Not just dogs

I’ve been drawing quite a lot of dogs recently and I’ve really enjoyed the opportunity to do so. Here is Summer, a beautiful huge Leonberger.


Some of you may remember that I drew Kaya as a puppy in pen and ink


Well, she’s a fully grown lovely Alaskan Malamute now and it was brilliant to draw her again, this time in coloured pencil.


But I don’t just want to draw dogs. I’ve always had an interest in botanical art, although I think to do “proper” botanical art you need a ruler, a magnifying glass and even a knife to dissect and study the flower parts. It takes years of study to do it properly but, who knows, I might just get hooked.

I love flowers though, I particularly love roses and have lots in the garden. My dog Lexi has a tendency to pluck the flower heads off and eat them if I don’t watch her carefully so she loves them too, admittedly in a different way. Even thought it’s November, some of the roses are still flowering and one of them has the most wonderful big blooms which look fantastic against some of the bright and clear blue skies we’ve been getting recently so I’ve been itching to draw one.

Memories of summer

I didn’t put the blue sky in, it was a toss up but, in the end, I thought the impact I was looking for worked better against the white paper.

Recent work

I’ve recently been working on a number of animal pieces in coloured pencil. As part of doing this, I’ve been experimenting with some different papers and have found I really like working on Pastelmat which has a velvet like surface and is great for laying down multiple colours when depicting fur.


Wilf was one of the first pieces I completed on pastel mat, although the earlier picture of Lexi was the very first one. Wilf was a commissioned piece and he had the most fabulous fur and expression. The contrasts of colours were great to work on and his owner was delighted with the finished result.


My next piece was one of my own pets. Meet Buster the cat. Buster is a mature 11 year old now but I chose to draw him when he was a tiny kitten and had just come to live with us. I think his marmalade tabby markings work really well on the colour of the pastel mat.


My next piece was a gift for my sister in law and is a drawing of her pug Coco. I loved the colours I was able to work in around her muzzle and I think her eyes are particularly expressive.


And this is my very latest drawing. This time, it’s not on pastel mat but Bristol Board Extra Smooth. It was much more difficult to lay down lots of colours as the paper has no tooth, however it does a good job of helping to show the sheen of India’s coat.

My next challenge is to get much better at photographing my drawings. I have a decent camera but am very likely to snap a pic with my phone and the resulting images are just not good enough. I’ll need lights and a tripod for that.

Lexi Doodle

So, here is my latest drawing and it’s of my dog Lexi. She is a Golden Doodle which means she is a cross breed between a Golden Retriever and a Standard Poodle. She’s a really happy dog who loves everybody and everything. She’s a little nervous of traffic but is getting much better with practice. I’ve been wanting to draw her for a while but I was a little worried about white fur on white paper and so this is what I came up with. I’ve used a soft grey pastelmat paper and really highlighted all the reflected colours in her fur to keep up the interest. I’m very happy that I’ve managed to get her happy expression onto paper and I think I’ve ended up with a happy picture. Well, it makes me smile. I really like drawing animals so may stick to this theme with my next one too.

Ahoy There

I’ve had this photo for a couple of years, taken, if memory serves me well, at a wildlife park near bath. I really love all the colours in his feathers and I thought that coloured pencil would be a great way to go to make sure I could capture the colour intensity. I used Polychromos pencils on Bristol Board rather than pastel mat. I hoped the smoothness of the Bristol board would show off the sheen of the coloured feathers to better effect.

Reflection on the Rock

My latest drawing is of a Barbary Ape that I met when visiting Gibraltar a few years ago. I thought he looked very thoughtful and not terribly happy. I wanted to draw him but I was on an accompanied tour so just took a snap and stored it away. I came across the photo a couple of weeks ago when I was looking for inspiration for an animal picture and I knew that coloured pencils would be perfect. I’d just bought some Pastelmat paper which I was keen to try out and thought this would be the perfect subject. I’m pretty happy with the result. I may even enter him in the latest UKCPS competition.

