Saturday, June 28, 2014

Absent without leave

I've been absent again - but I have at least been busy!

I have recently signed up with RedBubble and opened an account to sell prints, bags, cushions, phone covers and more. So taking a slightly different track, I have been working on a series of work that will lend itself well to different items

These little trees started as individual trees and then grew into an orchard in different seasons.

'Winter Orchard' Watercolour on Paper, 30cm x 30cm

Winter has come to the Orchard, the snow lies deep under the trees and snowflakes are falling.

'Spring Orchard' Watercolour on Paper, 30cm x 30cm

Spring has come at last, the leaves are starting to come out and the blossom is out. Wildflowers have started to bloom under the trees.

'Summer Orchard' Watercolour on Paper, 30cm x 30cm

In the midst of the summer heat the apples are ripening among the dark green leaves, the flowers are blooming amongst the trees.

'Autumn Orchard' Watercolour on Paper, 30cm x 30cm

Autumn is spreading its fingers and the leaves are turning and falling from the trees. Only a few of the apples remain on the branches now to remind us of the fruit they bear.

The originals of these paintings are available for purchase on from my Etsy shop.

Saturday, June 07, 2014


My fabric series has rather gone by the way of knots! Knots look so different according to what they are tied with - the knotted ribbon is much flatter and more structural somehow, yet the knotted tea towel is drapes and curves due to the bulk of the fabric.

"Tie the Knot'
Pencil on Paper

"Did You Forget Something?'
Pencil on Paper

Sunday, June 01, 2014


Following on from the pebbles drawing, I have started a series of drawings of fabrics. I bought this black and white silk many years ago but have never use it for anything. It seemed like the perfect challenge for this series of drawings, though half-way through the first one, I began to wonder whether I would still be sane at the end of it!

'Get Knotted'
Pencil on Paper

Pencil on Paper

Thursday, May 29, 2014


I love to walk on beaches and find myself picking up rocks and bringing them home by the pocket full. Attracted by the texture, the shape, colour or patterns, I find them irresistable!.
Pencil on Paper

Pencil on Paper

Pencil on Paper

Pencil on paper

Pencil on paper

Pencil on paper

Pencil on paper

Pencil on paper

Pencil on paper

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Artistic Hiatus

Many people believe that being an artist is easy. That you get up in the morning and paint. I hate to dispel this theory, because yes, there are days like that. But there are many that are agony, the agony of wanting to paint and not knowing what to paint and sometimes, not even wanting to. I was reading in Shirley Trevena's book, "Taking risks with Watercolour", and was happy to find that even the most accomplished artists suffer the way I do.

"Painting is not always as relaxing as it seems, especially when the flow of ideas dries up. Nobody can turn on inspiration like a tap - I wish one could. There are days when I can hardly persuade myself to go into the my studio, let alone start working......."

I suffer this more often than I care to remember. Many artists tell you that in this case just do something, because the doing in itself is inspiring. So having found myself in a dry period, I did just that. I trawled images that I have on my computer and came back to pears.

Painting these I had the idea of having the white of a table cloth with pears on and a dark wall behind them but having got to this point, I am not faced with the fear of "if I add any more it may ruin it". Remembering how I rather flew at a couple of still lifes a short while ago and ended up having to crop them to remove my rash decisions, I have decided to wait and see what inspiration will provide.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

White Rose

"THE red rose whispers of passion,
And the white rose breathes of love;
O, the red rose is a falcon,
And the white rose is a dove."

John Boyle O'Reilly

I've fallen in love with granulating pigments and the one I used in the leaves is one of my favourites - out of the tube it looks like a dull green and then it separates into coppers and turquoise.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Yellow Rose

There is a rhythm to life, its ups and downs, its side steps, its change of pace and theme.

Thursday, February 06, 2014

Darkest Hour

Darkest Hour
Acrylic and ink on canvas
90cm x 90cm

My husband laughs at me when I paint on canvas - I paint and then I paint over and then I paint over again. One of the benefits to me is that canvas can be reused, that acrylics and oils can be overpainted time and time again. I might not paint the same picture but I paint, and with each painting I learn from mistakes, from small successes. This canvas has beneath its layers at least 5 other seascapes. In moments of wild fantasy I imagine art historians of the future looking at my paintings, studying the layers through x-rays and saying, "Yes, this must be an Anita Murphy. There are several paintings underneath the surface painting!" In my dreams!

Watercolour study for Darkest Hour
15cm x 15cm

Friday, January 31, 2014

Yellow Tulips and Pears

The Trevena influence continues. I am hoping that I will develop my own style and not be hooked in being a poor imitation of a wonderful artist. I did not learn the lesson from the last painting of planning my picture before hand and once again I was forced to crop this picture to make it work. I have to admit to being unreasonably pleased with the pears - very happy with them. They are such a joy to paint.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Pink Tulips - Silver Linings

There is no mistaking the influence Shirley Trevena is having on the paintings I am doing at the moment. I had an argument with myself about this today - is it alright to copy a style and I came to the conclusion that it is. Learning from someone else's process gives you tools that will help define your own style. Even the old masters had and were students themselves, learning at the "Master's knee".

One of the things that I have learnt from Shirley is that you should allow yourself to experiment - it is after all, just a piece of paper. I spent two days this week painting what at appeared to be a reasonably good piece - at least, it was until after a sleepless night, I leapt in with both feet. The problem came because I had not spent enough time preparing my sketches and had thought that the little blank corner made nice composition. Only I had no idea what colour I was going to fill the empty space with. And the result was a horrible mess. I threw the now offending piece on a pile under my work table. Placing a pre-cut mat over the side with which I was happy, I found that it made an acceptable smaller piece. Lesson for the day is, do not despair, a disaster rarely covers an entire painting and smaller sections might be redeemable.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

The Blue Vase

After a week of throwing acrylic paint rather unsuccessfully at a large canvas, I came back to watercolour for relief. Very aware of a Shirley Trevena influence here, though the image started from an idea from a totally different artist. I often look at other artists work because I am fascinated by the process they use but the danger is then that you get stuck in their style and not producing your own work. Which is another reason why you should paint form your heart.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Arum Lilies

These are one of my favourite flowers of all. I love their sculptural quality and the grace of the curves of the petals.

Experimenting with backgrounds this week with lots of different techniques, using cling film, blowing and dribbling paints and masking fluid and splattering. I'm having to learn patience and waiting for layers of paint to dry in order to get clean lines with no spreading of colour. I find it very hard to have more than one piece on the go at any one time though I think that is the way to go to maximise productivity.

Wednesday, January 08, 2014

Late for Christmas .......

A little late for Christmas but one of my favourite birds, nevertheless. Their little red breasts brighten even the darkest winter day, adding a splash of colour. While still working predominately in watercolour, I am beginning to think more about mixed media. I've been studying various artists including John Lovett, Shirley Trevena and Ann Bockley and their wonderful use of all the water media and different implements to mark make are inspiring.
all artwork is copyright of Anita Murphy 2006/2007/2008/2009