Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Travelling Studio

Caravan holidays are great, I pack up my studio and take it with me. When I am painting the board is propped against the table so it is at an angle. 
The picture on the easel at the moment is in its very early stages. It is a Maidenhair spleenwort growing in the cracks of a wall. 
The light in the caravan is excellent as there are many windows, but at night I use an extra daylight bulb.
The paint trays are packed away flat and protected with a piece of cardboard. Everything is stowed away into a cupboard.
The advantage with the travelling studio is it usually has beautiful views ready to paint from the window.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Sea Holly and Bee

This is one of my latest paintings. 'Sea Holly and Bee'. It was painted using watercolour and gouache. 
I like really complicated and detailed pictures and this was definitely one of them. The flower was complicated and the bee was complicated, maybe I should paint something a little simpler next time!
The bee was actually on the flower when I took the photograph, but it would not perform well and kept moving into an awkward position. I based the bee on another photograph of mine. Ironically when I took that photograph I was not even looking for a bee and there it was in a perfect pose.
Maybe I should forget about insects and stick to my flowers, at least they don't fly away.
For more info visit my website www.sarahwoodart.com

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Ness Botanic Gardens

Some views of my favourite Gardens, Ness Botanic Gardens on the Wirral. I love my visits here. I am lucky enough to be a friend of the Gardens so I get to go as often as I like in the year.

As a botanical Artist it is perfect for me to follow the changing seasons in the gardens. There are interesting subjects all year round. My favourite place in the gardens is the pine wood. It is so peaceful and quiet.

It is amazing how many of my paintings are based on photographs and sketches I have taken in the Gardens.

For more info visit my website www.sarahwoodart.com

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Plantago lanceolata

I decided to paint a magnified version of my specimen of Plantago lanceolata so I could show the beauty and structure of the plant.

It is a rosette forming perennial herb. The leaves are long, narrow and veined. The stems are silky, hairy and carry a single dark and dense many-flowered head. The small flowers have four white sepals with a brown keel in the centre of each, and four brownish petals. The long stamens are pale yellow or white. Each flower lies behind a tiny greenish bract. Its seeds have an absorbent coat, which becomes sticky when wet. The seeds then stick to animal or human feet and can be carried over long distances.

Children today still loop the stalk round the flower head and fire it. This is a game that has been played for centuries.

Ribwort also has many medicinal uses. It is used to treat colds, coughs, bronchial inflammation, also an antidote for bites and insect stings.

Info about original painting visit sarahwoodart.com

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Rhododendron moupinense

I came across this Rhododendron at Ness Botanic Gardens on the Wirral. I thought the pattern of the shape of buds and leaves covered with raindrops looked beautiful and would make a good painting. It is painted in watercolour and gouache, I decided to leave the background in pencil to enhance the shape and pattern of the foliage.

Rhododendron moupinense is a species native to Western Sichuan, China, and is named after the district of Moupin. In 1909 E.H. “Chinese” Wilson first introduced it into cultivation. He was a well known English plant collector and introduced about 2000 Asian plant species to the West, sixty bear his name.

Rhododendron is one of the most common evergreen shrubs to have been introduced to Britain. It adapts well to a variety of soils and situations. It can also survive in very shady places under trees. It spreads freely by seed and is difficult to eradicate.

Rhododendron moupinense has rich glossy green leaves and it bears flowers which are pink very early in the spring.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Rotary Club of North Wirral

I have some paintings in an Art Exhibition which is being organised by the Rotary Club of North Wirral. It is being held at Carr Farm Garden Centre. From Tuesday 9th to Sunday 14th August. Tues-Sat 9-5 Sun 10-2.30. There will be over 400 paintings by local artists. It sounds like fun.

Monday, July 25, 2016

National Exhibition of Wildlife Art

I am delighted to have two paintings in the National Exhibition of Wildlife Art at Gordale Garden Centre, Chester High Road, Burton South Wirral CH64 8TF.

The exhibition is open daily 9.30 - 6.00pm, Sundays 11.00 - 5.00pm.

