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Preview: The English Cottage

The English Cottage

Updated: 2018-02-25T12:47:26.608+08:00


Weekend work


This is what I did during the weekend, which isn't quite over. I also did some calligraphy practice, but it was more splotches, scratched paper - because the ink wouldn't flow out the nib, and some sad writing. I'll do more today, and maybe some of it may be salvageable for me to post here. Fingers crossed.

First up, colour-pencil work. I now know why I truly sucked at colouring, in school. It isn't as easy as one would think. In the first pix, of the hydrangea, I tried to blend the colours with some oil. I didn't see any difference. And the whole thing was so dark - so, I tipped the petals with some white. I went a tad cross-eyed in the process.

I didn't do any fancy, arty-farty stuff with the roses. Just tried to colour them all, in different colours. Fun, but hard work.

I haven't touched my watercolours in eons, and it showed. I wanted things to float, and be free . . . and I wanted the colour to dance on the paper - well, you can see that it kinda didn't. 

They are laid out in the order in which I painted. The first one is a bit I'm-sitting-here-so-deal-with-it.
The second one is a little more successful, and with both, I went in with some sharpies to define edges and help it flow along a bit.

The last one, on the wrong paper which warped so much (I let it dry under a load of books), came out closest to how I eventually want to pain in watercolours: Free and easy, and all floaty and almost there - but you can still tell what it is. We can but live and hope!

Roses, more roses, and tulips which are all over the place, because it will soon be spring.

Free images for you to colour 👆👇

A little yellow, for the sunlight!



I worked both of these mandalas over the weekend. The one above is super simple, and has only one pattern, throughout. I decided to call it finished, but it seemed to be lacking something. So, I put in some yellow streaks - for some sun! - and then, added some shadows.


This second one looks so complicated, but it isn't. It's just little-bitty patterns worked continuously all around the mandala.

The most work that needs to be done for a mandala - for me - begins even before I start creating it: With the drawing of the circles, and marking the 10-degree intervals between the lines that will criss-cross it. After that, it is a breeze. When I'm free, I sit and do me some circles, and draw me some lines. Then, when the mandala moods hits me, I'm free to simply draw them.

A Valentine's heart


I only acknowledge Valentine's because of the heart: I am a heart person! Hahahaha. I love that heart-shape, and turns out, I have a heart (and lung) ailment, as well. Who'd've known that'd be in store, eh?!

Here's my heart - cheesy, but I couldn't resist it! 😋


Happy Valentine's Day, y'all!

Free-hand mandalas


With dimensional paint, I free-handed these two mandalas.



I started the new year with a frozen shoulder. So, while I wait for it to thaw, I've been spending my time doodling, and making mandalas.

They're all worked with Sharpies.

No message in the bottle


My sister, Brenda, gave me this wine bottle years and years ago, and it's been sitting by its lonesome on a shelf, at home. Over the weekend, I decided to add some sparkly doodles to its life. It was very easy to do: stick on the sparkles randomly; draw on a wriggly flower pattern around each; let it dry!



Two doodles that I did in early October, and forgot to post.

Little wreath of flowers



I actually completed this in August, but forgot all about it.

It's a wreath of flowers, done in watercolour.

It's waiting for some calligraphy - some clever words to be written beautifully, in the centre. Right now, that calligrapher is not me.

I've picked up my nibs and done some writing, but it's nowhere near what I'd like it to be. I've been away from it for a bit too long, for the letters to come flowing off my nib. I need to practise more, and I should be good to go.

For now, it waits for me.

A September mandala


. . . in black lace.

I'm not really working at the speed of light, am I? Hahahah.

This one is worked in black ink. All the lines join-up with each other, so that's my definition of lace. If all the lines don't join, it's a doodle 😇


I didn't use a compass this time - working free-hand, I started in the middle and slowly moved outwards. I wanted to see if I could really do this with a pen. Towards the outer rim though, I felt I need a bit of help, so I used a ruler to guide me a bit.

When I do use a compass, I draw concentric circles. Then, I split the circle in 10⁰ marks.

Four mandalas



So, we found some old CDs, and I got out my dimensional paint, and scarred them forevah!!!

One last mandala, for July!


A free-hand mandala, worked in dimensional paint (pearl taupe), on black foam. About 7 inches across. Barely dry.


Shades on, please!



When you have lots and lots of stuff buzzing around in your head, you need to take out the pens and doodle. I had initially intended for this to be one of the doodles I shared - before colouring.

But, when it was completed, I thought it looked so yucky, so didn't bother taking a picture of that.

Then, I started colouring. Again, every sharpie in the box!

And, I must say I became quite happy as I coloured, and I loved all the different colours, jostling with each other for notice.

I am quite happy with how it turned out. It is just 11 x 71/2 inches, on paper. Pen, for the design; sharpies for the colour.


This mandala is just 7 inches across. I started with a dot, in the centre, and free-handed the design - one row at a time, in an ever widening circle.

The mandala is worked on black foam, in dimensional paint, in copper.

Doodle rounds


Two little doodles I only just completed. Not very big - about 6 inches across. Ink, on paper. And, as always, I was so sad that they were finally finished!!! Each took about an hour or so. But, I seldom do them in one sitting. A few minutes, now and then, or I'd get quite cross-eyed, don't you think!!!


