Monday 20 December 2010

Seasons Greetings

Wishing all my family, friends and followers a very peaceful Christmas and a happy and successful 2011.

Sunday 5 December 2010

Whizz finished

Well here he is - all done. I definitely liked this method and will use it again, although it doesn't really speed things up any, I like the look it produces.

Sunday 28 November 2010

Whizz - a handsome black Lab

 Small update, not much done yesterday, a tad cold in my studio.

 A little more done today, putting down the base layers first before adding the details and highlights etc. It's looking a little strange with all the different colours but once I have added more detail on top he will look like a black dog. Hmmm think I need to work on his eye, looks a little odd.

 Well, onto my next commission, a very handsome black labradour.

It is on Pastelmatt, A3 in size and I am using a variety of soft coloured pencils, mostly Karisma, a few Derwent coloursoft and one or two Stabilo softcolour (I think these have been discontinued - a shame as they are nice to use). I am then dissolving the cp using a low odour solvent. This is the first time I have done an animal using this method and I will be interested to see how it turns out. I really hope I don't have to start again as this is for Christmas, so not much time left.

Thursday 25 November 2010

Rose and Tango finished

Finally finished Rose and Tango. All in all it took me around 20 hours to do. I hope Rose likes it!

Monday 15 November 2010

Rose and Tango

I think this will be the last post until I have finished. Just Tango's head and the background to do now. I am leaving the head for tomorrow morning when I am fresh....I will need to concentrate for the bits and bridle.

 A little more done, not too much more to do, just the most dificult part, the bridle and bits etc, I will need a very, very sharp pencil to get nice crisp lines. I think that part will take a fair amount of time. I am looking forward to doing the head though.

A small update....not too much to show for 3 hours work, I spent most of it adding  more detail, veins and muscles and layering in darker tones etc.

At last I have something to post. It's been way too long since I last had a pencil in my hand.

This is a commission for a friend, Rose and her and her beautiful horse Tango, bought by a group of her friends for her birthday. (The portrait, not the horse.)
The photo was taken by her partner Jon.

It measures roughly 16" x 12". 
Pencils: Faber Castell Polychromos
Support: Fabrianno Artistico HP.

Around 5 hours of work so far. The scan is not great, but the colours are fairly accurate.

Thursday 16 September 2010

Highly Commended Award

My Silverback 'Rainforest Dreaming' won a Highly Commended award at the UKCPS 2010 Annual Exhibition, which of course I am extremely pleased about.

Below, is a photo taken at the exhibition showing how he looks all framed and displayed.

Monday 16 August 2010

UKCPS 2010 Annual Exhibition

I was very pleased to have both my submitted pictures accepted for the 2010 UKCPS exhibition.

They are the Amur Leopard and the Silverback Gorilla. Now all I have to do is get them to Stamford. I wish I could get to the exhibition to see all the finalists in real life but it will be too far for me to get there. I look forward to seeing them all online.

Friday 13 August 2010

What? Where?

I have just completed my little group of meerkats in time for the Illminster exhibition 'Diversity' which is being held at the Meeting House in Illminster from the 6th to 18th September together with Pauline Longley and Diana Connor. If you are in the area then please pop in, we would love to see you. I will be showing my wildlife drawings in graphite, coloured pencils and pastels.

I find these little chaps so engaging and amusing. I had some reference photos of them and grouped them together to make a panoramic composition which I think works well. I used graphite again for this one....I seem to be on a graphite kick at the moment. The paper I used is Mellotex ultra white and the size is 20" x 9" so each individual is fairly small.

Thursday 29 July 2010

Mother Protector

Just for you Janet, this is how the picture looks now it's framed. I had this frame already and couldn't find any of my existing pictures to put in it, with the very heavy black frame, they just didn't look right. I sort of did the elephant with the frame in mind. I have not used a mount. I think that the white paper works just as well. (the greyish area around the frame is my kitchen wall, not part of the frame).

Here it is all finished with a dusty background. The background is not what I set out to do at the start, but it took over from what I had in mind so I went with the flow and this is what I ended up with. I don't fight with my instinctive drawing, and I am sometimes pleasantly surprised with what can happen. I think that if I had done what I originally wanted it would have looked too dominant and perhaps not worked at all. I am happy with the result.

