Blocks of Abstraction

Next, use your viewfinder as a stencil to draw a grid on a sheet of paper or in a sketchbook, as many as will fit across and down but leaving some space inbetween each to write notes. You’ll see I cut the borders on my viewfinder to allow for this.

May's painting project: Blocks of Abstraction

You might want to create several pages with grids like this so that if you’re on a roll you don’t have to stop to draw one.

The project is about filling the grid using the viewfinder as a composition tool, a way to restrict what you’re looking at. There are numerous ways to go about this, but what I suggest as a starting point is to sit somewhere, hold the viewfinder at arm’s length, and capture what you see in a grid box. The main shapes, lines, intersections, colours, not details. Holding the viewfinder at arm’s length means you don’t see too much through it, and also that you don’t take too long with each drawing because your arm is going to get tired holding the viewfinder in position. Write a few words alongside about what it was (think “clue” rather than “description”). Then shift your arm left or right, up or down, and repeat, and repeat.

Don’t overthink it and don’t reject too many of the compositions that present themselves (some selection is inevitable unless you’re incredibly disciplined). This project works when all the grids are filled, it doesn’t rest on the success of an individual one. The sum of the parts and all that. What you end up with is a page filled with pattern, shape, and colour, small abstractions of ‘life’. This has a beauty and intrigue all of its own, but can also become the starting point for larger abstract paintings.

As an example of what I’ve in mind, here’s my table in my studio. The items are things that happened to be there, not selected nor arranged: a roll of blue paper towel and a scrunched up bit, a water spray bottle, a water bottle with a blue lid, bottles of ink/watercolour, brush washing water container with lid, pencils on a plastic box lid lying on top of my watercolour set, and assorted rocks.

May's painting project: Blocks of Abstraction

I lifted up my viewfinder and noticed there was a blue pencil, which linked the blue of the bottle lid and the blue of the paper towel. So that became a colour to use in my drawings (along with 2B graphite in my propelling pencil) and a starting point for what I would draw.

May's painting project: Blocks of Abstraction
May's painting project: Blocks of Abstraction

Additional ideas:

Do it outside:
Go outside with a sketchbook and pencil and draw looking north/south/east/west at eye level, looking down, and looking up. If you can go for a walk, set yourself a random target for stopping, say every 20 steps.

Look through the viewfinder, scanning a room or garden, and stop to draw every time you see an intersection of two lines or shapes.

Pick a theme:
Limit yourself to a colour and look around for it. Or a shape, such as a circle. Or something that you might have variations of, such as a chair, or what’s on a shelf. Or looking through a particular window.

Object from different viewpoints:
Take an object, something that’s not symmetrical, and look at it through the viewfinder from different viewpoints or angles. You might rotate the object or you might move yourself around it. I’m thinking here of Cubism, where an object was depicted from several angles all in one drawing/painting, except you’ll be using the grid to separate out the parts.

Tear up old paintings:
Use your viewfinder to select interesting bits of old paintings and tear out those bits. Or cut up the entire painting into small squares and then re-arrange the pieces from most to least interesting, or by dominant colour.

Colour only:
Take your paint box or set of coloured pencils and put a different colour in every box. It might be at random, the order you pick them up. It might be colours arranged as a rainbow, or starting each row with a colour and creating variations across, whether in tone or by mixing with other colours. For words, add the colour names, pigment numbers, things that contain this colour, or go on a tangent with moods/emotions you associate with the colour, perhaps sounds.

For inspiration, take a look at the work of mixed media artist Tansy Hargan on Instagram (or Facebook) @palimpsestparade, who describes herself as a “landscape architect gone rogue”. She’s created all sorts of grids, including using white pen on black paper, collaged paper, fabric, pencils, paint. And you can see how these lead towards larger mixed pieces.

Photo Gallery: Red Boat Painting Project

Thank you to everyone who sent in their paintings for the Red Boat Project (instructions here) for us all to enjoy and be inspired by. From ink and wash to watercolour to pastels, acrylics to oils, these paintings show how different mediums each have their own characteristics, along with the artist’s style. Enjoy!

By Asif: ” I left the bottom corners blank to focus only the boat and nets in the foreground. After finishing the painting, I felt that detailing on the nets is little high and boat looks like a toy.”

From Marion: I like your use of negative space, which helps lead the eye up the composition and gives breathing space. The level of detail on the nets works for me as it’s balanced by the looser marks of the ground and grass next to it and decreases in the further ones. The boat looks right to me, but in real life it is a bit like a little boat in a storybook, starting with its colour.
By Bee: “My take on the creels, ink and water colour.”

From Marion: My very first thought was “ooh, Bee’s managed to stick to just line and a little colour as I’ve wanted to but haven’t yet managed and look how beautifully it works!” (Join the discussion on Patreon )
By Eddie: “Marion said some kind things about it but pointed out that the wall was rather prominent. This is after I tried to improve it.”

From Marion: I like your reworking of the wall, and it now lets the red of the boat dominate the composition. (Join the discussion on Patreon )
By Eddie: “While waiting for a layer to dry I thought I would do a quick pastel painting. It is on black wet and dry sandpaper from the hardware shop. It was labelled fine but was actually 180grit and just devoured pastel.”

From Marion: The sandpaper may have eaten up your pastels but working light onto dark has given the shadows and depth very effectively. I like the level of detail, the balance between it telling me enough so I understand what I’m looking enough but leaving enough for my mind to fill in as it engages with the painting. (Join the discussion on Patreon )
By Cathi: “The idea of doing everything but the boat in shades of grey came about after I did a ‘50 shades of grey’ workshop. However, this is really just tones of the same grey made from french ultra and burnt umber. I had underpainted with orange and gradually covered more and more until I liked the effect of quite a bit of orange showing through.”

