Category Archives: Watercolour

The Apple Orchard, Buckler’s Hard

FSCN0754We’ve spent a couple of winters in the Beaulieu River, tied to the piles off the tiny tourist attraction of Buckler’s Hard. There’s a range of interesting things to sketch in the area and the wider surrounds of the New Forest offer a jewel-case of colours and textures to the creatively inclined. You may remember this post and the pencil sketch of the dovecot; that charming avian dwelling stands in the ancient apple orchard at Buckler’s Hard, the scene now captured in watercolour. More paintings of Buckler’s Hard are underway: part of our ‘Places We’ve Been, Places We’ve Seen’ series.



Christmas gifts come in all shapes and sizes; one of the best for 2013 was an email in our inbox from Rebecca Wilson, Chief Curator and Director of Saatchi Gallery: “I’m very pleased to let you know that I have chosen your work to be featured in the Body Electric: Figures and Nudes Collection on Saatchi Online’s homepage.’

This is the featured work, entitled VALENTINE:









To view the entire collection on Saatchi Online follow this link: click here

CANDLE IN THE DIVINE WIND Part 6 – the finished work – Image and video

CANDLE IN THE DIVINE WIND, watercolour on Arches cold pressed, 356gsm paper, 102 x 66cm (40 x 26ins).



A Video with music – Miles playing soprano saxophone and our own back track interpretation of Elton John’s Candle in the Wind (or Goodbye England’s Rose) – can be found on YouTube

Please feel free to forward, tweet, facebook or share – Diana still engenders passionate discussion and response and this art work is open to any individual interpretation.

CANDLE IN THE DIVINE WIND Part 5 – Japanese characters

We have a box set of brushes for Japanese ink painting – let’s be more precise – in a small rectangular box covered in printed silk, 8 different brush heads nestle in shaped indentations of red velvet and 2 bamboo handles are clasped to the inside lid against their own white silk background. Hard to resist a foray into Japanese ink painting with such beckoning but we resist the urge and use the set for our Western style of painting. The brushes were perfect for painting the Japanese characters in CANDLE IN THE DIVINE WIND.

This is the image of the study for those characters followed by an explanation of their meaning:

Divine Wind

These Japanese characters form the word ‘kamikaze’: ‘kami’ means ‘spirit’ or ‘god’ and ‘kaze’ means ‘wind’ and so the usual translation is ‘divine wind’. The use of the combination of these words goes back to the 13th century when the term was given to major typhoons that dispersed invading fleets and saved Japan from enemy occupation.

This is the penultimate post of this series. We have shown the main elements of the painting now and in our next post (aiming for next Sunday) we will reveal how these elements fit together in the finished work, CANDLE IN THE DIVINE WIND.

CANDLE IN THE DIVINE WIND Part 3 – the Sovereign’s Sceptre

At English coronation ceremonies symbolic objects are an important part of the ritual and each has a specific meaning. The Sovereign’s Sceptre with cross represents the monarch’s worldly power with the association of good governance. The sceptre is a gold rod surmounted by an enamelled and gem-studded structure, part of which holds the Star of Africa, the largest colourless cut diamond in the world, cleaved from the great 3,106 carat Cullinan Diamond which the government of the Transvaal (South Africa) presented to King Edward VII in 1907 as a gesture of reconciliation after the Boer War … a sort of king-size suck up?

The following image is the sceptre study (which does not include the Star of Africa) for CANDLE IN THE DIVINE WIND.

Sovereign's Sceptre

Sovereign’s Sceptre

CANDLE IN THE DIVINE WIND Part 1 – the focal point

Rembrandt said, “… a work of art is finished when an artist achieves his aim.” Quite so. More interesting to consider is when a work of art begins. People sometimes ask how long a certain piece has taken and the only true answer an artist can give is, “My whole life.”

CANDLE IN THE DIVINE WIND is not quite finished. It will be shared in its entirety when the artist achieves his aim. In the meantime, here will be posted some of the sketches, preparatory studies and drawings made in developing the initial idea and in working out technical aspects of composition and execution.

Painted in watercolour on Arches cold pressed, 356gsm paper measuring 102 x 66cm (40 x 26ins), this large work will frame up into a sizeable painting.

The following images concentrate on the focal point – the subject’s face, in particular, the eyes. A sketch page of head angles is followed by graphite and colour studies.

CANDLE IN THE DIVINE WIND face sketches graphite.jpg





CANDLE IN THE DIVINE WIND face graphite study 3.jpg







CANDLE IN THE DIVINE WIND face graphite study 2.jpg







CANDLE IN THE DIVINE WIND face study graphite 2







Colour study







CANDLE IN THE DIVINE WIND face colour study 2.jpg




SEASCAPE - watercolour - 9 x 12.5cm

We started this blog for a very specific reason that we now don’t remember! Studio Blue Sea  has wandered off in its own direction and, like life, just unfolds. Writing and recording is fun but the best part of this virtual experience is fellow bloggers who’ve been so kind with likes, comments and emails.  We’re amazed by the number of people who’ve chosen to follow us and can’t believe we’re approaching the 100 mark. As a token of appreciation we’ve decided to send our 100th follower a small watercolour – the little painting of a seascape shown here.  When you join, number 100, we’ll get in contact with you directly.

In the meantime, a very big thank you to our readers and our followers and everyone who likes and comments on Studio Blue Sea.