Field and Forest

Here are a couple of older paintings I did a few years ago.

One is an acrylic painting of the ‘Forest of Dean’.  I went there in my late twenties and was really seduced by it’s beauty.


The second is a watercolour of a barn owl flying low over a field one summer evening.  It was one of the first watercolours I ever tried to paint.  This was also inspried by real life.  I once saw a barn owl flying low like this just a few feet from me in the golden evening light of Cambridgeshire.  It was more beautiful than I can say.

Here’s the picture…



Fishing, a Baby and Some Rocks…

This week I didn’t have too much time for art (still recovering from my cold) but I did manage some simple stuff.

The first was a sketch of some rocks with water running over and around them.  I found it really challenging.  I would like to paint a watercolour of this and my idea was to try to do a value sketch so I could see where the complicated light and shadows are in such a situation.

Here’s the sketch, such as it is…



Then I went on to draw a relaxing fishing scene.  I got the idea for this painting from some work I’m doing with the children in school.  We’re planning to make sillouette pictures of the Great Fire of London.  I was thinking about that and then wondered if I could make a painting using sillouettes of fishing – my favourite relaxing passtime.  (I haven’t fished since the summer but if it’s not too cold and if we’re both well, my son and I might go out this weekend.)

In terms of planning this one was easy.  I just made a sunset coloured wash – all reds and oranges and yellows and then sketched my fishing scene over the top.

Initially I was going to ink my scene onto the paper over the wash but my pens didn’t take kindly to the paint and I didn’t want to ruin them so I painted the black stuff using gouache black.  At the end I put in some highlights using yellow mixed with some gouache white.  Here are the results…


The last thing I worked on this week was a Madonna and Child sketch in my sketchbook.  I got the idea from a Christmas card which somehow escaped my post Christmas clear-out.

I drew it in pencil and then inked it using a watersoluble multiliner.  Then I used water to move some of the ink to add some tone…


I like how most of this turned out, but you can see some errors.  For instance I used the water soluble pen in the baby’s hair to give it some texture when I should have used a water resistant one so that the ink there didn’t move when I toned the hair.  Oh well, as our head teacher has on her door…

“If you want to succeed, double your failure rate!”

PS:  Just to see what it was like I also coloured this picture digitally…


I used the Manga Studio watercolour brushes to add some texture.

A cold, an undersea horse and a sketch for a friend.

This week I worked on a line and wash painting.  I did the wash first and added salt to create some white sparkles (which are created as the salt goes into solution and pushes the paint away from each salt grain.)  Then I sketched in pencil and drew in ink a sea horse.  They are such fascinating creatures.

I found it quite tricky to sketch loosely on top of my finished wash as I was aware that I couldn’t remove my sketch lines.  But it was still easier than drawing with ink straight off.

Once I’d drawn my ink seahorse I then went back to the watercolours to colour him in.  I also added some white gouache to my pallet to give me some highlights.

Here’s the final picture…



I also made a quick (5 min) ink sketch in my sketchbook of a Marvel character called Wolverine.  He’s not really my ‘cup of tea’ but a friend of mine really likes him so I’m looking at eventually making a dark, modern style painting of him for her.

This is my initial sketch…


It was drawn using just an 0.05 Multiliner (Staedtler) and then toned with my W&N greyscale brushpens.  Again(!!!) I forgot that these go through the page of my current sketchbook – so I wrecked the next page, but again they gave me a finish which I liked.

Then once scanned into my PC I added some blood to the spike things on his hands, which I now kind of regret because I did it quickly and rather badly and I’n not sure it really works at all.    🙂

What I would really like to do with this Wolverine portrait for a friend, is to work in my version of the style of an artist called Christopher Lovell.  He draws and paints low saturation  and greyscale pictures which have a dark sort of theme.  They just look fantastic.

Here’s a link to part of his Gallery…

Christopher Lovell Personal Gallery

And here are some linked pictures from his website…

By Christopher Lovell
(By Christopher Lovell)



By Christopher Lovell
(By Christopher Lovell)



By Christopher Lovell
(By Christopher Lovell)


The detail and the tonal range of his work is totally stunning.  I really love it.  Now obviously I’m not even in the same league as this guy but I would like to try to do a Wolverine portrait with minimal low saturation colour, or in greyscale with a lot of detail and tonal range.  I think Wolverine really lends himself to the style.  We’ll see how it turns out.



(Hugh Jackman as Wolverine from Marvel based film series by 20th Century Fox)


PS:  I’m not starting my wolverine picture yet as I’ve got this horrible cold at the moment and it’s all I can do to get myself into work everyday and look after my son.  Hopefully it’ll ease off in a few days.



Fine Art with a Modern Feel – Beginning a New Direction

I’ve decided that, with the start of a new term, I’m going to focus on more than just sketching and inking.  After 112 days of working on this I need to branch out and do some more varied art.  So I’m bringing my sketching and inking challenge to an end.

My last sketch and ink picture is of a dog looking really fierce.  It’s quite a forceful pose and was drawn after watching a documentary on pitbull’s.  But, it does nothing for me artistically…


This was done with W&N brush markers and a copic multiliner.


I’ve been longing to work on some new exciting things in watercolour and acrylic (seperately) and I’ve also been wondering about using oils too.  I want, eventually, to work on more fine art type projects but with a modern feel to them.  During the time I was sketching and inking a strong feeling of going in this direction was growing in me.  I’m not sure what will be the final result of following this latest quest but I think it’ll be good fun.

So, in the meantime, I began my new days of freedom with a regular pencil drawing of a grasshopper.  It was a real joy to use a pencil to do more than just sketch…



After that I began to play around in my sketchbook with ideas on how to draw water realistically.  It’s something I’ve been fascinated by and will look at in more detail at a later date.

This was inspired by a YouTube timelapse drawing by ‘TutoDraw’…

Here’s my picture.  Without using reference for the new fish, I changed it to be a Siamese Fighting Fish – one of my most favourite fish in the world.  This was a mistake as I didn’t get the shapes right, especially around the eyes.  However, what I was really concentrating on was the water and I felt that at least this part of the drawing was OK, at least as a beginning…


This was drawn using PrismaColor Pencils.

Then finally I settled down to a more detailed watercolour painting.  I love drawing animals of all kinds.  So here he is – Gareth the Goldfish…


I used W&N Professional Watercolour paints on cold pressed watercolour paper.  I didn’t make any preliminary sketches here, just drew in pencil straight onto my final sheet.  It was SO MUCH FUN to paint properly in watercolour again!

It made me feel so happy that all I could think of was this scene from the movie ‘Despicable Me’…