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Turning sketches into cards

making greeting cards from my sketches

Looking around this website it may be apparent that I love sketching however it does mean that I end up with too many sketches. So I decided that I would turn my sketches into cards and sell them.

Jane sketching at The Lizard

My sketches can include sitting in a beautiful spot in Cornwall, perhaps visiting Portreath or Godrevy, and I sit down and capture the day with a little sketch.

It could be taken from one of my photographs, I love walking and taking photographs so I have a vast library of images that I would like to paint and a little sketch helps me decide whether to paint a full scale version of it.

wheal francis drawing

Style wise, sometimes I use a stippling effect, where the image is drawn using lots of dots, or it can be more of a free, quick sketch approach. The difference in these two techniques will depend on the subject matter is stippling tends to be a more accurate representation, wheras the free, quick sketch can be more dynamic, capturing the essence of a place.

The Crowns at Botallack Mine

The initial sketches are usually done when watching TV, probably a TV programme that I am not that interested in and I want to relax. I find stippling very relaxing. Then I will add the watercolour at a later date, perhaps sat in the garden or my summerhouse, which I particularly enjoy on a summers evening.

Low Tide at St Ives greeting card

I always like to revisit these sketches at a later date and decide which of these sketches other people may enjoy and I cut them down to size, around 90–100mm square and attach them to a blank card stock, usually a 6×6 inch card.

Clear waters at Logan Rock-framed

These cards can then be given as a card (they all have matching envelopes) or they can be added to a square frame. Most high street, and online retailers, have square frames that a 6×6 card will fit in and make an affordable piece of original art to either have in your own home or give as a gift.

I think this is a Win Win situation, I love my sketching and hopefully you enjoy being able to purchase a watercolour without breaking the bank. Have a look at the greeting cards that I currenlty have for sale.

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Sketches from Scotland

Illustration: Edinburgh Castle

Recently I was lucky enough to spend time in Scotland, mainly in Edinburgh and Oban, and as always I took my Moleskine Sketchbook, Pens and Paints so that I could capture the scenery, so here are my sketches from Scotland.

Edinburgh

We started our holiday in Scotland, and it turned out to be quite a different experience from what we had been expecting as it coincided with the death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. The whole country then observed a period of mourning but as Her Majesty passed away whilst staying at Balmoral, Edinburgh led the way. This meant we were able to pass our respects in person when she came to Lie in State at St Giles Cathedral, something that living in Cornwall is not usually possible due to the distance in travelling to London. However it did mean that access to a lot of Buildings and Places were closed or restricted.

The weather was lovely during our stay, with a lot of blue skies and here are my sketches from Edinburgh.

Oban

We left Edinburgh and transferred to Oban, via Glasgow and the West Highland Railway. Our Flat had the most amazing view of Oban Harbour and Bay, looking towards the island of Kerrara, with the islands of Lismore and Mull in the distance. Sadly the weather was not as good as Edinburgh, and although we avoided heavy rain it was mostly grey, so my sketches will include a lot of grey clouds.

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Quick easy watercolours

acrylic images on easel

I have a variety of styles, some are quick easy watercolours – these are watercolours that I can paint in 10–30 minutes. This is usually when I am outside trying to capture the scene quickly. Other watercolours take me a lot longer and these are my larger paintings, and are not usually painted in one session – an idea for another blog post I think!

Acrylic paintings

Sometimes I paint using Acrylic paint and I have to be quick with these because they dry so quickly. Never has that been more evident than this summer when it has been so hot! I have been painting my little easels but also drinks mats.

4 drinks mats of Godrevy beach

I did a few more but using different colours this time.

more drinks mats of Godrevy beach

I have been visiting the beach on quite a few occasions and after taking a dip I got my paints out. Here is my attempt to capture how busy Godrevy beach was, with so many people swimming, on paddle boards and inflatables. Everyone was really enjoying the lovely weather.

skethc of a busy Godrevy beach

Greeting cards

I like to convert my quick skethces and make them into cards. As mentioned I I love painting outside, so afterwards I cut them up into squares and turn them into greeting cards that hopefully people enjoy. They are purposely put on to 6×6 square cards so that they fit a standard square frame that can be purchased from a variety of supermarkets and other shops.

making greeting cards from my sketches

Visit my Greeting Cards page for what is currently available for sale, although as they are original paintings, once they have gone there is no guarantee I will paint the same scene again.

Lastly, this sketch is of Noto Cathedral, which I haven’t personally visited but was for an anniversary card for a special couple who got married there.

Sketche of Noto Cathedral

I hope you have enjoyed an insight into what I have been working on during August, don’t forget to find out my latest paintings that are availble to purhcase.

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Sketches of Norway

Fjorydhutter close-up

If was about this time 5 years ago that we visited Norway and luckily I was able to do some sketching. I wasn’t sure if the weather would be warm enough to sit outside and paint, but here are my sketches of Norway. Click on the images to see a larger version.

We were doing a train tour and flew from Gatwick to Bergen, where we stayed for a few days. The first day was very much what we were expected from Bergen i.e. wet! However in the afternoon of the second day the sun came out and it was glorious. We sat outside close to the Bryggen, where I tried to capture the Wharf houses, which are the iconic buildings that are associated with Bergen.

