Tag Archives: pastel

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



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


Hey there Georgie girl!

I have spent so much time in hotels recently – away delivering training courses.  Its been fab for catching up with commissions and for building up my wildlife art portfolio.

Anyway, this is Georgie my latest equine commission.  The lighting isn’t spectacular as I was in a hotel room and the images were taken using an iPhone. Lesson learned for next time – take your camera Jilly!

Anyway, hope you enjoy the step by step.

3 Little kittens

This piece was great fun to do, not least of all because I got to spend the morning with a nest of foster kittens.

I got some great shots of them waking up and slowly revving up their little engines for mischief. I was able to select 3 shots that I thought captured some great expressions and decided on a large format pastel on velour.

3 kits 1
Sketched the outline of the piece on to large sheet of velour using 3 of my reference shots







I wanted to try and keep from resting my hand on work that I had already completed so I started from the left and completed each kitten as I progressed

Here I’ve started blocking in colour then adding detail with pencils as I work down the kitten’s body.

Started to work from the left most kitten to minimise rubbing on the pastel work already done
Started to work from the left most kitten to minimise rubbing on the pastel work already done







Here’s a closer look at the first kitten

Blocked in the base colours first , then worked into them with the detail layers
Blocked in the base colours first , then worked into them with the detail layers
For this piece I worked slightly differently and worked the base colours then the details in bands down the body as I progressed
For this piece I worked slightly differently and worked the base colours then the details in bands down the body as I progressed











I love his expression.  He was watching his foster mum as she got his breakfast ready and he was so patient.

So this is the first kitten almost complete
So this is the first kitten almost complete

You can see from his dishevelled fur that he had just woken up.

So now I can start on the second kitten

Starting on the second kitten
Starting on the second kitten






Again I use the same technique of blocking in base colours with soft stick pastels, then working into the underlayer with layers of cross hatched fur.  The important thing here is to always work in the direction of the fur growth.

Second kitten completed
Second kitten completed

Finally its the turn of the little yawning kitten who looks like she’s singing for her breakfast.

This was a great little project to do and when you start piecing together a bunch of reference images there are so many possibilities.


Here’s the finished piece.


Lastly a couple of shots showing the head detail for the second kitten and a little cameo piece that I isolated using Photodhop from the final print shot of the piece.

Head detail for the second kitten
Head detail for the second kitten
First kitten isolated in photoshop to make a great little cameo
First kitten isolated in photoshop to make a great little cameo

A trip back in time

In the process of updating my website, I’ve been searching through my old step by steps and wanted to share a couple on here that were in my old blog. So for me this is a trip down memory lane, but you might not have seen these before.

OK so here’s the first starring my little helper…

Amber in a bag

She couldn’t help herself when she got into John’s photography studio with all those bags!

Obviously it was rude not to capture this great image of her rummaging through a reflector bag.  Loved the look on her face… “What! You want me to stop chasing this imaginary mouse that I have in this bag?”

This was a little demo piece that I did at a cat show.  Its pastel on velour done with soft pastel sticks for the base coats and blocking in major areas of colour, then Derwent pastel pencils for the next detail layers.  Finally graphite to add the fine guard hairs to Amber’s fur.

First post of 2012

Well a belated Happy New Year to you all.

Don’t know about you, but Christmas seems like months ago…was all good though.

I had a busy time of it leading up to Christmas.

John had his 50th birthday so naturally, since your man’s only 50 once,  we had to celebrate in style.


I booked a weekend at Raymond Blanc’s Le Manoir in Oxford and I have to say it was incredible.  The service is second to none and that’s before you’ve even tasted the food.



Gerald Hockey contacted me a couple of weeks before Christmas to ask if I could do a rush job for his wife Barbara for Christmas.  Barbara is a very good customer, so I was delighted to oblige.

Take a look at this gallery to see the step by step for this piece.

Finally I’ve completed all the pieces for Part 2 of the drawing module for my Crative Arts degree.  You can check out the results here in the Creative Arts pages.

Right, better go and update the Creative Arts pages then :0)

Take care until next time




Back online at last…

Well it feels like I’ve been offline for ages, but in fact it’s only 3 weeks.  Amazing how you feel out of touch and to think that not so long ago we got on quite nicely without blogs and email and Facebook!

Anyway I’m back and here’s an update on my latest piece.

Panthro and Tigra

These two belong to Helena Rushbridge, or is it the other way around – I never know with cats.  We certainly don’t own Amber, we’re just casual staff!

Anyway back to the plot:

Here is the gallery showing the development of the Panthro and Tigra piece from initial images through layout options to the finished piece.

We ran through a number of options before settling on one where they were sitting close, but not too close :0)

There’s a great shot half way through where Tigra’s half rendered stripes look like PJs, and I love the light falling on Panthro’s black fur.

Hope you like it….


Too much Christmas pud!

OK well that’s the title of the Christmas card piece unless you know any better 🙂

Just a short update today, because the piece is finished and here it is!

I’m really please with the end results and delighted to have had the opportunity to create the piece.

Haworth Cat rescue Christmas card 2011

Starting over again…

Well not quite….

Apologies if you’ve been following my blog and have wondered where it disappeared to over the last few days.  The answer is “I have no idea”!!!

It’s extremely annoying, but I lost the entire thing and couldn’t log in.

Anyway after some technical jiggery pokery I’m back.

The last couple of blogs have been following my latest commission – William, a cheeky little bengal kitten with a big personality.

To remind you of where I’m at with this take a look at the gallery here.  Click on any image to enlarge and then hover over the left or right-hand side to move forwards or backwards:

Hope you enjoy the recap.  I will update the gallery software when I have more time.

There will be more to come on William later this week.

Watch out for the post about my recent Vic Bearcroft tuition experience.

See you soon



Sophie complete

Here are the final few WIP staps for Sophie:
I decided to add a blueish background to pop out the fur colour:

I chose a sort of air force blue as a complementary of the rust colours in her fur.
It might seem odd to start on the background here, but it helps me to judge the overall finished piece.  Also the background needs to be in before I can add the finishing whisps to the hair.
Here’s a closer look at the hair detail on Sophie’s left ear.  I normally work left to right across the page so that I’m not leaning on my work, but on this piece I did it the other way around – no idea why….
In the image below you can see that the piece is virtually complate.  Although I signed it I did carry on tweaking for a bit and decided to strengthen the dark behind the edges of the ears.
and fianlly the finished piece…!