Judith Alsop Miles

Watercolour Artist and Plein-air Painting

Wednesday28 February 2024

Spring 2021

Winter in Lockdown

As reported in previous newsletters last summer, the first lockdown combined with glorious spring weather had rekindled my enthusiasm for sketching and painting the world around me. Whereas my sketchbooks used to be filled with a mix of urban and rural scenes, now the focus was entirely on local views – painted either at home or within a very small radius of home. In October, we were fortunate to be able to get away for a weekend on the Holy Island of Lindisfarne – and it was so great to be able to sketch somewhere not within walking distance of home!    

Back home, as winter started to bite, outdoor painting inevitably dropped off and apart from a few quick captures – of my daughter reading or the cat stretched out on the sofa – my sketchbook was rarely opened.

January and February brought frosty, misty mornings and several snowfalls. I was walking regularly for exercise; staying away from the village and canal towpath, I kept to the hilltop tracks and moorland paths where few people go, especially on weekdays.

Frozen Reservoir 750

This sketch of Castleshaw Higher Reservoir was done in January, just over the hill from where I live. In February I started to extend my walks, up onto the moors where I would stop off to capture the shapes and colours of the wild moorland in my sketchbook.

Shooters Nab holding sketchbook 210321 750

These sketches have provided inspiration for larger paintings in the studio, one of which is Moorland Curves, a large watercolour of a farmhouse, serpentine drystone walls and pathways leading through the pale yellow grass. This painting is available for sale on my website.

Moorland Curves 750


One thing that really took off during lockdown was commissions. I have completed a total of nine bespoke paintings in the last year, mainly watercolours but also acrylic on canvas. I’m increasingly asked to include people, which was a bit out of my comfort zone at first but I’m getting more confident with every new project. Sadly I’m not able to post about commissions on social media because they usually have to be kept secret, but here’s a little montage of the most recent paintings delivered to happy customers, just for my newsletter subscribers:

Bowcliffe Hall final painting 750

Schloss Bredebeck final painting 750

Couple sitting in a tree 750       

Quaglietta final adjusted 750


JAMiles Art YouTube channel


I started adding videos to my YouTube channel in June last year. Featuring a mix of sketchwalk vlogs, sketchbook flip-throughs and studio chats, it has been progressively gaining followers and I’m pleased to say it has just clocked up 100 subscribers! Now, with winter behind us and as the days lengthen, I will be filming more regularly. Do hit the Subscribe button if you haven’t already. That way you won’t miss new uploads and of course it helps me to grow my following. Here’s to the next 100!