Friday, March 27, 2009

Carry on Painting

The summer exhibition is looming ever closer and I've had to get cracking in the studio. I've now built up the backgrounds and put all the subjects onto the canvases. I work on several at once because it takes days for the oil paint to dry. Between coats, I get on with the next one.
Now I'm going to start building up the detail on each picture.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Moon Kite

Spotted this red kite - one of six - gliding through Millington Pastures this week. I never thought I'd see red kites breeding in this area in my lifetime! It really is great to see evidence of recent efforts to boost the populations of these impressive birds of prey.

Friday, March 20, 2009

A good hare day

It's 'Mad March hare' time again and the boxers have been out in force. Watching them from my studio window this week put me in mind of field trips I have taken up to the Isle of Islay, off the west coast of Scotland. I often go up there to photograph hares for paintings, including this one of Boxing Hares.
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Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Bird of Prey Bonanza

It's been a great week for wildlife watching at home - especially on the birds of prey front. During the last few days alone I have spotted:

  • red kites
  • little owls
  • short eared owls
  • tawny owls
  • barn owls
Also, thankfully, some pheasants sparring - just what I needed for a painting I am planning. How do you like the photograph I took?

And, most remarkable of all, 'Kes' the kestrel I thought was lost - I had fed him from my bird table for four years until he disappeared a year ago - came back! The only trouble was, since he's been away a new 'Kes' had adopted us. It was amazing watching the two meet. They sort of looked each other in the eye, then the old Kes (pictured below with less colour in his plumage) gave new Kes a bit of a peck and now they both feed from the same spot.

They've had to learn to take turns though!

I was on the TV in November about my bird of prey feeding station. If you want to see the clip click on the link: http://

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Frog & Toad Antics!

Spring seems to be springing and no more so than in my garden pond. As soon as the snow melted in February they began hopping out of their winter hideaways and diving in. Watching them can by quite fun. I found that as soon as I approached, they spotted my silhouette against the sky and dove for cover. So now I’ve adopted a ‘commando’ approach: creeping along the ground slowly and quietly so that they don’t spot me. I used the tactic to watch the amphibian frenzy in the garden pond for my latest Gazette & Herald column
And I even dared describe the frogs as ungainly…..!

Work begins for the Summer Exhibition

Me at a brand new set of paintings which I'm starting to work on

My next exhibition is in June. It always takes longer than you think to get ready for a big event like this so I began in earnest this week.
I started by painting the base coats on nine new boards for pictures that I have already begun compositions for. They will be of, among others, a fox, a pheasant, an otter, hares and a group of little owls.
I hold two exhibitions a year and each one is centered on a particular theme. This year the plan is to concentrate on British wildlife, which is great because I didn't have to travel far from home for inspiration.
I like to work on several paintings at once because I work with oils and it can take a long time for each coat of paint to dry. So, whilst I'm waiting for one layer to dry, I can be getting on with another.
The base coats pictured here will form the background for each painting, the pale blue colours give me a light base for water and sky, the ochre colours will be perfect for stubble fields.
I'll be putting on photos of these paintings as I develop them, so watch this space!