News and musings

Chester exhibition 2017

05/08/2017

As part of the 2017 Chester open art exhibition one of my artworks was on display at http://www.commonhall.co.uk
And also at the Chichester Arms Chester.

Update.
I came 2nd place in this art competition!! Wahooooo :)

Many thanks to Anastasia and her amazingly team for organising such a fantastic event.

Artist of the year 2018 and 2019!

01/01/2018

Delighted to have been shortlisted and see my work on display for Artist of the year 2018.
And again 2019!.
The exhibitions were held at the wonderful mall galleries in London and were truly inspiring.
It was also really lovely to mingle and meet with all the other shortlisted artists there too....what talent!

The 2019 exhibition was also a double whammy for me because my painting " Hello sunshine " was one of the paintings that sold at the event. What a lovely feeling.

Big thanks
L J
X

Jacksons painting prize 2020

01/06/2020

In 2020 one of my paintings made the longlist into the jacksons painting prize.
For me personally this was a real privelage and meant a great deal to me. There were around six thousand entries from wonderful talented artists, so to get into the final 400 longlist is very difficult indeed!.
Daunting but fun.
There's always amazing paintings to be viewed and admired at the jacksons painting prize exhibitions, utterly breathtaking.

Artist, wildlife fan, bird watcher, gardener!

16/06/2021

Cottage garden

Where do I gain inspiration for my paintings? I'm often asked this question.
I gain inspiration from the natural world around me, as is the case for many wildlife artists.
I'm also extremely lucky to live in a semi rural place, the lanes and sandstone trails around my village are notoriously beautiful, natural, and full of wildlife. I also have the advantage of being ultra close to a large and wonderful forest, rich in natural habitats for British wildlife.
However, a main daily source of inspiration is my own garden!. I don't have to look very far to find a beautiful flower, or creature!, many are already here in my garden!. poppies, thistles, lavenders, echinacea, irises, roses, many varieties of wild meadow flowers and nectar rich flowers and herbaceous perennials grow in abundance in my gardens. Too many to list!.
I've spent around 14 years creating many of the planted areas for wildlife, and of course for my own enjoyment. I grew up in the country and will always be a country girl at heart.

All of my floral and landscape /meadow paintings are created using my gardens as the main first point of inspiration.
For my other animals paintings, I tend to gain inspiration while I'm out and about on my travels. I usually make quick sketches in situ, and take reference photographs for when I'm back in my studio, occasionally I'll also paint the animal en plein air if time/weather allows.

But what if you need even more inspiration!, or just a few reference photographs for the more exotic animals, well the internet is full of great resource websites for artists, commonly used by many artists.
You can also message me if you are an artist in need of good clear HD wildlife photographs to use for reference and inspiration. I have lots of wildlife images that I've taken myself over the years. Always happy to help a fellow artist.
But please only use the images as loose reference points, the main bulk of your painting, and the creativity should come from your head and your own imagination, not a photograph.
L J
:)
x

Cornflower blue

25/06/2021

Cornflower painting L J Holmes

Cornflowers painting Lisa
Cornflower LIsa Holmes
.....................When my cornflowers appear so do the bees, they just can't get enough of them.
I grow both perrenial and annual types, thus ensuring I have lots of nectar rich flowers ready to welcome the bees.
And of course this also means lots of inspiration for my paintings in the summer months.
Cornflowers I've always loved, that beautiful clean clear blue shade just blows my mind, i work hard to get the shade just right when I'm painting them ( not too much cool ultramarine but not much green pthalo). I often also use a bit of cobalt blue mixed with a very very watered down lavender shade.
I tend to paint these paintings en plein air using my garden as reference and paint many of my floral and insect paintings without a pre sketch in order to capture the spontaneous nature of the subject matter, and also capture energy and moment. I find that a pre sketch can sometimes create a stunted look to watercolours, a look I try to avoid.

