Leda and the Swan watercolour painting progress

I am nearing the end of completing this little painting, which I have really enjoyed doing. As mentioned in a previous post, the concept is based on an ancient Greek myth of Zeus disguised as a swan who seduces the innocent Leda.

I wanted a kind of African nuance, but ethereal too, with allusions to flight and feathers; the dreaminess of Leda’s imagination as she ponders Zeus’s love…

leda and swan

Leda Swan

The Painter’s Journey ~ Part II : making your Muse at home

Leda Swan

This is the latest painting I am working on. I started her about a year ago, inspired by my love for the colour blue and for the mythological story of Leda and the Swan. I have probably spent an hour on her – she measures 7 x 10 inches and the paper is a gorgeous cold-pressed smooth cotton rag .

The muse cannot descend with grace if you don’t have a few elements in place to welcome her. I have discovered that using good quality watercolour paper is essential to allowing the paints (and your Muse) to mix and flow beautifully. My preferred paper as I have mentioned in a couple of other posts is the amazing Stonehenge paper which I discovered at my local art shop The Artist’s Store while living in Katoomba, Australia. I love this paper because it is smooth – it has no grain like many other watercolour papers do, so it is great to use with coloured pencils and pen for clear, sharp lines and lovely blending.

Luna moth fairy paintingLady of the Lake

The first thing I generally do is sketch out my design roughly in a soft lead pencil so that I can easily erase if necessary. Then I apply a light wash to whatever areas of the composition I want to have definite colours. Above are examples of this initial process from previous paintings (which can be found on this blog)

watercolor paintbrushes

The paint brushes I use vary between ones for acrylic and watercolor. Some of my favourite paint brushes are also the cheapest ones, but I do have some beautiful sable-haired brushes strictly for watercolour use. The fan brush to the right is great to use for blending in larger areas of colour wash with great effect and feathered delicacy. It’s good to play with each paint brush and see what it can do: I use the finest tipped brushes for drawing in lines and faces little details.

As you can see, my palette is simple: I have used this old plastic plate for years now, and just squeeze out a selection of watercolour paints, plus some chinese white, in a way that I know I will use and blend them together. My favourite watercolour tube paints are Van Gogh brand which has a large selection of beautiful colours at very good prices.

watercolor palette

Many people ask how I blend my watercolours, and the rule of thumb with this type of painting is to be very subtle when applying the paint to the paper. Watercolours by nature are transparent and have a beautiful translucency which is desirable to translate onto the paper or canvas.

luna moth fairy painting by liza paizis

Try to always keep the paper showing through to some degree, and gently layer your colours as you go along with delicate strokes, being careful never to overload the paintbrush with paint, and to use a good amount of water as you blend. I blend on both the paper and also on my palette, working from light to dark layers – so don’t start with your darkest colour first. mermaid 2

unicorn painting

Next time I will explore more about adding detail, layering and making the composition flow….

The Secret Garden original watercolor fantasy painting

This is the completed commissioned art work for Aldene in Wales! I enjoyed getting lost in the realms of nature and fantasy…and added some hidden fairies and little creatures throughout the painting if you look closely. It measures approximately 20 inches x 20 inches ; 51 cm x 51 cm ~ my previous posts outline the process of this painting.

You can purchase a beautiful print of this painting here.

Tree of Life original drawing in green ~ commissioned artwork

I have recently finished this lovely commissioned original drawing of the Tree of Life for a wonderful customer in Germany. It has been done in pigment coloured pencil (I use Swiss made Caran d’Ache) and pigment ink pens and measures 6.5 x 6.5 inches. She  loved my original pencil drawing of the Tree of Life with a sun and moon in the leaves and a dryad or tree spirit subtly portayed in the image which had been sold, so we decided to do one just for here with slight alterations and in vibrant greens, purples and blues:

I am currently accepting commissions for paintings, tattoo designs, business logos and wedding invitations to name but a few of the artworks I do as custom orders. You can view a selection of my previous artistic commissions here!


Secret Garden Painting progress

This is a close up of painting commission currently underway, the beginnings of which you can see below or here. I have been painting mostly with watercolours, adding touches with acrylic paint and pigment coloured pencil. There are two faeries, and a hedgehog so far….click on the image to enlarge and see if you can spot them! More little creatures to come later…

The Secret Life of a commissioned painting…initial stages

I have the pleasure of being able to do some wonderful commissions for fabulous customers over the years, and have been asked by Adlene of The Secret Garden of Beauty to do a custom painting to express the magical essence of her unique beauty salon in Wales.
I first liaise with the customer as to the vision of the original artwork they have asked me to create just for them, which may include photos, stories, memories or just imaginative feelings that they would like me to translate into a painting. In this case, Adlene wanted a secret garden theme with a magical, fairytale element to reflect the charm and tranquility of her wonderful beauty salon. Each commission process is different, and in Adlene’s I began with a black and white sketch, which I coloured in with a rough idea as to what she and I may be visualising about the nature of a secret garden….

The painting I have just begun is a watercolour and coloured pigment pencil artwork, which features mainly greens and pastel lavender with aqua blues, capturing the English garden flowers that one may find in the hidden garden of a mystical realm. More progress reports to follow ~ here is the beginning:

Cat Folk Art Painting Art Nouveau style with poppies, butterflies and ladybugs

This is my completed Art Nouveau style Cat painting. It is watercolor with gold and colored pigment ink and is inspired by folk art as well as the illustrations of the Art Nouveau period which had a wonderful flowing style and often incorporated natural elements within the diverse themes depicted.

It is for sale as a beautiful print in my online shop here and the original painting is for sale here – I have not come up with a name for it, so any suggestions are welcome!

Cat with Red Poppies : a new Original Painting!

I have a fascination with red poppies and with cats, and have often portrayed them together in little montages and pieces of art, but have never done a full painting of these two lovely themes together.

Here are the beginnings of a watercolour based painting that I have been working on, Art Nouveau style, with pigment inks and white gesso highlights. The paper I use is Stonehenge cream paper – great for mixed media and especially good for etching and watercolors. I painted a yellow wash with touches of orange for a base design of colours to set the tone for what looks to be a folk-art kind of painting.                                         ~ More photos as I go along !

Luna Moth Fairy Painting progress

This is how my new Art Nouveau inspired fairy painting is looking so far…

I have been painting it on Fredrix watercolor canvas, which is proving to be somewhat of a challenge as it is very slippery and I am finding that the water-based pigments do not adhere too well on the specially coated canvas. it is also very sensitive to any natural oils that come off one’s hand whilst painting, making in effect waterproof! I will be using acrylic to give this painting more adhesion and substance – will post the next and final stage in the next 2 days…

Thanks for looking! – You can see the first stage of this painting Here