31 December 2009

Party Girl, and a Happy New Year!

A4 sketch (approx 8" by 11") in charcoal and pastel.

I'm aiming to concentrate on portraits and figures in the New Year, with a lot more sketching...

Happy New Year!

23 December 2009

Possum the cat

This is Possum, a cat from this week's WDE on WetCanvas.

This is a watercolour quickie, 5" by 7", to add to my ever-growing feline collection...

15 December 2009

20 minute challenge

Here are another couple of 20 minute sketches (just to prove I've been keeping the brushes wet!)

08 December 2009

Fabulous fruit

Here's another still life experiment. This was painted from a photo reference kindly supplied by a member on the painting friends forum.

Watercolour, 8" by 10"

Edit: have added the image at the top. After some feedback from some 'cyberpals' I decided to strengthen the colour behind the glass stem - I think it looks a bit more balanced now (though I'm not going to fiddle with it any more!).

03 December 2009

20 minute challenge

Here's another 20-minuter. Fun to do, and a nice combination of colours I think.

01 December 2009

Chinese lanterns and clay pot

Here's something completely different for me - a still life, painted from life. This is a real experiment, with an emphasis on composition, shapes and colour, rather than realism. I had great fun painting this, and am fairly pleased with the way it turned out, for a first effort! I think I'll do some more still lifes, and have a play around with colour and texture.

Watercolour, 7.5 by 11".

25 November 2009

20 minute challenge

Here's another 20-minute challenge sketch, some Chinese Lanterns from the garden in a miniature pot. 5" by 7", watercolour and ink.

23 November 2009


As an antidote to the cute boy-with-teddy picture below, I thought I'd try a different ref of my pal's little boy. This is in pencil, and I much prefer it!

A4 (approx 8" by 11").

20 November 2009

20 minute challenge

A bit of discipline! I had a look at the blog 'The Twenty Minute Challenge' and thought it'd be a Good Idea - maybe I'll learn to pay attention when I'm drawing! Anyway the idea is to draw/paint something from life, with a non-negotiable 20 minute time limit (no fiddling later either). The value of this, for me, is that it forces me to look hard at what I'm drawing/painting, and simplify what I see.

So here are my first two 20-minuters. Neither are particularly good, but both have been useful in focussing on shapes/contrasts etc. I'm going to try to do these fairly regularly, so hopefully my drawing from life will improve!

15 November 2009

Little teddy bear

Here's what I've been up to over the past few days - a portrait of a pal's little boy. Not the greatest of outcomes I'm afraid - it got a bit too 'cute' for my liking! (Maybe if I got rid of the teddy bear...?) And as usual I struggled with the background. Still, I always enjoy painting portraits and this one was no exception.

9" by 13", watercolour with a bit of gouache, from my own ref photo.

07 November 2009

Barn owl

Been a bit quiet on the painting front for the start of this month, but here's another watercolour sketch for the bird collection - a beautiful barn owl, from this week's WDE on WetCanvas.

5" by 7", watercolour.

24 October 2009

A seat in the shade

8" by 10" watercolour.

Tried another pour with this one, for the background. From my own ref pic, taken on holiday a couple of years ago.

18 October 2009

A day at the beach

Watercolour, 8" by 10".

This is another piece I did for the WDE this weekend (found myself with a bit of spare time!).

Rex, an Australian Cattle Dog

Here's one I painted for this week's WDE on WetCanvas - Rex, an Australian Cattle Dog.

5" by 7", in watercolour as usual!

16 October 2009

The big fish

Here's what I've been up to over the last couple of days. The reference was a fab photo by Graham Harcombe (worldphotographyforum.com), used with kind permission (thanks!). I was going for a real bright and sunny feel with this one. Enjoyed painting this, though I may have to go back and do something about the wobbly horizon...

Watercolour, 8" by 10".

13 October 2009

Eyes downcast

Here's another painting from the 'archive'. This was the first portrait I did that I was happy with, back at the end of 2007 (though cunningly you can't actually see any of her features, which helped!). I caught the portrait bug with this one - it's still my favourite subject matter.