Natures kitchen

27/07/2021

Chives allium lisas bees
Lisa's  bee garden

Lisa chive garden


For many years I've grown a large range of alliums and chives in my garden. If you want to observe up close the wonderful energy and fascinating behaviours of bees, I'd say a good place to start would be to grow these usefull and pretty plants, the bees adore them, sometimes I can hardly even see the flower heads for the bees!... fantastic :-)

Every little thing is magic ....

18/08/2021

Lisa's butterfly



When I'm not in my studio painting, or photographing and sketching wildlife out in the field, a large chunk of my " leisure time " is spent quietly watching and observing wildlife. This can either be during my downtimes at home in my gardens and local walks, or during wildlife holidays and rambles further afield.
I just don't think there's anything more wonderful than being out in the fresh air amongst nature. Its not just the wildlife that make me feel great, it's the flora and fauna.
Often overlooked, plants play an important role in wildlife preservation. Every flower, every leaf, every particle of soil and slither of wood, they all play some part in the delicate balance of every creatures life!. The whole of it ( and we ) are all entwined and linked in subtle but important ways.



Plants are so cool :)
What may seem like " just another leaf " to us on first glance, could have been a perfect little comfy resting spot for a butterfly ten minutes earlier.
And a curled up leaf could become an ideal drinking vessel for a thirsty hoverfly!.

I'm forever in awe of nature and all its wonderful and intricate far reaching facets, I suspect many of which we have yet to discover, and understand.


I do hope you are all enjoying your time spent outdoors.
L J
x

The plantswoman

22/08/2021

Verbena
It's fair to say that my interests are firmly rooted in plant life, definitely as much as they are in wildlife and painting.
In fact I've probably been passionate about plants for a little longer.

My " plantswoman " days started so far back in my life that I can hardly even remember the starting point now!.
I've been cultivating, growing and nurturing plants since I was a toddler, and ever since I've had a garden of some description. It's in my blood, I just live to grow things.
So you may wonder why I'm a wildlife artist rather than a botanical artist, well the truth is that I enjoy painting both!, at some point I may even wander further over to the botanical side of painting, but for now I'm content to combine both.

And when I'm not painting plants and wildlife, I'm usually photographing them!. Yep it's a full time obsession.



I hope you are all following your true passions, and doing whatever makes you happiest :)
Love
L J
x

In my studio - Tools of the trade.

18/09/2021

Occasionally new artists will ask me which paint brands I use to create my paintings, and which are my favourites.
So I'll answer that one today while I'm taking a small break from painting. I finally have the time to answer a few of your lovely messages.

Well. Its winsor & newton paints for me all the way (artists range). I've used w&n my entire career and they are my main " go to " brand. I find them superior in terms of colour and longevity.
But I also adore schmincke paints.
Occasionally I'll dabble with Daniel Smith paints

I must admit I'm a bit of a paint junkie, and carry a large range, keep some of them in my desk drawer close to hand so that I can quickly make my selection.
I rarely use just one colour though, winsor and newton paints are great for mixing and creating your own unique shades and mixes. Part of the pleasure of painting (for me anyway) is the magic of colour.

Having said all the above, you really only need a few tubes of good quality paint, just a basic range of around 5/6 colours will be ample enough to get you started, in fact you could easily manage with that simple palette your entire career if you wish!. Many more colours can be created from just that basic set. You absolutely do not need to purchase lots of shades and tones.

But I just love paint, and spend much of my pocket money on it ;)
So yeah, I have a few extra tubes.
It's my little treat to myself. We all have things we love to buy occasionally, mine just happens to be paint tubes!.




L J
:)
x
Lisa's studio

Japanese anemones

28/09/2021

Lisa's anemones




Well it's that time of year again, the last of the summer flowers start to shrink back into their long winter rest. But my Japanese anemones are often the last to go, they hang on right until mid/end of October for me, cheering me and putting a smile on my face on cooler misty mornings.
I also adore their delicate and natural colourings.

