Tuesday, 1 December 2009

After Arthur Rackham - Alice in Wonderland

Ink and watercolour on hot pressed paper 12" x 9"

Caterpillar: By the way, I have a few more helpful hints. One side will make you grow taller...
Alice: One side of what?
Caterpillar: ...and the other side will make you grow shorter.
Alice: The other side of what?

Wonderful stories and Arthur Rackham was a great illustrator. It was so much fun doing this. I thought I would have trouble drawing Alice, but she actually turned out OK after all.

Monday, 23 November 2009

Dum spiro spero

Oils on canvas (unfinished)

Even in the darkest storm if you wait a while suddenly there is a break in the clouds and a beam of light promises hope of sunshine in the future. I focus on the light in the distance and work towards it. Soon the sun shines again and the storm has passed. Such is life. Good days, bad days but always hope. Dum spiro spero… while I breathe I hope.

Monday, 16 November 2009

The Lady Clare

Study of The Lady Clare after J W Waterhouse.

Doing this I realised that I needed more time in order to get a better likeness. I am reasonably happy with this but I wish I could have caught that kind of wistful dreamy look that Waterhouse captured... it was beautiful. Still practice, as they say, makes perfect and I intend to continue trying.

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Another Teddy

Oils on canvas using glazing technique.

Teddy was attracted to this jar due to its shine and the pretty pattern... plus he sits quite comfortably on it. My teddies seem to have a thing about jars!

Soon he is going to venture forth into new territory.

Monday, 2 November 2009

The Three Bears

60 min Ink and watercolour on HP paper 12" x 9"

This was a study of the three bears from an illustration by Arthur Rackham. I just adored the hairy Papa Bear.

I find it easy to do inkwork and it's definitely fun to use along with the watercolours. They can be intriguing and finished quite quickly, it makes a refreshing change from the large oils I am working on right now.

I am enjoying trying the challenges posted on WetCanvas especially the ones in the Classical forum and Arthur Rackham is the inspiration this month, his illustrations are becautiful and I find them very interesting so expect to see more soon!

Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Drawing Trees

50 min pencil in sketchbook

Still stuck on trees. I feel that the more I draw and paint them the better they will become or at least I will stop worrying over them.

I really enjoyed drawing this and was surprised at the ease of my return to pencilwork, I find it very relaxing and satisfying.

Note to self: Pick up the pencil more often!

Monday, 26 October 2009

Downham Station, Bill Peet style

Pen and watercolour 12" x 9"

I have wanted to paint Downham Station for some time and there are better views of it, but I thought I would have a bit of fun and do it in Bill Peet style illustration. Of course this would have to be my idea of Downham in the early years :)

The train would have been brighter but I foolishly used non-waterproof ink... and of course it ran!

I just couldn't resist incorporating that lovely horse and cart. Just love this kind of fun work.... it's sort of where my art journey began when I started drawing pencil cartoons for my kids. Fond memories.

Thursday, 8 October 2009


One more After Howard Pyle - Ink and wash

Really had fun with this. I must admit there is something about ink and wash that is really compelling and this is all helping in my practice.

Sorry about the image, the sea is actually not pink in the real painting, but the scanner is not too good at keeping the colours true.

Searching for treasure is quite appealing, but true treasures are often found in unexpected places and not at all what you might think - for instance they have nothing to do with financial gain. Look harder for the things that truly warm your heart and make your soul sing.

Thursday, 24 September 2009

Toyota Aygo

25 min wc pencil and watercolours in sketchbook
A few minutes to spare waiting in a car park, what else to sketch but a car? My son recognised what it was immediately which was comforting. I must be getting better at cars... maybe.

Wednesday, 23 September 2009

Lady of the Lake

Lady of The Lake after Howard Pyle

I really enjoy inkwork, there's something so relaxing about inking... its really me!

Sunday, 20 September 2009

Teddy's Surprise

60 minute study 10" x 8" oils on deep canvas

It was evident that Teddy was surprised. He had thought there was nothing in the world that could surprise him anymore, he had seen it all. But this.... was something else.

Friday, 11 September 2009

Teddy in Sienna

60 min water mixable oils on canvas paper

Used limited palette of raw sienna, burnt sienna, ivory black and titanium white.

I rather like Teddy's new look and I really enjoyed the challenge of using such a limited palette. It freed me from worrying too much over colour and gave me the opportunity to concentrate more on moulding the form, getting the light/dark contrasts and having a whole lot of fun!

I will be using this palette again I think in a larger work on canvas.

Thursday, 3 September 2009

After Howard Pyle

Ink on HP paper

Howard Pyle was a children's book illustrator and amongst other things he illustrated pirate and adventure stories. I just love a good story and as I also love inkwork I couldn't resist having a go at this one... tells it's own story, doesn't it?

These little studies are all drawn freehand in ink and then ink washes applied. I find working in ink much easier than working in paint. Perhaps it's because I am not worrying so much about colour and concentrating more on values.