Best of pals

I’m pretty pleased with this drawing. It was a family commission and once it’s framed it will be winging its way to bonnie Scotland. I hope the recipient will be delighted with it and happy to have it on their wall.

This is my first picture since completing my course at the London College of Art and for me marks the start of me as a working artist. It’s an exciting time and I’m looking forwards to beginning some work on drawings that I’m happy to enter into competitions or exhibitions. Before that though; I have one more private piece of work to complete for my granddaughter. She loves fairies and I am working on a composition which I think will be called The Dorset Fairy glen or something similar. I’m hoping to finish it this week so when I have, I will post a picture of it here.

Mission accomplished

Woohoo I’ve finished my drawing and painting course and have passed with a distinction!

The last modules were all about figure drawing and portraiture. I loved working on this drawing using coloured pencils.

In fact I enjoyed the pencils so much I used them again for my final course piece; a self portrait.

It’s not the most flattering of portraits and in fact my family have commented on the seriousness of my expression but this is my face as I often see it in the mirror and it looks like I’m concentrating.

The previous module to this one had me working on using oil paint to complete a couple of paintings. My favourite is this one of boats on Mull which I’ve worked up from a photo I took through the car window when we visited Mull last year. Tobermory is a lovely place and I’d happily spend more time on this lovely island.

I also painted a picture of my husband playing a guitar in France.

So it’s been a great course and I’ve learned loads and I’m now looking forwards to developing even further and hopefully even begin to enter some competitions and exhibitions

Back on line

I haven’t posted for a while and to be honest, I haven’t been doing too much painting either. It has been an unexpectedly hectic year and I am only now starting to turn my attention back to my art. I’ve missed it.

The watercolour sketch above was one I was pretty pleased with although my tutor was less impressed with my painting of the stones of Durdle Dor itself.

I was also happy with the sketch of Corfe Castle railway station, also completed in watercolour. This hasn’t yet been submitted to my tutor but I feel like I’m making some progress on controlling the watercolours  again.

The above picture was a simple exercise on portraying light. I wanted to give the feel of a sunny day outside which I think has worked quite well.



Week Twelve – Animals and Portraiture

New Forest pony

This week has been a mix of animals and portraiture. I started out continuing exploring drawing animals in ink with the sketch of the New Forest pony. They are a fairly unique shape which is quite hard to capture and, to my mind, always look a little sad. I found I was really enjoying the scribble method I was using to capture the pony’s grey coat and have continued to explore this further during the course of this week.

Peacock colour pencil study

I then started a drawing of a peacock which I’d taken a photograph of on a visit to Castle Howard, near York, last weekend. The fantastic peacock tail feathers were past their best but he was still a magnificent colour and I enjoyed trying to capture his colours and shapes with my water colour pencils.

John ink sketchJohn pen and ink from life

Moving on with exploring pen and ink, I began some portraiture and have completed two picture of John, the first from a photo taken earlier this year and the second a quick study from life whilst he was watching tv. Both of these studies were completed in ink without the benefit of sketching in pencil first. So, they are complete, errors and all and to be honest I’m quite pleased with them and with the likeness I’ve managed to achieve.


Weeks Ten and Eleven – All about Kaya

Kaya quick pencil study

Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve been working on drawing animals (and been away on a short break to the New Forest so less drawing time available). I wanted to draw a really good picture of my son’s dog Kaya. She is still a puppy and really cute but she is going to be a very big dog when she’s fully grown and is already about the size of a labrador. She is a Malamute which is similar to a Huskie but she doesn’t have blue eyes. They are very good sled pulling dogs, apparently. Anyway, I started with the quick pencil sketch you can see at the top of the post and have just completed the pen and ink drawing you can see below. The sketch is a fairly small image which I did in an hour or so in my sketch book whereas the pen and ink one is A2 size and was done ready to be framed. Hopefully my son and his girlfriend will like it. I may use this one as my submission in the next module of my course; the other option is a drawing of a horse so I might have a go at that next.

Kaya pen and ink