I actually get quite a buzz out of seasons changing, and enjoy the fact that we live in a country whereby these changes are very apparent, it means we always have next spring and summer to plan for. If you're a fellow gardener you'll know exactly what I'm talking about.
There's always something to look forward to in a garden :)

Hope you are all enjoying your autumn
Love
L J
x

The other two....

06/10/2021

And here's the other "air brick " newts, the parents I pressume!.

Sorry about the blurry images. It's's not easy taking a quick photo of newts with an iPad late at night in yer dressing gown and slippers trying desperately not to disturb them (or the neighbours lol), or slip on the mossy patio and break my hip :)

Lordy the things I get up to when most " normal " people would probably be watching telly, or be in bed sleeping.
Newts

Lisa's newts

Your the best thing...

06/10/2021

Well it's been a funny old week, ups and downs. In fact it's kinda been a funny couple of weeks tbh. Ive had a few niggles and a few hairy moment, along with a few really yucky moments ( I guess we all have those from time to time). But lets not grumble too much .. cause I've also had some up days too, and some truly wonderful moments, and one of those was my discovery of this little guy,
He's a young Newt:)

I have a mating pair of newts who live in the outside air brick on my conservatory, it's so funny cause every year they bed down in the air brick holes, one in each hole! ( it's like a Mr & Mrs kinda upstairs downstairs affair). And then in the spring they come out of hibernation and trot off to my wildlife ponds to hunt and mate.
Well, they now have a little one with them, this teeny tiny baby Newt I spotted the other week. I guess he will be in the other air brick this winter then :)

They will never know how much they put a smile on my face!.
Babynewt

Newtbaby

Newt

The wild butterfly garden

09/10/2021

Butterfly Lisa's

Lisa butterfly gardens

Lisagarden



Well it's been very mild in Cheshire today, wall to wall sunshine.
So I took a rare full hour lunchbreak to get some fresh air and wander through my gardens.
My greatest joy in life is seeing wildlife enjoying the fruits of my labour, the butterflies and bees having such a good time visiting the nectar rich flowers and plants that I've grown for them. This particular garden border is perhaps a bit on the gaudy side (in terms of colour schemes) for some people's tastes, there's almost every colour under the rainbow!, but that's how the insects seem to like it. So it'll have to stay, actually I'm kinda enjoying the zingy colours though, keeps me alert when I'm starting to flag a little in the afternoons ;)
Lol there's certainly nothing quiet and zen about this planting scheme, it's full of energy, colour. and quite literally buzzing with life.
The bees are just thriving in this garden!.

On a less brighter note....I do sometimes worry (and shudder to think) about where they all would be and what would happen to the many many varieties of wildlife that have made my gardens their home. If I wasn't here!.
I worry about one day in the future when I'm gone and someone else is living in this home, I hope to God it's someone who cherishes nature & wildlife. And i hope they tread softly and let nature go wild and be their guide. Less chemicals more plants.
And I dread to think of someone in future years draining my widlife ponds and filling them in to make a sand pit, or something concrete ...eek the newts and frogs :(

Ah well we mustn't think bleak, instead we must think about the positive impact on nature that we can have right now. Hopefully the future will then take care of itself .....

A few of my photos and memories

12/10/2021

Lisa's puffins photos

Lisa's wildlife

Lisa's bees photos

Lisa's swallow chicks

Lisa's wildlife photos


When I'm out about enjoying nature and wildlife, I'm often inspired to take a few quick images. I could never profess to being a fantastic photographer. But I do get great joy and satisfaction photographing the things that I love and the things that move me.
From the simplest of things we can find the most amazing beauty and detail, even emotion!. ....
If we look a little closer, and take our time to linger.
Heaven truly is a place on earth, or at least it could be, if we continue to protect and appreciate it.

