Making Art Whilst Traveling + Supplies

I hope you're enjoying what's left of the summer/autumn...  

Here in the UK we have a few weeks left before our boys return to high school in September - so a bit of time yet...  I know for my friends in the USA, children have already returned to school but whatever your current situation, I hope you're well.

My family and I have had a couple weeks with my eldest son Brandon (see below), who has visited from the States.  

I’ll be the first to say that it’s not always easy creating when you’re away from home but I would encourage you to persevere because it’s wonderful to capture those special memories using paint. 
— Jane
IMG_6255 (1).jpg

Above - my boys!!!  Awwwwwww.  Love it when they're together and me with them...

by the sea

Above, I used my handmade Khadi & Papers sketchbook.  It has a somewhat rough surface and so gives quite an interesting texture that I enjoy for a change from a smoother surface. 

window view

In the piece above, I decided to sketch out the windowsill where we were staying - I found the various items displayed really interesting (see the little car and snail, dish, cone and the foliage in the background from the garden?) and wanted to capture them.  I used my trusty Moleskine journal, a 0.1mm Graphik Line Marker, together with some coloured watercolour pencils.  

st abbs

The piece above is a watercolour sketch of Coldingham Bay, near where we were staying.  What a beautiful beach it was and I just had to capture it.  Do you see the beach huts?  Apparently, some of these are 100 years old.  

By the way, I used Dr Ph Martin's Bleed Proof White for the waves and surf of the sea. 

It's not always easy creating when you're away from home but I would encourage you to persevere because it's wonderful to capture those special memories and of course those everyday events like a walk around your neighbourhood or home town etc. 

Please let me know your favourite supplies to bring with you whilst you're out 'n' about... 

Instagram Spotlight! - Hello Hydrangea

I don't know about you but I find Instagram a fun place to browse when I have a few minutes (or more lol). 

I also really enjoy connecting with the friendly community over on Instagram - I find them to be really encouraging and inspiring...

Anyway, today, I wanted to share some of that inspiration with you! 

Let me introduce Lindsey Campbell of HelloHydrangea.  


Lindsey says: 'Each tapestry is handmade with love using materials sourced from around the world. Wall hangings sell out within a day or two..'

They say ‘Good Things Take Time’... weaving is one of those good things.
— Lindsey Campbell

I came across Lindsey recently and instantly loved her wall hangings.  They have such a modern feel but with a unique traditional twist which I love.  

Lindsey's feed looks so inviting and varied; I was instantly drawn (or weaved lol) in! 

Over on Lindsey's website, she details online courses, a blog with lots of interesting posts and some gorgeous woven necklaces.

I've also just noticed a recently published tutorial (fab!) on weaving and watercolour that Lindsey has generously provided, over on one of my favourite sites, Design Sponge!

Images all belong to HelloHydrangea, Lindsey Campbell

Links to follow:

@HelloHydrangea - Instagram

Hello Hydrangea - Website

So, I hope you enjoyed this Instagram Spotlight and if you're on Instagram, please stop by - I'd love to follow you! 

Have a wonderful rest of your week...

Jane x


Portrait in Derwent Coloursoft Pencils

Happy Friday friends!  Our boys break up from school today, so there's a feeling of celebration here.  

Anyway, talking of celebrating, I've really enjoyed using Derwent Coloursoft Skintones pencils and also the Blender from Derwent's Blender and Burnisher set to create the portrait below.

coloursoft portrait

As the name suggests, the colour is velvety soft and seems to glide on the paper.  The Coloursoft pencils layer up nicely too - see the image below.  You can really build up dense colour and they blend well too.  The pencils are not water soluble just to note. 

half face

The multicultural skintone colours that are included are: Cream, Blush Pink, Pink, Ochre, Dark Terracotta and Brown Earth.  The set comes with a pencil sharpener and the metal tin, so everything tidy's away without a hassle.  

derwent colour soft pencils

The portrait is actually inspired by one of the reference photos that I've used in my Portraits In Time ecourse and as a reminder the early bird offer is still available for now at just £35 (it will revert to £49).  


I hope you have a wonderful weekend and if you have these pencils or any others that you'd recommend, please let us know. 

Jane x

My Top 6 Supplies For Charcoal

Since I've been using charcoal recently whilst creating my new online class, Portraits In Time, I thought I'd share my top six supplies for this beautiful and expressive medium.

my top 6 supplies for charcoal


Incidentally, the artwork below is from my new online course and I share very closely, my process for creating this piece (as well as others). 

portraits in time class

Please click on the product images below to learn more...

Peel and Sketch Charcoal Pencils

I have this set and really enjoy the convenience of the 'peel away' aspect of these charcoal pencils.  They are also great for detail adding.  This set comes with a soft, medium and hard density.  Begin with hard and gradually build to soft.

Daler & Rowney, Pastel Paper

This paper is fantastic - it takes charcoal beautifully.  It has some texture to it so that you're able to build up layers and form, tone and value etc.  The colours of the paper seem to compliment your artwork in a really subtle way.  Good quality paper.  Tip - if it feels like its getting overloaded with charcoal, flick (ping) it with your fingers on the reverse side. 

