Category Archives: Cats

Book now for new workshop dates!

New dates for June workshops

New dates for pastel workshops in June 2017  have been added.

1 day Scottish Wildcat in pastel –
Monday 19th June

Scottish Wildcat pastel workshops
Scottish wildcat 1 day workshop in pastel

This is a great little piece to get started on if you are new to velour and everything is provided to take you step by step through working on velour.

2 day Chinese Leopard in pastel –
Saturday 3rd June & Sunday 4th June

Chinese Leopard pastel workshops
Chinese Leopard 2 day pastel workshop

This is a beautiful image and is full of colour and texture.  In this 2 day workshop you can really get your teeth into fur and textures on velour in pastel.

 

Click the images to see the full course outlines.

Workshops coming soon! Adventures in Abstract

If detail is not your thing or if you just want to loosen up or learn more about the principles & elements of design then this new workshop could be for you.

I’m currently creating some great activities and exercises and hope to be able to launch the pilot workshop in late June / early July.

Abstract work is often misunderstood so many artists tend to steer clear, but its a fantastic way to play with colour, new techniques and mediums as well as exploring  the principles and elements of design.  Even if, like me, you love to produce detailed pieces, you might be surprised how an abstract workshop can improve your practise.

The workshops will be over 2 days and a range of mediums will be provided along with a blank canvas for your finished piece.

I will be running a pilot workshop at the reduced fee of £150 per person (for the 2 days) so email me if you’d like to be added to the list for that course.

Well that’s all for now

Hope to see some of you on the new Abstract workshop or one of the pastel sessions.

Jilly

Chooks, New Studio and new workshops

It’s got to that stage where I’m bursting out of my spare room studio and my workshops need a more permanent home! So that can mean only one thing – the chooks have to go!

We’ve had chooks for about 5 years now, but my art workshops are becoming so popular that I need a more permanent space.  Our garden room is a great space to work in, but it will be fab to be able to leave all of the art gear in place in a brand new purpose-built studio.

Coral chicken
Coral

I’m excited about the new studio, but will be sad to see our chickens go, especially since they have just started laying again.  Still they are off to a good home and will be well looked after.

 


New workshop dates for June

New pastel workshop dates have been added for June.

Scottish Wildcat pastel workshops
Scottish Wildcat pastel workshop

1 day Scottish Wildcat in pastel –
Monday 19th June

This is a great little piece to get started on if you are new to velour and everything is provided to take you step by step through working on velour.

Chinese Leopard pastel workshops
Chinese Leopard 2 day pastel workshop

2 day Chinese Leopard in pastel –
Saturday 3rd June & Sunday 4th June

This is a beautiful image and is full of colour and texture.  In this 2 day workshop you can really get your teeth into fur and textures on velour in pastel.

Click the images to see the full course outlines.

Coming soon! Adventures in Abstract

If detail is not your thing or if you just want to loosen up or learn more about the principles & elements of design then this new workshop could be for you.

I’m currently creating some great activities and exercises and hope to be able to launch the pilot workshop in late June / early July.

Abstract work is often misunderstood so many artists tend to steer clear, but its a fantastic way to play with colour, new techniques and mediums as well as exploring  the principles and elements of design.  Even if, like me, you love to produce detailed pieces, you might be surprised how an abstract workshop can improve your practise.

The workshops will be over 2 days and a range of mediums will be provided along with a blank canvas for your finished piece.

I will be running a pilot workshop at the reduced fee of £150 per person (for the 2 days) so email me if you’d like to be added to the list for that course.

Well that’s all for now

Hope to see some of you on the new Abstract workshop or one of the pastel sessions.

Jilly

Competition Artwork

Every year I set out to be ready with artwork for the plethora of competitions that seem to all kick off at the beginning of the year. In reality only the advertising kicks off, but its enough to send me scurrying to my easel with a head full of ideas.
….and you guessed it every year I am painting like a maniac to make sure I have new work to show.
So here’s one I’ve just finished…

Tiger in pastel
A beautiful imposing beast of a tiger

I love Tigers, well I love all cats really, but Tigers are so colourful and look so regal.  This is from one of my own reference shots and not only is it a competition piece, but its the subject matter for my latest pastel workshop.

If you like the look of this chap and fancy learning how to re-create his likeness in pastel on velour, there are still workshop spaces available – but only 3 for 4th April.

For other dates click here to check the workshops page on the main website.

Pastels not your thing?….try airbrushing

There are not many courses available in the UK where Wildlife art is taught, so I decided to create my own. It’s not as complex as you might think – like anything, just takes a little practise to get to grips with a new tool.

