Whites & Blue Skies in Watercolour

Whites & Blue Skies in Watercolour

Watercolour paints last really well and can be an heirloom item to be passed down from generation to generation.  Don’t hesitate in buying the best set you can afford and use them often.

Painting ‘white objects’ can be struggle for those just starting out with watercolour. The trick is to leave the paper behind as the light.  But also remember that white objects are often not white – look for the colours.

My “White Caps on Waves” 2019 (watercolour) – inspired by Brett Whiteley’s painting, “Thebe’s Revenge” 1973-82

Other techniques include using a darker background which can definitely help a white object POP.  By making the tones around the white darker, the white ends up looking lighter.  You can also use masking fluid which you apply to the page, paint over and, when the paint is dry you then peel off to leave the bare paper.  This is definitely worth experimenting with.

The magnolia drawing below was created during a live Zoom session with members of my Paint Along of the Month Club. While the first drawing is nice, see how much brighter the flower with the coloured background appears?

Painting the sky is another skill to practice. The sky is not always blue – it can be made up of many colours.  My advice is using a big brush (in relation to your painting) so you are less likely to see brush strokes.  Use plenty of water – don’t be scared – and practice. Practice, practice.  Observe that the lightest part of the sky is usually at the horizon – it is the furthest away, so it is paler.  Above you is the brightest or darkest colour.

And the ducks below aren’t actually ‘painted white’… they’re paper-coloured. It’s the blue sky that makes them white. Practice painting and drawing negative spaces to get better at leaving the white of the subject behind in watercolour.

White Water Colour Ducks




Come to my LIVE Webinar – Thursday 24 January

Come to my LIVE Webinar – Thursday 24 January

UPDATE – you can see the Webinar replay here –

Length: 47:33
Password: water

For years I’ve wondered how I could do a webinar, because painting demonstrations can be a pretty slow process, but just last week I figured out a way! 

I’ve made a list of the things I say most in a class, to answer questions or solve problems, and these are the first five. Odds are there’ll be a new learning or five for you, because I LOVE acrylics and am so happy to share the way I like to paint with them.

And if you haven’t attended a webinar before, that’s great… because it’s my first one too! I’ve attended them, but haven’t delivered one before – but I’ll be practicing my head off before we go live. Wish me luck!

The Webinar date is Thursday 24 January (that’s this week!).

You have three options so just click on the time that suits you best:

10am  |  4pm  |  9pm

Now, here in Toowoomba, Queensland, we are +10 GMT, so if you’re on the other side of the country (or the world) please check what time it’ll be for you. I use the clock app on my phone to do that easily. And there’s a link in the confirmation email to add it to your online calendar. Easy peasy.

There’ll be gifts for attendees, and as it’s the last day before the Paint Along of the Month Club‘s first paint along goes LIVE, it’ll be your last opportunity to nab the Pre-Release price on that.

I hope you can join me for this ‘first time’ – I’m really looking forward to being able to answer questions as we go, and you’ll finish inspired and ready to paint something!

There are limits to the number of people who can attend each session, so please pick a time and register asap. You’ll then get a personal link (and I’ll send you out a reminder beforehand too).

I’ll see you in my virtual studio to talk acrylics!


Day 5 #shinyhappy7

Day 5 #shinyhappy7

Today it’s all about ORIGINAL art.

These nine paintings have been painted by me, using Artists Quality acrylics, on original sheet music affixed to a cradled birch panel.

And if that all sounds pretty special, that’s because they are!

I’m quite proud of this little collection. Hopefully there’s a corner of your home that’s just perfect for one of them.

If postage is needed, it will be charged separately.

Here’s the link! Remember, they’re originals. Once they’re gone, they’re gone!

Day 2 #shinyhappy7

Day 2 #shinyhappy7

I love painting these little gems of canvases – they’re just 10cm square, and they’ll hang on your wall or stand on a shelf, desk or bedside table. They’re just lovely.

The concept behind these artworks is ‘A Cup Of’. We all know someone who could do with a cup of love, or a cup of joy, or a cup of comfort… perhaps that’s what you’d like to wake up to every day yourself!

I have a few different options in this range, and because they’re all totally hand drawn or painted, they’re in limited numbers.

