Sunday, 24 January 2016

Expressive Lines

Watercolour painting of a red and purple leaf and flower, Jacob's Coat Plant, by Shevaun Doherty
“The song of the curved line is called happiness.”
Rene Crevel
What is a line, and how can we use it to improve our art?

Art begins with a line.
Sometimes it’s tentative, thoughtful, exploring. 
Sometimes it’s quick, bold and confident.

Monday, 11 January 2016

The Artistic Process

Sketchbook studies in watercolour of green fern leaf by Shevaun Doherty
Blechnum gibbum studies © Shevaun Doherty
“Love the process and the painting will happen”

A friend once remarked that being a botanical artist is as much about loving the artistic process as it is about the painting. 
It’s true. I get a huge amount of pleasure out of creating study sheets and colour charts, chasing a leaf or flower across a sketchbook page, each time tweaking the colour mixes until it’s just right.

Artist desk with colour charts and watercolour studies of a leaf

Although there is an element of play in this, the notes that I make are also extremely useful. I’m constantly pulling out old sketchbook studies to find out what colour mixes I used to get a particular shade of green, or how to achieve a particular texture.

Watercolour study of Limonium sinuatum by Shevaun Doherty
Limonium sinuatum colour notes
Sketchbooks and study notes help me explain my process to other artists, particularly those who are just starting their own botanical art journey. I think it’s a bit of a relief for them to see the messy bits and the occasional crises of confidence (help! I’ve forgotten how to paint) !

Sketchbook page of pelargonium flowers with colour notes by Shevaun Doherty
It doesn't always work out, but making mistakes is part of the process
Very often our focus is on the destination and not on the journey, and that can lead to a creative block. It’s important to stop worrying about the finished painting, that ominous blank sheet of paper, and just enjoy the creative process that is needed to get us to that point. 
It’s only paper after all.

Sketchbook study of date palm leaf with colour notes by Shevaun Doherty
Phoenix dactylifera leaf studies... a case of trial and error!

Here are 6 steps to my artistic process-

Friday, 1 January 2016

Plans, Paintings and Promises 2016

Great Eggspectations- watercolour painting of 3 quails eggs and a feather by Shevaun Doherty
'Great Egg-spectations'  ©Shevaun Doherty 

You’re off to great places! Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting, so get on your way! 

Dr Seuss

I really enjoy writing this post, because whenever I think about my plans for the year ahead, I inevitably end up feeling really excited! 
Already 2016 looks like it will be a whirlwind of art-filled fun!


I promise to blog more regularly in 2016. Recently my weekly blogposts have fallen by the wayside, mainly because I am doing an evening course on Digital Marketing as well as painting full time. The online art market is such a fascinating subject, and definitely something that all artists should learn more about. So as well as sharing art tips and techniques on my blog, I will also be writing articles on how to tackle the dizzying world of social media.