09 October 2009

In the pool

Here's a real experiment for me. I have a load of photos I took on holiday a couple of years back, that I really like. I've been pondering whether they'd make good paintings, and how to go about it. I was thinking back to an art class I did earlier in the year, and I remembered the tutor showing us a portrait in ink on aluminium foil, and thought I might try it out, but with acrylics rather than ink. I scrunched up the foil, then flattened it out and glued it to a cheap piece of sketchpaper, sketched out the picture with a marker pen, and had fun with the acrylic paints. And this is the result. Well, it's different, anyway!

In the pool, A4 (approx 8" by 11"), acrylic on aluminium foil.

04 October 2009


Here's what I've been up to this week. This painting was inspired by my sister - she'd been to London to see the show (which she loved), and was later telling me all about the fabulous West End atmosphere - I thought it'd be fun to try to 'paint the atmosphere'. This was a first for me - I used the 'pour' technique for this painting (watercolour mixes were literally poured onto the damp paper, letting them mingle and do their own thing, so no brushwork for the basic background colours). I used a bit of gouache in the neon lettering, and the lamps.

So, watercolour and gouache, quarter sheet (about 11 by 15"), based on a ref photo by Flickr member nyaa_birdies_perch, under Creative Commons (thanks!). I think it could benefit from a crop perhaps, but I'm pretty happy with the way this one went!

24 September 2009

Ari, a cat

I think I'm getting addicted to painting these little feline pieces! This is Ari, another cat who owns a WetCanvas member.

5" by 7", in watercolour.

19 September 2009

Simon, a cat

Yep, it's another cat! Meet Simon, whose image was kindly offered up for a WDE a couple of months back. I saved the pic at the time, but was a bit daunted by the lighting. Have to say, I think this would have been easier to do in anything other than watercolour! Nevertheless, I'm fairly pleased with how it's turned out.

Watercolour, 5" by 7".

15 September 2009


I've been looking through some old files on the computer and have come across a whole stash of images of stuff I did last year (and earlier), so I thought some of them could have an airing here. These are 8" by 10" watercolours of two brothers, boys of some pals of mine. Painted these towards the end of last year from my own ref pics.

Gotta get some more portraits going, I had a blast with these two!

13 September 2009

Lacey the cat

Well, another watercolour cat finds its way onto my blog! This was painted from a reference on this week's WDE, and is 5" by 7".

I took a bit more care with the initial drawing (I think it shows too), and I kept the colours fairly muted - it's a little more restrained than Humbug, below.

06 September 2009


Watercolour, 5" by 7".

This was painted from a reference on this week's WDE. Again, trying to keep loose; this was quickly sketched and I tried not to worry too much about detail (or the end result!).

05 September 2009

XJG 364H at Goodwood

Here's another painting based on a picture from the Goodwood Festival of Speed - it's a Triumph 2.5PI, built in 1970 and participant in the 1970 World Cup Rally.

The painting is 10" by 14", and although I found this car harder to get right than the Mini, I'm pleased with the finished item (and am now going to stop fiddling with it!).

29 August 2009

Crowned crane

Watercolour, 5" by 7".

This is another Weekend Drawing Event reference from WetCanvas. I'm enjoying these birdy watercolour sketches, but I'm afraid I didn't do justice to this guy's hairdo!

24 August 2009

The Raven

The Raven, watercolour, 5" by 7".

The reference was from a WDE a few weeks back. Enjoyed this quick watercolour sketch.

23 August 2009

569 FMO at Goodwood

Every couple of years I buy tickets for the Goodwood Festival of Speed as a birthday pressie for my other half, and we always come away with stacks of photos between us. So I thought I'd have a go with acrylic - I might do a series of these. This is a 1964 Austin Mini Cooper 'S' Works car which raced in the Monte Carlo rally that same year (as far as I've been able to determine!). Here it's on the chalky rally stage at Goodwood House. I'd like to be a bit looser with these, but I'm pleased with this as a starting point.

Acrylic on paper, 10" by 14".

22 August 2009

Loons on Spider Lake

Here's a quick watercolour sketch from a reference from this weekend's WDE on WetCanvas - Loons on Spider Lake.

Watercolour 5" by 7".

20 August 2009

Tate Modern from Blackfriars

Couldn't resist another one for this month's Virtual Paintout. Used up some leftover paint from another pic, and finished it off with a bit of inking.

