Watercolour Hedgehog

This is a new painting which will be added to my shop shortly. I love painting with blues and purples but usually end up with quite a wintry scene as they create a cool combination. This time I decided to go for a night time scene with this little hedgehog stopping off for a drink. It will be in my shop very soon 🙂

Life Happens – 3 day catch up needed :-)



Durdle Door,Watercolour painting by Jan Gill
Durdle Door, Watercolour painting by Jan Gill

It wouldn’t matter what month I tried the ultimate blog challenge, I would always be away for a few days or have other commitments. This month is no exception and 3 of the five weekends are filled up. This weekend my youngest daughter visited, next weekend I travel to Wales to visit my son and the following weekend I have a show.

The best thing to do would be to write some posts in advance which will be the plan for next weekend. Keeping my goals in mind, I will not stress too much if I get a little behind with the challenge – more important for me is to be ready for the show.

One picture that won’t be going to the show is this one of Durdle Door, a natural rock arch on the Jurassic Coast in Dorset. Rather romantically, it is going to a couple who became engaged at this spot. I hope they spend many more happy years together.

Happy Creating,

Janice 🙂


How to make a Cheap as Chips Light box.

Pristine Snow, Watercolour.
Pristine Snow, Watercolour.

Cheap as Chips Light box.

This is a post I wrote some years ago with some additions.
I was reading a forum today where someone asked about making a cheap lightbox for photographing small items in. Funnily enough I have just made one 🙂 I needed to stop reflections on my glass tile jewellery and this worked amazingly well. I will now be going back to some of my glassware listings and putting up better photos!
In  this picture the top is the third tissue covered window – the light in the room made it look brown
Here is how it’s done. Take a cardboard box roughly cube shaped. Mine is about 18″ on all sides. Cut out a square window in 3 of the sides, not the bottom of the box. Cover these in white tracing or tissue paper. Cover the inside bottom of the box in white card. Also cover the third side and that  will be the base. You can add whatever color you want to stand your item on each time you set up. You can also create an infinity back drop by taking a piece of unfolded card, taping it to the top of the back panel and to the front of the base panel, bending the card but not folding.

Mine looks very crude but does the job 🙂
You can now set up lamps pointing into the box through the tissue windows. Daylight bulbs are best if you have them.
When using your camera, turn off the flash – this is what causes the really harsh reflections and unflattering shadows. I usually over expose by one stop to make the light areas nearer to white. You can check your histogram on your camera to make sure the big peak is close to the right hand side. If it isn’t,  you need to increase the exposure. It is worth taking some time over this as the less you have to adjust on your computer the better. If you have no control over your exposure, take a few pictures on different settings and see which gives you the brightest result.
If you are photographing something much larger, such as paintings, you can create something similar. I hang a white bed sheet (any white fabric will do) from my mantelpiece as the backdrop and use four panels made from very large boxes and lightweight white voile. They are hinged together with duct tape so they fold flat and store away. Set your painting up against the backdrop and place your “light box” in front. Use strong lamps to light from the sides and above.
If you have a conservatory this is one of the best places to photograph. You can set up the same system in there or if you have translucent blinds, use those instead.
One important thing to remember with photographing paintings is to make sure your camera is level with the centre and both painting and camera are vertically upright.
If you have some cash to spend there are some good light tents on the market. I have one that pops up then folds back into a small bag. It’s a bit like this one.
Have you got an idea for a make your own light box? Leave a comment if you’d like to share.
Happy Creating,
Janice 🙂

Great Surprise Extra Value

I knew that joining the Ultimate Blog Challenge would bring traffic to my fledgling blog. I hoped I would also find useful tips on making the most of the site bringing visitors and ultimately making sales in the shop.

The lovely surprise on day one was that advice was proffered immediately – I didn’t have to ask for it or hunt for it. Bonus 🙂

It was pointed out that my tweet of yesterday’s post could have been improved by including a better written link. The link is generated from the permalink of the post which I had left at a default setting. This ended with an uninspiring number. The advice – change it to something that might attract a reader.

As there is an edit button on the permalink I had a look at what

On a Misty Morning, watercolour painting
Early morning mist with trees, watercolour painting I loved the light coming through the mist and the natural bridge created by the low branch over the path.

I could do. One option was to include the post title, which is how the links are now set up. Not sure why that wouldn’t be the default, but I’m sure someone can tell me.

I think this month may be a very steep learning for this novice 🙂

Today’s picture from the shop is titled On a Misty Morning. It’s a watercolour painting of the trees at the bottom of the garden.

Happy Creating,

Janice 🙂