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Dear Member

It's March already, and what a lot of  painting inspiration there is around us as we move into spring. Daffodils are making an appearance in the garden, primroses are springing up in hedgerows and woodlands and the birds are singing as nature wakes up from its winter sleep. Maybe the new BBC1 series, The Big Painting Challenge, has inspired you to take up painting and drawing for the first time? If so, a subscription to Leisure Painter or

The Artist is just what you need, and joining the PaintersOnline gallery will put you in touch with a welcoming community of artists, willing to offer help, advice on your work, and encouragement .
Paintings from the gallery by Dermot Brennan, Elizabeth Williams, Mark Luckhurst, Maureen Sherman, Paul Bennell and Pete Batho have been selected for this month's gallery highlights. Our thanks to these artists for taking the time to share their approaches to the works below.
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Lilacs by Elizabeth Williams

Lilacs in a Bowl by Elizabeth Williams

Lilacs in a Bowl was painted whilst I was spending time in Andalucia in southern Spain. The light there is a pure delight for painters of floral subjects. There is an abundance of exotic flowers in this lovely country that one can choose to paint - bougainvillea, wild orchids, almond blossom and la dama del noche (lady of the night) which imparts its scent at evening time and is absolutely intoxicating.

The Stour at Longham by Paul Bennell

Stour at Longham by Paul Bennell

I like to paint scenes with interesting light so I am particularly drawn to sunsets, big stormy skies or in this case the low January sun. You can’t beat painting en plein air, but it’s not always practical. In this instance, the light was too good to waste, and I had it in mind to make a painting of the Stour at Longham, but I only had ten minutes at the location to make some quick sketches and reference notes then take a few photos.

Black Grouse by Mark Luckhurst

Black Grouse by Mark Luckhurst

This painting is the first large piece in acrylics I have attempted. I have worked mostly in watercolour and pencil but, as I wanted to work on larger-scale pieces, acrylics seemed a natural progression. I keep the acrylics quite wet and use a similar technique to watercolour.

Misty Morning by Dermot Brennan

Misty Morning by Dermot Brennan

This simple painting was based on one of the many walks I take locally. It's painted from memory and took about half an hour to paint - it's not a difficult subject. The whole painting was done on very wet or damp paper, except for the figure, dog, and the ruts in the road.

Towards Home by Maureen Sherman

Towards Home by Maureen Sherman

The inspiration for this picture came from a photo, given to me by a friend, of a view from her home. I decided to paint it for her because I loved the dramatic sky and the vineyard, which was unusual for a Devon landscape. Her room decor was a duck-egg blue, so I used a palette of cerulean blue and yellow, starting with watercolour for a fluid look and then adding acrylic. However, once I got started, I decided to add a distant town rather than the village which was hardly visible in the photograph.

St. Michael's Mount by Pete Batho

St Michael's Mount by Pete Batho

I love the vibrancy of acrylics, and for this subject I was looking for a contra-jour effect with the Mount against the skyline. The sky and sea were fairly thin washes, with more impasto work in the foreground. I find it quite liberating to paint with a palette knife. It instantly loosens up my style and locks the engineer in me firmly away! The only brushes used were a 1/2in flat and a rigger. I'ts painted on a 20x16in sheet of Winsor & Newton Galeria paper. My palette consisted mainly of earth colours.

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