Here are the trials, sketches and works in progress taken from my sketchbook pages.

An eclectic mix for October

A selection of winter subjects for The Natural Sketchbook Exchange 

Pink subjects for Feb

Fun and frolics for March and April

Just for laughs, and for Easter, I put in a bunny too.

A burst of blooms

An original festive touch

Working on the onion, along with colour swatches

Colour mixes still play an important part in day to day painting

Always good to test out new colours and mixes

Using photos  

The iris seed pods and colour notes

Honeysuckle berries are a favourite subject

Even a colour chart can be pretty

A little courgette flower
Quite an old study but still useful

From my new sketchbook for a group exchange project.

Lily bud
Permanent Rose, Winsor Violet and Perylene Maroon all came in handy
for the velvety pinks. 

Lots of orangey colour notes were made for a 'white' onion

Quinacridone Magenta, Permanent Rose and
French Ultramarine made the delicate pinks and shadow tones
for the blossoms of the blackberry

A lilac Freesia using Quinacridone Magenta
Ultramarine Violet and Permanent Rose in the mixes. 

From my holiday in Scotland

Unidentified plant from a Perthshire garden. Scotland

The Gaelic Botanical Alphabet project for the Irish Society of Botanical Artists requires artists to paint a given botanical subject entwined with it's letter.   

Getting the anatomy of a bramble leaf.
Keeping the characteristic nibble holes

From the small thumbnail idea, the drawing takes shape

Quick thumbnail of bramble
and Gaelic letter 'D'

Quick idea for the Yellow Wort
For the diploma portfolio study of vegetables

Gathering ideas and colour charts 


Red onion, from an earlier study

Preparing for a mixed study

Small vignette studies just a couple of inches in size
really help me to see if a combination or composition
will work. 

Again, those little vignettes


I love adding insects to a piece to really add a a bit of fun

Clematis 'Arabella' showing completed flower and first wash. Colours used include French Ultramarine Light, Quinacridone Magenta, Permanent Rose and Cobalt. 

Dahlia 'party', a gorgeous 'raspberry ripple' effect on the back of the petals made this one a winner. An early subject for a floral portrait.

Initial sketches for the radish used in a vegetable study and assignment.

Clematis 'arabella', one of my favourite flowers in the garden. The petals have a quality of colour that turns from a deep, cobalt blue to violet through to a pinky-purple.

A tulip bulb that had begun to burst out of it's papery casing made an interesting subject as I was preparing some sketches for botanical illustration. This one looks a bit stylised and reminds me of the work of Georgia O'Keeffe. 

These blackberries were chosen as the sprig showed a number of fruits in different stages of ripeness. The colours came out quite well but I could have given more depth of shading and used a darker mix here and there. Also, the white, 'halo' needs to go. 


Nandina Domestica has great leaves which turn to a glorious red at the edges. The arhitectural shape provides numerous opportunities for composition with other leaves and was a joy to paint. Some of the veins could have been better but overal I think the colour is the strongest point.

I love blueberries. When the opportunity came along to paint fruit, I couldn't resist having a go at these delicious little berries. The texture of a blueberry is very smooth with a chalky bloom. Using a watery mix of cerulean and cobalt right at the beginning, I tried to capture this characteristic. While this mix was still wet, I added the darker mix and allowed it to spread. Just a few extra touches of the darker mix here and there finished them off. Not bad.    

Snowdrop - Sketchbook detail

Snowdrop - dissection detail

Periwinkle, (detail)

Galanthus and Periwinkle J. Godwin (2010)

These sketches of Galanthus and Vinca major were part of a series of ideas for a traditional botanical illustration. Here, I have included some dissections of the plant, which would be needed for identification.  Although, initially I had thought the leaves of the Snowdrop looked a bit over highlighted, the overal effect worked quite well so I decided to leave it alone. The overwhelming need to keep fiddling with a painting can be disastrous and I have to keep a level of self control!


The Cyclamen persicum was an example of the stippling technique. Again this was part of the assignment and was completed on A4 Hot Press paper.

The choice of medium was quite free so I chose to use my faithful 0.25 Rotring technical pen. Hatching could also be used for this exercise but having tried this technique I found that stippling worked better, giving a smoother graduation of tone.

Cyclamen and Rhododendron, J. Godwin (2010) 

Being able to work confidently in pencil is one of the fundamental basic skills for creating succesful artwork. One of the exercises that really took me back to my days of working in an Architect's office was this example of shading solid shapes.

Again, using a range of pencil grades the shading was built up from light to dark and always trying to keep a consistent level of pressure. Adding the left and right facing spheres was an added extra of mine just to get a feel for the direction of light.



Page of Leaves, J.Godwin (2010)

Leaves are really tricky, and these were the first attempts I made. Not exactly great but that's why a sketchbook is so handy, you can make all your screaming howlers in it and not on your final piece. Although I do like the colours of the Nandina domestica, along with the lilac leaf, this one made it to the final piece.


Rosa 'Golden Wings', J. Godwin (2010)

After the leaves came flowers, although I didn't have to worry about stems or leaves with these. Yellow flowers can be notoriously difficult, so as a complete novice of course I picked my favourite rose which just so happened to be yellow. Rosa 'Golden Wings' or the fried egg rose as I call it is just so lovely.


Fuchsia 'Mrs Popple' J. Godwin (2010)

The large blooms open right out exposing the centre and as the flowers age, the yellow softens to pale cream. Picking the right colour mixes for this one was really hard, although a mix of Cadmium Yellow and Winsor Lemon worked well.

Shadows on yellow flowers can also be difficult but I found that a purple/grey used as a very pale wash contrasted well and gave a subtle finish. The sketch included some extra pencil shading to remind me to give more depth in certain areas. 

Using photocopies of your work can also help with the judgement of tonal values. Here, whilst working on the fruit project, I photocopied the sketchbook page. The overal tones of grey and black without the addition of colour really shows the areas of light and shade