Thursday, 21 July 2016

Under the surface. A Fishes Tale.

Many moons ago when I was a keen angler I used to keep a diary of the various angling adventures and escapades I indulged in. I would illustrate the pages with all manner of watery creatures, various flies and lures, bits of tackle and equipment, baits used and so on and so forth! My favourite subjects though were the fish themselves. Some quick sketches but mainly painted in pen and ink from photographs taken at the time. It was a very enjoyable way of reflecting on a favourite pastime. I haven't done any fishing for a long time but I still like to observe what lies beneath the surface of a river, lake or pond at every opportunity. Visiting freshwater aquariums is a brilliant way to study how fish move in a near natural environment and I have stared into many over the years. I recently made some sketches and watercolours of some of my favourite fish which I take great pleasure in sharing on my blog.



Monday, 4 April 2016

Small birds with big personalities!

At this time of the year I always look forward to the onset of the breeding season and accompanying birdsong that lightens the mornings and evenings in our gardens and hedgerows? Suddenly there is an eruption of activity among the feathered community as nest building and courtship gets under way. New visitors arrive and add their song to the spring soundtrack and familiar memories are re-kindled to gladden the heart! I have been sketching some of my favourite songsters from last autumn and through the winter and added one or two spring songbirds with freshly emerging buds and flowers in a series dedicated to some of these iconic creatures! My first exhibition of the season is coming up this weekend on Sunday April 10th at RSPB THE LODGE, SANDY, BEDFORDSHIRE and I will have these works on display. I will also be at RSPB RYE MEADS SPRING FAIR on Saturday April 16th in HODDESDEN, HERTS.
Stonechats and gorse.
Chiffchaff and tree fruits.
Common Whitethroat.
Willow Warbler.
Reed Bunting and Billberries.
Skylark among Pasque Flowers.

Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Beautiful Butterflies and Artists that have Influenced me.


   As a wildlife artist I have always looked to nature for my main source of inspiration and as a child one artist in particular had a great influence on me, 'Charles Frederick Tunnicliffe' was a prolific artist and illustrator who lived and worked during the first half of the 20th century and I came across his work through collecting tea cards as a child. My mother and grandmother always bought 'Brooke Bond' tea and I would excitedly anticipate the opening of each fresh packet of PG Tips so as to add a new card to my growing collection!
Tunnicliffe's birds and animals were so beautifully painted that for many children, not only were they wonderful to look at but they were a great educational tool as well! Later I discovered Archibald Thorburn and Peter Scott and the beautiful bird paintings of Roland Green. When studying art at school I became aware of the landscapes of the French impressionists and the masterpieces of  English artists such as Turner, Girtin and Constable. Marine painters such as Edward Seago and John Wilson Carmichael and the watercolours of John Sell Cottman have always filled me with awe and amazement. Latterly I have been very much inspired and influenced by modern wildlife artists such as Lars Jonsson, Tim Wootton, Nick Derry, John Threlfall and the brilliant Scottish artist Keith Brockie. I am fortunate enough to know some of these artists personally and have met and had critique of my work from some of them and much encouragement and sound advice! The Society of Wildlife Artists have also been a great source of inspiration. When I paint butterflies and insects and also botanical subjects I am mindful of the work of lesser known Hertfordshire artist Gordon Beningfield whose style is so delightful and skill so accomplished that the insects seem to fly off the paper. There are many talented artists working today who constantly amaze me but are too numerous to mention here. One only has to look on Facebook or surf the web to understand what I mean!
Common Blues and Small Copper butterflies with Forget me nots.
I have been out and about with pencil gouache and watercolour during the summer months and the results are seen in these paintings of some of my favourite butterflies and wild flowers. Most were painted on my local patch in Hertfordshire except for the Purple Hairstreaks which I found on an Oak tree at The Lodge in Bedfordshire. I have been giving regular art demonstrations at the RSPB headquarters at THE LODGE, Sandy in Bedfordshire throughout the spring and summer and I hope to be taking an art class there on Sunday September 20th. It hasn't been a particularly favourable year for butterflies with persistent wet weather most of the time however, I did manage to catch a few dry days sketching and painting and also taking photographs to use at home!
Small Coppers and Harebells.

Common Blue and Clouded Yellow.

Purple Hairstreaks on English Oak.

Green-Veined Whites and Small Copper.

My up coming demo this month.

 Come paint with me!

Saturday, 11 April 2015

A New Spring is sprung.

 I can't believe its been a whole year since my last post! I guess I've been somewhat preoccupied with personal and family events? Hopefully things will start to settle down and I can get back into a regular routine? I thought I'd start off by updating my blog and publishing some of my recent paintings some of which I made while exhibiting at the RSPB headquarters at 'THE LODGE' near Sandy in Bedfordshire. I have also been sketching birds of prey with particular attention to a pair of Common Buzzards that have a nest not far from where I live in Hertfordshire. Buzzards and Red Kites have been doing exceptionally well here recently and I see them quite frequently. So far, I have also seen Short Eared Owl, Rough Legged Buzzard, Marsh Harrier, Hen Harrier, Merlin, Osprey, Peregrine Falcon, Little Owl, Sparrow Hawk, Tawny Owl and Kestrel all on my regular local birding trips. Last year a pair of Hobbies nested at 'THE LODGE' alongside a pair of Ravens and both pairs successfully raised young! Everyone is hoping that the same thing happens again this year?
Female Merlin at Therfield Heath.

Peregrine. Regularly seen in Stevenage over the winter.

Red Kites on my patch in Hertfordshire.

Hobby at the Visitor Centre, THE LODGE.

Greater Pecker at THE LODGE.

Ravens at THE LODGE.

Little Owl, Knebworth Estate.


Spotted Flycatchers at THE LODGE.

Linnets and Thrift on the Norfolk Coast.

Greenfinches on feeders at THE LODGE.

Pied Wagtails on my patch last year.

Chaffinches in the garden.

Tree Creeper at THE LODGE.


Saturday, 1 March 2014

A New Season.

For a while it seemed that the winter storms would never end and that spring would never arrive? However! A glimpse of hope! The birds are singing and the primroses are beginning to bloom! I have even managed to get out and do some birding and sketching and after nearly getting the car stuck in a swollen river, the waters are beginning to subside in my part of the country! I have been busy with some studies of winter thrushes and blackbirds and I have re-visited some old drawings of waders in an effort to finish them off. I have a couple of events coming up towards the end of May at the RSPB and I am quite excited if a little nervous! I hope you like the drawings and sketches