Pond life

31/10/2021

If you would like to build your own wildlife pond, I would humbly suggest that you leave at least two sides of the pond gently sloping. This is to allow your future critters the opportunity to come and go as they please, they need the ability to be able to leave your pond at times. Especially the cuter than cute tiny new froglets:)

And of course it goes without saying....keep your swimsuits out of the pond. Wildlife ponds aren't for you to practice your Olympic swim strokes in!. They are for the wildlife to thrive and live in peace undisturbed.
Busy human feet can crush Newt eggs, and everything else that is tiny and living.

But if you can resist the temptation to interfere too much with your new pond, and just let nature do the rest, be patient. You will have a beautiful thriving wildlife oasis in no time, one that will bring an amazingly varied amount of wildlife to your green space.

And you'll also be able to sit by the pond in the summer months and watch damselflies and dragonflies hover. Soooo pretty :)

Enjoy!

L J
x
Lisa's sloping pond

What makes me tick....

31/10/2021

My wildlife ponds are a constant in my life!. Whenever the world around me seems a puzzle or concerning, my gardens and wildlife ponds bring me back to peace. Everything makes sense to me when I'm amongst nature.

Its nature. Nature makes me tick. Not just as an artist, but in every aspect of my life!.

I've spent well over ten years creating and managing my current gardens, designed for nature and wildlife. Many many many years of back breaking work, and probably a lot of missed parties ;)
But it was worth every single moment!.

I've always gardened organically. No pesticides/fungicides/slug pellets etc.
It's been a bit of hard work, not just the physical work, but also the mental work of trying to convince my hubby to get on board with the occasional hand weeding lol.
But WOW the results are better than I could have ever imagined, here we are ten years ish on and the wildlife is utterly thriving, and it now has it's own little biosphere.

If you think you can't have a lovely garden without the use of chemicals. Trust me you can!, I promise you that. Just get going :)

L J
x
Tadpoles lisas

Lisa's taddies

Frog pond Lisa's

Gardening organically

01/11/2021

If you were wondering if it's possible to still have big beautiful blooms and lots of gorgeous flowers while gardening organically....
I'm here to tell you that yes!, absolutely yes, it is!.

These images are of some of the flowers in my gardens that I've grown myself over the years, they are all existing (and bringing great joy to me and the wildlife ) without the need of chemicals.
But what they do need is a little bit of TLC, and perhaps a little bit of dedication. Fully organic gardening takes patience. And you must not freak out when you see insects such as greenfly etc on your precious roses. Just let them be.

But if like me you are utterly determined to give nature a helping hand by growing organically an abundance of nectar rich flowers, and you dont mind sacrificing some of your leisure time. Then yes it can be done.

But don't expect to have perfectly manicured nails and soft hands when you embrace a lifelong obsession with gardening and wildlife preservation.
In other words, you'll likely need to roll yer sleeves up and get yer hands dirty, lol I cannot remember the last time my nails looked OK. But who cares when the plants look this good!.


Enjoy it :)
L J
x
Wildlife one

Wildlife three

Wildlife four

Wildlife five

Wildlife six

Buzzy bee

01/12/2021

Phew! I've been inundated this last coupla days with requests from some of my regular buyers for paintings of bees!.

Please bear with me, I'm working on it ...
I should have a few to offer you in the coming weeks. But I'm sorry to ask you to be patient with me cause I'm currently slap bang in the middle of work for my exhibition in Chester for February, which is looming fast!.

In the meantime, here is a bee that I started earlier. He's covered in pollen dust and hopefully I'll get to finish this painting later, I usually like to complete my watercolours in " one hit ", but some days things just work out a little different. I'm sure I'll finish him at some point :)

I like my bee paintings to have a little energy and movement, cause let's be honest bees are very busy & lively little creatures .
I also like to paint their eyes in a way that feels real, and real to me means a little bit of dome shape to the eye shape, eyes are not flat elements.


Hope you are all enjoying a busy ( but fun ) kinda week ........
Love
L J
x

Greetings ....