From Marion: It’s very moody and effective! I think the orange is essential in giving it energy.
By Cathi: “I tried to get something a bit more abstract, but this didn’t work as I wanted so I covered the whole thing with a white glazing liquid ‘wash’ before adding inks to give the detail. You can still quite clearly see the under painting, and the overall effect I quite like.”

From Marion: Would never know there was an unsuccessful painting beneath if you didn’t tell! I like the effect, the geometric layer beneath the expressive telling a different story and connecting the composition.
By Cathi: “I also had a go using my favourite continuous line”.

From Marion: Taking the line out to create a frame on three sides is so effective. An idea I definitely want to borrow!

From Marion: This was my first attempt. You can see a video of its creation in this blog. Overall I was pleased with it, and delighted I’d tackled the subject because boats are something I rarely paint.

A3 size

This was my second attempt, working with the thought of having the red of the boat’s hull as a strong shape of colour at the top of the painting. I shared a video of my painting this to my Patreon project subscribers here.

A4 size

This was my third attempt, again using the red of the boat as a strong shape of colour at the top of the composition. (And it’s not merely to avoid dealing with the perspective of the boat!) There’s a lot I like in this painting, but feel it still needs another round to add some highlights and darken some shadows; it’s a bit midtone.

A2 size

A reminder: all the monthly projects can be found on this page. It’s never too late to do any of the projects, and if you’d like to share a photo of your painting email it to me and I’ll add it to the next month’s photo gallery.

If you’d like help with your project painting through a critique, this is available to project subscribers via Patreon (sign up here; there’s also an option for ). If you enjoy reading my blog, you can support me with a wave via Patreon. A big thank you to all my Patreon supporters and subscribers; I greatly appreciate it. If you’ve any questions on how Patreon works, simply email me or post a comment on this blog (comments get held in an approval queue until I’ve read them and approve them for publication or delete).

Painting Project Photo Gallery: Woodland Pond

The reference photo of the pond and reflected trees for February’s project (see instructions) was a complex scene, with a lot going on. It’s been very interesting seeing how different people have approached it, and the finished paintings. Enjoy!

By Asif: “In the reference photo provided,  reflection of trees in the water looked interesting to me.  So I focused to paint only the trees and the pond area.”

From Marion: I like how you’ve included the building in the distance; I hadn’t even realised it was visible in the photo until I saw your painting! It’s beautifully painted, but have another look at the angles of the reflected trees, which you’ve straightened as you painted them. if you can, find a pond or pool in real life and look at how things are reflected, or set up a still life version at home with a bowl of water and a few bottles or vase of flowers. It’s easier to study in real life than a photo because you can see how things shift as you change position.
By Sarah: “Thoroughly enjoyed this.”

From Marion: I like the extreme vertical format, which echoes the long narrow tree trunks and emphasies the vertical movement of the composition. There’s a complexity to the colour in this that is enticing and beautiful.
By Cathi: ” The first is a representation of what I saw/imagined when I first saw your photograph. I actually love this one, it makes me want to keep looking at it, imagining what lies under the glassy surface. A4.”

From Marion: I like the strong shapes and how you’ve turned the subject into an intriguing abstract. (Keep imagining as having been here when the water had drained away, I know reality is uninspiring and slimy.)
By Cathi: “My second attempt was so dreadful, no one will be allowed to see it, but the third is much better. Done mostly from memory/imagination as I forgot to take the photo to our painting group but had the dreadful picture with me to give the tree placement. Both are done in acrylic but used much thinner than I normally do. This one is A3.”

From Marion: I love the composition, which breaks the so-called rules by placing the band that is the focal point in the centre. My eye is then pulled up and down by the tree trunks, getting a different story in each section. It never would have occured to me to do this because I’m so focused on the grasses that are in the foreground of the project photo.
By Eddie, ink pen.
By Eddie, pastel.

From Marion: I like the tall composition, which gives room for the trees to dominate and stretch but also for the foreground reeds which feel like I’m standing up against them. The shapes of the land/water lead the eye in and up, to the distant stand of trees. Lovely light/shadow.
By Eddie: ” Gouache, ink, acrylic with various mediums and oil pastel. It took around ten days in which I laid a wash, made collage trees with tissue paper, added mediums, added more partial washes, glazes and scumbling. I stopped after each process and let it dry while I considered the next step. Finally I put in the smaller branches with acrylic ink and used oil pastel in patches and over the ridges of the medium to form the reeds. This is it after Marion’s suggestions.”

I’ve had three goes at painting this scene, two of which I regard as finished and the third as a problematic work-in-progress. This was my first painting (do not adjust your eyes: the photo isn’t sharp). My favourite part is the lower two thirds, the sense of water behind dried grasses.

Mixed media on A2 watercolour paper. Acrlic ink and paint with oil pastel.

My second painting was done on location; see my blog Painting That Puddle in the Woodland.

Uig Woodland Puddle painting
Oil paint on 9×12 inch wood panel

My third painting is still unresolved, and has been through a lot of changes. Whether I will ever get to it to a satisfactory point is debatable. This is what it currently looks like after I once again added dark to it. (Project subscribers can view a video of me working on this here.)

As always, if you have a go at this month’s project or any of the previous ones, I encourage you to share a photo of your painting by emailing it to me on art(at)marion(dot)scot. Participation in the monthly painting projects is open to all and free; if you’d like help working on your painting or a critique, this is available to project subscribers via Patreon.