Saturday 31 December 2011

Happy New Year

Here's wishing all my blogging friends a very happy and creative 2012
With a little reminder of what the weather was like last year. Brrrrrrr!!!!

Wednesday 21 December 2011

The Versatile Blogger Award

My blogging friend Renska has very kindly given me The Versatile Blogger Award, which is very nice of her, thank you Renska.

Now, as I understand it I am to send this award to 15 other bloggers.....hmmmm not sure I can do that, but I will attempt to send it to as many as I think worthy.

1st one must go to Sue at: Pencilpix
next one to Julia at: Wild Art
then to my friend Gail at her blog featuring English Bull Terrier related items. 
Gail Mason's Fur in the Paint
And to Kathy with her amazing Scratchboard art.
and of course to Terry's wonderful Pencil Shavings
Also to Roberts Wildlife blog.
For Laura's blog Animal Art Adventures
And to Kathy whose blog takes me back to South Africa
OK, 11 is not bad I think I will stop there.
Now I have to give you 7 facts about myself, which will probably bore the pants of you.
1) I grew up in Johannesburg, South Africa. An amazing place to grow up.
2) I lived in Nairobi, Kenya for 3 years. Kenya is fantastic for game spotting.
3) I love animals, especially horses and dogs. I have always had a dog and also had horses, rabbits, mice, rats, geese and ducks and cats.
4) I am seriously interested in all wildlife, from African mammals to British insects and everything in between.
5) I am a keen gardener, even though my garden is very small, I try to grow as many insect friendly species as I can fit in.
6) I enjoy walking with my Border Collie Tilly.
7) I have been drawing and painting from childhood.

Sunday 18 December 2011


As I didn't have time to design my own cards this year (I know, I know, I promise to do better next year), here is my favourite 'card' from the internet. It never fails to bring a smile to my face.

So, to all my blog visitors, I hope you all have a very happy and peaceful day doing whatever it is you most enjoy, whether that is walking the dog, visiting family and friends or just filling your face and watching the repeats on TV. Enjoy!

Thursday 1 December 2011

Maizy - Border Collie

I have just completed this portrait of Maizy.  Her owner had the winning bid in a fund raising auction held by Phoenix Dog Rescue. The item was for a portrait of the winners pet. I got some lovely ref photos of Maizy and it was a pleasure to produce this picture.

Size: 10" x 8"
Medium Pastels: Ashby sticks and Derwent and Faber Castell Pitt pastel pencils.
Support: Fisher 400 sanded paper.

Friday 18 November 2011

Meerkats finished

The Meerkats are now done and all I need to do is pack them up and send them off to their new home. I have called it  'The Lookouts'.

Wednesday 16 November 2011

Christmas present commission

I had to put the meerkats to one side for a few days so I could get on and do Orchid, for a Christmas present.
I have used a very limited pallet, it didn't really call for lots of colour and she looks like a monotone.
Pencils used: Karisma, indigo, goldenrod, burnt umber and a little pumpkin red in the eye.
Paper: Fabrianno Artistico HP
Measures approx, 10" x 8"

Now, back to the meerkats which is almost complete.

Thursday 27 October 2011

Meerkat Commission

I have just started this new commission of a couple of Meerkats. I do love these chaps and it seems so do many others.

Measures 12"x16"
Support: Pastelmatt in Maize
Medium: Derwent Tinted Charcoal Pencils. Background Ashby pastel sticks.

Friday 14 October 2011

Chaz and Zara finished

Chaz and Zara's portrait is now complete, all I need to do is mount it up and hand it over.

Thursday 6 October 2011

New Commission - WIP

This is a commission I am working on at the moment. These two cute chaps Zara and Chaz are Rotti X King Charles, a cross I have never seen before, but they make a very appealing pair. Chaz, the boy, is bold and does some cute ticks and is only too happy to pose for his photo shoot, while Zara, the girl, is the shy retiring type and spent her time hiding away from the camera. I had to back right off and use full zoom to catch her at all.
Once again I have used Fisher 400 sanded paper, fast becoming a favourite, and pastels, both sticks and pencils. The size is 12" x16".
I will probably tweak the background a little once I have completed the dogs, it is looking a little too blue at the moment, but I will make a final decision later.

Friday 30 September 2011

GSD- Pastels on Fisher 400

Meet Yager, a beautiful GSD girl. I took loads of photos of her but this one was by far the best with her bright interested expression. It is very formal, I usually go for something a little less so, but I liked the way she was standing, typical GSD.

