New Surface Pattern Design Skills

Recently I've been taking a couple of online courses so that I can learn surface pattern design and new digital art skills.  The classes have been so much fun and funnily enough this new way of working is giving me lots of inspiration for my watercolour paintings  In fact, the two disciplines seem to feed each other.  Here are a few of my pattern designs that I created recently:

                                                   Meadow in a Jar Surface Pattern Design © Stacey-Ann Cole 2015

                                                   Meadow in a Jar Surface Pattern Design © Stacey-Ann Cole 2015

Here is the same pattern in another colourway:

                             Meadow In A Jar Surface Pattern Design (Buttermilk Colourway) © Stacey-Ann Cole 2015

                             Meadow In A Jar Surface Pattern Design (Buttermilk Colourway) © Stacey-Ann Cole 2015

And here is a completely new pattern:

                                                       Scattered Leaves Surface Pattern Design © Stacey-Ann Cole 2015

                                                       Scattered Leaves Surface Pattern Design © Stacey-Ann Cole 2015

One of the things I love most about these new digital art skills I'm learning, is that I can still do lots of drawings and just import them into the software to edit and colour digitally.  So it still feels as if I'm being quite hands on with this way of creating art.

Keep checking back here on my blog for more of my digital artwork as well as my other work too.





Line Drawings, Typography & Playing Catch Up


I'm back from my break (more info on that in another blog post!) and have been playing catch up with a lot of admin and behind the scenes work that has piled up since I've been away.  So that's why I've been so quiet and not posting to Facebook or Twitter.  The last week and a half has seen me replying to enquiries, tidying and organising, making lists and plans and updating my accounts.  The UK Online Tax Return deadline is fast approaching so I've been working towards that too.  In addition to these, my youngest has been poorly and off school the last couple of days so this week has definitely been a challenge!

This all means that I've had little time for actually making art but I do like to find little pockets of time to be even a little bit creative. Since I started taking Lisa Congdon's Line Drawing Basics class, it has reignited my love of drawing, patterns and lines. The fact that it is self paced and there are no strict deadlines has been great too. Here are a couple of the drawings I completed as I followed along with Lisa's videos in the class.  They were actually more or less done before I left on my break, so when I came back I just finished off the little bits that were left:

Patterned Letters

I've finished the class now and it has certainly been fun.  Patterns and line drawings are already creeping into my watercolour paintings and I have some Works In Progress to show you in my next blog post, so stay tuned for that.

Until next time,






New Art in my Sketchbook

Happy New Year to you all,

I just wanted to share a couple of pages from my sketchbook that I did recently. 

© Stacey-Ann Cole 2014/2015

© Stacey-Ann Cole 2014/2015

© Stacey-Ann Cole 2014/2015

© Stacey-Ann Cole 2014/2015

I'm taking a short break before I fully get back to work, but I'm still drawing fairly regularly to keep those creative muscles in shape.  To help me with this I've signed up to Lisa Congdon's Basic Line Drawing Class which I can work through at my own pace.  This pace of class is ideal for me right now and I really love Lisa's work too.

I'll be back into the swing of things and ready for work on the 19th January 2015.

Until then, I hope to share a few more drawings and sketches on this blog or my facebook page.

See you around!




New Artwork: Watercolour Abstract Art


I'm back again with a couple of new pieces I've finished recently.  I've been having fun working on these and I plan to do more abstract work. I find it very freeing to paint in this way and it's also quite meditative to just paint shapes, lines and patterns with no clear image in mind as to how the final painting will look.

'Directions' Original Watercolour Painting on Khadi Paper 6" x 4" © Stacey-Ann Cole 2014

'Directions' Original Watercolour Painting on Khadi Paper 6" x 4" © Stacey-Ann Cole 2014

'Directions' Original Watercolour Painting on Khadi Paper 6" x 4" © Stacey-Ann Cole 2014. Available here:

'Sea, Sky, Valley' Original Watercolour Painting 11.7" x 8.3" © Stacey-Ann Cole 2014.  Available here:

'Sea, Sky, Valley' Original Watercolour Painting 11.7" x 8.3" © Stacey-Ann Cole 2014.  Available here:




Adebanji Alade - The Life of An Artist

I've been following the artist Adebanji Alade on Facebook for a little while now and today I came across this video of him talking about his life as an artist and how he got to where he is now.  I loved how his passion for his work was so evident as he was talking and I wanted to share this video because of the simple, sound advice he has for all of us who are artists:

If you'd like to see more of his work, please check out his website here: Adebanji Alade

Until next time



My Happy Piece Bracelet

Hi all, Just a quick blog post today to big up Isa Maria Seminega and her wonderful company called Happy Piece.  As stated on their website Happy Piece is 'A socially conscious accessories brand using design and business to empower women in Rwanda to proudly lift themselves out of poverty.'

