Monday, 21 December 2009

Season's Greetings

Season's Greetings to my followers and all those who take the time to email me! Many thanks to you all for making this an interesting year. Here's hoping for a very peaceful and productive 2010. Have a wonderful holiday.

Sunday, 13 December 2009

Detail from 'The Bedouin Tent'

Here is a small detail from a large painting in oil entitled 'The Bedouin Tent' The front Saluki was done from photos taken in Kentucky at the Saluki Show which was being held at the same time as the Egyptian Event (Egyptian Arabian Horses) So I guess he is an American Saluki :) I don't know his name so if anyone recognizes him please let me know.

Posts have been sporadic lately as my Father is in Hospital with a broken hip. So trying to fit in visiting him with painting and all the holiday preparations is a bit of a stretch. I am going through a 'desperate to paint' phase - fellow painters out there will know how hard it is when things conspire against you but hopefully things will settle down again soon.

Friday, 27 November 2009

Summer Daisies Pastel

Summer Daisies was an experiment done some time ago. For those who work with pastel it is fun to try to loosen up and work with only fingers and sticks of soft pastel. Giving yourself a time limit is also good once in a while especially for artists like me who work tight and get into lots of detail. I used Daler-Rowney green grays and blue grays, plus some white, yellow for the centers of the daisies and a touch of cadmium orange. In the dark and dismal days we are having this November a study like this on the wall brings back memories of sunnier warmer weather.

Monday, 12 October 2009

Miniature of Mother as Queen Elizabeth I

Here is a miniature graphite on film study of my Mother as Queen Elizabeth I. The original sepia photo was taken around 1944 and sadly is very blurry. Mum had a lovely soprano voice and I remember being taken many times by my Father to see her on stage. I think if she had not devoted so much time to my upbringing she would have gone on to greater things.

Doing this as a miniature has been an ambition for some time and even though it was a difficult study I am reasonably happy with it and will frame it for our walls. (I know Mum would have been pleased to have this image of her drawn this way.) Size is 4" x 3.5" - Mum's face is around 1" and the image shows a 'ghost penny' for scale.

Miniatures are really addictive and once the larger paintings are done I will be devoting more time to them.

Wednesday, 30 September 2009


This pastel was fitted in recently, while waiting for some photos to come in on the large project. Sybil was a much loved black cat and it was a privilege to immortalize her in pastel. Her reference photos were rather difficult to work from as is often the case with black animals. But luckily her owner helped out where the photos were obscure.

For any interested pastel artists out there this work was done with black pastel and a darker black (intense black) for the shadows... it is wonderful to have access to more than one shade of black :) The colours in Sybil's coat were added with a mid tone prussian blue and some purple brown. Highlights are a warm light grey with white added here and there.

Sybil's pastel is being framed right now and I hope she will bring happy memories when the picture is hung on the wall close to 'Poppy' whose pastel I also did last year.

Back to the canvases :)

Friday, 28 August 2009

Snow Leopards in Oil (sold)

Here is an oil done from photos taken at Santago some years ago and called 'The Lookout'. Looks as though this is the same female Snow Leopard that we photographed recently. (She was the only one waiting to go to her new home.) A beautiful and gentle cat.

Wednesday, 19 August 2009

Santago Leopards

Had a wonderful day out on Monday at the private Santago Rare Leopard Breeding Project. Unfortunately it is closing shortly due to the sad death of the founder Peter James. Santago has had a good record over the years with breeding these endangered rare cats and was a place where you could get really close to them in a quiet and beautiful setting. The animals are all going to new homes very soon (some abroad) so it was with a heavy heart that we said farewell at the end of the day.
Photos are of a beautifully marked Clouded Leopard - we felt really lucky to get some lovely photos of them as they are usually so reclusive. Then a Black Leopard relaxing whilst waiting for his lunch. The African Leopard was photographed above us on her tree platform and lastly the gorgeous Snow Leopard who as usual posed beautifully. When there is time I hope to do some studies of them.

Friday, 17 July 2009

Dressage horse in oil and Green Woodpecker

As I am still busy painting all hours of the day, and into the evenings at present, I have posted a dressage horse painted in oil some years ago. Black animals are really fascinating to paint, whether in pastel or oil. I just love the shine on their coats and usually paint this in blue grey. I think you can just see the details in this old photo and the touches of purple brown around this horse's muzzle. This 16" x 12" oil was painted from the photo supplied and sadly I never got to see this horse as he lived some way away from us.