 'Mother Protector'

This is my latest, done in graphite for a change. It is not completely finished yet. I am planning a background, a very simple one, based on light rather than detail. I am not completely confident I can pull it off, so thought I would show you what I have done so far in case I mess it up!!

I have a frame for it and if I complete it successfully I will hang it in our 'Diversity' exhibition in Illminster in September.

Size: Approx A3
Paper: Mellotex ultra white
Pencils 3B mechanical, HB 0.5 mechanical and 7B woody for the very dark darks.

Tuesday 13 July 2010

The Likely Lads

This is my latest. I really struggled to maintain my interest, but I got there in the end. I so didnt want to spoil it by rushing it.

Tinted Charcoal on Pastelmat. Size approx A3.

Thursday 8 July 2010

Sunny Meadows

I started this one some time back, but abandoned it as I could see it wasn't really working that well. It was suggested that I crop it,  I liked the bottom left corner (thanks Pauline). After thinking about it for awhile, that's what I did. I decided where I wanted the image to finish and this is it. I am putting up the first attempt to show why I didn't like it and then the cropped image.
I used coloured pencil dissolved with a  low odour solvent (Pauline's method) on a yellow pastelmat.
The first one is approximately A3 in size the final is cropped down to 11" x 6.5".

Wednesday 30 June 2010

Looking Back - over my shoulder

This is what I have been working on the last couple of days.....I just cant keep away from the animals...hoo boy!

 I found some old sheets of Velour paper in the bottom of my cupboard and thought I would use them up. This is the first of them, done on black velour, size approx A4, using a variety of pastels from sticks to pencils, all different brands, whichever seemed to work best. I am still not sure if I like velour...which is probably why it ended up in the bottom of the cupboard.

Friday 25 June 2010

Low Tide

Here is another pastel piece which I completed this morning. I am enjoying the speed which I can do these landscapes, It usually take me weeks to do a wildlife picture. I may do a few more of these before going on to something else....or perhaps I will go onto some elephant in acrylics that I have half done ....I will see how the mood takes me next week. I used a yellow pastelmat for this one, must say I am not keen, I much prefer the Fisher 400 for pastels, which takes loads of layers and also takes both pastel sticks and pastel pencils equally well, so ideal for my style.

Size approx A3

Tuesday 22 June 2010

Rising Mists

Another landscape in Pastels. Not quite as loose as I would have liked....still working towards that goal. Still I am not entirely displeased with it. 
It has lost a fair amount of foreground detail in the scan, there are more pinks and lilacs than show here and the contrasts seem a little strong. 

Soft pastels and pastel pencils on Fisher 400.
Size approx A3

Rising Mists over the Somerset Levels

Wednesday 16 June 2010

The Old Man

This one is a completely new direction, a pastel landscape. Of course I have done landscapes before, but not in pastel. I really enjoyed the freedon of not having to capture an exact likenesss as I try to do when doing animals, so from that point of view I think it is a success. I will definately be doing more of these.

Both soft pastels and pastel pencils on Fisher 400 sandpaper. Size about A3.

Monday 7 June 2010

Time flys by, I didn't realise how long it's been since I last posted.

I have been busy with our exhibition and this grey wolf is what I worked on while 'on duty' there.
The medium is again tinted charcoal, although this time I used a tan coloured mounting board....not a great idea as the charcoal didn't take too well on it, still you live and learn. It measures 12.5" square.

Friday 14 May 2010

Third Little Bird

Well, I finally got around to finishing the third in my set of little birds. They are very small but do look nice in their frames. I will take a photo of them framed when the light is better and post it. I decided to scrap the kingfisher I was going to do and settled on a little blue tit. I do love these cheeky little chaps.

Friday 7 May 2010

Silverback Gorilla

I have just completed this wonderful boy. He is a large silverback who lives at Bristol Zoo. He was so laid back and relaxed it was easy to take a good photograph of him as he sat in the sun surveying his space. I  wondered if he was thinking of his natural habitat, the rainforest of the Congo? With this in mind, I titled it 'Rainforest Dreamin'. 
It will be one of my entries into the UKCPS annual exhibition.

Size: 13" x 13"
Support: Fabrianno Artistico
Medium: Derwent's new watersoluble coloured pencils.