06/12/2021

Cards
I've decided to keep the "news" section of my website strictly for " art related " matters. Rather than a general blog.
I'm just not a natural blogger and would much rather be sat at my easel painting than blogging.
So from now on there will only be occasional notices here, all art related.
I just don't want to sacrifice time on writing, it takes too much time away from my painting. 




But here is my latest arty news..I still love to talk about art :)


Well!, I'm currently working on a tinsy little new addition to my range for 2022!.
In the past I've rejected opportunities to offer greeting cards as part of my range. But now that I've found an eco option I'm happy to go ahead. And actually I've had a sneak preview of them and oooooh they're looking sooo fab!.
I'm hoping to bring you the entire range by around Feb 2022 ish.
I want to limit it to a small select range from just a few of my wildlife pieces. I'm also going to keep these greeting card packs priced for you as low as I can possibly manage.
So do look out for my new greeting card packs in 2022.

What else is new in my arty world?
Well December is almost always a " winding down " month for me business wise, never a mad crazy busy month in terms of sales. And actually I enjoy this slower period because it's often a month when i get loads of things done, things such as refreshing and tidying up my website, giving my paint brushes an extra deep clean. It's also a month when I can get ultra creative and spend maximum time playing around with new paintings and planning new paintings, really thinking about art !. In fact I've created some of my best paintings in past months of December.
So let's hope this year is no exception  :-)


Keep warm everyone, keep well, keep creative.
Love
L J
X

Oxo gallery London 2021

10/12/2021

I was one of the invited artists to Help Explorers against extinctiom to raise funds for wildlife conservation.
Many many many talented artists across the globe raised funds. Brilliant!.

Always a pleasure to help where I can.

Very well done to everyone involved. Truly inspirational.
Hare explorers

A new love

09/02/2022

Working with acrylics /oils on canvas is my most recent fixation and love, to my surprise I've recently become completely and deliciously obsessed, in fact it's been a little unnerving cause its felt like a weird and crazy calling, I just cannot stop!, some days I can't even do anything else other than to go and get the acrylics and canvas out, it's all I want to do.
It's quite odd because actually watercolour is (and has always been) the paint that I work with the most!.

Anyways, for whatever reason I'm currently working in acrylics and oils at the moment,.

I'm using them in a way that suits me and my style and I'm working straight from the heart, fully spontaneously and just trying to get onto canvas my feelings.
When I look at nature or a beautiful natural beach etc I often feel certain emotions, I'm hoping that I can transfer those emotions onto the canvas.
I don't want these acrylic paintings to be too forced or hyperreaclistic, but I do want them to have an essence of reality, but also a touch of semi abstract and contemporary.

I'm back!,....and so are they :)

24/03/2022

Lisa's tads




Sorry I've been a bit quiet for the last fortnight and not adding quite as many new paintings for you as I usually do, it's simply because mid /late March is kinda always my main wildlife watching time.
I love birdwatching/nature/walking/ wildlife watching etc throughout the entire year, but March is always my busiest month. I have two wildlife ponds and a fairly large wildlife garden, both of which bring lots of gorgouse creatures to my doorstep from March onwards. Hence it's always a lovely time of the year for me to enjoy what I've spent years creating. I've also been busy sowing seeds for this years nectar rich plants, and spending some time walking and birding in north Wales.

Aaaaanyways, that's what I've been up to.
But I'm back now, and look what has turned up my wildlife pond, this years tiny taddies are here already!. I just cannot wait to spend the new few weeks/months watching them slowly develop into beautiful perfect tiny little froglets, it's a joy to watch every year :)


I hope you are all enjoying some lovely times doing whatever you love to do.
Love
L J
x

The new arrivals :)

25/03/2022

Newtlets 1

Newtlets2
I managed to get a few fairly close up shots of the brand new baby tadpoles, and the newtlets :) in my wildlife pond today. Just took the images with my phone so please excuse the quality. But I hope you enjoy seeing them.
There's a bumper hatching this year!.

Newtlets 3

Newtlets 5

Newtlets 6



Happy mothers day weekend everyone :)

Bumbling around. Today I have been mostly painting bees....

