Wednesday, 10 December 2008

Graphite study of an Arabian horse.

I have been down with a nasty bug for some time hence the lack of new work updates on the blog, but here is something I was able to do in the evenings without risking the pastel dust making this darned cough worse. Working with graphite is interesting and you can get quite dramatic effects. I may use this 7" x 6.5 study for a larger pastel image in the future.
Many thanks to Geoff Rigby, a good friend, who gave me permission to use one of his beautiful photos as inspiration for this study. If you like Arabian horse photos be sure to check his site out.
It seems a little difficult to get a good representation of graphite work on screen. The images do not seem to 'zing' the way they should. Anyone got any advice on this subject? Meanwhile I shall go and ask the experts...

Monday, 3 November 2008

Graphite Study of a Goeldi's Marmoset

'Morning Light', (8" x 5")

The Goeldi's Marmoset (or Goeldi's monkey) graphite study is finished (I think.) Dreadful light here today, so may have to re-photograph tomorrow.

After looking at Colchester Zoo's website I was able to identify this species from the reference photos taken some time ago. It is a Goeldi's Marmoset, a South American New World Monkey from the Upper Amazon Basin of Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru. It is a tree dwelling (arboreal) primate about the same size as other Marmosets and is listed as vulnerable.
Working in graphite again has been very enjoyable and I am going to try to fit one or two in around my regular work.

Wednesday, 29 October 2008

Work in Progress - Graphite study of a monkey.

The work of Terry Miller has inspired me to go back to graphite again. I had forgotten how interesting it can be. This study is of a small black monkey seen at Colchester Zoo, very stupidly I did not make a note of the species at the time, so if anyone knows the name please feel free to get in touch. This study is on Bristol Board done with a range of Faber-Castell pencils. I will post another picture in a day or so when this study is completed.

Wednesday, 15 October 2008

Mall Gallery Exhibition

Fellow artists and I had a wonderful day out on Monday at the preview of the Royal Society of Miniature Painters, Sculptors and Gravers (RMS) held in the Mall Gallery in London. (Glad I tried painting one a couple of weeks ago so I could really appreciate the skill that goes into creating these beautiful little 'jewels'.) Lovely friendly people and wonderful work, I thoroughly recommend this Exhibition. Tracy Hall a friend from the Scottish Islands won the Llewellyn Alexander Gallery Award ('The Sentry' Meercat) and also the premier prize for Best in Show ('Red Admiral and Rook'). Here is Tracy with the president of the show Elizabeth R Meek PRMS PPSWA HS FRSA and the Earl of Glasgow who officially opened the Exhibition. Well done Tracy!

Sunday, 5 October 2008

Coat Colours

In the absence of progress on the cabin (still raining) and no work actually completed here is a study of 'Leo' a young horse painted in pastel some time ago. He was in a relaxed pose and I wanted to show the lovely softness and sheen of his coat. In the brown/bay coat are many shades of umber and various browns, blues, greys and a lovely purple brown. If you study the coat of a horse, or any animal, you will see many subtle shades which make up the overall colour. It takes some years to train your eye to see all of them - artists learn all their lives! We look at things differently and that is part of the fun and challenge of painting.

Tuesday, 23 September 2008

Cabin taking shape...

With many delays for bad weather and also a wait for a warped piece of wood to be replaced by the suppliers we are finally getting there with the cabin. We chose one with lots of windows as light is so important for us artists! Still have to put on the roof and veranda and also waterproof the whole thing. (As you can see it is raining again this morning.) While waiting for photos for a Middle Eastern project I am sketching Arabian horse ideas for paintings and also playing with another miniature. Photos to follow soon, hopefully.

Saturday, 13 September 2008

'A Kind Eye' - Arabian horse miniature

This little Arabian horse miniature (shown with a UK penny for scale) is my first and has left me with an immense admiration for those who paint 'in the little'. He was fun to do and I learned a LOT in the course of this 3" x 2" painting, so I hope that he will not be the last miniature that I paint. He was done in oils using (at first) liquin to thin the paint. Zest-It was used instead when I realised that the liquin was too thick for fine detail! Zest-it is a wonderful non toxic turpentine substitute that has a citrus smell. (Great if you hate - or are allergic to - the strong smell of turps or white spirit.)

As I am waiting on some photos to come in for the next large project it might be fun to try another miniature to fill in some time. Another image will be posted once this tiny painting has been framed. It is not raining here today - what a change - so we will be working on the studio/log cabin again.

Monday, 8 September 2008


'Poppy' is a pastel study completed recently from photos. Luckily her owner had taken many close up photos of her over the nineteen years that she was alive. She looked a sweet cat and I enjoyed doing this pastel. (Once again it was mostly Daler Rowney with some Unison - my favourite soft pastels.)

I have also been trying to complete my first miniature in oil - watch this space for a picture soon - in between working at building the studio with my other half. We have not had much good weather to be outside but are dodging the showers.

Thursday, 28 August 2008

New Studio/Building Site

Here is the layout of the log cabin which is intended as a new studio. (Just not enough room inside the house.) The porch foundations are not measured out yet so it will extend about a metre and a half further out into the garden. Standing in front is Casey our much loved ten year old Labrador Retriever. She hates her photo being taken and is trying to look nonchalant. :-) Concrete is being laid this week and then we just have to erect the building - which will provide so much more working space - I can't wait.

Sunday, 17 August 2008

Dalmatian Portrait just completed.

This is Monty, a handsome character living in the South West of the UK with his adoring owner. It was a lot of fun completing his portrait in soft pastel (mostly Daler Rowney with some Unison.)