“For Ulmo bore up Elwing out of the waves”

I’m getting closer and closer to the feel that I’ve always wanted to achieve in my art, and, starting a few months ago, finally began to reach. This is another piece squarely along that road!


Elros and Elrond were taken captive, but Elwing with the Silmaril upon her breast had cast herself into the sea. Thus Maedhros and Maglor gained not the jewel; but it was not lost. For Ulmo bore up Elwing out of the waves, and he gave her the likeness of a great white bird, and upon her breast there shone as a star the Silmaril, as she flew over the water to seek Eärendil her beloved.

The Silmarillion: Of the Voyage of Eärendil and the War of Wrath

Watercolour and gouache on Canson Vidalon paper; ~26×35 cm.

Prints available!

Video of this soon on Patreon, along with print discounts! Take a peek :)


“You’ll stand with me”

We went to see “The Last Jedi” twice during opening weekend, and I absolutely loved it. The plot problems didn’t bother me much; I loved what was being done with the characters – particularly Rey and Kylo Ren.

I confess that I didn’t trust the movies to develop in a way that would feel satisfying to me – psychological depth had never been the strong suit of Star Wars. I certainly didn’t expect for the movie to go the route it did, but I was delighted to see it.


“You’ll stand with me”
Watercolour and gouache on Saunders Waterford cold-pressed paper, 15×25 cm


I had managed to stay almost completely spoiler free, and I really didn’t see this scene coming. I confess I yelped aloud in the cinema when it played on the screen. And all the while, hanging on the edge of my seat, watching Rey and Kylo Ren dissecting Snoke’s guards and cheering for them, I had a little voice at the back of my head: “But I don’t want it to be that easy. Don’t let them ride into the sunset together now.” I loved the way my wish was granted. I can’t wait to see what happens in IX.

Something that really impressed me was the handling of the “fear” theme in the plot. It was fear (however contrived…) that made Anakin turn to the dark side, it was fear that made Luke break off his training, it was fear that drove him to almost kill his own nephew, and it was that fear that fully turned Kylo Ren to the Dark Side.

I love the way they spun this plotline further, and I love the way how Rey turns it upside down. She isn’t afraid, not in the sense those others were, insecure, afraid to lose someone. She grew up depending solely on herself, and while she is cautious and brave and sympathetic towards others, she lacks that desperate streak that those other Force-others had which spoke to the Dark Side in themselves. How I would love for the end to be a true balance, with the Dark being a necessary part of the Light that needs to be understood and worked with rather than feared and avoided!

Yoda understood that; he had some of the best lines – about failure being the greatest teacher, and this truly remarkable line that resonated with me as a teacher and as a parent: “We are what they grow beyond.”



Testing New Schmincke Horadam paints!

I’m now an official playtester for Schmincke Horadam. ;)

I confess I’d been unfaithful to Schmincke for a while. Most of that had nothing to do with the quality of the paint, which I always felt was one of the best watercolours in the world, but more with my desire to try out exotic stuff. Most of what I’ve been painting with in recent years has come from faraway, exotic, never-seen places like Korea, the Netherlands, or the US. As you know, I’ve been a great fan of Daniel Smith for years, though the tubes were ridiculously expensive for me. But the quinacridone and granulating paints were just too good to miss.

Now Schmincke has put in a great deal of work to reclaim those wayward and faithless European artists that have strayed away from the flock – and my word, they’ve released a new line of fantastic new colours!


I’ve been talking to Claudia Möller, who works for Schmincke and has been developing these, and I learnt a lot of things I hadn’t known – for example, that granulation was usually considered a mark of low-quality paint, which was why Schmincke didn’t have any granulating paint in its lineup – until it became cool. Now they’ve introduced a few wonderfully granulating colours. Some of my favourite ones are French Ultramarine (which granulates more strongly than Daniel Smith’s), Potter’s Pink ❤ and Green Umber.

The granulating paint seems to mix better (read: with stronger granulation) with non-granulating colour than the ones I’ve used before. See the top left blotches, where I mixed French Ultramarine with Transparent Sienna and Transparent Ochre.

Schmincke has also introduced Quinacridone tones, which I hadn’t known before discovering them with DS. They’re so wonderfully bright and transparent!

Top right there’s Geranium Red, which is the brightest red I’ve ever seen. I kept squinting at the paper because I thought it was still wet – it was so shiny even when dry! It’s even nicer than my dragon’s blood. So, my next battle piece will definitely have Geranium. XD


One of the new colours is the eye-watering Brilliant Opera Rose. The photo below doesn’t do it justice; the first photo, above, only half-captures just how bright it is. It retains that brightness when you mix it, resulting in bright candy colours. Unfortunately, it completely defeats my scanner, and even Photoshop. It’s definitely a colour that works best live.


Claudia also sent me a small spray bottle of granulation medium. It’s similar to Schmincke’s effect spray, but leaves no alcohol stains. The effect isn’t quite like granulating paint, but rather reminds me of Ishihara test plates for colour blindness. ;) It tends to leak into adjacent areas of the painting, so it’s best left alone in detailed stuff – though it can be dropped rather than sprayed, which is easier to control.


I’ll be having a lot of fun with these!

The end of a realm, of a world, of a dream


“Jenny bowed her head again. For a moment, the rough clang of blade on blade filled her ears. She remembered that noise, and the cry of the dying, atop a high hill beneath a scorching sun. Black armor and a bloody blade. And the battle. Such a battle, one worthy of the world’s ending. And hadn’t it been? The end of a realm, of a world, of a dream…”

Watercolour and gel pen on Fabriano paper, 28×38 cm.

The battle of Camlann – the calm before the storm. From an upcoming novel by Paul Leone, merging a Victorian vampire tale with Arthurian legend.

Prints here!

It’s been a crazy summer, with a lot of unforeseen stuff that ate up my summer holidays completely. This is the only full painting I got done during that time, which is slightly frustrating, but it’s also another bit of proof for my conviction that breaks in your art transform you. Months ago, I resolved to try a softer approach to colouring than the one I had developed over the last four years (not fully intentionally either). I tried it, but it didn’t work – I just slipped back into old habits. Now, after three months with virtually no painting, it was incredibly easy to incorporate new habits. So – the break was a good thing in the end.

The Lady of Heron Lake


Watercolour and gouache, 37×22 cm. Original sold. Prints available here.

Another piece done in the vein of the “Dark Wings Downstream” painting – for years, I’ve had loads of cool visual ideas and never did anything with them because there wasn’t a story to them. But I’m coming to the conclusion that they can be just as rewarding.

I love herons. Behind our village, there are several miles of fields where you can see them all winter – along with storks – standing there regally and demanding to be drawn. I bet the rabbits sharing the same fields will be jealous now, and demand their painting next. I might. But they’ll have to put up with a dragon for company.


Search for the lost temple

Inspired by Claudia Gray’s novel “Bloodline” (which I haven’t read yet – exam marking season), which discloses that, just a few years prior to TFA, Luke Skywalker was travelling the galaxy in search for the first Jedi temple – with Ben Solo.


“Search for the lost temple”

Watercolour on Cotman cold-pressed paper, A4 size.

Original sold.

The chronology majorly messes up some of my headcanons, as does the fact that Rey doesn’t seem to be related to the Skywalker family. I was extremely flattered, though, to read a review of the book that discussed the timeline of events and expressed regret over the fact that “that Jenny Dolfen painting” was now obviously AU. Wow. I mean – wow. I’m pop culture!

Dark wings downstream

“They laid him to rest in the ship with his sword upon his legs; and as he drifted home downstream, there came seven black swans, their trumpet calls guiding him to the Otherworld.”


Some work (loosely) inspired by Arthurian legend that I’ve been wanting to paint for years. The clothes and burial gifts of the warrior are inspired by the Sutton Hoo treasure (as is the build of the ship, though much smaller). Watercolours on Fabriano Grana Fina, 29×39 cm.

Prints here!

Original for sale – contact me if interested!