Kerrie Woodhouse

Whimsical Watercolour


30 minute flowers - the final 4 paintings

My art journeyphoenixarttally

30 minute flowers No 10 - No 13 I do love painting flowers, especially in watercolour. But I have to say that I am quite pleased at the prospect of painting something else next month.

These are the final four  paintings for the month. The daisies are from Fiona Peart's book that inspired this whole series of 30 minute flowers . The others utilise some of the techniques that she uses but are simply from references that spoke to me.

If you would like to see the whole series together, head over here!


Camellias in Watercolour

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Camellias in Watercolour arttally Camellias seem to be such generous flowers to me. All those layers and layers of velvety petals- such a picture of abundance.

Painting camellias in watercolour in the style suggested by Fiona Peart (page 39 just in case you are following along at home...) is somewhat easier than it looks.

I wasn't so sure at first. Blobs and smudges it seemed to be. I sighed and persisted. I'm glad I did.

The thing is that this style of painting allows the viewer's imagination to make what it will of those blobs. Our brains are very good at identifying the bloom from those rough shapes. I love that.

Precise botanical detail is not offered by the image, but perhaps the essence of the bloom just might be.


30 minute watercolour poppies

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30 minute watercolour poppies I love that you can finish a painting in well under 30 minutes.  The actual painting time for these 30 minute watercolour poppies is considerably less than that. The rest of that time is spent watching the paint and water mingle on the paper - waiting for the right time to add something more.

Painting wet in wet is a bit of a game of chance. I love it. You put water on the paper. You put paint on the paper. You sit back and see what happens.

It is part intentional painting part imagination - just like looking for shapes in clouds.

Once you find the shapes in the painting then it is a matter of patience.

If you add refining details while the paint is still too damp they will disappear into your shape.

If you wait too long those added details can sit on top of the painting like an afterthought.

The only thing to do is to practise, practise practise.


Quick loose tulips in watercolour

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quick loose tulips in watercolour arttally This is my version of Fiona Peart's Tulips on page 21 of Painting Flowers in Watercolour

I love building up these images with lots of big loose splashy shapes - not too different from some of the tips I learned and loved from the last watercolour series. I think this is how you find your style. Not by trying too hard, but by painting a lot. Inevitably what you like sticks with you and creeps into your paintings no matter what you try and do. The things you love call to you.

I love splashy puddles of colour. I love the unpredictability of the water. And I love tulips.

What do you love?


Painting flowers in Watercolour with Fiona Peart

Beginner Resources, My art journeyphoenixarttally
Painting Flowers in Watercolour with Fiona Peart

Painting Flowers in Watercolour with Fiona Peart

I have a rather lovely little book called Painting Flowers in Watercolour, by Fiona Peart. It is a part of the 30 Minute Artist series.  Since I love flowers and am terribly impatient it only makes sense for this month's series  to be 30 Minute Flowers.

The first steps in the book are about getting to know your materials and your palette. An early exercise was to do this by making a big splashy page of puddles of colour... you don't have to ask me twice!



Then we start painting flowers with watercolour by using easy brush marks and lots of negative painting to create simple shapes.

I have a Stillman and Birn Journal which is just divine. It is a hardbound journal and the paper is 270gsm. However, I had a bit of thing for hot press paper when I purchased it because I do love drawing on the silky surface with ink and coloured pencil etc. I  used hot press paper for my Flower Face series and loved it. For a clean illustration the smooth surface is lovely. But if you want to use watercolour in a more traditional painterly way, the cold press surface is far more forgiving. So obviously now I want to trot off and buy a cold press Stillman and Birn journal....



I repeated some of the paintings from the journal using cold press paper - not sure you can see the difference in the photos. The cold press paper handles more water, so I seem to have more cauliflowers appearing with smooth (hot press) paper than I do with the more textured cold press paper.

Using cold press paper, I had a go at Fiona's painting, Orchid (page 19 if you are following along in the book!).  It's a bit different from the flowers I painted in my Watercolour Flowers series because there was no pencil drawing to begin with (eek - brave!)

Fiona advises building the painting up looking at the shapes like jigsaw puzzle pieces. Lots of fun.  I decided this would be the first in the series. Can't wait to do the next one.