FREE Admission

If you are in the area and get the opportunity to come along and have a look, it is a wonderful exhibition.

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Port Sunlight Market

I am about to participate in a 'Meet the Makers' Market this weekend. This is a new venture for me. It is being held at Port Sunlight garden centre not far from where I live. I have a table and will be selling cards, prints and original paintings. If you live locally why not pop in, I'd love to have a chat.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Lichen and Ladybirds

This is a watercolour and gouache painting of Lichens. They are quite fascinating to study. When you look closely at Lichens you see the most amazing shapes and patterns. I decided to magnify the lichens so the structures could be seen clearly. 

These Lichens were found growing on a branch of an apple tree, in the orchard of Powis Castle Gardens in Wales. I included the Ladybirds (Exochomus quadripustulatus) to add a sense of scale.

Lichens are a partnership between two simple organisms, a fungus and one or more algae. They grow together in a symbiotic relationship, each helping the other to survive. They are very long lived and a single colony of Lichens may be centuries old. They are also incredibly tough. They can stand very high temperatures but can also cope with freezing conditions, which would kill most other organisms.

Lichens are present throughout the year. The colours of lichens can be so varied, it depends whether they are growing in deep shadow or bright sunshine.

Lichens thrive in damp mild areas away from the glare of the sun.

For more paintings visit sarahwoodart.com

Friday, May 20, 2016

Nandina domestica obsessed

This is a watercolour and gouache painting based on a plant I bought at a local garden centre. I just love the colour and shape of the foliage. The leaves hold the raindrops beautifully.

‘Obsessed’ is a new Nandina from the United States. Its leaves turn a bright vibrant red in the winter and as the plant ages they turn a rich green.

It is a small compact semi-evergreen shrub and does not produce any berries, but produces conical clusters of white flowers in the summer from May to July. 

Nandina is a Japanese name and Domestica is from its various uses in Japanese households.

For more info visit sarahwoodart.com

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Variegated Hosta

This picture is painted in watercolour and gouache. There are many varieties of variegated Hosta, mainly marked with different combinations of yellow or white round the edges of the leaves. Hostas are grown for a number of reasons, the shape of their attractive foliage and their spikes of flowers.

They look particularly beautiful covered in raindrops. The raindrops seemed to highlight the spiral shape of the leaves. I thought it would make a good subject to paint.

Variegated Hostas lose their leaves in winter. They grow particularly well in shady places under bushes or near water. Their flowers are usually lilac, but there are white, violet and purple varieties. 

For more info visit sarahwoodart.com

Friday, April 15, 2016

Society of Botanical Artists Exhibition

The sky looks so dramatic in this photo. Mike and I had been helping out with the set up of the Society of Botanical Artists exhibition and could hear the rain bouncing on the roof of Westminster Central Hall. Luckily when we left the Hall the rain had stopped raining and the sun had come out.
On the bus on our way home, we could just sit back and enjoy the views, and not worry about the traffic. 
Looking forward to coming back and seeing the exhibition before it closes.
The exhibition is open from today 15th April to 23rd April 2016. Open Daily 11am to 5pm.
Westminster Central Hall, London SW1.
If you are in the area pop in and see a magnificent show, and its free to enter. 

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Williamson Open Exhibition

This is a photo of opening night at the 'Willamson Open Exhibition of Art & Photography'. It was packed with art work and people.
The art work is interesting and diverse with many varied subjects. The photography also, is excellent.
The exhibition runs until 8th May 2016.
Williamson Art Gallery & Museum, Slatey Road, Birkenhead. CH43 4UE.
If you are in the area it is well worth a visit. 

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Paeonia Step Seven

Its finished. I continued working on the rest of the leaves using washes of sap green and sunlit green with a number four brush. Midnight green was used for the shadows. I then added some white gouache with a number one brush for the lightest areas.

The stems on the left hand side of the picture were painted using a number two brush with Yellow ochre. For the shadow areas vandyke brown was used.

The flower was painted with a number two brush with washes of cadmium yellow, increasing the intensity of the washes for the darker tonal values. For the centre of the flower I used a small amount of burnt sienna. Raw sienna and a small amount of neutral tint was used for the shadows.

