News and musings

Chester exhibition 2017


As part of the 2017 Chester open art exhibition one of my artworks was on display at
And also at the Chichester Arms Chester.

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!


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

Jacksons painting prize 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!


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.

The busy artist


Bee painting holmes
I'm busy in the studio today preparing beautiful little original watercolours to go off to their " forever homes ".
I'm so thankful to my regular customers for sticking with me during these very hard times.
It means everything to me.
So thank you!.

Cornflower blue


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 them.
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 very 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 to capture energy and moment. I find that a pre sketch can sometimes create a stunted look, a look I try to avoid.

Wet in wet


I'm channeling my inner van gogh for some reason today, playing around with sunflowers. But I'm painting in a very loose wet in wet style and painting just for fun today. Purely a day of fun rather than any thoughts of being correct or painting in any guided way.
It's nice to have a day like this occasionally.

Working with nature


My gardens are a big source of inspiration for many of my wildflower paintings, and an valuable source of nectar for the wildlife.
Dog daisies Lisas garden

Lisa's daisies

Natures kitchen


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 ....


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.

The plantswoman


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 :)

Rest, recuperate. And wildlife.


Lisa's dragonfly

If you've wondered where I've been for the last week or so, why I've not been painting. Well it's because I've been taking a little time off.
I have a life separate to my life as an artist, a life that involves my love of wildlife watching and wildlife conservation on my own doorstep!.
I also have two wildlife ponds, and gardens created with wildlife in mind.
So I've been resting up, and enjoying some fresh air amongst it all. I've always believed that if you are a slave to your art there is a risk it could become a chore rather than a passion. Therefore as much as I'm addicted to art and passionate about it, I also know when to take a short break.
I also find that my painting improves after some time away, time to truly observe my subject matter..wildlife!.

So while I've been tottering in the garden I thought I'd show you this little guy who turned up to join me in my potting shed while I was tidying (not too tidy of course). And don't worry he did fly out again after saying hello.
I suspect he's now knocking about one of my ponds, well they are created for him after all :)

Hope you are all remembering to be kind to yourself, as well as the wildlife!.

In my studio - Tools of the trade.


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!.

Oh btw, a quick newsflash while I'm here ( and a completely separate topic).
I'm delighted to say that I've been invited to hold an exhibition in February. Its great news, so happy to be doing this. I'll share more details soon (dates times where etc etc).
Its been a while since I did an exhibition, I'm a Little nervous actually (eek). But also excited :)
Its very welcome news indeed.

Lisa's studio

Japanese anemones


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

The other two....


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.

Lisa's newts

Your the best thing...


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!.



The wild butterfly garden


Lisa's butterflies
Butterfly Lisa's

Lisa butterfly gardens


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


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.