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This week I would love you to meet a close neighbour, and friend of mine, Jeannie Pakenham who paints beautiful watercolours, which are now available to buy as gorgeous prints and blank greetings cards on our website!

Jeannie in her garden studio

This is Jeannie in her garden studio in the summer months. At the time, she was working on a watercolour based on an old photograph of her gorgeous grand-daughter Rosie, splashing in puddles! - and this lovely painting she has titled  'Puddle Jumping'.

Jeannie has a lovely story to tell.....

For most of her life she had a secret desire to paint watercolours, but a busy life as a mum, and a job as a special needs teacher meant she just didn't have time. When her children were little, an old relative, who was a sign-writer by profession, used to paint watercolours and she used to enjoy watching him work and chat with him about his paintings. When he died, he left his watercolour paints and sable brushes ( which were the best you could use) to Jeannie. She put them away with a promise to herself that 'one day, after the children have grown up, I will use those!'

Then 5 years ago, after she had retired from teaching ( and the paints and brushes were still hidden in the drawer), she stumbled upon the Alresford Art Society's annual Art Exhibition, which is held in June every year. She plucked up the courage to ask a member of the society if she could have some painting lessons - and those cherished paints and sable brushes were put back into action!

Since then, she has attended a few painting workshops and is inspired by painters like Ann Blockley, and Jean Haines.

Julia Cassels, who is a wildlife artist and a very generous teacher, and lives locally in Alton is also one of Jeannie's inspirations.

But mostly she paints what she loves. Jeannie says " I am inspired by the countrside, which is where I live, and I try to have movement in my paintings if I can manage it! I like to paint animals and weeds - particularly dandelions!"

As her confidence grew, Jeannie entered her own paintings in the Alresford Art Society Exhibition, and she has been totally thrilled to win "The People's Choice Award" - not once, but twice! Her two winning watercolours are "Crazy Bird" (and I am sure you would agree - he is!!)



 and a dandelion being blown in the wind, which she has called "Time Flies"