This really is a tangled painting of leaves and was such good fun to paint.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Paeonia Step Six

The leaves on the right hand side of the painting are finished. I added washes of sunlit green to add some warmth to the areas of sap green. The background is being built up with washes of sap green, midnight green and neutral tint with a number four brush.

The foreground leaves have so many shadows it makes it quite hard to see where the shape of the leaf is.  For the shadow areas I used a number four brush and a wash of midnight green. Using a number one brush I lifted some of the paint (wetting areas and dabbing it with tissues) for the lighter veins. White gouache was used for the highlights on the leaves.

The flower buds hidden in the background are painted with washes of raw sienna, cadmium yellow and a touch of neutral tint highlighting the shadows.

Next week I will post the finished painting.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Paeonia Step Five

A watercolour wash of sap green has been applied to the most prominent leaves. Sunlit green has also been used on many of the background leaves to add a little warmth to the painting.
At the top right hand side of the painting I lifted some of the paint (wetting areas and dabbing it with tissues) for the lighter veins. Next I deepened areas with midnight green.

I am using a no. 4 brush with yellow ochre for the stems, darkening areas with a mix of Vandyke brown. White gouache has been added for highlights on some of the leaves.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Paeonia Step Four

I applied a dark watercolour wash of neutral tint and midnight green to the deepest areas of background. Then I deepened the colours on many of the leaves using washes of midnight green. The background is starting to take shape.  

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Paeonia Step Three

This is a complicated and detailed painting, so I find it easier to jump around in it not painting it in any order.
I think it also helps to achieve a good tonal balance if you lay down the darkest colours early on in the painting. The darkest background colour is a mix of midnight green and neutral tint. The top left hand leaves are painted in sap green, sunlit green and yellow ochre for the stems.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Paeonia Step Two

I am building up the background using a number 4 brush. I am not being too careful where I am placing the paint at the moment, I am just getting a feel for the painting.
You can see the bright blue grip protector around my paint brush. The brushes are quite narrow to hold and make your fingers sore. I find the grip really helps to cushion your fingers.
The colours I am using are sap green and midnight green in quite a dry wash. 

Friday, February 12, 2016

Paeonia Step One

I have drawn out a picture of a Paeonia. I am basing my composition on photographs I took at Ness Botanic Gardens on the Wirral a couple of years ago. 
The flower is bright yellow but it is mainly in a shady spot so it is in shadow.  I want to paint this picture, not for the flowers sake but for the tangle of leaves in shade and sunlight.
I have painted the background with a light wet wash of sunlit green, and have just started to paint sap green on one of the leaves.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016


This watercolour and gouache painting was based on photographs taken at my favourite gardens, Ness Botanic Gardens. I painted it a couple of years ago. 
I thought it would be a good one to post, because it reminds me of summer and sunshine. 
It is mainly painted in watercolour and a small amount of gouache. I felt when it was finished it lacked something, so I added watercolour pencils to the background and flowers. It makes a change to use watercolour pencils, but I still prefer using brushes.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Eastham Woods

This week a sunny photograph of Eastham Woods on the Wirral. The Woods are quite close to home and a beautiful place for a walk. 
I have been tidying my studio this week it is surprising how untidy it gets. Sometimes it is so nice to escape and go for a walk.
In the Winter the tree trunks look so interesting as you can see their shapes properly. Oh well back to the studio for more tidying.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016


Visited Ness Botanic Gardens on the Wirral last week. The gardens are beautiful any time of the year even in the winter. I must have taken hundreds of photographs. This is one of snowdrops.  It was wonderful to come across them growing so soon, it makes you think that spring is not too far away.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Pratique des Arts

An Artist friend of mine was given some French magazines. While looking through them he came across one of my paintings and let me know. 
I was thrilled to find my picture had been printed in Pratique des Arts. They had even translated some of my words into French.
I ordered a copy of the magazine online as a memento. Okay it is 2014 issue, but what a wonderful thing to come across. It makes me feel so international.