I saw someone work something like this, and I thought I'd give it a try. I wasn't entirely satisfied with how it turned out. That's what happens when someone else's design is floating around in my head. I need to look. Study it for a bit. And then, go away and do something on my own, without ever referring to the inspiration. I think I didn't give myself enough space - between looking, and doing ;)

So, I tried it again. In black-on-white, this time.


Henna designs



Dimensional paint, in copper, worked on black foam.

This is a first try, and for sure it will only get better as I practise more on this foam.

Shiny copper, on black .... mighty hard to photograph!!! :(

July mandala



I love working in black-and-white, and I enjoyed doing this one. Wishing everyone a wonderful July!




I enjoy going dotty with bottles. And these two made me a dotty, for sure.

The blue-on-blue Bombay Sapphire bottle, I covered with scroll-work, and added a little pearl dot, just for fun.

The round bottle is a pinky-browny vase. The dots in green are done with a clear paint, with a bit of sparkles. On this piece, they look greenish. The picture doesn't show it well, unfortunately.

Lace and pearls, on denim



A 22-inch square. Crumpled denim-look background, achieved with modelling paste, and acrylic paint.

The lace-mandala is done in acrylic paint. The mandala itself is 15 inches in diameter.

The 'pearls' are actually just dots of dimensional paint.


A close-up of the piece - mainly, to show the pearls, which I so love!

Doodled flowers



I worked on this one for about two weeks, or so. Just colouring circles all over the place with my Sharpies. Then, I doodled some flower-patterns, and tied it up in red. 37 x 27 cm. Paper.

Dots, dots, dots


6 inches tall, and about 6 inches at its widest

An old goblet, that's been sitting on my shelf for a long time, finally got a little face-lift.

First, a nice coat of paint with metallic paint, in ruby. Then, with dots in sequin black, opal, and red.

This takes a long time to do - mainly because the dots need to be small, so they don't drip off the surface. Then, you have to let one colour dry before you do the next, or it will become one big blob,.

So, all you need is patience, and the rest is just dot-dot-dot!

Drawing . . . .


Drawing and me have never been very good friends. Most of the work I've done in acrylics have been 'drawn' with a brush. Pencils and I don't get along very well.

But recently, I've been watching videos on drawing - because when you work with watercolours, you need to draw. Most of the time. Some pieces don't need any drawing, but to my mind, most pieces do.

So how does one get good at drawing?

For that matter, 'How does one get good at acrylic painting?' Or, 'How does one get good at watercolour painting?'

Everyone seems to agree on this - You just keep doing it! Keep bashing on, and don't expect to be great overnight. Put in the work, and you'll see the results, over time.

For me, it has been true with acrylic painting. I started out painting shite, and over time, even my own eyes could see an improvement in the pieces I painted.

So. Back to drawing. I need to draw, draw, draw. Every day: Draw!!!

I draw with a Sharpie, or a pencil. I purposely choose a Sharpie for the days I just want to get on with things. Put the nib to paper, and draw. It doesn't need to be pretty. It doesn't need to be 'right'. It just needs to be drawn!

When I am feeling more confident, or in an arty-farty mood, I choose a pencil. Then, I draw and erase a lot!!!! So, it is not really the better choice - but it makes for a prettier result sometimes.

But, whichever I choose: I choose to draw!

Below are some pieces from my daily drawing in my sketchbook. I've put it here so that I can come back to it in a year, and compare the drawings from a year's time, to these! I expect to have improved, bigtime!!!!!

Most of the images below are from Pinterest. I just stop at a picture, and draw it.




Doodles and watercolour splashes!


My daughter felt that it's time I put down my thoughts in a journal. So, I bought a book to write in. But, it had an icky colour, all shiny and cheapo looking! Hahahahah. So, I decided to remedy that with watercolour :)


This is watercolour on ordinary sketchbook paper - about 80 gsm or so. It is wet-on-wet - where I damped the paper, front and back; splashed on the colours for some yellow blooms; and then, got an old credit card and scraped in some marks! Above is the front; below, the back.


And because I can never just walk into a shop and just buy the one thing, I also bought a little sketchbook. It had a silly cartoony thingy on its cover - so, I found a little doodle that I'd done earlier, and cut it to fit:


Gold ink, on black paper.

April mandalas



Dotty dots, and a close-up of them, below! Acrylic paint on canvas panel.



I was in a dark mood - hence the colours! Acrylic paint on mdf board covered with modelling paste.


March doodles . . .


... but posted late!


White ink, on black paper. I wish my ink were thicker and darker. I'm thinking about using white gouache, next time. Perhaps with my calligraphy pointy-pen.


Doodles help me relax.


Because Easter is near, there are rabbits all over the place. I'm just adding to the lot! This is done in just one pattern. It's a favourite of mine, and I try to include it in all the doodles I do.


This idea has been bouncing around in my brain for a while now, and I finally decided to act on it. I wet some watercolour paper, and dropped in some paint. Then, I dropped in some splotches of clear, clean water, and let them 'bloom'. When it was all dry, I drew a simple mandala on it. Now, it has been framed, and hangs in my home.

Doodle and mandala madness



Look at the centre of each 'flower' - that's where I began. I thought this would be a difficult doodle. But, after doing the first six petals, one just needs to add on a petal to each on the first row, and a huuuuuuuge flower blooms! Some shading, some highlight, and it looks très compliqué!!!! :)


This white mandala is mostly about lines. And circles. But, mainly about lines.