If you fancy a taster session watch this space, the course outline will be available in the next couple of weeks.  In the meantime email me if you are interested.

Next competition piece is under way

So to give you a flavour of what you can do with an airbrush, here’s the start of the next competition piece.  This is sadly not my reference, but was downloaded from the Wildlife Reference  Photos for Artists site – a fab ref library for any artist.

It’s a beautiful shot from the very talented photographer Emanuel Keller.

Anyway progress so far looks like this:

The piece is approx17.5″ x 11″, acrylic on canvas.

I tape the canvas to the drawing board and transfer my sketch using  red graphite paper which is less prone to smudging.

Next I mask the Snow leopard using frisket mask so that I can concentrate on the background without worrying about keeping the main subject clean.

I gradually build up layers of texture and colour to create the rock face.  At this point I’m about ready to leave the rock face and start on the Snow Leopard.

Join me next time for more progress.

Take care

Jilly

 

New workshop dates: Pet Portraits in pastel

New Pet Portrait Pastel workshops scheduled!

Beautiful British Blue
Beautiful British Blue

I am now taking bookings for my next Pet Portraits in Pastel 1 day workshop:

  • Saturday 13th June 2015
    9:30 – 4:30
  • Light Lunch included
  • All materials and equipment provided
  • A fab art-packed day
  • Fab price! £95 per person

If you can’t make this date, then check out my other Art Workshop dates

Book early to avoid disappointment

Visit my website to make payment online or contact me directly to learn more

Cheetah in Oils part 2

Anyway back to the Cheetah…

So when we left this guy, I had pretty much finished the background.

I left it to thoroughly dry and while I was waiting 2 things happened:

unison-colour-pastels-all1 Some Unison pastels arrived, so I started on a pastel Serval that used to live in somebody’s bathroom, but more of that in a future post.

 

M-Graham-walnut-oil2 My order of
M Graham walnut oil and solvent free oils turned up.  I’d been looking to try this for a while and I thought the set was good value (from Amazon, but only available in the states).
It’s an oil recommended by Jason Morgan who produces some great wildlife art, so I thought I’de see what its like.

I have started to use it on the cheetah along with my Griffin Alkydd oils and it creates a nice flow for the detail work so far.

Anyway here is the gallery of the progress so far on the next stages of the Cheetah. Enjoy…

I must admit I find oils hard work sometimes, I don’t think I’m quite there with my techniques yet – still lots to learn, but that’s half the fun!

See you next time with a bit more progress.

I’m off to make a dragon now!

Jiily x

 

Cheetah in Oils

What a busy Easter weekend we had! Hope yours was as packed.

I started off thinking that I would finally be able to put my website overhaul behind me – yeah that’ll be Friday done, then I can start painting.

So Friday came and I did a little web updating and found a few other bits that I needed to fix before I could move on – then we took John’s mum out to lunch. A little more web weaving after lunch, bit still much to do. In addition to that John noticed that the hot water cylinder in the airing cupboard seemed to be leaking – keep our eye on that then…

So came Saturday and a little more web weaving, but I found that I should also spend a little time on my blog! Oh well – we took John’s dad to lunch this time and had a mooch around a garden centre; maybe Saturday afternoon would see off my web site! Well it didn’t, but it did see an increase in the hot water tank leak. Oh Lord – a plumber and at Easter.

Ever hopeful Sunday came and I found myself searching for html code to create a workshop booking form.  John had a photo shoot, so after he’d marched upstairs with a wrench to wage war on the cylinder, he beetled off to the studio and I was left to my own devices to play with html and cook that new lamb recipe ha ha!

Then it crept up on me like the end of a painting – I was finished!!!!! There was nothing left to do on the Website or my blog WHOO HOO, paint and easel here I come.

So beautiful Easter Monday came and I have had a whole day of painting – bliss! Even the plumber delivering the expected news that we need a new hot water cylinder didn’t dampen my mood (See what I did there? Lol)

Anyway, here is progress so far…

Cheetah from ref by John Tisbury
Support: Cotton canvas
Medium: Griffin Alkyd oils
51cm x 41cm
(20″ x 16″)

All in all a fab Easter weekend. Hope you enjoyed the Cheetah gallery. More in a couple of days.

J x

New Big Cats 1 day Pastel workshop Saturday 30th May 2015

Breaking news!