04/04/2022

Many of you who know me well (and follow my work) will know all about my bee conservation efforts, and will also remember my first ever bee painting many years ago, it was a bee on a yellow flower, since that day my bee paintings have become almost synonymous with my work.
I am however slowing down on the amount of bee paintings I create at the moment, cause I do like to push myself as an artist and find new inspiration daily, hence I'll be painting fewer bees just for a short while,. But I'm bound to revisit them soon.

Here is one I'm painting this week. He's rather a cutie :)

Bumble-Bee Lisa Jayne Holmes


Bumble-bee painting Lisa holmes

Beaches and greetings

12/04/2022

This week I've been enjoying myself in my studio painting contemporary beach and seascapes on canvas, a couple of them for a private buyer, but also a couple to put onto my website later in the year.

I'm also very excited because my new range of greeting cards has arrived, oh wow they're absolutely lovely.
These cards are faithful reproductions from a few of my watercolour paintings. The quality is exceptional, with gorgouse clear crisp colours. They're also eco friendly, even the cellophane sleeves are completely compostable & biodegradable.
Brilliant :-)
Lisa's cards 1

Lisa's cards 2

Lisa's cards 3

Lisa's  cards front back

Busy (but lovely) day ....

25/04/2022

Busy day in the studio today, despatching originals to their " forever homes " and galleries.

I'm also getting prepared to start painting a brand new range of florals for the summer season.

Hope that yer all having fun doing what you love the most.

Have a great week
L J
x
Baby hare baby

Where the bluebells thrive.

05/05/2022

Well hasn't the weather been lovely here in the UK lately. Not too hot not too cold, just right!.

I've been enjoying my garden (my oasis) for the last few days.
I love people and city life, but the truth is that I prefer the country life and thrive in natural surroundings, I particularly enjoy peaceful and green spaces.
I keep the rear of my garden completely wild and natural, this is where the bluebells thrive.
So don't be suprised if a few bluebell paintings appear next week, I've spent hours today admiring them, and now I'm feeling completely rejuvenated again. And also inspired to paint!.

There's nothing quite like nature to cleanse my soul, it never ever fails me :)



I hope you are all enjoying some wonderful moments doing whatever it is that floats yer boat, and whatever truly brings you joy and inspiration in life.
Love
L J
:)
x
Lisa bluebell


Lisa bluebell 3


Lisa bluebell 1

Free food, lots of fun. And no transport costs. What's not to love!.

10/05/2022

Dandelions


Many years ago I asked my husband to buy me a book about foraging for Christmas, I've always had an interest in it.
But for the past few years I've just not had the time to even remotely pursue it (just too busy with work etc).

But this last fortnight I've finally forced myself to find time to pick up the book he bought for me, and also tentatively start my first attempt at a bit of foraging.
But rather than trecking far and wide to find the food that I want to forage, I thought why not just start in my own back garden first!.
So, I've been picking dandelions ( flowers & leaves) and adding them to our salads, or the occasional sandwich..
I even served a portion blanched quick fried dandelion leaves to our main evening dinner the other night (cause I had no veg in the house )and OMGosh it was delicious, who knew!.


I'm very excited about my new pastime, and so far I've had no " ill effects " from my foraging frolics, not that I'd notice lol.
And yes, I do of course thoroughly wash the leaves before I eat them, that's an "absolute must " for us coz we share our garden with three cats, and God knows how many other animals and critters wander about ( and poop on) our garden, yep we do have to scrub before we munch :)




Hope yer all having masses of fun, whatever yer getting up to.

L J
X

A new day....

20/05/2022

Sophie 2
Thank you to all who have helped me during my recent loss of one my beloved pets.
You've been sooooo kind and fantastic.

Today however I turned a corner, and am feeling much brighter.
I'm now focusing on celebrating her life, and the good times we shared together, Rather than focusing on the initial shock and grief of losing her.


Thanks all
L J
x