I'm so happy to be able to buy from Happy Piece, support Isa and the women in Rwanda and at the same time enjoy the lovely pieces I've acquired so far.  I currently have one of their Woven Baskets which I keep knick knacks in and also one of their Empowerment Bracelets. I bought the Harmony Bracelet because I like that it has been made from different coloured papers instead of just one colour and I like the name 'Harmony' too.    The bracelet makes me think of groups of friends or family members, all different but all gathered together in love.

In a strange way that I feel a bit funny admitting, my Harmony bracelet makes me feel some small connection to the women in Rwanda when I wear it. I wonder whose hands made it.  Is she in any way like me?  How many kids does she have?  I wonder how much her life is different from mine.  I also feel like I've helped a little bit through my purchases and that I'm a part of something bigger than myself, which is a nice feeling.  Here's a picture of me (okay, just my wrist) wearing my Harmony bracelet:


I've gotten into a little routine whereby I sit down at my laptop, put on my bracelet or go to work on some paintings whilst wearing it and I actually do feel empowered by it.  I wouldn't normally believe in such things but I think because I have an emotional connection to the bracelet, it means that much more to me.  The fact that it's handmade by women whom I may have something in common with, who are trying to better their lives and support their kids really resonates with me.  And I'm sure this bracelet is a little bit magic as I seem to be getting lots more done than usual too!

So please go to the Happy Piece website to read more about their mission and browse through their lovely items, some of which are currently on sale.

Thank you!

New Afro Caribbean Greeting Cards Available Soon!

I've had an exciting delivery today of some new greeting cards that I ordered from Moo.  I've ordered some of my oldies but goodies too but it's the new ones that are making me smile. Here's a little sneak peek:

New Greeting Cards © Stacey-Ann Cole 2013

I can't wait to add them to my shop because I've worked hard this year so far to produce new work and I'd love to see what response I get to these new cards.

I also ordered some business cards from Moo with new images on the back:

New Business Cards © Stacey-Ann Cole 2013

Don't you just love Moo? I do!

I'll blog again when my Etsy shop is fully restocked with both new and old favourites :-)

Till next time,


New Watercolour Painting Technique - Using Salt!

Hiya, I've been trying a new technique for my watercolour paintings which is fun and creates a beautiful effect.  It requires some patience, but if you sprinkle salt into wet watercolour paint and then let the paint completely dry, you will see that the salt has absorbed much of the colour, creating wonderful patterns.

Here are my experiments:

Ethereal Afro

'Ethereal Afro' Original Watercolour Painting © Stacey-Ann Cole 2013 - SOLD

'Untitled' Original Watercolour Painting © Stacey-Ann Cole 2013

Available Here

What do you think? Aren't the patterns just gorgeous?! What are your own favourite watercolour techniques?

New Watercolour Work

Hiya, Here are my two latest finished pieces of original watercolour artwork:


'Untitled' Original Watercolour Painting 12" x 9" © Stacey-Ann Cole 2013


'Summer's Evening' Original Watercolour Painting 11.7" x 8.3" © Stacey-Ann Cole 2013

Summer's Evening took me quite a while to complete because I was trying to deal with the problem of the lady looking like she was floating above the ground.  I came up with the idea of her standing on something but don't ask me why I chose a toadstool as I'm not entirely sure.  Maybe I thought it went with the slightly whimsical theme of the rest of the painting?  But I think I got there in the end.

It did occur to me after finishing the toadstool that I could have added wings onto her and turned her into a fairy of some sort which could have explained the floating, right? :-)

The first painting shown above was well within my comfort zone and didn't really take me that long to complete.  I enjoyed adding layers of paint and of course I enjoyed painting her afro hair!

These two paintings may be taken to my newest stockist Art In The Heart in Peterborough, but if not then look out for them to be added to my Etsy shop instead.

In the meantime, any ideas for a title of the first painting above? Figuring out titles for my work is not really one of my strong points.....Thanks in advance!

More Watercolour Play

Hiya, This time I did some drawings in one of my latest sketchbook swhich is full of lovely Khadi Paper.  I used Reeves watercolour pencils, a Kuratake Zig BrusH2O portable water brush and a black ink pen.



