Friday, 1 January 2016

Plans, Paintings and Promises 2016

Great Eggspectations- watercolour painting of 3 quails eggs and a feather by Shevaun Doherty
'Great Egg-spectations'  ©Shevaun Doherty 

You’re off to great places! Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting, so get on your way! 

Dr Seuss

I really enjoy writing this post, because whenever I think about my plans for the year ahead, I inevitably end up feeling really excited! 
Already 2016 looks like it will be a whirlwind of art-filled fun!


I promise to blog more regularly in 2016. Recently my weekly blogposts have fallen by the wayside, mainly because I am doing an evening course on Digital Marketing as well as painting full time. The online art market is such a fascinating subject, and definitely something that all artists should learn more about. So as well as sharing art tips and techniques on my blog, I will also be writing articles on how to tackle the dizzying world of social media.

And yes! My website is FINALLY on it’s way!


Watercolour studies of snowdrop, Galanthus 'Longraigue' by Shevaun Doherty
Galanthus 'Longraigue' preliminary studies

I can’t think of a nicer way to start the year! 
I’ve been given some beautiful rare snowdrops to paint by Paddy Tobin of the Irish Garden Plant Society. It’s for a collaborative project with the Irish Society of Botanical Artists which will result in an exhibition of Irish plants in the National Botanic Gardens and a book.  
With impeccable timing this little beauty decided to bloom on Christmas morning, but there are more blossoms and a blogpost on ‘how to paint white flowers’ on their way.


Banner of Society of Botanical Artists Exhibition, Westminster, London

Already the year ahead is full of promise, with plans for exhibitions both at home and abroad. Top of the list are the Society of Botanical Artists exhibition in Westminster, Bloom in Dublin, the ISBA exhibition in the Botanic Gardens, and the SBA exhibition in Frankfurt

I’m also really excited about being involved in the Ellen Hutchins Festival in Bantry, which recently won the Heritage Council’s ‘Hidden Heritage Award’. Part of the joy of exhibiting is the chance to meet up with all lovely artist friends, and being able to share my enthusiasm and appreciation of art.


I have always loved travelling, and I’m thrilled that my art is now giving me wonderful opportunities to visit new places! 
Last year I met some truly inspiring artists in Spain, and plans are now underway for Spanish painting holidays. What could be nicer than painting Mediterranean plants in the sunshine with friends? I’ll be posting more details soon!
London and Frankfurt also beckon, but I’m also really excited about a planned trip to the States with my good friend Dianne Sutherland. I can’t say much more about it yet, but we’ll be going on an adventure! A Thelma and Louise with paints perhaps?

More Bees Please!

Cover of all-Ireland Pollinator Plan

Last year I was thrilled to be involved in the Pollinator Plan,  a fantastic initiative to make Ireland a place where pollinators thrive and survive. I’ve just been given the great news that there are plans now to create a Junior Pollinator Plan, and so my little bee will be featuring in schools throughout Ireland. As well as encouraging everyone to become Bee friendly, I’ve also some bee-inspired art ideas for the year ahead.

Bumblebee painting on vellum by Shevaun Doherty
Bumblebee Bombus terrestris on vellum


Blogging has been such a revelation to me. As well as motivating me to paint, it’s been a fabulous way to connect with other artists and share ideas and techniques. What has surprised and touched me have been the lovely messages that I’ve been sent by people who are just starting out on their own art journey, and who have found my blogposts helpful. Thank you! 
I am thrilled to be starting my new roles as tutor for both the SBA’s Distance Learning Diploma Course, and London Art College in 2016. It was only a few years ago that I was a student on the SBA course myself, so I hope that my experience will give added insight and empathy to my teaching.


Watercolour studies of pink roses by Shevaun Doherty
Pink rose studies

Pink is fun! I love flowers, but they can be such fickle subjects to paint! However, when I was sent a HUGE pan of Opera Rose by the fabulous Billy Showell, I knew that the Pink theme would have to go on this list. I’m still chuckling! 
So yes, there will be flowers, and they will be pink! 

Big pan of opera rose watercolor paint
Thank you Billy! Hint taken.


watercolour painting of olives on a branch on vellum by Shevaun Doherty
I was thrilled to hear that my painting of Olea europaea on vellum was runner-up in the SBA's vellum competition! 

Vellum is definitely my favourite surface to paint on, and will certainly feature in the year ahead. As well as giving the most glorious luminosity to watercolours, there’s also the wonderful sense that you are somehow connecting with the traditions of the past. Each piece of vellum is unique and quite special. To my great delight, I have just been sent a stunning piece of deerskin vellum! I’ll be looking for something really special to paint on it. (Thanks DM)

Drawing in Silver and Gold

Chouette by Victor Koulbak  A truly inspiring artist!

On a recent trip to London, I visited the British Museum where there was an exhibition on silverpoint. I was surprised to discover that many of the past masters used metalpoint on vellum- Dürer, Hans Holbein, Rembrandt and even Leonardo da Vinci. The work on display was breathtaking, and I came away feeling both inspired and enthused. Later another friend sent me a book of art by Victor Koulbak whose work is stunning. I’m intrigued by the possibilities that silverpoint holds and hope to try it out this year.

Finally, a reflection on the year just passed.

2015 was a challenging year for me, but one that thankfully ended on a series of great highs. Throughout it all, I have been blessed and humbled by the incredible support that I have been given by both family and friends. I am so grateful to everyone who has visited my blog, Facebook page and social media accounts

It’s extremely encouraging- a sincere thank you to you all.

My top nine posts on Instagram

Here’s to a Happy Colourful 2016!

 “Reach high, for stars lie hidden in you. Dream deep, for every dream precedes the goal.”

 Rabindranath Tagore


  1. Sounds like a wonderful new year will be unfolding for you in 2016. How exciting these projects are! Every success with them, I know it will spur you on to even greater things.

    1. Thank you Jeanette, and a very happy new year to you too! I hope the year ahead holds exciting dreams for you too.

    2. Congratulations, you will be a wonderful SBA tutor. Good wishes for 2016

    3. Thank you Mary. I hope so. I can't wait to start!

  2. What you don't seem to realise is that I am thrilled that you are painting this snowdrop and the one from Lady Moore also. These are so very special to me; they came with such connections and background that their value is far more than their simple beauty. It was a huge thrill that they were chosen for the project but an even bigger thrill that it was you who was going to be painting them.

    1. Wow, Paddy! I'm truly honoured that you think that! I'm thrilled with my little snowdrops too...I can't wait to begin. Thank you so much for sending them to me.

  3. Wonderful, wonderful post! Your work is so stunning...

    1. Thank you, thank you Kate!! We'll be thinking of you on Friday!! I'm excited by that too!

  4. Wishing you a wonderful 2016!!! With all the plans you have in the works you should be very busy....visiting the USA...keep me posted. I know we are a big country but you never know. All the best! Thanks for being so gracious and sharing so much with us.

    1. And may the year ahead bring you continued success, Joan! We've both had a great journey so far. I'll definitely keep you posted- it would be wonderful to see you! Thanks for the kind words!

  5. Wishing you much joy and success for 2016. I am not a botanical artist but I so enjoy visiting your blog and reading all you share, plus the luscious paintings!

    1. Thank you Rhonda. I wish you a very happy year ahead too!

  6. What a great blog post! It's so inspiring to read all your plans, you certainly have an exciting time ahead. I'm so pleased for you and wish you all the very best for 2016, I don't think the years going to know what hit it, lol! One day we might meet up again, I hope so, I'd love that!

    1. Thanks Lesley! I really hope we do get a chance to meet up again sometime soon xx


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