Category Archives: Tips & Ideas

My You Tube Channel

Today I created my You Tube channel and I have added my first video tutorial.

It is a very useful little tutorial on how to solve the problem of buckled or warped artwork on paper.

Video tutorial on You Tube with a solution for buckled artwork on paper

I always used to struggle with my watercolour paper buckling and had read many tips and watched videos on how to prevent this happening. I had tried most of them without very good results and always found it very frustrating. Nobody would want to purchase artwork on a distorted piece of paper. So I came up with my own method, which I have shared with you in this video.

I should also add, as I mention in the video, that the better quality watercolour paper that you use makes a huge difference in preventing buckling in the first place. I now always buy 120lb or 140lb watercolour paper. It really is worth paying the extra.But if you are having problems with your watercolour paper buckling do pop over to You Tube and watch my video. It is only 7 minutes long and demonstrates this very simple but effective solution of mine.

Hope you enjoy it.

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Mark Making Idea – Roller Ball Bottles

I came up with a new mark making idea with these roller ball bottles.

Roller ball bottles used for mark making

I had received a bottle of cuticle oil for Christmas in a bottle with a stainless steel roller ball tip and whilst I was using it I suddenly had a lightbulb moment. I thought these bottles would be a great way of rolling paint. So, I found some empty refillable bottles on Amazon, filled one up with acrylic paint and gave it a try. And as you can see it worked a treat.

I filled the bottles with acrylic paint.

Refillable bottle with stainless steel roller ball tip filled with acrylic paint

I used High Flow acrylic for one and Fluid Acrylic for the other but watered down so that it would flow better.

Roller ball bottles filled with acrylic paint

I have decided it is probably best to store them upside down so that the paint doesn’t dry out on the roller ball which may make it difficult to roll.

Roller ball bottles stored upside down to prevent dried out paint clogging the roller

I have added the Amazon links for the bottles on my Favourite Art Supplies page Tools & Equipment

I love it when I come up with a new mark making idea. I hope you like it. Give it a go and let me know what you think.

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My favourite Easel – Leap Day Sale

Artristic Easel is so versatile for using in many positions and angles

I have just noticed that Artristic Easel – my favourite easel are having a Leap Day Sale for 29th February only. I know many of you have shown an interest in the easel that I use and know how much I love it! So, if you are thinking of buying one then today would definitely be a good day to do so. Use LEAPSALE10 at checkout.
You will see that I have written more about it on my Tools & Equipment page and will know that it is my favourite easel for its versatility of height and angle. My post will give you some idea of why I love it so much. The most versatile easel I have ever encountered. I can easily change it to use at any height or angle. It was definitely one of my best purchases.

If you buy one, let me know how you get on with it.
I KNOW you will be pleased.

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Using same art paintbrushes later? – A great tip!

I came up with this great idea for when I am working with my acrylic art paintbrushes.

Sometimes I have to stop in the middle of an acrylic painting, but maybe only for a while, possibly because something has called me away, or I may need to wait for some layers to dry or often just because I need to take a break and have a think about where I am going next with the painting. I hate the thought of having to wash out my brushes ( a job that I loathe ) just to start all over again a few hours later with the same colours.

art paintbrushes

Then I came up with a brainwave. Would my brushes still remain usable and not dry out if I wrapped them in aluminium foil? So I tried it and it’s amazing. It works a treat. The brushes remain as wet ready for me to continue where I left off.

All I do to preserve them this way is separate the brushes slightly and carefully lay them in a piece of aluminium foil.

art paintbrushes

Then clench the foil around them so that they stay fairly airtight. So quick and easy.

art paintbrushes

Such a simple idea. Why did I not think of it before?

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Painting Process Videos on Instagram

I have been very poor at updating my website of late and focussing on Instagram which is so easy to add quick updates. I am endeavouring to make more time to update the blog pages here more often and show my painting process. But in the meantime do take a look at my Instagram page for lots more updates. I try to add posts daily

One of the great things about Instagram is that I can add videos easily. If you are interested in my painting process you will find videos there on my posts and IGTV.

Video showing some of my painting process

You will also find lots of tips and ideas on my IG pages and close ups of some of my work.

