Snail ate my Irises

Went out this morning and these Iris flower heads were lying on the ground. Stems nibbled through by naughty snails (or slugs)! So put them in a glass of water hoping they’ll flower and took the opportunity to draw them. This time in pencil, watercolour, colour pencils and some ink at the end. Really like using colour pencils in this bold scribble way.

New vibrant colours in watercolour palette


I’ve been getting bored with my usual watercolour palette. Partly due I think to having too many choices in it. So I’ve created another box, from a simple Muji plastic box, with just eight colours – three of which are greens. I’ve never ever used a ready mixed green in a palette but I’m starting to do more landscapes and thought it might make life a little easier to include a few.

Muji palette

In the box the colours look quite dull, but on paper they absolutely sparkle. The only problem is there are a mixture of makes – Daniel Smith (the two full size pans), Winsor and Newton, and Sennelier. I know the names of the DS and W+N paints, but only have a number for the Sennelier ones. But here is a photo of the palette with the info I have on the colours.

Muji colour swatches

My first two sketches with this palette have turned out really well – I’m loving the colour mixes I’m getting. Figs from the garden at the top of the page, and dead yellow roses…

Dead yellow roses

Kunst + Papier sketchbook

Starting new sketchbook – Kunst + Papier – a gift from my stepdaughter in Berlin. It’s thinner paper than I normally like, so not so good for watercolour, but will just about hold it. Very nice quality paper – natural colour, not bright white with a bit of tooth. So think I’ll use it for more pen and ink, and colour pencil drawings.

It’s been a while since I posted here – had a project on that’s been distracting me. But that’s all sorted now, so back to some sketching which is so nice.

Mixed media still life still life – ink, colour pencil and some water over water soluble pencil

Just cleaned the barn!A very tired Bruce – ink with turquoise watercolour

Instant sketching responses

It’s hard work trying to keep up to speed with a blog – and sadly this one has taken a back seat for a month or two while I work on my book. How can it take so long to get the words to say exactly what you mean?! That’s why drawing is probably more satisfying, it’s an instant response to the thing that’s in front of you at that moment. So here a few instants from the last month or so…

The big house gates The Big House Gates, just outside my village of Mouton in France. It was cold and I was in the car drawing this..

Butt and OysterThe Butt and Oyster pub in Suffolk, UK. On one of my recent trips to revisit my old home turf, and perhaps to be my second-home turf! These two were obviously not married, very flirty, lots of touching and a lot of drinking!

Watercolour mixes

Watercolour mixes

Starting to really enjoy my very limited palette of watercolours. It started with Jane Blundell’s recommendation for four great colours: Hansa Yellow Medium, Qunacridone Magenta, Phthalo Blue RS, and Transparent Pyrrol Orange. But I found they weren’t quite there, so have added two others – Cerulean Blue and Yellow Ochre. These add a little more softness and subtlety to the range.

With these six colours I’m really starting to get the mixes I want – bright, transparent, lime greens to soft greens, huge range of reds, oranges, pinks – and a better range of blues now I’ve added Cerulean.

Jane Blundell

I’m hoping for a delivery tomorrow – four new watercolours, as recommended by Jane Blundell on her blog. She’s based in Australia and has done loads of tests with different combinations of colours. The four I’m waiting for are from Daniel Smiths range of excellent colours:

Hansa Yellow Medium PY97

Quinacridone Magenta

Phthalo Blue RS

Transparent Pyrrol Orange

4 colour update

This is the test swatch that Jane has so carefully prepared – taken from her blog – that shows the fantastic range of colours achievable with just four great colours.