Saturday, 29 August 2009

After Wanda Gag

Ink on Hot Pressed paper 12" x 9"

A project on Wetcanvas is looking at children's illustrator, Wanda Gag and it inspired me to paint this little sketch in ink. I just loved painting the cat.

Wednesday, 26 August 2009


Ink and watercolour 14" x 10"

Be like the waterfall.... overcome all obstacles in life to reach your destiny.

Sunday, 23 August 2009

Secret Messages

30 min tree study watercolour in sketchbook

My imagination got the better of me when I spotted this tree.... such a handy place for lovers to leave secret messages. Ah, I'm such a romantic!

Sunday, 16 August 2009

Teddy with Sunflowers

60 min Ink and wash

This is one of the preliminary studies I did in ink and wash before working on a similar set up for a large oil painting.

I really like teddies and this is one of my favourites - of course the had to be teamed with my favourite flowers too.

Monday, 10 August 2009

The Bandstand

60 min Ink and Watercolour

During a day of freedom, took the sketchbook to the park and spent a wonderful hour painting en plein air. Such an exhilirating experience to have so long to enjoy my sketching.

The bandstand is on a little island in the park and I was attracted to it as I thought it would be a challenge since buildings and such are not my strong point!

I rather like the little sketch and hope sometime to be able to make a real painting from it.

Saturday, 1 August 2009

Portrait of the Artist

30 min ink and watercolour

Just started a week's holiday from work and it feels so good to be able to paint again!

Today I am doing plein air. At first I was unsure, but then if you never take a chance you will never discover what you are capable of. Grasp the nettle!

Saturday, 25 July 2009

Sunflowers in Ink and Wash

40 min ink and wash on tinted card

The best part of the week I bought two bunches of sunflowers on special offer and took one to the office and one home, so I am surrounded by sunshine!

I am still hooked on the sunflowers and am busy on another large oil painting, but I had time to do a quick study in my favourite medium.

Really lifted my spirits.

Friday, 24 July 2009

Two Trees

15 min sketch in sketchbook

On the drive home I noticed these strange tree shapes and just had to sketch them.

Forever reaching out yet unattainable.

Thursday, 23 July 2009

Over the Gate

15 min quick sketch

The horse was determined to get through the gate, but he was just too big to fit through the gap.

Why do we always think life is better on the other side of the gate when all we need do is turn around and see the beauty in what we already have?

Monday, 20 July 2009

Small Flowers

10 min ink in sketchbook.
Small flowers, not sure what they are but they were quite pretty and so I did a quick little study.
It's been a difficult week with not much time to sketch.

Saturday, 18 July 2009

Meditation Moment

25 min Watercolour and ink on postcard 6" x 4"

A tranquil mood, time for peace. I like this pose.

Real relaxation begins with clearing the mind.

Thursday, 16 July 2009

Tree Study

15 min study in watercolour pencils on postcard 6" x 4"

Trying to get to grips with what trees are all about. Solid, alive and wonderfully textured.

Wednesday, 15 July 2009

Old Brickwork

10 min study of old brickwork... watercolour on paper.
I love old brickwork, like many ancient things it has such character.
I have to capture that character and so I think there will be a few more of these studies until I am happy with my progress.

Tuesday, 7 July 2009

Kate Greenaway Study

30 min ink and watercolours on tinted card 8" x 6"

Inspired by a project on WetCanvas I enjoyed doing this little study of a Kate Greenaway illustration.

Not such a good study, but I really enjoyed myself. I think I will do more ink and watercolours. I had almost forgotten how much I love watercolours... soon time to get my brushes wet again!

Sunday, 5 July 2009

South Gates

20 min sketch at the South Gates.

Quiet Sunday morning and a different town... the place where my roots are.

There are ruins of the old town wall all around but this is the most dramatic, the old South Gates... these days cars pass through it and beside it.

Every time I pass through I think what a wonderful painting it would make but it's a busy road and difficult to get a good place to paint. However, Sunday morning is ideal and I managed a quick sketch before I passed by today.

Not such a good sketch, but next time maybe I will get more time.

Saturday, 4 July 2009

View from Market Square

20 min Ink sketch from Market Square (the steps on the left lead up into the Buttercross).

Very hot day but I needed to sketch and here is my effort for the day.

Friday, 3 July 2009

The Buttercross

This is called the Buttercross and it stands in the market square. It used to be a place where butter was sold or so I understand... anyway, it's a landmark in this town and a place where people sit in the summer. I like it.

Sorry about the poor drawing of cars, they are not my best subject!

Wednesday, 1 July 2009

Tree Study

25 min ink study of tree

Down to the park during lunch again. It was sunny and warm, and most enjoyable. Still a long way to go before I get these trees right, but I am happy with how things are going.