This week we have been visited again by a Green Woodpecker and as the bird was still long enough for me to run and get the camera (and change lenses) here is a photo of him. It is great to see this bird in our gardens but sadly he is here because all the local woodland is gradually being destroyed. As the 'powers that be' seem to be happy to chop all the trees down all we can do is plant as many as we can in our gardens. Hopefully we can give the local birds an alternative habitat.

I have taken some recent photos of the cabin/studio but still have them on a memory card somewhere. It really looks as though it has been there for ages now that the plants have grown up around it and I will post them ASAP. Meanwhile, back to painting :)

Saturday, 6 June 2009

West Highland White Terrier

Life is pretty busy right now with the large canvases underway. Just to keep in touch with everyone I am posting an old pastel of 'Bob' a dear little West Highland White Terrier. He was done as a surprise present some years ago. Always fun to do this breed as their fur is great to do in pastel. Students of pastel can see (I hope - as this is an old photo) that the colour of the ground you choose to work on is pretty important and can become part of the picture. Try not to choose a contrasting colour as this will make your work much more difficult. If in doubt lay a photo of the subject up against several papers until you find one that matches.

Also here is a bee's eye view of a Foxglove - which are at their best now in the garden (thank you Pat for letting me play with your Macro Lens!)

Wednesday, 20 May 2009

May update and flowers

Just to prove I am still around - here are some flowers from our garden in the South East of the UK. There has been great growing weather with sunshine and showers so everything is doing well, even the daisies in the grass :) The peach Iris is my favourite, although sadly I do not know the variety. The sundial is down in the wilder part of the garden with pink aquilegias, grasses and foxgloves waiting to come out and the Clematis is a beautiful new compact variety found recently in a local garden centre and now growing in a tub.
On the work front, I am now commencing to put paint to canvas with the large commissions. Hopefully they will be shown here if the client gives his permission. If time permits I will fit in a pastel or two and some miniatures also - lots of ideas for them. Back to work! Please feel free to contact me as I love to hear from my visitors.

Friday, 17 April 2009

Cat Study in pastel

As I am busy with some large commissions - hopefully the client will grant permission to show them on the web in due course - I am posting a 2007 pastel of a dear 'old style' Persian cat. He is a dear soul, very sweet and affectionate and it was a joy to paint his beautiful fur. As I took many photos of this lovely cat hopefully there will be more studies of him in the future. (For those who are experimenting with pastel the shadows in this study were browns and blues.)

Tuesday, 24 March 2009

Spring Blossoms

After a cold snowy winter a very welcome spring has arrived. Last week's mild temperatures and sun brought out the blossom on some of the trees and some spring flowering plants. As I am working - but nothing ready to post yet I thought I would share some photos of the garden. I hope you enjoy seeing them :)

Friday, 20 March 2009

Miniature - Graphite Study of Jenny

Still enjoying experimenting with the dura-lar film in the evenings, here is a new graphite study of a very pretty young girl called Jenny. I could not resist transferring her serenity from a photograph (she lives a long way from us) into a portrait. People are more of a challenge to draw/paint but very well worth the effort. This image is much enlarged - the original is 3" x 2.5".

Wednesday, 11 March 2009

Miniature - 'Aragorn' Graphite study

I am a big fan of Tolkein and Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings films so when I was looking for a small study to try out some Dura-Lar film this one of Viggo Mortenson as Aragorn seemed a challenge - because of the look in his eyes. The original is 2.75" x 2.5". O.K. I know it is not my copyright but I have no intention of using this experimental image anywhere but here.
By the way I thoroughly recommend Dura-Lar Acetate alternative, it is archival quality and a pleasure to work with. Just a shame that I had to ask a friend in the US to send me some as it could not be found here in the UK. There will be more graphite studies - I will be going back to Arabians and other animals very soon. These studies are a useful change in the evenings when taking a break from larger commissioned oil work.

Sunday, 25 January 2009

Blacklord Caesaro - building up colour.

Here is the late stallion Blacklord Caesaro, a wonderful character and ambassador for the Arabian breed. I have been asked how to build up soft pastel on a black horse (the same principle applies to any black animal) and am using this study to show some of the under colours, blue greys and purple browns amongst others that are laid in before any blacks are used. Blue greys will give the hightlight areas and purple browns give a warmth to the whole pastel. Care must be taken with the purple brown however, otherwise you can end up with a 'sun burned' brown/black. Use the black pastel lightly over other colours and on its own only in the shadow areas. (I like Rembrandt's deep rich black.) Try to stay away from the pastel pencils as much as possible and use them only to finish the fine detail. Note to self: I must remember to take more photos when working as I am good at asking other artists to do this!