Author Archives: MarkHo

Busy busy !

I’ve had a hectic couple of weeks painting full-on fulling some commissions and getting ready for the Grosvensor Art Society Autumn Exhibition which starts next Saturday 5th October 2013 at Upton Golf Club, Chester.

Entry is free to the event so if you are near Chester between 5th and 13th October, it’s worth dropping in to have a look!

See you there !


So autumn is in the air. Today I have uploaded a new painting with an autumnal feel, silver birch trees wearing a golden gown! The painting is mixed media using pen and water colour washes. Click on the image below to see.


This painting is not currently for sale as it is earmarked for an exhibition in Chester in October. However, if you would like one similar, let me know and I can do something similar for you. The painting is 11 x 17″ approx and in a cherry wood frame measuring 16 x 20″. The cost is £90 plus p&p of £12.

Ebb Tide

Today I have a new painting to the watercolour gallery. Ebb tide was great fun to do with wet-in-wet washes and fine details on the rocks and pebbles. The perspective is key to pulling you into the painting and give you a feeling of being on the beach. The sea is drawing back before the next wave comes in and light from the sky highlights patches here and there. There are many types of rocks and pebbles including granite and chert; a fine-grained sedimentary rock which often contains fossils.


Huntingdon Art Exhibition

The annual Huntingdon Art Exhibition is this coming weekend 27 – 28 July 2013. Doors open at 10 am so don’t be late. I have only been with this group for a few months but I am really impressed with the standard of work. Lots of styles and subjects will be on view and I’m really looking forward to seeing what everyone has done.

The exhibition is free to everyone so if you have a spare hour or two, get yourself down there. And you get to vote for your favourite painting.

The address is Queen Elizabeth Hall, Godmanchester, Huntingdon. PE29 2NB. For those of you who know the area, it’s near the Chinese Bridge. Click here to see the map.

Woodland Scene


I have added a new painting of a woodland scene today. To create this painting I took a few photos of the log and did a couple of quick sketches. I took these home and using this information I rearranged things to make an interesting composition which included the butterflies. After sketching out I built up the watercolour washes and added a few touches of ink to bring out some of the dark and finer details. Click the image below or go to the Landscape Gallery to see a larger image.


More Silver Birch Trees

Today I have added two new pictures of silver birch trees, in a new category ‘Pencil Drawings’ and I have added two new paintings of silver birches to the Watercolour section on the Gallery Page. Please go and take a look and let me know what you think!


Silver Birch

The bark of the silver birch tree offer a wealth of pattern that could be used in design. See my painting of Brampton Wood in the Watercolour section of the Gallery. Whether you are looking for something abstract for your wall or maybe for a print for some fabric, the silver birch is a great starting point. The high contrast of the black, silver and sometimes an almost luminous white, makes it easy to pick out shapes that you could then colourise to suit yourself.

Why not go out, get up close and really look at some silver birch trees. If it’s cold and wet take a camera with you and get a few shots to take home. Then spend a pleasant Saturday afternoon with your pencils or paints and see what you can come up with.

Happy painting


Botanical Watercolour, is it Art or Illustration?

I recently spent a day with David Lewry at one of his workshops. We had an interesting discussion regarding the difference between a botanical illustration and one done for decorative purposes.

Botanical illustration is all about scientific accuracy. The plant or flower must be painted accurately and with a high degree of detail so it can be recognized and distinguished from other species.

Many great artists, such as Monet and Renoir painted flowers; but the goal was not to paint a scientific rendition of the plant but rather they were painted for the aesthetic, compositional or purely for their colours and shapes. A talented botanical artist, however, can illustrate a plant or flower in such a way that it goes beyond the scientific requirements.

You may ask why not just photograph the plant? Although photography is an excellent way of recording the way a plant or flower looks, a photograph is actually unable  to ‘see’ elements which an artist is able to bring out. An artist can illustrate the internal make-up and structure of a plant using a sectional or cut-away composition of the image and features can be displayed together which may not easily be shown by photography.

Go to the Watercolour section on the Gallery page to see my painting of a Lily. I painted this this in just 6 hours. A botanical illustrator can take something like up to 60 or even 70 hours to create a finished image!

Happy painting!