Just $33 each plus postage (we’ll send you a PayPal invoice for postage separately).

Why painting is good for you

Why painting is good for you

I’ve been thinking a lot about why I encourage people to paint. Why I think it’s good to connect to your creative self and exactly why I encourage people to draw and make their daily life richer. And this is what I came up with.


Reason 1


Artists are problem solvers. Some are linear and precise, but they need to know about and experiment with their art materials to achieve photo-realistic accuracy. Some are crazy, mad, unexpected and wild. They seem to approach painting with abandon and mixed media is their friend (and possibly their frenzy). Whether it’s a distinct message, a memory, a feeling or a wish they are expressing, there is research to be done and trial and error to be welcomed. Leonardo da Vinci found it worked for him! I think this problem solving approach is so useful in all areas of your life.

Reason 2

Kids are generally really impressed with a parent who’s an artist. It makes you a bit special. And it’s a great thing to make time to do with your kids. One of my students is a racing car driver (which impresses me A LOT) and since she’s been coming to art, her kids introduce her to their friends as an artist. And so they should. It’s a super cool thing to be.

Reason 3

I don’t know about you that when I see friends we’re usually eating. Sometimes it’s exercising. But usually, we’re eating. But making art with friends, whether in a Painting Party or at home at the dinner table, or on a weekend away together, really makes a memorable memory. And, of course, you can eat and drink at the same time if you wish, but the good thing is that you’ll have something to show for your time together.


Reason 4

When I draw and paint time just melts away. Sometimes I play music and try to move to the beat while I paint. Other times I listen to podcasts and my mind wanders as the picture appears. Sometimes the painting just doesn’t work and I’m frustrated. But, you know what? Life goes on and I come back and try again. It’s good to spend that time in an unpredictable, but very safe, environment. And sometimes the magic happens and I’m so glad it found me working. I recommend the surrender.

Reason 5

It’s good to challenge yourself, and with art you don’t even have to sweat to do it. Read a book or watch a video. Have a go at a subject or art supply you haven’t tried before. I highly recommend doing what you’re told in a project if you’re a beginner, and then letting loose once you’ve started learning the new skill. And Lord knows, what’s the worse that could happen? You tear out the page, or gesso over the painting and start again another day. Don’t keep doing the things you know you can do. Push yourself and learn. And I’m talking about repetition. Don’t paint one face, or tulip, or landscape and not like it and give up! Paint one, read a bit more about how to do it, then paint it again, and again, and again, taking and experimenting with advice from experts as you go, and you will get better. That’s why I encourage people to date their sketches and plans because you’ll SEE the improvement if you do the work.

Reason 6

Have you noticed? Meditation and mindfulness are all the rage right now. I went to a conference earlier this year and one of the speakers got us all to do a quiz to determine our level of mindfulness. Now, I don’t want to toot my own horn, but I’m going to do it anyway – my mindfulness was off the charts. I know I notice how things look and feel and smell and taste every day. My weight on the chair, the feel of the keyboard as I type this, the rustle of my hair as I move my head… I really do notice this stuff most of the time. And when I make time to paint and get ‘in the zone’, I’m a happier person. It really is meditation for me. And the lovely thing is, it’s productive as well. I recommend it.


So whether you’re a confident painter or a total newbie, please get your hands on a pencil, or a felt pen, or a brush and some paint and have a go. Draw your own hand. Draw your desk. Draw your bedroom. Draw your breakfast. Draw your jewellery. Draw your own face. Come along to a painting party or try one online. Paint with your kids. Or someone else’s kids.

Embrace the wonk and enjoy the journey.

It’s good for you.

It’s ‘Inspire Your Heart with Art’ Day!

It’s ‘Inspire Your Heart with Art’ Day!

I know. I hadn’t heard of it either.

But the lovely Ruby Slippers contacted me and asked if I’d be happy to be interviewed on her radio show on 92.9 VOICE FM on 31 January, and mentioned that this national day coincided with the interview.

So I decided it was time to get back into the swing of videos and created a FREE video series painting a FLORAL HEART in watercolour.

So click through and sign up for instant access, and I’ll see you, and your inspired heart, in my online studio.

It’s great therapy. I promise!