Tuesday, 26 July 2011

NEW cat painting

beginning stages of wash and start of cat

Hello, this painting is inspired by one of my favourite artists Jean Haines and one of her favourite subjects. Jeans stunning use of the medium watercolour is magical and leaves me excited / inspired / positive / energetic, every time I read about / look at her artworks. She uses watercolour in an opposite way to me which is why I love it so much! I sometimes shy away from leaving my comfort zone as I know what I'm capable of, however I have noticed that my view on differing styles of art is constantly changing and evolving, and I'm slowly developing my own style and technique. I love detail, colour and realism - I find these factors in a painting come naturally to me. However it's 'beyond' this that I want to achieve. I want to capture a moment in time, a mood, take the viewer into the picture scene - expressing nature and my passion for animals. I find that my art is sometimes mechanical like a scientific drawing. This stems from my desire to recreate exactly what I see and what others will know. I want to loosen up, combine realism with energy and excitement :)

Here is another quote I found that made me smile -
Artists can color the sky red because they know it's blue. Those of us who aren't artists must color things the way they really are or people might think we're stupid.
Jules Feiffer

For this painting I knew exactly what subtle colour wash would highlight the cats colouring and personality so I got started with a peach / lilac background. It was achieved by wetting the paper and leaving a rough water outline of the edge of the cat. The colours chosen were originally a lot darker but as with watercolour the colours become paler as they dry. I considered darkening parts however I thought it was such a pretty fusion of colour so I left it as the paint decided...I may add to it later.

Saturday, 23 July 2011

NEWA exhibition


(Please be aware that the above images are taken from the NEWA website, not the 2011 exhibition) 

I've had a great day going around this years National Exhibition of Wildlife Art (NEWA). Considering the recent weather it's been a lovely day today, the journey from Leicester took us approx. 2.5 hours and we had a good drive up in the sunshine. We finally arrived at Gordale Garden Centre which in itself is a great large shop to walk around with some great garden essentials and wonderful gift / food ideas. My heart was beating excitedly as we made our way down the ramp to the large open area set up for the exhibition.

Even though I had already seen photos of previous years I was still amazed at what a wonderful exhibition space it was. The natural light flooded in the room from all directions, all artwork was professionally spaced with plenty of thinking time between viewing. Pictures / sculptures were balanced and complemented next to one another, and an exhibition catalogue allowed you to match numbers against pieces for names / prices and medium used.

I started from left to right across the outer wall and immediately saw my elephants 'Carbon Copy' placed next to one of my favourite graphite artists Julie Rhodes. I was so excited to see my work sharing the walls of such splendid inspiring artists :) please do visit the online gallery if you are unable to make it to the exhibition as you'll be blown away with the talented artists on display. I had already studied the online gallery before seeing it in real life as I love to view differing and similar styles of work especially wildlife art, and the quality of a real life picture to an image on the computer screen - there is no comparison!

I walked around and studied every piece close-up and far away. The extraordinary use of differing mediums and techniques was hugely varied. I especially enjoy looking at artworks that are totally different to my own. Overhearing a compliment toward my lemur painting put a big smile on my face too! I did notice a large amount of bird pieces with a percentage of these sold too - a subject matter that I've yet to tackle. A firm favourite of mine within the show was Angela Cox the beautiful fusion of watercolour / gouache on colour papers, stunning colour palettes and intricate details was phenomenal. An artist with passion for her subjects and a great understanding of her favoured mediums.

Unfortunately we were not allowed to take photos of the exhibition however as we were leaving I managed to catch Marion, the event organiser, a thoroughly lovely lady whom which had helped me via email with my application. Each year Marion (any many others!) hard work and dedication allows the exhibition to be a success with beautiful arrangement and curation of the pictures. I expressed my excitement about exhibiting and how humbled I felt to be part of such a prestigious event with such talented artists. I sneaked a couple of photos next to my pictures for personal enjoyment and treasured memories. I will of course also treasure seeing artists work who inspire me and push me beyond my boundaries and as ever appreciate the stunning wildlife we share this world with.


Thursday, 14 July 2011

FINISHED *Siberian Tiger Cub drawing*

Presenting ' JEWEL OF SIBERIA ' siberian tiger cub
' JEWEL OF SIBERIA ' tiger cub graphite pencil drawing
original 16" x 12"

So here he is completed! I've called time on tweaking now as I am very happy with the finished drawing :) just for now I've taken a quick photo but will get a high res. scan soon as the quality of this is fairly poor. However this gives me the chance to show you my cropping of the final image.

Since my last post I have completed the cub and have added the dark backdrop and left side leaves - this continues through to the suggested foliage behind giving the drawing depth of field. This was the most daunting part of the drawing as it's my first full background but I am pleased with the outcome (if not a little panicky along the way!).

Siberian (or Amur) tigers are the world's largest cats. They live primarily in eastern Russia's birch forests, though some exist in China and North Korea. I really wanted to give the sense of the cub basking in a little sun spot surveying his kingdom with surrounding protection / shelter of forest. I've hinted at the forest floor and used this foliage to try and capture the flashes of sunlight. Once I have the quality scan I will post close-ups of the image whereby you can see detailing. I hope you love him!

Thankyou Arjan for your wonderful photo reference :)

Monday, 11 July 2011


I found out yesterday that I have been selected to take part in the National Exhibition of Wildlife Art (NEWA) UK, held at Gordale Garden Centre based in the north of England.

I am thrilled and honoured to be part of this wonderful art exhibition, my work will be hung alongside many many wildlife artists that I admire. It is a huge achievement to be selected from a large amount of entries including both professional and amateur artists.

'...A wide cross-section of media in both two and three dimensions will make the display both varied and fascinating.'

The NEWA 2011 exhibition takes place from 15th July - 31st July, open 9.30am - 6pm everyday
FREE ADMISSION / a donation from sales will be given to conservation projects

If you are able to come and visit please do:
Burton, Chester High Road - A540, Wirral, CH64 8TF
Gordale Garden Centre is a large extremely busy garden centre midway along the Wirral Peninsula, between Chester and Heswall on the A540.

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

cub progress - ear and right side cont.

I have worked hard on this all day and I am really pleased with my progress and application. You can see his ear, right side and start of background has been worked on. The backgrop of darker contrasts will focus the attention on the cub himself and give him depth of field. I hope to have this finished before the weekend :)

Monday, 4 July 2011

cub progress - improvements cont.

The main thing I've learnt during my first fur graphite work is to not be afraid to go back in and rework areas you're not happy with. Unlike my watercolour paintings which have to be so precise as there is little room for error, pencil work allows you that privilege of erasing / correcting areas that don't feel right. You are the only one in control of your artwork - trust your instinct.

I recently found and wanted to share this quote with you -
"If you talk to the animals they will talk with you and you will know each other. If you do not talk to them you will not know them and what you do not know, you will fear. What one fears, one destroys."
- Chief Dan George, Tsleil-waututh  
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