Sunday, May 2, 2021

Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours


'Rubus fruticosus, Bramble' is one of my two paintings selected to be shown at the Royal Instititute of Painters in Water Colours 209th Exhibition, held at the Mall Galleries, The Mall, London SW1. 

The exhibition runs from 20 to 29 May 2021, 11am to 4pm. Tickets have to be booked in advance at 

This promises to be an excellent exhibition, and it's wonderful that live exhibitions are beginning to happen once again, I am so happy to be part of it. 

There is always such a diverse range of art work at the RI, and the exhibition showcases all that can be achieved in watercolour. 

Friday, February 26, 2021


This is my watercolour and gouache painting of a Navelwort, Umbilicus rupestris, or common names Wall Pennywort, Penny-pies. I came across this plant growing in a wall by St Davids Cathedral, Pembrokeshire, Wales.

I had seen green ones before, but never one this bright colour. I discovered that if the navelwort grows in a sunny position it can turn red in the sunlight.

The name navelwort is a reference to the shape of the leaves, in the center is a navel-like depression. 

The colours I used to paint this where alizarin crimson, permanent rose, permanent magenta, quinacridone magenta and permanent mauve.

Saturday, January 23, 2021

Latest watercolour painting Saltmarsh Goosefoot


The Saltmarsh Goosefoot is a fascinating small plant. Here it is growing among the pebbles down on the sea shore at Milford on Sea, Poole Bay in Hampshire.

The plant is quite striking and strong in colour, but is almost camoflaged within the flint pebbles. It usually grows lying face downwards.

I am concentrating on painting coastal plants at the moment because I am planning another book 'Coastal Plants' in my 'Watercolour Secrets' series.

Friday, November 13, 2020



With Christmas just around the corner to cheer us all up, thoughts are turning to snowmen and mistletoe and... well, holly.

Why not have a go at painting this 'Holly, Ilex aquifolium' watercolour and gouache painting yourself. It is a step-by-step demonstration from my book, 'Watercolour Secrets: Raindrops'.

And don't forget to add the raindrops.

Book available here, on amazon 

Sunday, November 1, 2020

Don't Give up on a painting

I painted this picture of Helenium and was not happy with it. I felt it had no impact, but was not sure what was wrong. I was going to throw the painting away, but decided to put it out of sight until I could decide why it didn't work.

I got it out a couple of months later and realised that I needed more contrast between light and dark. I added neutral tint to the background and darker shadows on the leaves using midnight green. I also added more shadows to the flowers using Vandyke brown. Looks better. 

If you are not happy with something you produce, put it out of sight. When you look at it again with fresh eyes, things jump out at you, and you will be able to tell what is wrong with it.


Monday, July 20, 2020

Watercolour Secrets: Raindrops

This week I launched a new book called 
Watercolour Secrets: Raindrops
It's the first in a series of books that I am planning on the techniques I use for my particular brand of botanical art.

How do you paint a raindrop? I will show you how.

I guide you through a step-by-step demonstration of a simple individual raindrop, followed by more detailed raindrop paintings.

Soon you will be adding raindrops to grasses, leaves and flowers, through thirteen step-by-step demonstrations, accompanied by tips and secrets.

Take a look at the book trailer.

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

A Painting has a life of it's own

Green background
Black Background
When I planned this composition I originally decided to have a green background.

In the first photo you can see the green background is in place. I was unhappy with it, I felt it would not highlight the plant the way I wanted it to.

Sometimes a painting has a life of it's own.

In the second photo you can see I have changed it. Lots of neutral tint. Much better.

I finished the painting and hated it. I could not decide what was wrong, so I put it away out of sight.

Reaching it out again, months later, I knew what was wrong. Too much neutral tint! I added more Sea Holly to the background.
More Sea Holly
Sometimes a painting definitely has a life of it's own.

Some paintings give you no trouble to paint, but then you always get one that is wilful, awkward, and puts up a fight.

Writers often talk about how their characters follow their own paths. Well who says plants can't do the same.

This painting is in the North Wales Society of Fine Art Exhibition which is being held at the Williamson Art Gallery & Museum, Slatey Road, Birkenhead, Wirral CH43 4UE.
The exhibition is open until 15th March 2020. Wednesday-Sunday 10.00am to 5.00pm.