Close up from one of my abstract meadow Paintings

There is more of me too, which may or may not be a good thing. Ha Ha! I will let you be the judge of that. I will be adding more posts here soon and updating my gallery pages to showcase more of my art. I have already added a couple more photos of my latest abstract meadow paintings on the Buy Art page. My abstract meadows are now the focus of my work. I hope you like them. Let me know what you think.

And if you should come and visit me on Instagram please do leave me a comment to say hello. And I hope you enjoy my IG page enough to follow me.

I will be adding more content to the website here too, so stay tuned!

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Watercolour Play

I have been spending a long time organising and playing with my watercolour paints recently.

I think I spend more time playing and practicing with my paints than I do finishing pieces of art, but I do believe this is the best way to learn.

Daniel Smith Watercolours

First of all I prepared my own little travel set. I purchased this tiny empty metal watercolour box which would hold 12 half pans.

Empty metal watercolour box

But I removed the metal insert trays inside which gave me so much more room. I then re configured the layout so that it would take 24 half pans. I glued in my own half pans and filled them with my preferred colours to create my unique palette. I finished off the paint palette by painting and inserting a reference chart of the colours and Voila!

Travel Watercolour Set

This is such a portable size 5″ x 3″ and perfect for travelling. Plus of course I now have a larger choice of colours for such a small tin.

Then I spent a great deal of time preparing and loading my paints into my large watercolour carousel which I keep in my art room.

Watercolour Carousel Palette

I purchased this carousel online from Robax. It spins around so it is easy to access all the colours. It is probably a little larger than I needed (15″ diameter) and maybe the next size down would have been more practical and taken up less room.

Now it was time to play.

I often spot colours that accidentally fall together on my art table and I suddenly notice what a great colour combination they are and they inspire me, so I decided that when I notice these I would paint the colours together on a piece of watercolour paper as a reminder reference. So I painted a few that I liked and then threaded them on a chain to hang up in my art room.

Watercolour combinations

I can look at these when I need inspiration. But of course this is just a beginning and I will add to the colour chain as I find more great colour combinations. I think I will also paint some three colour combinations too.

Finally, I decided to make myself a reference book of watercolour techniques that I have discovered. So I painted out the ideas and made notes with each technique.

Watercolour Techniques

I then got out my Cinch Binder for the first time.

Cinch Binder

It was incredibly fast and easy to use. I used it to put together this little book. I left some spare blank pages at the end for me to add techniques as I discover more.

Watercolour Techniques

Once again this makes a good reference for inspiration.

So all in all I thought my play days were an excellent way of learning more about watercolours.

I wonder if you have got any great watercolour techniques, video links or website pages with ideas for me to add to my techniques book? If so I would love it if you could share them in the comments.


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Face Portrait using Charcoal

I sketched this face portrait from June Biagioni’s ‘Drawing in the Soul’ online class using charcoal pencil and pastels. This is an exceptionally good class and I am enjoying every minute of it. If you would like to learn how to draw portraits then I really recommend this class.

Face portrait

This was my first attempt at using charcoal and I really enjoyed using it, much to my surprise. I find charcoal messy but I used this method of catching the charcoal crumbs that inevitably fall away as you are drawing.

Tape along bottom of easel

I used a table easel and I taped double sided tape on the lower edge which is slightly tilted up to create a channel. The tape attracted the falling crumbs and they stuck to the tape. This meant that there was no mess left on my worktop and no charcoal crumbs were inadvertently smudged on to my drawing whilst I was sketching. One of the reasons I have always avoided charcoal is that I don’t like the mess. But this solved the problem nicely.

I took some photos of the progression of this portrait from start to finish and then made it into a quick little video for you if you would like to see how it evolved.


I was really pleased with this sketch and felt I had made a huge stride forward with my portrait drawing. Now I just need time to practice more.


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Artwork using my fabric cords

Do you remember when I showed you how to make fabric cords to include in your art I showed you this photo at the end.Ideas for fabric strips

This is where I laid out a couple of my cords on paper together with some small samples of painted papers?

Well this little lay out sat on my work top in my art room and kept calling out to me to create something.

So finally I found the time and this was the outcome.


Watercolours, collage, stitchery and some added word snippets on 8″ x 12″ watercolour paper.

I was very happy with this piece and all inspired from a little play with making fabric cords.

Gotta keep that brain inspired!