Acrylic and ink, 12" by 7"

16 August 2009

Peregrine falcon

Here's a quickie I did today for the WDE on WetCanvas - a peregrine falcon, fastest living thing on Earth.

Watercolour, 5" by 7".

09 August 2009

Mornington Cresent

Watercolour and ink, 8" by 10", this is my painting for this month's Virtual Paintout, which is in London.

07 August 2009

Portrait in pastel

Another first for me - here's a painting done with pastels. Not a great likeness; I might do a bit more work on this one (now I've seen it up on the screen!). Fun to do, though you do end up very dusty.

Size is A4, with Conte pastel sticks (a small portrait set that I was unable to resist last time I was in an art supplies shop...)

03 August 2009

Girl in a hat

I found some time yesterday to try a reference from the Weekend Drawing Event at WetCanvas. This young lady was a very popular subject!

Watercolour, approx. 10" by 14".

22 July 2009

Rambla del Poblenou, Barcelona

Here's a quick sketch for this month's Virtual Paintout, which is in Barcelona. Hopefully I'll get a painting out of this in the near future when I've got a bit more time!

5" by 7", watercolour and ink.

18 July 2009

Snowy slopes

Here's one I've just finished. I thought I'd try acrylics again for a portrait, though I'm not too sure about the results... I feel watercolour is a bit more subtle, and I think I've got a way to go before I'm comfortable with acrylics (though it's nice being able to simply paint over mistakes, which you can't really do with watercolour). However, as a medium it does encourage bold painting!

12 July 2009

Makin' Music

Here's another using the 'clingfilm' method; 8" by 10", watercolour and ink.

The reference was from a contributor on Morguefile. Another one for the Music and Dance exhibition, hopefully - it's nice to have a theme for inspiration sometimes!

10 July 2009


Watercolour 8" by 10".

This is from a great ref photo from Jolanta on WetCanvas. Enjoyed painting this one, though as usual there are things I'd do differently next time round. Hopefully this one will be in the Music and Dance exhibition in Wisbech.

06 July 2009

The bellydancer

This is one I did last year. It's 11" by 14", from a reference on morguefile.com.

I'm hoping to include this one (and another one or two I'm working on at the mo) in a FenVAC exhibition 'Music and Dance', at the Wisbech Town Festival in August.

24 June 2009

Three guzzling goats

Well, I've been pretty busy with work, but found some time today to paint these greedy goats, from a ref from this weeks WDE on WetCanvas.

This is 8" by 10" in watercolour, and I used just two colours - French Ultramarine and Burnt Sienna (my favourite combo!)

10 June 2009


Here we are, back to the portraits! This is 8" by 10" (a favourite size of mine, not too big!) in watercolour, painted last year.

The reference was from a Weekend Drawing Event (WDE) on the WetCanvas site in March 08. In the original reference photo the poor woman was washing up a big pile of pots and crocks, looking like she was contemplating her lot in life...

06 June 2009

San Frediano a Cestello, Firenze

Been rather busy with work of late, but found some time to do this ink and wash for the Virtual Paintout, which this month is in Florence.

8" by 10", San Frediano a Cestello, Firenze.

25 May 2009

Abyssinian cattitude

Watercolour with a few touches of chinagraph pencil, 8" by 10", from a reference in the WetCanvas image library by SweetHuia.

A cat with attitude I think!

14 May 2009

Golden youth

This is a portrait I painted from a reference in the WetCanvas May portrait classroom. The original is quarter sheet size (11" by 15"), and these are two alternative 8" by 10" crops.

I'm usually a bit timid with watercolour portraits, mixing my colours on the palette. However, I've just read 'Expressive Portraits' by Jean Pederson, and decided to try her 'wet glazing' method, and let the colours mix on the paper. Well (as usual) there are parts I like and parts I don't, and I definitely need more practice, but it's a great method, and it's good to try a fresh approach too.

Not sure which crop I prefer - feedback welcome!

11 May 2009

Little lamb

This is what I did with my remaining piece of scraperboard (my class tutor kindly lent me a scraping tool to play with).

2" by 3", from my own ref photo.

08 May 2009

Off to work

Here's what I've been up to this week - watercolour 8" by 10".

Finished just in time for her birthday too!
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