Tag Archives: Big Cats

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



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.