Pastels, Ashby soft sticks, Derwent and Faber Castell Pitt pastel pencils.
Fisher 400 sanded paper
12" x 16"

Monday 26 September 2011

UKCPS Exhibition

I have been really tardy in posting on my blog. I have just returned from a wonderful holiday to Denver Colorado for my niece's wedding, and I am still trying to catch up. I will be posting some wonderful photos of the Rockies soon. 

In the meantime I am really happy to announce my 'King of the Reef' won The Creativity International Award for Best Birds/Insects/Fish award. The standard was amazing this year and I can see I will need to pull out all the stops for next year. The imaginative subjects were amazing, and the technical abilities stunning. The exhibition runs until Saturday 1st so if you are in London this week please pop in and see what can be produced with coloured pencils.
You can see some of the award winners here.

Friday 12 August 2011

Never enough time!

Sorry there is no update to my leopard, but I seem to be running around doing a hundred and one things other than drawing at the getting pictures ready to take to various exhibitions. Four to Clevedon Art Club open annual exhibition, which runs from Saturday 13th to 27th August. Three to The Illminster Arts Centre for the Backbone 2 Exhibition which runs from August 22nd to August 26th.

I was very pleased to have all 5 of my entries into the UK Coloured Pencil Society accepted. This exhibition is a biggie and for the first time will be held in London at The Methodist Central Hall Westminster, to run from 19th September to 1st October, well worth a visit to see just what amazing work can be done with coloured pencils.

You can see my entries below.

Summers Faded Beauty - pure coloured pencil

King of the Reef - pure coloured pencil

Laying up - Coloured Pencil and watercolour

Time Out - Coloured pencil and watercolour

Look! Over there! - Coloured pencil and watercolour

Sunday 31 July 2011

Friday 29 July 2011

Leopard in Pastel

I haven't thought of a title for this chap yet, my head has not been in the right place for titles this week.

I liked the pose and the fact that he had his mouth open. I am not entirely sure I have the eye quite right, will need to go back to it later.
Size 16" x 12"
Support Clairefontein Pastelmat in maize
Medium: various makes of pastel pencils and Ashby soft pastel sticks.

Tuesday 12 July 2011

Looking Back #2 - update

Spent some time building up the depth and detail in the stripes, and of course I couldn't resist doing the eye. Amazing how that brings everything to life!

Wednesday 6 July 2011

Looking Back #2

 Here is a small update. Working on bringing up the colours in the shadows and deepening the darks for a bit of oooomph.

 This is my second attempt at this zebra, the first one, done on velour with pastels, is just too dark and gloomy for my taste so thought I would try again, this time with coloured pencils. I have used maize Pastelmat and Polychromo pencils. The background has been dissolved with low odour solvent.
The scan has come out a little yellower that the original, maybe I can adjust that next time. 
Size is about 16" x 12"

Monday 20 June 2011

A Few More Birds

Thought I would post up a few more of the birds I am currently working on, I have completed around 25, but wont post them all, they may get a little too much. There are 44 in all.
They are all watercolours and are done on an A5 piece of paper so not too large, but big enough to get the detail needed to recognise the bird, without going over the top.

 Little Greebe

Wednesday 8 June 2011

Love This

I could not resist posting a link to this vibrant, colourful painting. The choice of colours is amazing and the execution is without fault in what I consider one of the most difficult of mediums to master, but Amanda Spencer has definitely mastered it!

 'Summer' by Amanda Spencer

Friday 27 May 2011

LOOK! - over there.

This is the last of my entries for the UKCPS exhibition. Slightly more detailed than the previous two done in this style. I need to keep a grip on my obsession with detail otherwise it gets out of hand.

Size: About A4
Support: Fabrianno Artistico HP (as usual)
Media: Watercolour and salt, Faber Castel Polychromo pencils.

Monday 23 May 2011

Laying Up

Another one using a loose watercolour wash for the background, just to suggest his environment, the detail is in the leopard. I am enjoying doing these as I can finish them within the day. I was beginning to find coloured pencil getting very tedious after doing two large and complicated ones for the UKCPS exhibition so these make a nice change. I will, of course, continue with the detailed pure cp paintings when I have had a rest.

Size: 16" x 11"
Support: Fabrianno Clasico HP paper
Media: Watercolour paints, Faber Castell Polychromos.

Wednesday 18 May 2011

Time Out

A quick one, for me. It took me about 5 hours and was a new experience, I was trying to work in a looser style and started out with an abstract in mind, but as usual my love of realism got in the way. But I am happy with how it has turned out.

Size: 18" x 6"
Support: Fabrianno Clasico HP
Medium: Watercolour paint, Faber Castel Polychromos coloured pencils and Derwent water soluble cp.

