Happy Valentine’s Day!


I thought I would take this opportunity to share some kitten love with you. I love cats so much, but the other members of my family are both very allergic to them and so sadly, I have to make do with paper ones, which is not the same at all!

The cat images are reproductions taken from Victorian decoupage sheets to which I have added my own crazy embellishments.

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Above is Anatasia and she is a White Russian cat and of course, a princess.

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Miss Emily; a portrait of Emily Dickinson

I recently read Nuala O’Connor’s intriguing book about the American poet Emily Dickinson, which was given to me by a close friend. The novel blends fact and fiction creating a meticulous detailed description of 19th century Amherst.


The story line follows a fictitious young Irish girl who sets out across the Atlantic and gains employment as the (real) Dickinson family’s maid. The plot interweaves the lives and relationship between Ada, the maid and Emily, poet and daughter of the family. Although the action in the story also concerns the lives of men, I particularly enjoyed this book for the way it focused on… Click here to continue reading on thewatercolourjournals.com

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Sketching in Gloucester Cathedral

I recently spent an afternoon sketching in Gloucester Cathedral near my home. A monastery has stood on this site since the late 7th century and the cathedral was established in 1541.

There are many things that I love about the cathedral, but, having a particular interest in women’s history, I am always drawn (no pun intended!) to the exquisite 15th century Lady Chapel. Below is a sketch I made of the tomb of Elizabeth Williams, who sadly died in childbirth aged only 17 years. Click here to continue reading on The Watercolour Journals.com



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Art Couture Festival, Painswick


Last Sunday was a day of scorching heat, under clear blue skies. We got dressed up and headed off to the biennial Art Couture Festival some 8 miles away in the village of Painswick. Although the proceedings took place under the Union Jack it was certainly not your typical British village fete… Click here to continue reading on TheWatercolourJournals.com

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New direction

I’ve taken quite a long time out from posting on here since leaving my job as a college lecturer. I really felt that I needed some space to experiment with different things before deciding which direction I wanted my work to take.


I’ve long been interested in early photographic portraits and have been working on a series that…   Click here to see more and continue reading on the new website

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Make a simple sketchbook – Tutorial

Using only folding and cutting, this is possibly the simplest way to make a fantastic sketchbook that slips easily into your pocket. Depending on what you fill it with, it could be the most creative use of a piece of paper ever!

I’d really love to hear how your sketchbook turned out and, more importantly, what you filled it with! So why not share how you got on in the comments below? Many thanks, EricaDIY Sketchbooks

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Jimson weed, flower painting in watercolour – a demonstration

My latest video…

If you click here you can view information about my on-line course, Exploring Drawing

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Mata Hari and Datura

I’ve been working on the portrait that I was making sketches for a couple of weeks ago; the subject is the exotic dancer Mata Hari. Steady progress is being made, but I have to admit that the going is slow, especially, when using a ball point pen to make such a detailed drawing on A1 paper! I need to smooth the tone transitions in some areas and complete the shading on the left side of the face. As this is the side in the light, hopefully, it won’t take so long as the right.

Erica Lowe, Mata Hari drawingI’ve also been giving some thought to the motifs for the background/border for the piece. As is well known, Mata Hari was executed by firing squad in France 1917 after being found guilty of being a double agent and spying for Germany. Bearing this in mind, I have chosen the plant Datura, representative of “deceitful charms”, which I felt was good match for this alluring and yet duplicitous woman.

Below is a quick watercolour sketch of a Datura flower.

Erica Lowe, loose watercolour,flower painting,Datura painting

If you’ve been looking for an opportunity to brush up your drawing skills, this might just be what you’ve been looking for; Enrolment is now open for my on-line drawing course, Exploring Drawing.

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Beginning by drawing the eyes

This is the first sketch for a new portrait I have planned. Sometimes I make a sketch of the whole composition before I begin, but I felt that I just wanted to  begin by trying out the drawing techniques I will use. I’m going to use ball pen & also watercolour in this piece.

Erica Lowe,drawing eyes,ball pen drawing,mata hari,mata hari drawing

I always begin a portrait by drawing the eyes & build the rest of the face around them. For me the eyes are usually the focus of a portrait.


If you would like to improve your drawing skills please click here for more information about my Exploring Drawing course – it’s perfect for both beginners & those who just want to brush up their skills!

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Sunflowers in January

This is a painting of sunflowers that I have been working on for some time. It’s by far the largest still life watercolour that I’ve ever attempted, measuring 23″x 33″. I also tried to in a new way for me, not planning what I wanted the finished painting to look like, but letting it evolve naturally. Although I didn’t plan it as a whole, I did spend a lot of time waiting for the direction of the next stage to make itself known to me (sorry if this sounds a bit strange!) It was an interesting experiment, but I think I have more work to do on letting go of the control of the process if I want to develop this way of working.

The pictures below show the stages & I hope will give some indication of the size of the work – some also include my feet standing on a chair to take the photos!

IMG_20130927_201344 IMG_20130928_011600 IMG_20130929_000444 IMG_20130929_192128 IMG_20130929_222409 IMG_20131004_013148IMG_20131203_180625 sunflowers and pomegranates,loose watercolour sunflowers,Erica Lowe,loose watercolour flower painting,loose watercolor flower painting,sunflower loose watercolor painting

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