Saturday, 27 June 2009

View of Church

30 min water soluble pencil in sketchbook

Feeling ambitious today... buildings are not easy for me, but hey, nothing ventured nothing gained and I'm always looking to improve. If I don't try these things I will never get better. Bit of a challenge I must admit.

Typically, I didn't plan any kind of comp and therefore the spire went off the page, so I did it separately - that's what sketchbooks are for, isn't it?

Thursday, 25 June 2009

Leafy Twig

25 min ink and water soluble pencil in sketchbook

Back to my little patch of grass and here I found a delightful leafy twig.

It's great sketching outdoors because all sorts of people come by and chat. I would say if you are ever lonely and in need of company get out and sketch!

During my lunchbreak today I got chatting to a passerby, a young lady who informed me I had inspired her to take out her sketchbook. Another convert to the wonderful world of art!

Wednesday, 24 June 2009

Little Patch of Grass

Water soluble pencil in sketchbook

There is always something to sketch.... even a little patch of grass has interest for me. Took my lunchbreak out on an open patch of grass and of course had to sketch!

Monday, 22 June 2009

Ink using sharpened twig in Moleskine sketchbook

It was so relaxing drawing this. Didn't get it finished as a phone call interrupted me, but it was great while it lasted.

He is one of my favourite models, he has such a way of slouching when he sits and dangling one leg, it always makes me smile.

Sunday, 21 June 2009

Wine & Cheese

15 mins

Wine and cheese... tantalise the tastebuds!

Saturday, 20 June 2009

Parked Cars

30 minutes ink in sketchbook.

I am not good at cars... you can probably tell! Nevertheless, I had fun sketching this with my ink and sharpened twig.

I really love my lunchbreaks when I can get outside and sketch - even for just a few minutes. It really brightens up my day and makes me feel somehow fulfilled.

Friday, 19 June 2009


25 min watercolour pencil in sketchbook

Decided to spend some time studying trees as my trees in my paintings leave a lot to be desired. 25 minutes of my lunchbreak well spent I think!

Thursday, 18 June 2009

Teddy holding Rose

10 min Ink in sketchbook

I adore these little teddies. This one is delightful as she clutches a rose.
Only had a few minutes to spare so out came the ink and stick and I finished this is 10 minutes. I love sketching teddies!

Wednesday, 17 June 2009

Park Bench

Ink in sketchbook 20 min

Such a nice sunny day I decided to take a walk in the park during my lunch. Of course my ink bottle was handy and using a sharpened twig I sketched this little scene. It's the park bench where I often sit at lunchtime.

Tuesday, 16 June 2009

Roses Unfinished

Pencil in sketchbook 25 min (interrupted)

Not quite enough time to finish, but I enjoyed sketching this.
I am really enjoying fitting in my sketches wherever I can. Sometimes I am unable to post them here, but as long as I endeavour to do at least one sketch a day I am happy. Flowers particularly make me happy because they are so delicate and beautiful and bring a welcome splash of colour to brighten a difficult day.
Sorry no colour in this one, but soon...

Monday, 15 June 2009

Morning sunlight

Ink on watercolour paper

Using a sharpened twig dipped in ink to capture the morning sunlight on my trip out yesterday. I really enjoyed this. The ink is a burnt umber colour which I felt was nicer than stark black.

Warmth can come from unexpected sources.

Sunday, 14 June 2009

Yellow Flowers

Oils on postcard

Quick sketch in oils. I love oils! These are fast drying oils (alkyds) and they are great to use on my small studies.

Friday, 12 June 2009

Tree Study

Oils on postcard

Using a very limited palette I tried a quick tree study. My trees are usually horrendous - believe me, this is an improvement!

I know...... keep practising. :)

I must admit I had a wonderful time painting this - sitting in the local park, in brilliant sunshine (yes, sometimes it's sunny in England!) with my paints out on the grass. What a great way to spend a lunchbreak.

Wednesday, 10 June 2009

Still Life

My heart was not really in it this evening and I think it shows. I was not inspired by the setup and had found the tiring day caught up with me, so just a very quick attempt at this before I lost interest.

Sunday, 7 June 2009

Teddy Girl

Oils on postcard
Quick sketch in fast drying oils using limited palette just to capture her character. I have since added a pale blue background which has helped and I think maybe she needs something to her left?

Saturday, 30 May 2009


Acrylic on canvas paper

Experimenting with bubbles.

Bubbles of excitement rise as exploration of the depths brings new glories to the surface.

Thursday, 28 May 2009

Summer Abstract

Acrylic on canvas paper

Summer sunshine, flowers and warmth... these things and more are my favourite things. Spirits rising.

Sunday, 17 May 2009


Aloneness, not always unwelcomed. Far from the madding crowd protected by nature to find peace in sun-warmed walls, secret secluded gardens. Self-imposed abandonment.

Sunday, 3 May 2009


Feeling in top spirits, singing his heart out because suddenly in the sunshine the world has a new clarity, a new vision and the air is full of joy.