I am really enjoying this book. My one frustration is its size, however. The paintings are so lovely and there are step by step instructions for the projects in the second half of the book that include thumbnail photos. Given that the book itself is about A5 size these thumbnails really are jolly tiny! Bigger ones would have made life much easier.

The book is still a delight, though. Big thumbs up.

The last in the watercolour flower series

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the last in the watercolour flower series arttally I couldn't resist my favourite colours for the last in the watercolour flower series. For these happy little wildflowers I was able to use my beloved turquoise and purple combination along with my favourite pinks and violets.  Throw in some cute white daisies and I could barely stop myself drawing some tiny fairies under the flowers.  Perhaps another day.

No 14 completes the watercolour flower series for the month.  Would you like to see them all together? Here they are...

In the meantime, I'm off to think about the new series starting tomorrow...


Watercolour flowers no 13 - Lilies

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Watercolour flowers no 13 arttally I have to be honest - this one is not my favourite painting in the series. One of my favourite flowers, yes, but not quite the painting I might have hoped for.

Yesterday I was feeling a touch of sadness to be moving on to a new series at the end of the month because I have loved painting these  watercolour flowers.  Today however, I am quite happy to change subject in a day or two! So perhaps that is the natural order of things restored.

Everything has its time.

Happy hydrangeas

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Happy hydangeas Hydrangeas are such happy flowers I think. You can't help but love those big generous heads made up of an abundance of tiny simple flowers. I can't help but admire the versatility of a flower that can be pink, white, blue or anything in between. Perfect flowers as a painting subject and perfect cut flowers for a simple glass vase.


Learning to paint peonies in a vase

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learning to paint peonies Peonies are so romantic, aren't they? I think I might love them even more than roses.  This painting is another one that is inspired by the lovely Miriam at the Inspiration Place.  It is from Miriam's Watercolour Secrets class. I loved her painting so  much it made me a little reluctant to attempt my own version. I needn't have worried. Peonies are so delightful it's hard not to enjoy painting them.  And Miriam makes the whole process seem very manageable - thanks, Miriam!

Watercolour poppies for beginners

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Watercolour poppies for beginners I found a really fun video on You Tube for today's watercolour flowers. Loose, happy poppies sitting on some grass painted with a straw - yes a straw!

Having access to so many ideas and techniques relating to whatever we want to learn is obviously brilliant. However, I am painfully aware that it is also something that stops us from taking action. It is very much easier to watch some one else paint than to get out all the supplies and have a go yourself. Especially if you suspect it will probably not turn out looking much like the one in the video. And of course, You Tube will then offer you all sorts of other similar videos to watch. Before you know it, you have spent the day watching lots of other people skillfully practicing something you wanted to do.

What a fascinating irony that the videos designed to teach us to paint something can also be the very thing stopping us from doing any actual painting ourselves. I fall prey to this all the time, but today I can say, (with a little less hypocrisy) switch off the video and get out your paints!

By the way, if you would like to paint along (or just watch and think about what it would be like to paint along..) here is the link to the video for the poppies and their drinking straw grass.

If you are a budding painter looking for a quick, manageable project, I think you will enjoy these watercolour poppies for beginners.  The video is a fun introduction to painting without a pencil sketch (be brave, you can do it!), painting wet in wet, and using some less conventional painting tools.



More tulips - is there a better symbol of spring?

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More tulips

More tulips

More tulips this morning, because I can't help myself. The tulip festival starts here in Melbourne soon - can't wait!

This particular tulip festival has been going since 1954.  I'm not sure it gets any better than over half a million tulips nestled in the beautiful Dandenong ranges. The only thing to decide is when exactly to go... hmm Children's week? Food, wine and jazz week? Irish week?

3 quick tips to improve the vase life of those willful irises

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quick tips to improve the vase life of irises I love blue flowers. There really don't seem to be all that many of them. Irises are some of my favourites. I love how wild they seem. They don't last well in vases which is a shame, but somehow I can't help but admire that sort of willful obstinacy in refusing to be tamed.

If you do want to try and improve the vase life of your irises here are three quick tips: