Category Archives: Wildlife

Exhibition Time: SOFA and Cats Protection

I love this time of year.  Lots of hustle and bustle getting ready for each exhibition for the year.

SOFA
Society of Feline Artists

It’s already started for me. I agreed to be a pick up point for the Society of Feline Artists (S.O.F.A) exhibition that will take place from 28th April to 7th May.
Click the SOFA image to read their blog and see directions to the exhibition.

I’m delighted to have had the following 4 pieces accepted.

Cats protection exhibition 2017
Cats Protection

The exhibition, which will open daily 10:00am – 60:00pm is part of Cats Protection 90th Anniversary celebrations.

There will be lots of original artwork, prints and greetings cards – including mine – on sale and Cats Protection will benefit from each sale.

If you love all things feline, this should prove to be a great exhibition and day out for you!

Contact:

Cats Protection Visitors Centre
National Cat Centre
Chelwood Gate
Haywards Heath
Sussex RH17 7TT

01825 741900

If you’re planning to visit use RH17 7DE to be directed to the correct site entrance.

Hope to see you there.

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

New Magazine, new course, new things to learn

New Magazine available now!

paintdraw_cover_flat_sm

Last week Paint & Draw made the step from online to a printed paper version and it featured one of my step by steps of a Chinese Leopard in pastel.

PAD01.wrk_pastels.indd

This fab new magazine has tips, techniques and articles to inspire and suit everyone no matter what your experience, so its a great read.

There is also a special introductory offer of 4 issues for £5

Click this link to find out for information about the offer

 

New Courses for 2017

New workshop dates have been added to the courses section of my website.

A 2 day pastel workshop is now available and the first of these is scheduled for Feb 2017.  If you would like to plan for a date that is not yet scheduled, give me a  call – I am always happy to accomodate where I can.

Like most artists I love to learn new skills, especially where art is concerned and recently I have been learning all about Nails and Nail art.  Only the assessments to go and I will be a fully qualified Nail Technician too lol – I know – the things I get myself into.

But there is method in my madness.  Nail art is a bit part of a Nail Technicians job and I find that many of the tricks and techniques I use as an artist – especially airbrush – can transfer to nail art.

nails

The only thing that changes is the canvas size.  I am currently working on a series of Nail art workshops using freehand and airbrushed techniques as well as embedding elements within the gel and acrylic of the nails as they are created.  Look out for the launch dates in early 2017.

See you soon

Jilly

The Versatile Artist

Not just a wildlife artist…

…this girl is a published wildlife artist, a teacher, a writer, a proof reader, a marketeer…

OK so I’m in danger of sounding like a well-known knicker retailer 😉 , but I guess what I’m saying is that as an artist or anyone working for yourself you have to be versatile.

The Versatile Artist.

I am no longer simply a Wildlife Artist, I write teaching notes and workshop outlines to make my job as a teacher of airbrush and pastel techniques a little easier. I design the workshop structures and create adverts to market them as well as coding the website that handles the bookings…not to mention doing the catering for the workshops.

…and if I’m luck I get to paint too

Versatile Artist - advert
Latest advert for the Artist magazine

This recent advert for The Artist magazine will feature regularly from the May issue, so I spent last weekend choosing which image to use and then deciding on the colour scheme as well as the content and layout that best describes what I’m offering.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not moaning,  just an observing the skills that you have to develop on your journey to success; you have to be so multi-faceted.  Good job I love doing it.

Anyway, at the end of last year I think I mentioned that I was writing an article for Airbrush magazine.  They are based in Germany, but publish an English speaking version too.  Just as well because sadly my cat probably speaks German better than me.

I got the messing with paint gene, not the language one lol

Lynx and Hawker- The Versatile Artist
Lynx and Hawker The Versatile Artist

So I’m very excited right now because I just got the proof of the article sent to me and it will be published in the German version of the mag in March!

This cover gives you a little teaser, in German, but the English version should be available shortly afterwards.

This is quite a large step by step article that charts the progress of my Lynx and Hawker piece in airbrushed acrylics.  The article is choc full of tips and techniques for getting the colours and the textures just right, so if you want to see how I tackle wildlife with an airbrush you might like to pick up a copy.

I’ll post a link to where you can find a copy in a future blog, so watch this space.

Creating a Step by Step article

Describing what you do step by step sometimes comes hard to an artist.  How many times have you sat down to start a piece and 7 hours later realised that just maybe the rest of the family may want dinner at some point?

So stopping and starting to write down just what you are doing to achieve a particular texture or effect can disturb the flow somewhat.

Get out the camera

I learned a long time ago to photograph my pieces as I go.  It’s easier than stopping to write and the images can be used for lots of things:

  • Marketing on social media
  • Creating teaching notes
  • Magazine articles
  • Adverts
  • Great memoir to accompany a commission

You don’t need anything too fancy either if you plan to upload shots to the web – your phone will do nicely if you are going to publish images online.

For printed materials, then a bit more finesse is required.  The images need to be detailed enough for print quality.  Lucky for me I have a professional photographer in the shape of my lovely husband John. So the promise of a bakewell tart is all I need to secure some professional images lol.

There are times too when you need both hands on the drawing, so a second person is needed to take the shot.

Since I can’t show the Lynx and Hawer piece yet, I added a piece I did earlier of a beautiful kingfisher. Click the images to see a larger view.

A great set of images like this can then prompt you to explain some of the techniques as you review them later with a cup of coffee.

Anyway hope you enjoyed the ramblings of the versatile artist 😉

See you soon

Jilly x

 

 

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

 

Pastel workshops dates for 2016!

Book a place on one of my pastel workshops  now for the first part of 2016 before all the spaces go!

Happy New Year everyone!  No doubt you have all started 2016 with a basket of New Year’s resolutions, so what about learning something new at one of my pastel workshops?

2016 is getting off to a cracking start with more new pastel workshops added to my list, but they are filling up fast.

Fancy getting to grips with some big cats in pastel, or even having a crack at a portrait of your own pet!

Once you have learned a few simple techniques, its easier than you think and you never know, you might have awoken an unknown talent.

Stress relief

Did you know that clinical research has proven that drawing and creative time can relive stress and even lower your blood pressure?

It’s not surprising, I’ve lost count of the number of times I have sat down to start a piece of work and found that the hours have flown by; its like waking from a creative nap.

Check out the dates confirmed so far for this year and treat yourself to a great creative day out- with tea, coffee or juice on tap,  a light lunch, plus a bit of stress relief thrown in!

Great value at only £95 (all materials included)

Click on Rufus here to find out more about my pastel workshops.

 

New pastel workshops announced
What a beautiful boy

See you soon

Jilly

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

 

Wildlife Heritage Foundation

Its not a day out unless you get up at silly O’Clock is it?

For us, it had to be 5 am! What! I don’t even get up at that time during the week let alone a Saturday. So what tempted me out of my snuggly warm bed…?

What a fab place to spend the day.  the Wildlife Heritage Foundation is in Smarden in Kent, so about 2.5 hours from us.  I had booked a photography day for my husband John, sister-in-law Helen and me.

John is a professional photographer and Helen is a very keen amateur.  I just snap away and sometimes get lucky :)

From an artists viewpoint, the WHF is a fab place to top up your reference shots.  You can see from those I’ve posted that there are times when you can get a lens through the enclosure grid…

Brian the Sweet friendly Cheetah
Brian the Sweet friendly Cheetah
Amur Leopard waiting for a morsel of meat
Amur Leopard waiting for a morsel of meat

 

 

 

…and time when you just have to hope its out of focus enough.

It’s not so bad for an artist because we have the ability to ‘see past’ the out of focus grid and turn it into a great piece.

So there we were trying not to be dragged in for a close-up with the Amur Leopards when the cry went up from behind that the most dangerous animal in the park was marching around…

The most dangerous animal in the park
The most dangerous animal in the park

The funniest thing is that this little lady was fearless when it came to her babies.  She had to be ‘escorted’ to the lake behind the clouded leopards, in case one of the inmates decided on duck for lunch!

All in all a fantastic day out and if you’re a wildlife artist – its heaven.

 

 

 

 

 

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