A beautiful pastel piece using one of my husband's (John) reference images
A beautiful pastel piece using one of my husband’s (John) reference images

I am now taking bookings for my next Big Cat 1 day workshop:

  • Saturday 30th May 2015
    9:30 – 4:30
  • Light Lunch included
  • All materials and equipment provided
  • A fab art-packed day

If you can’t make this date, then check out my other Art Workshop dates

Book early to avoid disappointment

Visit my website to make payment online

Step by step – Amber in a bag

I had a great time at the Cambridge Cat show and met some lovely people.  I picked up a few commissions so watch out for updates about their progress in the blog.  Next week I’ll be in Brigg – South Humberside for the One for all cat show which is over 2 days, so I’m very much looking forward to that. 
At the last show I was still working on Amber so I thought you’d like to see a step by step and the finished portrait.
the original shot came about as my husband John was setting up in his studio for a shoot.  Amber decided that she would help him and was rummaging around in an Octa reflector bag to see what she could find!  the result was a shot with a great expression – so alert – I couldn’t resist capturing it as a portrait.
Amber is a British Blue shorthair and typical of her breed she has amazing orange eyes.
For my lastest set of college assignments I needed to create a portrait with a contemporary look.  I decided that this would be a fairly monochromatic study to make the most of Amber’s eyes.  I’m sure that everyone has seen the type of thing in wedding photography where you have a black and white image with spot colour to highlight a  particular feature. 

That was the feel that I wanted to create, so I chose a background colour that matched Amber’s fur.
This first image looks quite scary I think, it shows the outline and Amber’s piercing eyes.
If you’ve read my blog before, you’ll know that I like to work on Hahnemuhle velour with pastel and this was no exception. 
Next I started to block in some of the shadow area around the eyes.  At this stage I was using Daler Rowney soft pastel sticks – they have a really good range of cool and warm greys.
You can really see the difference in lighting here.  The first two shots were at the Addlestone show and the next shots were at the Stevenage show and in my studio.
This shot shows detail being added to the face and shadow to some of the surrounding area.
I wasn’t really sure on the crop that I wanted until quite late into the portrait, so I used ultra-low tack masking tape to try and find what I was after.
Eventually I decided that this crop was too tight and ended up showing more detail of the ba, as I felt that it told a better story.
Almost finished, just the final details to be added
A few more darks added to the fur and the shadows strengthened, then it’s finished.
Amber in a bag!

A very happy Easter!

Happy Easter!

Hope everyone is having a great weekend.  I’m having a very busy time at the moment.  I have study for both the open University and the London Art college and commissions to do. It’s great!

Barbara picked up her commission of Polo and was delighted with the results. 
She has commissioned another portrait of Spoc, who is sadly no longer with us.  I can’t wait to see images of Spoc as Barbara described him as a challenge! Intriguing!

All wired up…again!

Isn’t it amazing how much you rely on the Internet these days?  In fact any computer system.
Much as I love cute little furry animals, I’m not too impressed with the sleeping spot that one of them chose last week.  We have a transformer box on our estate that steps the power down from the grid to enable normal domestic usage.  Often small animals decide to investigate with dire consequences… and we lose our power. 

Unfortunately, last weeks hari-kari took our office server with it and we have been offline for a week and a half, not good when you rely on the nework for business. 
Anyway all back now, so I thought I’d show you the progress of one of my latest commissions:
His name is Polo and he owns a human called Barbara ;0)
Polo is a beautiful Maine Coon, mainly white with tan patches on his ears and tail.  Barbara wanted to show off his tan bits, but as with all animals it takes a long while to get the right photograph.  Finally she settled on this great portrait.
The key thing about portraits of white animals is the background choice.  It’s tempting to go for black “to make the animal stand out”, but does that always work?
In my gallery you’ll see a Westie – Lucy – that I did on black velour.  Black paper is one thing, but black velour is a whole other kettle of fish.  It’s extremely difficult to get very white whites on black velour.  The portrait of Lucy works well because Westies often have that coarse undertone to their fur, but for Polo I though something more subtle would suit.  Barbara and I had chatted about trying to show off Polo’s tan markings, so I suggested that a sand coloured background might work.
As ever I started with the eyes once I was happy with the basic outline.  Then I moved on to the features around the eyes.
I start with a basic undertone then layer the detail on top for each segment.

It’s amazing how many colours you use to render a predominantly white cat. So here we are so far.  My biggest problem is the whiskers.  I itch to put them in at about this stage – don’t ask me why ;0).  There is still plenty of work to do before that, whiskers are usually the last thing I put in, but they make an amazing difference.
Anyway I’ll be back during the week with an update on Polo and I’ll introduce you to Pug!