I think there must be at least 5 million pencil strokes for the fur...just guessing, I didn't count, but it sure felt like it. LOL

Tuesday 4 May 2010


This is a commission I have just completed of Otis a Yorkie x Border terrier. A very cute chap with bags of character, which I hope I have captured. The scan isn't great and he is, in the original, a little redder and darker.

Measures roughly A4 - coloured pencils on Fabriano artistico hp paper.

Sunday 2 May 2010


Here are a couple of small pictures I have done for our exhibition in Glastonbury at the end of the month. Together with Pauline Longly and Diana Conor, I am putting on an exhibition at the Glastonbury Galleries from the 29th May - 6th June. If you in the area please come in and see what we do.

These little images measure 6" x 6" and are tinted charcoal on pastelmat.

Friday 23 April 2010

Wolf in tinted charcoal

I ordered a tin of 24 tinted charcoal pencils made by Derwent. I was taken with the lovely subdued colours, and couldn't wait to give them a try. I had this lovely reference photo taken by Jason Morgan which I thought would work with these pencils a treat.
I have called it 'Keeping Watch'. I used Clairefontein Pastelmat in dark grey, and it measures roughly A3.
I enjoyed using the pencils and will definitely be using them again soon, perhaps elephant? Maybe another wolf? Not sure yet.

Monday 5 April 2010

Little Birds #2

Well, I was far from satisfied with my previous goldfinch and decided to try again, this time on drafting film. (Thanks for the suggestion Pauline). This time I think I have pulled it off. Each picture is so very small that it is difficult to get much detail, which is what I go for. I compared the two goldfinches and wondered what had happened to my judgement! The first one should have gone straight in the bin (where it is now). Both the robin and the goldfinch measure 2 x 3" and I used mostly Polychromos and a few Karisma pencils. They each took about 3 hours to do, speedy for me, but I didn't want to spend too much time on them. I will be doing a kingfisher next.

The reference photos were taken by David Longshaw, who kindly gave me permission to use them. Thanks David.

Tuesday 23 March 2010

Little Birds

My brother made some beautiful little frames for me and I have decided that little British birds would look really good in them. I have decided on a Goldfinch, a Robin and a Kingfisher, all colourful little birds. I have completed the Goldfinch and such small drawings are definitely challenging, I cant get the level of detail I would like. They measure 2" x 3" and I am using Fabrianno Artistico paper and Karisma pencils. 

Here is the Goldfinch. I hope to have the robin done soon. 
Ooops, I see it needs a little tweaking around the beak, which I shall have to sort out.

Monday 15 February 2010

Spotted - Amur Leopard

Over the last month I have been working on this beautiful Amur Leopard. I was very lucky to get this shot of him in the only patch of sunlight there was in his enclosure. He lives at Cricket St Thomas Wildlife park, (I have just read that in fact the leopards will be going from here as will all the other large animals, sad as this was a good place for me to get reference photos for my art). I had no idea that this species of Leopard is so critically endangered. There are only 32 animals alive in the wild and 200 in captivity, where their gene pool is getting dangerously small.

The picture is A3 in size and I used mostly Faber-Castell Polychromos pencils with a few of the old Karisma pencils. The support is Clairefontaine Pastelmat in pale yellow.

Wednesday 10 February 2010

Interpretive boards

Wow, where did the time go! I did mean to update my blog once every couple of weeks at least, didn't seem to be able to get to it recently. I have been busy illustrating and designing some interpretive boards for the Environment Agency and thought I would post two of them here so you can see what I do when wearing my other hat, so to speak. These boards are A1 in size so quite large. I have used mainly watercolours for the illustrations with a little coloured pencil just to crisp up the details, especially for the creatures. I use a much looser style for these boards as I cant go taking months just to get one illustration done.


This is the completed panel showing the location and some of the wildlife that can be seen in the area.
Below is a close up of the background illustration.


This is a board done for the Curry Moor pumping Station with a little of its history and some of the wildlife found in the rhynes (pronounced reens) or ditches. Below is a close up of the river bank showing above and below the waterline.


Pencil on toned paper

Here are a couple of experiments using graphite pencil and white coloured pencil, plus a touch of white gel pen on grey paper. I am reasona...