Wednesday 4 May 2011

Summer's Faded Beauty

Here is something I have been working on for a long time now. It is of a bloom from the Hydrangea bush in my garden. The photo was taken at the end of last summer when the flowers were past their best. I love the look of the blooms when the colour begins to fade to pale pinks, lilacs and the palest of greens and creams.
Size: 16"x12"
Medium: Karisma pencils with a dark indigo Polychromo pencil used in the shadows.
Support: Fabrianno Artistico HP 300gsm

Thursday 14 April 2011

Doberman in Pastels

This is my latest commission, a beautiful rescue Doberman called Megan.
I have used Fisher 400 sanded paper as the support. For the background I used Ashby soft pastel sticks in blues greys and black. For the dog  I used a mixture of Derwent and Faber Castell Pit pastel pencils. My darkest dark was Derwent Dark Indigo (not black), and the highlights were done using Derwent light indigo with Pitt violet and white, with various yellows ochres and browns for the tan areas on her face and her eye.

First stage: After roughly completing the background I then start to block in the largest area of darks and to introduce some violet and lighter blue to the highlights.

Stage 2: I have completed the eye and the nose and have finished roughly blocking in the under-layers of all the colours.

Stage 3: I have finished the face and working my way down the body, filling in details and working on bringing the highlights to life. I am still using the same colours. Finally completing the whole dog and tweaking any areas that need definition and last of all adding the whiskers.

The finished painting.

Wednesday 23 March 2011

Birds, birds and more birds.

I am currently working on a couple of identification boards to go in a bird hide, one for summer birds and one for winter birds.
I will be doing a large background illustration of the lake and surround together with all the birds to be seen there. I have started on the winter birds and here are the first three, 18 more to go for this board.

I am using watercolours, mainly for speed. They are not large, measuring about 5" at the widest, but will be reduced down a little once I drop them into the main illustration. Good ole Photoshop, makes the job much easier. 

 Black headed gull
 Cettis warbler

Friday 11 March 2011

Love This!

Lene from A ZOO has kindly given me permission to use her idea for 'LOVE THIS' Thanks Lene.
I think it is a great idea of hers, as the internet is full of fantastic art and creative people, so occasionally I will share with you, blogs or art  that I find really inspiring. Because of copyright issues I will be only putting a link to the image or blog.

This one is the first.  I am linking to the whole blog as I just cant decide which of all the amazing watercolour paintings I like the best. They are by different artists and make me want to get out my watercolour and brushes and give it another go. Enjoy!

Tuesday 22 February 2011

Claudia and Lennie

This is a portrait of my niece Claudia and her little cat Lennie, commissioned by my brother and his wife, who live in the USA. I was a little nervous in taking it on as I haven't done many human portraits before. I have always felt it was more difficult to capture a human likeness than with the animal portraits I specialise in. I was really pleased with the result. I feel I have captured her personality well.

Support: Fabrianno Artistico HP
Pencils: Karisma and Polychromos
Size: 16" x 12"

Thursday 10 February 2011

King of the Reef

This is what I have been working on since the end of last year, I found it a real challenge, in fact I think the most difficult drawing I have done so far. I took the reference photo on a recent visit to Plymouth Aquarium, and thought immediately that it would make a very striking picture. I don't keep a record of hours worked but I know this has taken me longer than most and I had to take frequent breaks to keep up my concentration. I am very pleased with how it has turned out.
Paper: Fabrianno Artistico HP and it took a real battering with this picture.
Pencils: Karisma with one Polychromo; dark indigo. IMO the best colour ever. I use it in almost all my drawings.
The water has 5 different blues layered on top of each other and then burnished together with a colourless wax pencil, pressing very hard to get rid of all the white paper showing through, tiring on the arm. I don't normally burnish, but this just cried out for it and I like the result.

I have called it 'King of the Reef' as the lion is 'King of the Jungle, so the lion fish should be 'King of the Reef'.

Thursday 3 February 2011

Enough is Enough

Well, I think the time has come to move on from 'Seasons Greetings. It is now February and I dont think you want to be reminded of Christmas any more.

Unfortunately I haven't anything to post yet, but I am working on a large piece in coloured pencil for the UKCPS London Exhibition. I really need to get a move on as I would like to enter more than one piece (seeing as it's London) but this is the most difficult drawing I have ever attempted and it is taking forever. I have another three ideas which I really want to get done for submission in June. Where oh where does the time go!!!

I will leave you with a couple of pictures of Tilly.

Here she is licking the snow off her cold nose after trying to find her ball which had got buried.

And here she is enjoying the sun last summer, I do hope we will have some of that soon.

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...