The next day we were off to Flam, where luckily the glorious weather continued and it was just magical to sit alongside the Sognefjord and get my paints out. Even better was in the evening, where I sat on the beach at past 10 o’clock at night and was able to do another sketch. I loved the four small fishermen houses, or Fjordhytter, that sat below the dramatic mountain above it with their reflection in the water.

We had two days in Flam then we were off on the train for our final stop – Oslo. Oslo is a vibrant and relatively small city and we had another glorious day, so we grabbed a coffee and cake from a local shop (very cost effective) and I sat and sketched the University building. Then later in the afternoon we sat alongside Oslo Fjord looking across to the Oslo Opera House, I just couldn’t capture this building, with the sun shining on all the glass and white walls. Yesterday evening we had visited it, not long after arriving, and climbed on the roof (along with everyone else!) to watch the sunset, quite magical.

Norwegian airlines
Time to go home

All too soon it was time to go home. A wonderful holiday and I am delighted to have captured the scenery with my little sketches as a permanent memory of my time in Norway, including a quick sketch of our plane getting roead to take us home.

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Memories of my holiday in Sennen

Gwenver Beach

Recently I enjoyed a weeks holiday in Sennen with lots of walking and painting. Now you might be surprised why I would want to holiday in Sennen, when I live so close to it, and the reason is two-fold. One relates to Covid and the potential problems of travelling, and the other is, by staying somewhere I can have one week to enjoy the sunshine, the sunset and everything in-between. I don’t have a sea view from where I live and it is an absolute joy to experience such a beautiful view for one week.

On the Saturday the weather was glorious so we walked along the south west coast path, which involved walking past the glorious Gwenver Beach, where I sat and sketched the painting above. However I just haven’t manage to capture the stunning white sands and the total peace and tranquality that you feel when you sit on the beach. I have taken photographs so I will have another attempt.

On the rest of the days the weather was quite cloudy but on the day we walked across to Nanjizal bay the sun came out and it was simply glorious! The tide was coming in but we ventured down on to the beach for a short while, and I just don’t have enough adjectives to describe this beautiful place. I should mention it isn’t an easy walk, and there is nowhere to park close by to park, not to mention scrambling across the large boulders on the beach to reach the sand – but it was well worth it!

The above are sketches of the view from our accommodation where I tried to capture the fog rolling in and the waves rolling on to the shore.

As you can imagine I love Sennen and I have taken loads of photographs so I can’t wait to get my paints out at home!

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Sketching at The Lizard

Old Lizard Head

We have recently had a wonderful spell of weather here in Cornwall and so I was delighted to be able find a nice comfy seat, get my paints out and enjoy sketching at The Lizard in the glorious sunshine.

Jane sketching at Old Lizard Head

Parking at The Lizard we walked down Lizard Head Lane and joined the coast path from Kynance Cove to The Lizard, stopping at a lovely sheltered spot by Old Lizard Point to capture the scene and sketch the rocks that were exposed as it was low tide.

Rocks off old Lizard Head

Heading on further we stopped for a lunch at Polpeor Cafe, where we were able to sit outside and I had a great spot to capture another view of The Lizard.

What a great day, walking and painting in the sunshine! Bring on more spring days.

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Snow in Switzerland

Filisur

In 2018 we decided to go in search of some snow, not to ski but just to look at and marvel at its beauty, so we decided on Switzerland, where we undertook a mini-tour around this country that we love. Little did we know at the time that whilst we were away Cornwall would end up covered in snow due to the arrival of “the beast from the east!”

As it was ski season we were able to fly from Exeter to Geneva, where we got the train to Basel – our first stop.

It was incredibly cold in Basel, but it was a sunny day and in the sunshine it was glorious and I was able to sit and sketch some of the beautiful buildings.

Next stop was Filisur, going via Chur so we got the train up to Arosa, where it was so cold minus 18 degrees, so not only was it too cold to paint, it was too cold to be outside! Still the train trip up to Arosa and back, going through the snow covered forests was stunning.

When planning our trip I wanted to experience a moutain village and Filisur certainly did that. It was a lovely little village and our hotel room had a full length door/window with a great view over the valley, and we could watch the trains winding up through the mountains to nearby Bergun. If you look at my sketch above, look for the red train. We stayed for a few days, getting the Bernina Express one day to Tirano – where sitting on the train I managed a quick sketch of the nearby mountains. Then we walked to the Landweisser viaduct and as it was so sunny and felt warm, I decided to sit down and sketch the scene. However I became quite puzzled at the strange texture that was being created on my page, until I realised the water on my brush was quickly turning into ice crystals! Then on our last day we woke up to snow, so out came the paints as I tried to capture the scene.

Back on the train – and not just any train The Glacier Express, travelling from Filisur to our next stop at Brig – just magical. Back to painting the scene from our hotel room and this was the mountains at Brig. Our last visit was to Zermatt, where we were hoping to see The Matterhorn, it was quite a coldy day, but the clouds did clearly for a short time and I was able to sit down and quickly capture the scene, where now the temperature was above freezing and so the water in my brush didn’t freeze!