Watercolour Pencil Illustration on Khadi Paper © Stacey-Ann Cole 2013

More watercolour play is going on behind the scenes so I'll keep posting pics as I go along.  I'm keen to try some new techniques so that might be in the next post :-)

Thanks for following along

Sketchbook Peek - Face Drawings

Hi, I just wanted to show you a couple of drawings that I created in my sketchbook recently.  I'm trying to create art without any end result in sight, just for the joy of it and to keep honing my skills.

I also would like to learn to loosen up a bit, let go of perfectionism and maybe try my hand at some watercolour abstract art.

Brave © Stacey-Ann Cole 2013 Watercolour Pencil on Khadi Paper

© Stacey-Ann Cole 2013
Watercolour Pencil & Brown Ink Pen on Khadi Paper


© Stacey-Ann Cole 2013, Untitled
Brown Coloured Pencil on Smooth Paper

It's funny because although I still enjoy drawing faces very much and will continue to do so, I look at the artwork I created above and it feels very safe to me.  I feel like I need to challenge myself more, try new techniques and not be so controlled.

So I will be continue playing and exploring and trying to have fun and hopefully document these experiments here on my blog.

Would you look at the drawings above and think 'controlled' and 'safe'?  I'm wondering if the thoughts I'm having about my art are actually seeping into my work or not so much?

Paypal Dispute and Lesson Learned

So, this week started off as just a regular week for me, woke up a bit too late, manically got the kids ready for school, tried not to slip and fall over in the ice/snow on the way to school and back, sat down at my desk and then saw an email that made my heart sink. Paypal had sent me a message to say that someone had filed a claim against me accusing me of Unauthorised Access to their account.  What?! Oh no.

I read through all the details and realised that the person accusing me had recently ordered an original painting from me through my Etsy shop and whom I had just posted said painting to a few days later.

Payal was giving me 7 days to try and resolve it and my options were something along the lines of:

1. Prove that I'd posted it and upload/attach that proof

2. State that I haven't posted it and will be refunding the buyer

3. State/prove that I've already refunded the buyer

So I made scanned copies of my Post Office receipt, Etsy Order Confirmation email, Paypal Notification of Payment Received email and uploaded them into the Dispute Resolution Centre in my Paypal Account and then hoped and prayed that those would be enough to prove that I wasn't being fraudulent.  I was worried because I only had a post office receipt without the customer's address on it and in some cases, I've read, this is not good enough as a Proof of Postage.

I'm glad that I included the other documentation as well to show that the customer did place an order with me through Etsy and paid me in full.  My additional documentation also proved that I had sent confirmation to the customer stating that I had posted the painting on a particular day, what postal service I used (UK First Class) and when they should expect it to arrive etc.

I'm happy to say the outcome was that I won the case, it is now closed and I can keep the money that was paid to me for my product.

But I learned a very important lesson about making sure that from now on I have proper Proof of Postage from the post office.  It may mean that I may have to raise my postage costs to match with Recorded Delivery prices but I will speak to my local post office and try to find a way to avoid this if possible.

I hope that this blog post will encourage all of you business owners, sole traders and anyone selling anything online to make sure that you can prove that you posted something to a customer, because as much as I liked to think that it wouldn't happen to me, there are some dishonest people out there and we have to protect ourselves as much as possible.

The whole process of resolving my particular case was quite simple and Paypal's information was very helpful.  Have a look at this link for more info about Paypal's Seller Protection policy:

New Work and Work In Progress

It's funny, I was going to start this post with lots of statements about my goals for this year and how excited I am about what the future may bring, but it felt like I was forcing it. Maybe as I go along I'll talk about a bit about the future but right now, I'm going to take things one day at a time.  I've started this year in a really pensive mood but luckily for me that doesn't mean that I'm feeling low or depressed. It's just that my intuition is telling me to just go slowly and be fully present in each moment, so I'm listening to that message.

So here's a quick look at one of the paintings I'm currently working on and a couple of pieces that I've finished already.

Here's the WIP:

Work in Progress, © Stacey-Ann Cole 2013

With the painting above, I'm interested in showing her emotions through her body language, the expression on her face and with the colours I use.  So I'm going to go slowly and carefully with this one.

Original Watercolour Bookmark © Stacey-Ann Cole 2013

The above is an original watercolour bookmark but I'm thinking of printing several bookmarks from this rather than offering it as an original.  I enjoyed choosing the colours for her hair and her dress as they are deep and a little bit earthy.

Original Watercolour Painting © Stacey-Ann Cole 2013

The painting above is finished and will be available in my Etsy shop soon but I just need to figure out what to call it!  Any ideas?  What words come to your mind when you look at her face?  I would love some help.

Thanks and speak soon.


