Ruins - Drawing MaxineDodd
Ruins - Drawing MaxineDodd
Small boy - drawing Maxine Dodd
Small boy
Wrapped - drawing Maxine Dodd

Following the unfolding events in Ukraine, I was disturbed and alarmed like many. In Leicester, there is a longstanding Ukranian community and where I grew up in the city, I went to school with, lived near and worked with Ukranians, who I counted as friends, colleagues and neighbours. I made these drawings in 2014 but never published them. Looking at them again, I feel I should and also to make more as the days unfold. Darkest of dark times.

Painting outside…a little more

Progress, with help from a visitor

Yesterday, I mentioned that painting outside was always a different experience partly because of wildlife and nature joining in… well in this next video, you can see exactly that…not exactly wildlife but she made her appearance at just the right time!

Painting outside when the subject comes along!

At the end of the afternoon, before getting ready to watch the Euros matches, I put the pictures on the grass to photograph and then bring everything back inside and forget all about them until the next day…

This morning, the weather is completely different, rain and cloudy… England will face Germany (AGAIN!!!) on Tuesday….hmmm!

Here are the sketches from yesterday…the question now, is what to do next? I could leave them as they are, but I feel that a bit more would be fun to try… but what?


I don’t rush! I take photos, I put mounts round, just to see where the composition could go next

This is very important ‘mulling’ time! Lots of things to consider, but my first thought is that some elements need strengthening, so as these are quite large scale on cartridge paper, I will change medium and go to a pastel of some kind, which is strong and a little goes a long way, leaving my watercolours ready for the football and cycling pictures that I will make later – a practical consideration but an important one. I really don’t want to run out of yellow and green two days before the Tour de France starts!

Mulling over composition options

The next thing is that I will work on them on the floor, so I can draw comfortably… and still see them side by side. I feel that I want to crop them into square formats.. like these two photos, but if I do, it will be the Very Last Step!

So today’s adventures have begun, I will see how these turn out later and share the results…have a good Thursday! 😊

Painting outside…

It’s a joy!

Basically, it is great to work outdoors. I am not an artist who does this in an epic way, I like my creature comforts too much in all truth. But just to get outside and paint presents different challenges which are just a pleasure. From your eye wandering all over the place… (a constant state for me!) to wildlife and nature joining in, ie, sand in your paints, small creatures wandering over the paper, raindrops plopping on the surface. It’s great and something that many artists love. What you see before you is real, the light moves and changes, you have to work to keep up.

Maxine ‘Two easels’ Dodd

The short video at the end, gives an idea how I often work, especially outside. I like a proper easel, so these two studio easels are my favourites and I have used them in the garden a lot over the years. They are sturdy and withstand my stronger mark making! Lesser easels have been known to topple! If away from home, I work on the ground, on a beach towel often, again with everything spread out.

I also work on several pieces at the same time, at least two, like this. There are a couple of reasons, the first is practical, watercolour needs time to dry, so moving between one picture and another, means that I am not tempted to overwork. The second reason is also practical, I may well have more paint mixed up than I have used, so rather than waste it, I use it on a second (or third) picture.

The other reason is more esoteric perhaps, but I find that with several pictures ‘on the go‘ at the same time, I don’t feel pressured or ‘precious’ about one piece. Each one is important, posing different problems to solve… it’s an enjoyable quest for an image that may or may not work. I like that!

Painting outside

So today’s adventures have begun, I will see how these turn out later and share the results…have a good Wednesday! 😊

Frosty morning Sunrise

watercolour, pen and ink, frosty morning sunrise

I just looked back on my post for New Year 2020, only to discover that I posted a picture of a frosty morning sunrise; a view of our garden down to the little apple tree where the birds feed. This morning, it was just the same, a beautiful sunrise, with the light filtering through the trees and birds feeding beneath the apple tree.

I realized that having gone through a year like no other, filled with changes, many things have stayed the same… it’s winter in Leicestershire and it’s frosty, the birds are hungry and enjoying the seed we put out, and the light through the trees as the sun rises, is still magical.

It made me realize that at this time and having gone through a year like no other, I still have exactly the same feelings as I do at this time every year; I have plans, ideas and hopes for the year ahead which I may – or may not – achieve, but the hope and the optimism are very real.

So today, after this year like no other, but also, just as last year, I wish you and those you love, the very best for the year to come – Have a good one! Maxine x

watercolour, pen and ink, frosty morning sunrise
Frosty morning sunrise

Where the pheasants live

Where the pheasants live... mixed media art by Maxine Dodd

There are many pictures I should be sharing with you just now, all sports inspired, but every now and then a picture comes to me almost by accident – they don’t ‘fit’ with the sports work that I usually make but they do ‘fit’ together -since mostly these oddities are made under the same circumstances – in the early hours before it’s quite light – or even in the dark – and I make them because I have woken early and can’t get back off to sleep.

I work as quietly as possible, so as not to disturb everyone else, and use the daylight table light, which bends and stretches to light exactly what needs to be lit and nothing else – I make a picture or two, half asleep almost, leave whatever I have made to dry and go back to bed – usually to sleep fine after that. Making art is a great cure for my occasional sleeplessness, I have to say.

So, it happened last night, (this morning) and I found a piece that I had started and left, not knowing what to do with it. I put on the daylight lamp and only had a few things to hand, a lovely ink made by Diamine called ‘onyx black’, a couple of Derwent Graphitint pencils, ‘Dark indigo’ and ‘Meadow’ a couple of pastels of mixed origin, probably Schmincke and Sennelier, grey and white and some System 3 white acrylic.

These photos give you an idea but it’s a bit tidier now than at the time – I was half asleep and no camera!

What emerged from my marks and spatters were the trees and hedge at the end of our garden – I look at this view a great deal and the hedgerow is a haven to wildlife, especially pheasants.

Normally, our regular visitors are two males, who we call Philip and Phineas – occasionally there is a third, Felix – (Phelix??) and sometimes one or two females – but lately, there have been lots of them, – (a nye?) – of at least 12 , in the garden finding food to eat – and they are lovely to watch.

Philip and Phineas
Philip and Phineas
The gentlemen and ladies…

The marks that came reminded me of the trees and hedgerow where they come in. I reckon the next step is to draw them during the daytime when we are all awake together!

The hedgerow to the field

So here, from my reverie, is this night time piece, from memory really, showing where the pheasants live…

Where the pheasants live... mixed media art by Maxine Dodd
Where the pheasants live… Mixed media