Our trip back didn’t run quite as smooth because by this time Geneva airport was covered in snow, as was Exeter Airport and had been closed the day before and the morning of our flight, but it opened for a couple of hours and we managed to get home!

A truly magical holiday, with memories that will stay with me forever.

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Snow in Cornwall

A selection of Christmas cards using original watercolour sketches

I have created a selection of Christmas Cards that featured my original watercolour sketches of snow in Cornwall. Except of course we don’t get snow very often in Cornwall, and when it comes you have to be quick to get out with your camera to catch it! Initially I did my little “dotty” drawings, whilst sat in the comfort of my armchair, before getting the paints out.

Clicking on the image will enable you to see it larger.

I start with West Penwith, I think it helps when you can see the snow has settled onto a hard surface and Lanyon Quoit, does the job quite well, with Ding Dong mine in the distance! I experimented with different colour blues for this, to see if it made a difference having a warm or cold palette, but I think both work.

The painting of snow covered Roughter, up on Bodmin Moor has to be my favourite, and again, it is the snow settling on the rock that makes it work

Then of course I do have a selection of Engine Houses — this first two are on the Great Flat Lode, a cycle track near Redruth that has lots of Engine Houses, here the snow is slowly started to melt. Another favourite is the Engine Houses at Wheal Peevor near Redruth, with other mine workings nearby.

Lastly we have Godrevy, looking towards the lighthouse, but if I am being honest it could just look like I haven’t finished the painting! So I tried including a rock, so you could see the snow settling on it, but again, it could be another unfinished painting!


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Sketches from Switzerland

Grindelwald

Here are my sketches from a holiday to Switzerland back in September 2016, when I travelled from Lucerne to Interlaken, then finally down to Montreux.

Sketches from my holiday to Switzerland back in September 2016, when I travelled from Lucerne to Interlaken, then onto Montreux.

Lucerne area

We caught the 7pm flight from Bristol airport, and after our 3 hour train transfer we arrived whilst it was enjoying a mini heatwave. We quickly unpacked, walked along
Matthias Luchsinger Platz, sat under a shady tree and enjoyed the beautiful scenery of the lake with the mountains in the distance, with locals and tourists alike enjoying the sunshine.

Lake Lucerne

I kept the colours muted, as the sunshine created a heat haze however I wanted to focus on all the boats on the lake.

Next morning (Thursday) the weather broke and it was raining, luckily the showers didn’t last long. We decided to do the golden trip to Mount Pilatus, which included crossing the Lake on boat to Alphnachstad, where we ascending the moutain in the steepest cog railway. Sadly the weather was very changeable and whilst it didn’t rain the clouds were coming and going.

cloudy day on Mount Pilatus

This is me capturing the mountain summit with the little red train climbing up.

Lake Lucerne paddlesteamer

Friday and the weather was still quite cloudy but undeterred we set off on the Lake again. Whilst walking from Weggis to Vitznau I tried my fasted painting yet! This was capturing a paddle steamer as it sailed past.

Interlaken area

On Saturday we left beautiful Lucerne and travelled by train through the  Brünig pass to Interlaken, unfortunately by the time we arrived it was wet. Whilst we did do a little sightseeing I didn’t get my paints out.

Sunday and it was still raining but we headed off on the local bus to St. Beatus Hoehlen

St. Beatus Hoehlen

As it was raining I tried a little sketch from the side, which was a shame because it was just so unbelieavably beautiful. Waterfalls fell down the hillside and to me looked like Rivendell.

View from Murren

Monday and the sun decided to show its face and we ventured up to Murren. We were rewarded with stunning views of the mountain, waterfalls and valley.

View from Winteregg

We walked from Murren to Winteregg, which has a first class view of the Eiger, Monch and Jungfrau, although by this time the clouds were covering the top of the mountain.

Tuesday and we sent off to visit the sun on top of the Jungfrau, the sun shone and it was glorious but sorry no painting.

Lauterbrunnen valley

On our way back down from the mountain we visited Wengen, and that had a wonderful view down the Lauterbrunnen valley.

Montreux area

Wednesday and we are back on the train travelling to Montreux.

lone boat on lac leman

Our hotel was right by the Lake, so whilst it was a little cloudy it was so peaceful and I sat and did this little sketch.

Paddle steamer on Lake Geneva

Thursday and we enjoyed walking along the lake by Vevey, where I again tried to capture a passing Paddlesteamer!

Boats on Lake Geneva

Later on I ventured down to the lakeside. Montreux has a long promenade and it has little hidden spots with seating areas, just perfect for another sketch.

Chateau de Chillon

On Friday we walked along to the Chateau de Chillon.

cloudy lake leman

Saturday and time to come home, however our room had a wonderful view across the Lake so I had time for one last experimental painting, where I didn’t use pen and ink. I wanted to capture the mood of the mountains that kept disappearing into a heat haze as the day warmed up.

Well I hope you enjoyed my sketches from Switzerland, I love this country and visited three different locations, they all had a different personality, not to mention weather!