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How to Make Fabric Cords

I have been playing with surface design techniques again today working on making fabric cords.

Making Gabric Cords

I am so-o-o pleased with the results. They are even better than I had imagined.

This is how I made them ………

First of all I selected some fabrics from my batik fabric stash. My fabric stash is vast as I was a quilter long before I became an artist. All my fabrics are 100% cotton. The batik fabrics work well for the cords because the design is on both sides of the fabric.

Batik Fabric

You could of course experiment with other types of fabric, because this is how we discover new and inspiring ideas.

I then tore a strip from the fabric about ½” wide. To begin the tear I snip the end of the fabric first with scissors.

Batik fabric

Once I have torn my fabric strip I squeeze a line of glue down the middle of my strip.

Glued fabric strip

This is the glue I used and it works very well.

Clear glue

But you can use any water based glue that dries clear.

Immediately after adding the glue I twist the strip in opposite directions from both ends.

Twisting a cord

Then give the strip a small pull and run my finger and thumb along the strip to make sure glue is distributed throughout.

And voilà, I have made a fabric cord.

Completed Fabric Cord

I just leave it flat on the table to dry.

I then experimented a little more.

Here you will see four different strips. From the left the first one is ½” wide. The second one is wider. The third one has one edge pinked with pinking shears instead of torn and the fourth one is pinked on both sides.

Different Fabric strips

And this is how they finished up.

Different fabric cords

If you look closely you will see that they are all slightly different.

Different hand made cords

So it depends what type of finish you would like.

My final experiment was to cut a strip with a varied width. Here you will see that I added two lines of glue and a thicker amount of it on the wider end.

Varied width fabric strip

This worked out very well too. It gave me a fabric cord that was less uniform in width. This could add more interest to any artwork.

Varied width fabric strip

So all in all I was very pleased with the results.

Fabric cords

I can see a lot of possibilities with these fabric cords for use in my artwork. My imagination has been fired up and I can’t wait to work on a piece of art with the ideas that are racing around in my head. It feeds my soul to be able to incorporate fabric and stitchery into my art.

Ideas for fabric strips

It’s amazing how playing with materials can inspire you. Why not give it a go!

More Mixed Surface ideas coming up over the coming days. Remember to subscribe to posts (top right) to receive email updates. 



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How to Make Textured Papers

Today I decided to have a play …….. painting textured papers to incorporate into my artwork.

Textured Paper
Textured Paper

What fun! and some great results.

This is how I painted them………

I used acrylic paints and photocopy paper. I mostly used old photocopy paper that I always save in order to try and re-use (to save those poor old trees). Here is a sample of some of the papers I used.

As you can see they have bits of printing on but I like that. I think that it adds to the final surface design. You will see a selection of book pages, old invoices and even the printer test page.

I chose a colour scheme and randomly painted designs on these with my acrylic paints. I used stencils, stamps and some of my mark making tools. (you can see my home made mark making ideas here). I used my acrylic paints fairly watered down.

Textured Paper

Once I finished painting each sheet I screwed it up whilst still wet.

Scrunched painted paper

Then opened it out and left it lying flat to dry.

When mostly dry but still just a little damp I ironed each sheet between a layer of kitchen roll (top and bottom). This was just to ensure that I didn’t get any paint residue on either the iron or ironing board.

Here is my first stack of completed textured papers.

textured Papers

You will notice that within each painted sheet there are some great areas of texture and colour. I have isolated some for you to see.

Textured paper

Textured Paper

Textured Paper

A camera is a great way of viewing isolated areas that you may want to incorporate into your artwork.

I then changed my colour scheme and worked with some different colours. Here are some of the papers that I produced.

Textured Papers
And here are some of the exciting areas of texture and colour that I found.

Textured Paper

Textured Paper

This one I loved. It was the one that I painted on the used paper invoice with the italic writing on it. Can’t wait to find a use for that piece!

Textured Paper

It was a messy day. Next time I will wear rubber gloves.

Messy Hand

But very enjoyable and I am very happy with my new textured papers. Maybe I will have another play day soon and try some different colour schemes.

If you have enjoyed this photo tutorial then please do subscribe to my blog posts (top right) as I am planning to do a series of posts on textured papers over the coming days and weeks. I have lots more ideas that I want to try out.


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