Derwent Battery Operated Eraser

I really like using this battery operated eraser.  Charcoal can get quite messy and yet I find this eraser makes such a clean and efficient job of lifting out highlights and it's just a pleasure to use.  I chose to buy an additional pack of erasers, just in case I ran out!  You can of course use a kneadable eraser if you wish.

Derwent Charcoal - Assorted Sizes and Thicknesses

This pack comes with assorted thicknesses of high quality willow charcoal.  It's highly blendable and a pleasure to use.  Really dark and rich.  Ideal for sketching and expressive drawing as well as portraiture.

Stumps, Tortillions and Sandpaper Block

Three more products - a sandpaper block for sharpening willow sticks to a point, stumps  and tortillions (they have a flat 'bottom' at one end).  Stumps can be sharpened to a new point with a sharpener.  The latter two, both great for blending and softening in both charcoal and pencil.

Extras That I'd Recommend

I'd also recommend some paper towel, cotton buds or even some hand wipes to keep your hands as clean as possible.  A wipeable surface is ideal and put some paper down on your work surface.  I found using an easel was ideal, so that I could move away from my piece and it encourages you to use not just your hands but move your arms and body as well - this all helps create a dynamic and flowing piece of work.

portraits in time class
portraits in time class

So, I hope you've found this helpful and I'd be curious to know of your favourite charcoal related supplies too.

Please note that if you purchase any of the above product recommendations, I will receive a very small commission.  I am however, recommending them because I genuinely use and like these supplies.

NEW CLASS - Portraits In Time

I'm thrilled to announce registration is open for my new online class Portraits In Time.

I adore portraiture, all things vintage, art history AND I'm always fascinated by the lives of our female 'ancestors'.  This class combines those passions (and so much more) and I'm beyond excited to have you join me on this exploration. 



*** Limited Spaces Available ***

A brief description of projects and lessons

  • This class combines THREE separate art projects, PLUS a BONUS mixed media project AS WELL AS, three warm up pieces.

  • In addition, there are SEPARATE videos and info. on photo transfer, charcoal, watercolour and soft pastel. 

  • REFERENCE PHOTOS are provided so you don't have to find your own source material.

  • Being a social/domestic and art history nut, I've included some INSIGHTS of some amazing and well-known WOMEN (and a couple men) from the late 1800's - early 1900's.  I believe this aspect to the course is a beautiful compliment to the MAIN focus of the ART.

  • I'll also share any RESOURCES that I've found interesting or useful ie. books and links etc. - of course, since you have 'lifetime access', you can dip in and out of this complimentary aspect to the course whenever you wish.

The Suffragette Movement - winning the right for women to vote

The Suffragette Movement - winning the right for women to vote

I look forward to you joining me...

Jane x

Roses, Picasso and Workshops

Sometimes you've just got to paint!

I picked these patio roses from my garden yesterday and just had to paint them even though we were in the middle of a plumbing disaster zone!  Whilst I was 'on call' to help my husband when needed, I threw together the piece below with such abandon and speed - it all happened in about 5 mins flat.  I just had to do it!


What struck me was how much better I felt after.  It wasn't the greatest piece I've ever done by any stretch of the imagination - it was just a rough piece after all BUT it WAS a reflection of how I felt, what I saw and my energy in that particular moment and that's what's great about art and the beauty of expressing yourself.  

This friends, is what I want to encourage in my workshops - not necessarily the end product (unless you're wanting to sell your work of course) but the process along the way.

Another great thing about creativity is that how I might interpret something today might be very different tomorrow.  What I include or NOT in my artwork today is all a personal reflection of me and my life in the here and now - I find that beautiful...

Picasso for instance used a variety of styles in his art-making.  The image on the left, Dove was used to illustrate the poster of the 1949 Paris Peace Congress and is an accurate and beautiful rendering of a pigeon that Henri Matisse gave him.  The image on the right is an abstracted, simplified version of the same bird also by Picasso and no less beautiful or meaningful in my mind, just different...

Here are some questions to ponder and these answers will give you some insight into how to include more of 'you' into your work.  

Answer the questions below:

  • What is it that delights you?  
  • What marks bring you joy?  
  • What colours light you up?  
  • What textures do you enjoy?

It doesn't matter where you are in your artistic journey - maybe you haven't picked up a brush since the age of seven and you're scared of making a 'mistake'. I understand that and I was the same way but truly the benefits and blessings that we receive when putting brush to paper are numerous.

Lastly, risk getting it 'wrong' and know you can begin again.  Some of your pieces will please you more than others.  Some will have been carefully rendered and others put together in a few moments.  They're all valuable...

roses display
In my workshops, all I’m interested in, is helping you interpret your personal vision!  
— Jane
Grassfield Hall

So with all that said, if you would like to create loose, personally expressive and meaningful floral paintings at the beautiful Grassfield Hall on Friday, 7th July 10.30am-2pm, please book here and join us, I can't wait to create with you!