Brand New Greeting Cards and Prints!

Hi all,Just wanted to let you all know that some new greeting cards and some new prints will be available in my Etsy shop very soon :-)

Here are the cards:

As will all of my printed greeting cards, these will come with their own envelope and will be available as single cards or as a multipack.

And here are the prints:

These prints are approx. 6" x 8" and are printed on 200gsm watercolour paper using archival inks.  The images are fade resistant for up to 200 years.

I'm wondering whether to offer them framed using a lighter, warmer wood effect frame or unframed.  What do you think?  For those of you who buy artwork, do you prefer them ready framed or do you prefer to buy your own frames?

Thank you for your help!


Watercolour Painting Practise

Here's is a really quick painting I did in my sketchbook today which I copied from a magazine page.  It's been painted on totally the wrong paper but it was fun because I had no expectations about the outcome - I just did it :-)  Must do more of these types of paintings!

Original Watercolour © Stacey-Ann Cole 2012

Creativesque Featured in Vogue Magazine!

Hi all, I just wanted to write a quick blog post shouting about the fact that I've had my Afro Caribbean Greeting Cards featured in the Vogue Magazine August 2012 issue!

I didn't really believe it would happen until I received my copy of the mag through the post and saw my cards looking lovely on the page.  Can you spot them below?

There are my cards at No. 6 along with a little write up.  The page is called 'You Are Cordially Invited To.....' and is full of products and services that brides to be might be interested in.  Here's what the full page looks like:

So yay! I'm really pleased and excited and grateful to have gotten this opportunity.

Speak to you all soon.

Figures With No Faces

One day recently whilst I was working on one of my paintings, my son asked me why do some of the ladies that I paint have no faces i.e. no eyes, no nose and sometimes no mouth.  The question threw me a bit as I've never thought too deeply about it.  I must have said to him something along the lines of "Because they're expressing themselves with their bodies" It probably sounded a bit lame and I'm not sure if he understood but he nodded his head and eventually wandered off after watching me paint a bit more.

So naturally after his question I started to really explore why I do this.  These are the answers I came up with which expand on what I told my son:

Reason 1.

Whenever I try to add facial features to these particular types of paintings, it just doesn't look right!  The ideas that I draw on paper always seem to emerge with just the shape of the face, the hairstyle and body shape already in place.  Every single time I try to draw in eyes and nose, it always looks weird so I just stopped doing it.  Lips are a bit better as sometimes those add to the personality of the lady I'm drawing.

I remember an art teacher telling me once that I should never try to fit facial features into the outline of a face.  She said that I should always draw the features first and then draw the face around them and it is actually a principle that I do apply when I'm drawing portraits.

'Mother's Pride' Watercolour ACEO 2.5" x 3.5" © Stacey-Ann Cole 2012

Reason 2.

The ideas I have for these paintings seem to always have a theme and the figure I draw is an expression of that theme.  It really is mostly about expressing an emotion through the posture, the placement of an arm or leg and the tilt of the head.  The body is saying something specific and there isn't the need for facial features to express that same thing.

'Dance & The World Dances With You' Original Watercolour Painting 5.75" x 8", part of the Serenity, Joy Art Series

© Stacey-Ann Cole 2011

So it's been a good exercise in delving a bit deeper into some of my art and figuring out why I do things in a certain way.  It's given me new understanding and hopefully I've enlightened anyone else who may have been wondering this about my work too!

Any other artists out there who draw figures without faces?  Is there a particular reason?  I'd love to hear your comments below!

Collage Art on Recycled Kraft Card

I currently have an artwork obsession:  adding collage to my drawings on recycled kraft card.  I have lots of ideas brewing and in order to keep the momentum going, I'm having to teach myself to accept that not every piece will be perfect.  Making mistakes is a part of growing as an artist, right? So here are some greeting cards that I've been working on, incorporating collage elements cut from old book pages.  I love the contrast of the book pages against the kraft card:

[gallery link="file" order="DESC" orderby="rand"]

All above greeting card designs @ Stacey-Ann Cole 2012

Once I've refined the designs and am happy with them, I'm going to get them printed like my watercolour cards and see how they turn out.

Inspired by my work on these cards, I've decided to start a larger piece of artwork on A4 size kraft card.  Regardless of how it turns out, I'm calling this piece '3 Sisters'.  Although I'm not yet confident working on a larger surface area with this new technique (the greeting cards are only A6 size and smaller) I'm gonna do it anyway!

© Stacey-Ann Cole 2012

What do you think?  Let me know in the comments if you have anything new that you're also obsessed with - I'd love to know!